PRESS RELEASE: LC/NA Celebrates the ELCA Reception to the Clergy Roster of an Openly Gay Philadelphia Pastor
December 10, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Phil Soucy
Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) celebrates the upcoming reception of Pastor Jay Wiesner onto the clergy roster by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on Sunday, December 12.
He will be received as clergy during a Service of Reception presided over by Bishop Claire Burkat, ELCA Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, held during the 10:30 a.m. Sunday service at the University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation (www.uniluphila.org), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pastor Anita Hill, a pastor at St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and also recently similarly received onto the clergy roster, will preach.
Pastor Jay Wiesner had been ordained “extraordinarily” in 2004. “Extraordinary” in this context means the ordination was outside of the usual practices of the ELCA. As a result, the ELCA did not recognize his ordination at the time it occurred. At this Service of Reception, the ELCA recognizes that ordination and the ministries Pastor Wiesner has done over time.
Pastor Wiesner completed his seminary training in 2002, but, because he was in disagreement with the then policy that imposed celibacy in a life lived without a partner, he was denied ordination by the ELCA. In 2004, Bethany Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, called him as Pastor of Outreach Ministry and ordained him, an act of ecclesiastic disobedience at the time. In September 2008, he was called by University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation as pastor, also an act of ecclesiastic disobedience.
His reception onto the roster of clergy is one of the results of the decisions of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly to eliminate the policy that had since 1989 precluded service as ministers by those in a lifelong, committed same-gender relationship. Though not in such a relationship, Pastor Wiesner had disagreed with the previous policy precluding even the possibility of it.
Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, Lutherans Concerned/North America, said “The prophetic witness of Bethany Lutheran, Minneapolis and University Lutheran, Philadelphia is coming true. We give thanks for Jay and the congregations who courageously called him in the face of policies precluding his service. We applaud the Southeast Pennsylvania Synod and its bishop for their visible support for the full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. While our struggle is not ended, this day leaves an indelible exclamation point in history. This day justice has prevailed, not just for one, but symbolically for all LGBT people.”
Pastor Jay Wiesner said, “This day has been a long time coming and something I have been praying for before I was even ordained in 2004. Both Bethany Lutheran Church and University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation have risked their standing in the greater Church to be a prophetic witness and for that I am truly blessed and grateful.”
About Lutherans Concerned/North America
Working at the intersection of oppressions, Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) embodies, inspires, advocates and organizes for the acceptance and full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities within the Lutheran communion and its ecumenical and global partners. LC/NA is based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Www.lcna.org