Last August, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a body of about 10,000 churches with more than 4 million members, became the latest denomination to allow openly gay clergy. (This category includes the Episcopal Church and Judaism’s Conservative and Reform branches.) In her recent piece for the Huffington Post, the Rev. Dr. Cindi Love explained the decision, made official this month by the Church Council, has allowed same-sex partners and families to fully participate in the ELCA Pension Plan, and the reinstatement of clergy who had been removed either for coming out of the closet or for blessing same-sex unions.
As expected, the decision has been causing some rifts, although congregations can still decide locally whether to allow an openly gay minister. David Yonke, the Toledo Blade’s religion editor, reports that an Ohio church is the newest addition to the list of several hundred congregations that have decided to leave the ELCA.
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