Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lutheran church latest to split over ordination of gays

From Colorado-

The ordination of gay clergy continues to create tension within Christian denominations in America.

The Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the American Baptist Church USA have experienced tremendous internal discord over the issue.

But perhaps the most dynamic schism today involving gay ordination is within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Last month, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs publicly announced it had left the ELCA. Bethel Lutheran and Faith Lutheran have also quit the denomination.

“The ELCA was going in a different direction,” Bethel Lutheran pastor John Witkop said. “The ordination of gay clergy got us talking (about leaving).”

The ELCA has about 10,000 U.S. churches, and since early 2009, 291 have left to align with other Lutheran denominations, according to ELCA records.

While the number is relatively small, ELCA defectors have moved faster than any other dissenting group to re-organize.

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