Goodsoil to the ELCA: "Discrimination is Unbecoming. Faithfulness Requires Full Participation"

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: August 3, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Phil Soucy, 703-980-2038, communications@lcna.org
Laura Montgomery Rutt, 717-278-0592, lmrutt@gmail.com
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(Orlando, FL)Goodsoil, a Lutheran Alliance of which Soulforce is a partner, is adamant that that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) should change its current policy governing the ordination and rostering of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people and the blessing of covenanted, same-sex relationships. The ELCA currently has two sets of rules: one for GLBT people and another for everyone else. Goodsoil believes that there should be only one set of rules. This will be among the controversial and significant issues to come before the biennial Churchwide Assembly in Orlando, August 8-14, 2005.

The Rev. Jeff Johnson, co-chair of goodsoil, said, “In our Lutheran church, faithfulness requires the full participation of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It is time for this discriminatory regime of the current policy to come to an end. We hope that the Voting Members in Orlando will bring to an end this time of open discrimination in our church and change the policy.”

Currently, ELCA policy requires a life-long commitment to celibacy from GLBT persons who seek to be ordained or rostered in this church, a commitment required only of GLBT persons. Additionally, the church does not prohibit or provide for the blessing of covenanted same-gender relationships. In 1991, the Churchwide Assembly urged the full participation of GLBT people in the life of the ELCA, and in 1993 the Conference of Bishops encouraged the exercise of discretion for individual congregations and clergy who chose to recognize and bless same-gender committed unions in the context of the provision of pastoral care.

Ms. Jeannine Janson, co-chair of goodsoil, commented, “Our Presiding Bishop, Mark Hanson, has said it best: ‘We are going to Orlando to be the Body of Christ.’ This means all of us. We are not part of a divided body. The Body of Christ is not divided into first class and second class parts. We are all a part of the same body, and we are not going anywhere. We hope that the Voting Members will make the changes necessary for the full participation of all people in this body, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

About
Goodsoil is an alliance of six organizations seeking justice and equality by full participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the life of the Lutheran Church. Further information about the goodsoil effort can be found at www.goodsoil.org.

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