ATLANTA, Feb. 8 - The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said Thursday it is removing from the clergy a gay minister from Atlanta who announced he has a partner.

 

The Rev. Bradley Schmeling, who has led St. John's, Atlanta's oldest Lutheran church, since 2000, will be removed from the roster effective Aug. 15, according to a report from the ELCA's disciplinary committee.

 

Schmeling, who was open about his sexuality when he took the job, announced last year he had found a lifelong companion. Bishop Ronald Warren asked the 44-year-old pastor to resign, but Schmeling refused.

 

Warren then began disciplinary proceedings last year against Schmeling for violating church rules barring sex outside of marriage.