By Tim Miller email
Posted by Kate Oatis email
MAUMEE (WTOL) - The largest synod in the Lutheran Church has changed its policies toward homosexuals, angering members of Maumee St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church who are now threatening to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Previously, the ELCA allowed gays to be ministers but said they had to abstain from sex. Now, however, ministers no longer have to be celibate, as long as they are in a lifelong, committed relationship.
The other big change is that congregations are free to accept gay or lesbian couples as members, without being disciplined by the bishop.
These changes have angered many at St. Paul's and last Sunday, 87 percent of the congregation voted to break away from the ECLA.
As the bishop for the Northwest Ohio Synod of the ECLA, Marcus Lohrmann is trying to convince the church to stay. Members have to wait 90 days before taking a second and final vote, and they must meet with the bishop to talk things over.
"I would really grieve if St. Paul Maumee chooses to leave the ECLA. They have brought great gifts to us, and I think that we have also been a blessing to them," Lohrmann said.
Lohrmann voted against the changes approved by the churchwide assembly but has remained with the ECLA, arguing that research shows homosexuality "is an orientation that for a majority of people, is not a choice."
The bishop says two other churches are also considering leaving his synod.