ELCA board sets terms for vote on gay pastors

Posted on 02 Apr 2009 at 7:13pm
By Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — A leadership board of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has rejected a proposal to require a two-thirds vote on the question of allowing gay pastors.

The Church Council, essentially the board of directors of the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination, voted 21-10 with two abstentions last weekend to put the issue of gay clergy to a simple majority vote at the Churchwide Assembly Aug. 17-23 in Minneapolis.

The recommendation would permit gay clergy in the church, but leave it up to individual synods and congregations whether to appoint gay pastors. The two-thirds proposal came from 18 of the ELCA’s 65 synods.

The matter is far from settled. The issue can be revived for a vote by the full assembly on the first day of the convention. That’s expected by people on both sides.

The council also made several tough economic decisions that resulted in layoffs, pay cuts and cutbacks in several ministries.

It cut $5.6 million, about 6 percent, from church-wide spending, reducing the budget to $76.8 million for the fiscal year that ends Jan. 31, 2010.

The World Hunger Appeal fund lost nearly 10 percent of its $20 million annual budget, resulting in the elimination of 25 jobs on top of 12 spots that already were vacant. The ELCA also will halt its weekly radio program, "Grace Matters."

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 3, 2009.

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