Va. Lutheran church to leave ELCA

Jan 15th, 2010 | By | Category: Signs of the Times (click on article name)
Originally published 10:42 a.m., January 13, 2010, updated 10:46 a.m., January 13, 2010

Va. Lutheran church to leave ELCA

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Washington Times

Rev Mark Graham

ROANOKE -- Members of a Roanoke church have voted to leave the country's largest Lutheran denomination over its policy to allow gay clergy.

The Rev. Mark Graham, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, said its members voted 350-104 in favor of the split from the national Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Church rules required a two-thirds majority for reaffiliation.

ELCA delegates voted at its annual convention in August to lift a ban that had prohibited gay and lesbian pastors who were not celibate from serving as clergy. The new policy, expected to take effect in April, will allow such persons to lead ELCA churches as long as they can show that they are in committed, lifelong relationships.

The vote last Sunday affirmed a ballot held in September that called for St. John to join the smaller Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

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