SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, July 13, 2011 -- The members of the National Church Council (NCC) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) received a pastoral letter signed by 141 members of the ministry roster of that church stating their approval of the Social Statement on Human Sexuality and the related motions being brought to the National Convention for consideration and action this week.
In the letter, the Canadian Lutheran pastors aid that they saw the passage of the motions and the Statement itself as "vital to the proclamation of the gospel in a multi-faith and multi-cultural world," a world they said was "much changed from the world of the 1970 social statement that currently guides our church policy."
Teddy Pope, member of the NCC, said, "As a faithful Lutheran and member of the council, I received this letter as a breath of fresh air, signifying that there is substantial support in the church for the Proposed Social Statement and the three motions that arise from it. This is a time for the church to remember the diversity present in the life of the Body of Christ, the value of that diversity, and the meaning of diversity in the message of Christ and the Gospel left to lead us in his steps."
The pastors' letter said that the motions and the Statement addressed abiding pastoral and missional concerns: the fear by those not "out" in congregations that they will be rebuffed, stigmatized or even prevented from serving; having to turn away faithful members of the congregation seeking a blessing or marriage in their same-gender relationship; pastors who face discipline from their bishops because they are in committed, long-term, same-gender relationships, unable to get married despite that marriage's legality in Canada; the loss of gifted persons, seeking to follow a call to ministry, but discouraged from attending seminary, or dropping out of seminary, because of their sexual orientation.
The signing pastors said they were thankful to the NCC, the Task Force, and the Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee for their thoughtful and reasoned work that presents the Statement and the motions to the national gathering of the ELCIC.
Their letter states that the words in the Statement and the motions, when passed, will be seen by those who experience the effect in their lives as the "logical consequence of the Gospel: a full welcoming and acceptance in the Church into which they received the baptism that made them full members of the Church."
The full text of the letter and the list of signing pastors will follow in a separate message.
The full-text of the three motions forwarded to the National Convention of the ELCIC by their National Church Council will follow in a separate message and can be found on the ELCIC website of the Report of the NCC which opens at http://tinyurl.com/The-NCC-Report. Motions 26, 27, and 28 begin on page F-99.
The full text of the Proposed ELCIC Statement on Human Sexuality can be found on the ELCIC website by going to http://tinyurl.com/ELCIC-Proposed-Statement.
Director Communications LC/NA