Second Letter to the ELCA Conference of Bishops

August 03, 2001

The Rev. H. George Anderson, Presiding Bishop
Dr. Addie Butler, Vice President
The Rev. Donald J. McCoid, Chair, Conference of Bishops
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
8765 Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631

Dear Bishop Anderson, Dr. Butler and Bishop McCoid:

Again, we greet you in the name of Jesus, the Christ.

On July 13, we sent you a letter urging you to take several steps in moving the ELCA into the reality of full participation with sexual minority baptized sisters and brothers in Christ:

  1. to provide leadership, support to the amendment of Vision and Expectations: Ordained Ministers in the ELCA (page 13) to hold lgbt clergy to the same standards of sexual conduct as all other clergy;
  2. to provide leadership and support to the amendment of Definitions and Guidelines;
  3. to renounce and to distance yourselves from the false teachings concerning the sexuality of lgbt persons reflected in ELCA statements and the social statements of our predecessor church bodies and to adopt in their place Gospel-centered teachings; and
  4. to implement in regards to lgbt people the ELCA’s policy requiring that the church "provide structures and decision-making processes for this church that foster mutuality and interdependence and that involve people in making decisions that affect them" (ELCA Constitution 4.03.o) by explicitly including openly identified single and partnered lgbt people in these structures and decision making processes that affect us.

Toward this end, we asked in our July 13th letter that you:

  1. meet with us prior to the convening of the 2001 Churchwide Assembly to discuss these ways of implementing your publicly expressed invitation to "full participation;"
  2. invite the Church Council to consider the changes necessary to lift the policy at their meeting prior to the Churchwide Assembly; and
  3. arrange for specific and reliable guidance from ELCA legal and parliamentary authorities to be provided in writing and in advance to the Voting Members on options available to them at this Assembly for removing the ban on the ordination of non-celibate lgbt persons.

We asked that you respond to us by July 23rd to set a time when we might meet. To date, we regret that we have not yet heard from you. We reiterate our request and additionally ask that Soulforce be given the opportunity to address the Churchwide Assembly at a time when the resolutions and legislative action are on the agenda for discussion and action.

It is our wish to work with ELCA leadership in bringing about the changes needed to afford sexual minority persons full participation in the ELCA without further delay. For that reason we respectfully ask that you contact Dr. Mari G. Irvin or the Rev. Jeff Johnson, the ELCA Indianapolis Co-chairs by phone or e-mail to set up the time for our pre-assembly meeting with you.

Sincerely in Christ,

On behalf of the Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation:
Dr. Mari G. Irvin
ELCA Indianapolis Co-chair
655 Corbett Avenue # 507
San Francisco CA 94114

The Rev. Jeff R. Johnson
University Lutheran Chapel, Berkeley
ELCA Indianapolis Co-chair
134 Prague
San Francisco CA 94112

Dr. Margaret Moreland, President
Extraordinary Candidacy Project

The Rev. Dr. Cindy Witt, Chair
The Network for Inclusive Vision

Mr. Greg A. Egertson, Co-chair
Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries

Ms. Lynn Mickelson, Co-chair
Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries

Mr. Tim Feiertag, Co-chair
Lutherans Concerned/North America

Ms. Janelle Bussert, Co-chair
Lutherans Concerned/North America

Ms. Emily Eastwood, Chair
Wingspan Ministry

On behalf of Soulforce:
The Rev. Dr. Mel White, Founder

The Rev. Daphne Burt, Associate Dean
Rockefeller Chapel University of Chicago
Soulforce Indianapolis Co-chair

Ms. Beth H. Meyer
Soulforce Indianapolis Co-chair

Read first letter.