Evangelical Lutheran Church Elects First Openly Gay Bishop

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has elected its first openly gay bishop, also its first Native American one.

The Reverend Dr. R. Guy Erwin was elected Friday as bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He will serve a six-year term with the synod, which covers the greater Los Angeles area, reports GLAAD. He will be installed as bishop September 21.

Erwin has served churches for 20 years but was ordained as a pastor just two years ago, as he chose to wait for ordination until the ELCA adopted an inclusive policy regarding gay and lesbian ministers. It did that in 2009, approving the ordination of ministers in committed same-sex relationships.

Erwin is currently interim pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Canoga Park as and is professor of religion and history at California Lutheran University.  A native of Oklahoma, he is an active member of the Osage Tribe. He and his partner, Rob Flynn, are members of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in North Hollywood. Erwin serves on the board of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, which supports LBGT pastors and their work, and he is a member of Proclaim, a professional association of LGBT Lutheran pastors, lay leaders, and seminarians.

“This is a great day for the Southwest California Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,” said Amalia Vagts, executive director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, in a post on the group’s website, calling Erwin “a wonderful leader from the LGBTQ and Native American communities.”

Another gay minister, James Boline, was elected Southwest California Synod secretary.

via  Advocate.com.

Enhanced by Zemanta

CoE plan to bless gay couples’ civil partnerships?

The Church of England is considering allowing gay couples to have their civil partnerships blessed  in church.

Insiders have told The Mail on Sunday that a top-level panel of bishops set up to review the Church’s policy on homosexuality is actively discussing the issue.

If the reform is approved, vicars would be permitted to conduct a  formal blessing service in church for a same-sex couple who have earlier ‘tied the knot’ at a register office.

Claire Balding Civil Partnership

Union: Television presenter Clare Balding (right) and Alice Arnold at their civil ceremony in 2006

Union: Television presenter Clare Balding (right) and Alice Arnold at their civil ceremony in 2006

But any move to relax the ban on such blessings would provoke the biggest split yet in the Church, which is already reeling from rows over women and gay bishops.

One option the panel is expected  to consider is a compromise under which gay couples seeking a blessing could be asked to declare they intend to remain celibate, in line with official Church teaching.

But this could create a backlash among gay couples, who would regard it as demeaning to be quizzed about their private lives.

A source close to the working party said that a ‘wide-ranging discussion’ was under way covering a ‘whole range of options’ and recommendations will be made to the House of Bishops later this year.

– more at  Mail Online.

Enhanced by Zemanta