Overview:

The ECLA revised its social statement about sexuality.

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In August, the ELCA Chuchwide Assembly revised their social statement, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust. The social statement was first adopted by the ELCA in 2009. It allowed Lutherans to hold differing views about same-sex relationships, as well as permitted bishops to ordain LGBT clergy members.

At this year’s assembly, the group authorized a narrow review of the social statement about sexuality to make sure its wording “reflects current church understanding, church policy, civil law, and public acceptance of same-gender and gender non-conforming couples.” Also, a later motion asked that the denomination in particular consider the four positions of “bound conscience” expressed in the social statement. The statement allows that “on the basis of conscience-bound belief,” Lutherans may have different views about sexuality and marriage, including the view that same-sex relationships are “sinful.”

When asked about this statement from the ELCA, the LGBT advocacy group ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation issued this statement via email: 

As the ELCA continues to discern and review its social statement, ‘Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust’  created in 2009, ReconcilingWorks continues to be the organization and programming [Reconciling in Christ (RIC)] that leads the work of welcome, inclusion, celebration, and advocacy for LGBTQIA+ people in communities of faith. To find affirming faith communities, head to ReconcilingWorks.org and get connected with one of its 994 RIC partners amidst the 8,000+ ELCA congregations.

The ECLA’s first pastor for public witness and founder of the queer inclusive House for All Sinners and Saints church, the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber has yet to comment on this topic. The next opportunity to revise this statement will be in 2025.   

Similar debates over LGBT rights dominated the media coverage of the Anglian Communion’s Lambeth gathering. Many churches have struggled to grapple with the progressive changes that are happening throughout society.

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As a freelance writer with dual MDiv/MSW degree from Yale Divinity School/Columbia University, I focus on the rise of secular spirituality, religious satire, spiritual health & wellness, faith &...