Letter from the 141 Pastors to the ELCIC National Church Council



Concerning the ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality and the Three Motions Recommended by the National Church Council

     We are pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, serving in diverse settings in the various synods of the Church. Some of us serve (or have served) in urban congregations, others in rural and small town settings.  Some of us serve (or have served) as chaplains on campus, in hospitals, or in other institutions.  Some of us serve (or have served) as professors in seminaries or universities or in still other kinds of ministries.  Some of us look back on long years of service, others on just a few years.  Despite our diversities of ministries, contexts, and years, we are all committed to proclaiming the gospel of God’s “grace for Christ’s sake through faith” (Augsburg Confession, Article 4), to equipping “the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4.12), and to ministering in mission for others.

      We give thanks that the National Church Council is presenting to the National Convention on July 14-17 a Social Statement on Human Sexuality and three motions that are addressed to issues that have occupied synodical and national conventions for so many years. 

       We see approval of the Statement and passage of the motions as vital to the proclamation of the gospel in a multi-faith and multi-cultural world that is much changed from the world of the 1970 social statement that currently guides our church polity.

     The Statement and the three motions give voice to what are longstanding pastoral and missional concerns:


 •  From time to time those to whom we minister confide to us that they are afraid to be “out” in the congregation or in the larger church, for fear they will be rebuffed or stigmatized or even prevented from serving.

 •  Some of us have had to turn away same-sex couples who have come to us asking us to bless their union or to unite them in marriage, even as we may number same-sex couples among the faithful members of our congregation.

•  Some of us are gay or lesbian pastors who face discipline from our bishops because we are in long-term committed relationships.  The current policies and practices of the ELCIC do not allow us to marry, while our heterosexual clergy colleagues in long-term committed relationships are encouraged to marry lest they face similar discipline.

•  Most of us know or have known very gifted persons who discerned a call to pastoral ministry but were discouraged from attending seminary or dropped out of seminary because of sexual orientation.


     All of these persons stress that sexual orientation was not a choice–a “preference”–but a given of which they gradually became aware and came to accept. They come to mind as we consider the Statement and the three motions.

     We thank the Task Force for the breadth of their consultation and their clear and sensitive word to the church as represented in the proposed Social Statement. We give thanks that the Statement addresses a broad spectrum of issues concerning sexuality in the 21st century, including changes we observe among our members in the way marriage and family and ordination are viewed and lived. These are difficult issues, and we count it a blessing that so many congregations and individuals took part in the process leading to the Social Statement, first, by engaging in study of the Study released by the Task Force and, then, in study of the draft of the Statement itself. 

       We give thanks that the proposed Statement draws on the Scriptures, Luther, and the Lutheran Confessions to provide detailed theological guidance regarding the relation of these issues to Word and Sacrament, Law and Gospel, the interpretation of scripture, and love as a guiding principle in a life of discipleship.  As is widely known, our sister church to the south, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, along with many other churches throughout the world, Lutheran and otherwise, ordain persons of non-heterosexual orientation. Similarly, in jurisdictions where clergy perform marriages, a considerable number of churches worldwide, Lutheran and otherwise, do not prohibit clergy from uniting same-sex couples in marriage.

     We also thank the Faith Order and Doctrine Committee for their thoughtful and reasoned counsel to the church as represented in the three motions they suggested to the National Church Council following from the proposed Social Statement. We give thanks that the three motions, if passed, would (a) enable us, as pastors, to marry same-sex couples in committed relationships, according to the terms set forth in the second motion; (b) that qualified candidates for ministry could be ordained regardless of sexual orientation; and (c) that in each case no one would be forced to take any actions that do not agree with their conscience as informed by the Scriptures and the Confessions of the Church–these need not be church-dividing motions, as the first motion makes very clear.

      Last and not least, we wish to stress that while the Statement and the three motions are but words, they are words that, if approved by the Church in convention, will significantly affect the lives of sisters and brothers in Christ who will experience them 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.   

      In the days ahead we remember in prayer our bishops, our National Church Council, and our convention delegates and staff.  Come, Holy Spirit, come!

      June 25, 2011, the 481st anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession


1.        Pastor Katherine Altenburg, Kitchener, ON

2.        Pastor Anne Anderson, New Hamburg, ON

3.        Pastor Ed Bastian, Elmira, ON

4.        Pastor Jim Bindernagel, Kitchener, ON

5.        Pastor Dr. Robert Binhammer, Etobicoke, ON

6.        Pastor Hans Borch, Elmira, ON

7.        Pastor Paul F. Bosch, Waterloo, ON

8.        Pastor James F. Brown, Baden, ON

9.        Pastor Rick Brown, Baden, ON

10.     Pastor Colin Cameron, Burlington, ON

11.     Pastor Rasma Caune, Hamilton, ON

12.     Pastor Susan Climo, Mississauga, ON

13.     Pastor Dr. Oz Cole-Arnal, Waterloo, ON

14.     Pastor Vernon Cronmiller, Waterloo, ON

15.     Pastor Joel Crouse, Ottawa, ON

16.     Pastor Dr. Lawrence W. Denef, Lions Bay, BC

17.     Pastor Carol J. Dennison, Powell River, BC

18.     Pastor Ingrid Doerschel, Edmonton, AB

19.     Pastor Tom Doherty, Stouffville, ON

20.     Pastor Linda Douglas, Maple, ON

21.     Pastor Jack Dressler, LaSalle, ON

22.     Pastor Tim Dutcher-Walls, New Westminster, BC

23.     Pastor Rebekah Eckert, Lethbridge, AB

24.     Pastor Mark Ehlebracht, Kitchener, ON

25.     Pastor Don Engel, Winnipeg, MB

26.     Pastor Renita Falkenstern, Edmonton, AB

27.     Pastor Sara Faulhafer, Woodstock, ON

28.     Pastor Dale Finch, Kitchener, ON

29.     Pastor Peter Fischer, Vancouver, BC

30.     Pastor Ronald Flamand, Sherwood Park, AB

31.     Pastor Dr. Jon Rich Fogleman, Guelph, ON

32.     Pastor James R. Garey, London, ON

33.     Pastor Patricia Giannelia, Kelowna, BC

34.     Pastor Tyler Gingrich, Kelowna, BC

35.     Pastor Dr. F. Volker Greifenhagen, Regina, SK

36.     Pastor John Goldsworthy, Aylmer, ON

37.     Pastor Bob Goos, Maple Ridge, BC

38.     Pastor Wendell Grahlman, Midland, ON

39.     Pastor Dr. David Granskou, Owen Sound, ON

40.     Pastor Stephen Gross, Ayr, ON

41.     Pastor Clifford Guebert, Edmonton, AB

42.     Pastor Norine Gullons, Williamsburg, ON

43.     Pastor Ted Guthrie, Brockville, ON

44.     Pastor Michael Hackbusch, Waterloo, ON

45.     Pastor Herbert Harms, Toronto, ON

46.     Pastor Daranne Harris, Calgary, AB

47.     Pastor Judi Harris, Waterloo, ON

48.     Pastor Dr. Mark Harris, Kitchener, ON

49.     Pastor Dr. Tim Hegedus, Waterloo, ON

50.     Pastor Dennis Hendricksen, Regina, SK

51.     Pastor James Hendricksen, Edmonton, AB

52.     Pastor Brian Heinrich, Vancouver, BC

53.     Pastor W. Phil Heinze, Kitchener, ON

54.     Pastor Riitta Hepomaki, Cambridge, ON

55.     Pastor Kayko D. Hesslein, Toronto, ON

56.     Pastor Syd Hills, New Hamburg, ON

57.     Pastor Art Hodgson, Stratford, ON

58.     Pastor Dick Holm, Woodstock, ON

59.     Pastor Chad Honneyman, Walkerton, ON

60.     Pastor Catharine House, West Northfield, NS

61.     Pastor Dawn Hutchings, Newmarket, ON

62.     Pastor Dr. Cindy Jacobsen, Waterloo, ON

63.     Pastor Karen Jenkins, Peterborough, ON

64.     Pastor Karen A. Johnson-Lefsrud, Victoria, BC

65.     Pastor Steve Johnston, Brodhagen, ON

66.     Pastor Dr. Allen Jorgenson, Waterloo, ON

67.     Pastor Nancy Vernon Kelly, Waterloo, ON

68.     Pastor Rebecca Klages, Waterloo, ON

69.     Pastor Douglas Kramer, Brampton, ON

70.     Pastor Brian Krushel, Kamloops, BC

71.     Pastor Ilze Kuplens-Ewart, Toronto, ON

72.     Pastor Wally Kurtz, Kelowna, BC

73.     Pastor Timothy Le Drew, Richmond, BC

74.     Pastor Mike Lees, Windsor, ON

75.     Pastor Bob Leeson, Regina, SK

76.     Pastor David Lefsrud, Victoria, BC

77.     Pastor Ron Leonard, New Hamburg, ON

78.     Pastor Peter Lisinski, Brampton, ON

79.     Pastor Fred Ludolph, Eden Mills, ON

80.     Pastor Dr. Kristine Lund, Waterloo, ON

81.     Pastor David Malina, Kitchener, ON

82.     Pastor Jan Malina, Ottawa, ON

83.     Pastor Joanna Malina, Ottawa, ON

84.     Pastor Adolf Manz, Vancouver, BC

85.     Pastor Don McLeod, Calgary, AB

86.     Pastor Carey Meadows-Helmer, Richmond Hill, ON

87.     Pastor Sebastian Meadows-Helmer, Richmond Hill, ON

88.     Pastor Joanna Miller, Kitchener, ON

89.     Pastor Brad Mittleholtz, Wiarton, ON

90.     Pastor Christie Morrow, Owen Sound, ON

91.     Pastor Nadine Nicholds, Brampton, ON

92.     Pastor Norris Nordin, Winnipeg, MB

93.     Pastor Klaus Ohlhoff, Calgary, AB

94.     Pastor Pamela Pederson, Chilliwack, BC

95.     Pastor Joanne Peppler, Kitchener, ON

96.     Pastor Lori Pilatzke, Pembroke, ON

97.     Pastor Kevin Powell, Lethbridge, AB

98.     Pastor Rick Pryce, Kitchener, ON

99.     Pastor Tanya Ramer, Waterloo, ON

100.    Pastor Richard Reimer, Edmonton, AB

101.    Pastor Dr. Harold Remus, Waterloo, ON

102.    Pastor Clint Rohr, St. Jacobs, ON

103.    Pastor Darryl Roste, Leduc, AB

104.    Pastor Rita Roste, Leduc, AB

105.    Pastor Dr. Brian Rude, San Salvador, El Salvador

106.    Pastor Gloria Ryder, Guelph, ON

107.    Pastor Elina Salonen,  Elmira, ON

108.    Pastor Paul Sartison, Saskatoon, SK

109.    Pastor Bonnie Scharf, Renfrew, ON

110.    Pastor Stephen Scheidt, Brantford, ON

111.    Pastor Scott Schellenberger, Kitchener, ON

112.    Pastor Bonnie Schelter-Brown, Baden, ON

113.    Pastor Jonathan Schmidt, Toronto, ON

114.    Pastor H. Paul Schmidt, Delta, BC

115.    Pastor Kathleen Schmitke, Cold Lake, AB

116.    Pastor Richard Schwass, Stratford, ON

117.    Pastor Bill Shafer, Kitchener, ON

118.    Pastor Bob Shantz, Toronto, ON

119.    Pastor Adam Snook, Combermere, ON

120.    Pastor Kristin Soveran, Swift Current, SK

121.    Pastor Kim Staus, North Vancouver, BC

122.    Pastor Kristen Steele, Langley, BC

123.    Pastor Deborah Ann Taylor, Ottawa, ON

124.    Pastor Helen Toman, Waterloo, ON

125.    Pastor Neil C. Thomsen, Kitchener, ON

126.    Pastor Cheryl Toth, Regina, SK

127.    Diaconal Minister Karen Triomphe, Edmonton, AB

128.    Pastor Mark Urquhart, Linwood, ON

129.    Pastor Tuula Van Gaasbeek, Toronto, ON

130.    Pastor Mark Van House, Pickering, ON

131.    Pastor Dr. Peter Van Katwyk, Hawkesville, ON

132.    Pastor Heidi Wachowiak, Cambridge, ON

133.    Pastor Stephan Wagner, Prince George, BC

134.    Pastor Stephen Weber, Waterloo, ON

135.    Pastor Craig Wentland, Camrose, AB

136.    Pastor Monika Wiesner, Waterloo, ON

137.    Pastor Robert C. Wiesner, Belleville, ON

138.    Pastor Dean Willich, Niagara Falls, ON

139.    Pastor Brian Wilker-Frey, Toronto, ON

140.    Pastor David Wirt, Grand Bend, ON

141.    Pastor Thomas W. Zumbrock, Sudbury, ON


Phil Soucy

Director Communications LC/NA