Tag Archives: lutheran

Carthage College hosts 3rd annual Diversity Summit

Carthage College, 2001 Alford Park Drive, Kenosha, is hosting its third annual Diversity Summit, with a series of activities and speakers focusing on the theme of religious tolerance.

The events are free to attend and open to the public. 

The schedule includes:

Tuesday, March 3, Charles Camosy discussing “Can Religion Contribute to Civil Discourse in an Era of Polarization?” at 7 p.m. at A. F. Siebert Chapel.Camosy teaches Christian ethics at Fordham University in New York. He attempts to dial down polarization and to fruitfully engage difficult issues like abortion, euthanasia, treatment of animals and health care distribution.

Thursday, March 5, Serve2Unite: Pardeep Kaleka and Arno Michaelis, at 7 p.m. at Campbell Student Union. Two men from vastly different backgrounds work together to promote peace through the organization Serve2Unite. Arno Michaelis was a founding member of what became the largest racist skinhead organization in the world and the lead singer of a hate-metal band. His love for his daughter and the forgiveness shown by those he once hated helped him to change and write “My Life After Hate.” Pardeep Kaleka is the oldest son of Satwant Singh Kaleka, who was president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin when he was killed Aug. 5, 2012. A teacher and former Milwaukee police officer in the inner city, Pardeep Kaleka is no stranger to the battle against racism, bigotry, and ignorance.

Tuesday, March 17, Rachel Greenblatt discussing “To Tell Their Children: Jewish Communal Memory in Early Modern Prague,” at 6 p.m. at Niemann Media Theater (Hedberg Library). Greenblatt is an external residential fellow at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute and a lecturer in Jewish Studies at the Harvard Divinity School.

Wednesday, March 18, Rabbi Irwin Kula discussing “Beyond Tolerance: The Indeterminacy of Truth and the Too Muchness of Our Identities” at 7 p.m. at Todd Wehr Center Room 128C. Kula uses Jewish wisdom to speak to all aspects of modern life and relationships. He consulted with government officials in Rwanda, helped build cultural and interfaith bridges in Qatar, and met with leaders as diverse as the Dalai Lama and Queen Noor to discuss compassionate leadership. Across the United States, he works with religious, business, and community leaders to promote leadership development and institutional change. He co-wrote “Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life.”

Carthage is a four-year, private liberal arts college with roots in the Lutheran tradition, the campus has a prime location in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The campus, an 80-acre arboretum on the shore of Lake Michigan, is home to 150 scholars, 2,600 full-time students, and 400 part-time students.

On the Web …

https://www.carthage.edu/diversity/diversity-summit/

Augustana College to allow same-sex ceremonies

Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., will now allow same-sex ceremonies on campus.

College president Steven Bahls has sent out an email announcing his decision to allow same-sex ceremonies after a recommendation from campus chaplain Richard Priggie.

Priggie tells WNIJ Radio (http://bit.ly/TvIroB ) that several gay couples expressed interest in having a ceremony. He says that led him to request the president’s approval.

The school is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. According to the email, the church left it up to Bahls to decide whether or not to open the campus to same-sex ceremonies.

Couples who wish to have a ceremony at the college’s Ascension Chapel must be affiliated with Augustana. Illinois allows civil unions, and couples also can hold “rites of marriage” or “blessings of unions” by a pastor.

Denmark approves gay weddings in church

Denmark’s Parliament has approved a law allowing same-sex couples to get married in formal church weddings instead of the short blessing ceremonies that the state’s Lutheran Church currently offers.

Lawmakers voted 85-24 this last week to change Denmark’s marriage laws.

The law takes effect June 15 and will put Denmark on par with countries such as Iceland and Sweden that allow full wedding ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.

In 1989, Denmark became the first country to allow the registration of gay partnerships. Since 1997 gay couples in Denmark can be wed in special blessing ceremonies at the end of regular church service.

Lutheran synod opposes anti-gay Minnesota amendment

St. Paul area Lutherans are now on record against changing the Minnesota Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and woman.

The Saint Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America overwhelmingly passed a resolution to publicly oppose the marriage amendment at its annual meeting in Burnsville over the weekend.

Pastor Grant Stevensen of Saint Matthew’s and the Spirit of the True Faith Community tells WCCO-TV he is proud to be a Lutheran.

This is the fifth synod vote in Minnesota to adopt a resolution opposing the amendment, which will be on the ballot in November. The Saint Paul Area Synod has more than 145,000 members and includes 112 congregations.

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Minnesota Lutherans oppose anti-gay constitutional amendment

Minneapolis-area Lutherans have voted to oppose amending the Minnesota Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

The vote, taken on Feb. 17, made the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America one of the largest faith groups yet to reject the amendment, which goes before voters Nov. 6, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

About 700 Lutherans, representing congregations in the ECLA’s Minneapolis Area Synod voted overwhelmingly for a resolution opposing the anti-gay amendment by raising green cards that said “yes.”

“What we’ve heard today is the Lutheran Church is about welcome, and we proved that with the statement we made,” said Lauren Morse-Wendt, a mission developer with Edina Community Lutheran Church and one of the resolution’s authors. “I believe the people of Minnesota need to know that people of faith stand up for all families. This marriage amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman is a discriminatory amendment which would deliberately deny justice to a portion of the population of Minnesota.”

The synod does not plan to give money to help defeat the amendment, but hopes congregations will study the resolution and “consider how they will respond,” synod spokeswoman Sara Masters told the Star Tribune.

With nearly 800,000 members, the ECLA is Minnesota’s second-largest religious denomination. Roman Catholicism is the state’s largest, with close to 1.1 million members.

Catholic bishops have come out in favor of the anti-gay amendment, raising objections from lay Catholics.

Lutheran backlash against gay acceptance grows

Until a few weeks ago, the Rev. Gail Sowell was pastor at two Lutheran churches in Edgar, Wis. That was before members of both congregations jumped headfirst into the simmering debate over homosexual clergy members in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

“It was pretty gruesome,” Sowell said, recalling shouting matches inside the sanctuary; the mass resignation of one church’s council, save one member; even whispers around town that she was a lesbian.

“For the record, I’m not,” she said.

When the smoke cleared, the congregation at St. John Lutheran Church narrowly voted not to leave the ELCA. Across town at Peace Lutheran, they voted to leave and fired Sowell.

“Fortunately, I’m thick-skinned,” she said.

So far few ELCA congregations have seen that level of turbulence over the ELCA national assembly’s decision last August to change the policy on gay clergy with the support of 68 percent of about 1,000 assembly delegates. The change allowed pastors in committed same-sex relationships to serve openly; previously they had to remain celibate.

The change makes the ELCA, with about 4.7 million members in the United States, one of the largest U.S. Christian denominations to take a more gay-friendly stance.

By most accounts, the intervening months have been a confusing and murky time for the United States’ largest Lutheran denomination.

Several hundred congregations are moving toward a permanent split with the ELCA and more probably will come, but the number remains a small portion of the 10,000-church denomination.

Recently a conservative Lutheran group announced its plans to establish the North American Lutheran Church, a new denomination that will recruit dissident congregations. Rather than setting up a clear-cut choice, though, even some critics of the ELCA’s new policy say the move could further confuse already splintered Lutherans at a time when Protestantism in general seems to be moving away from a denominational model.

“It just feels like we’re stepping off a sinking ship, and I’m not inclined to get on another boat,” said the Rev. Bill Bohline, lead pastor at Hosanna! in Lakeville, Minn., which had been the state’s second-largest ELCA church until its members voted overwhelmingly in January to sever ties with the denomination. “That’s not where the spirit is moving.”

Pushing plans for the new Lutheran denomination is Lutheran CORE, an activist group that led opposition to the gay clergy policy. Critics say liberalizing policies toward homosexuality directly contradicts scripture.

Lutheran CORE leaders hope to have the North American Lutheran Church up and running by August. They hope for a denomination that is less bureaucratic than the ELCA, but one that still makes it easy for congregations across the country to collaborate on shared goals.

“We heard from many congregations who came to us, who said we’d like to leave the ELCA, but for us the other options aren’t quite right,” said Ryan Schwarz, a private equity manager in Washington who is leading the effort to organize the new denomination.

Since August, congregations have not left the ELCA in huge numbers. The denomination has about 10,000 congregations, and in all 220 have taken at least one of two required votes to leave. So far, only 28 congregations actually have approved leaving, which requires two separate votes that each attain a two-thirds super majority.

“Even if that number doubles or triples, it would still be less than 5 percent of the ELCA,” said Bishop Peter Rogness of the St. Paul, Minn., synod. “So it’s not as though a schism has happened, where we’re a denomination split in half. Nothing on that magnitude is in the offing.”

Lutheran CORE leaders say the process for leaving is laborious and time-consuming, and those that already left were on the leading edge of opposition.

“I think they should be alarmed by these numbers,” said the Rev. Mark Chavez, Lutheran CORE’s director. Many churches, he said, just started the discussion.

“I don’t think the wave has hit them yet,” Chavez said.

Some of the breakaway churches already have found alternative denominations to take them in.

The Lutheran CORE effort is not coming together quickly enough to be viable, said the Rev. Kurt Rau, whose Calvary Lutheran Church in Kalispell, Mont., instead opted to affiliate with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

“They’re a little slow to the party,” Rau said.

Lutherans seeing fallout over gay clergy dispute

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) — Until a few weeks ago, the Rev. Gail Sowell was pastor at two Lutheran churches in the small Wisconsin town of Edgar. That was before members of both congregations jumped headfirst into the simmering debate over gay clergy members in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

“It was pretty gruesome,” Sowell said, recalling shouting matches inside the sanctuary; the mass resignation of one church’s council, save one member; even whispers around town that she was a lesbian.

“For the record, I’m not,” she said.

When the smoke cleared, the congregation at St. John Lutheran Church narrowly voted not to leave the ELCA. Across town at Peace Lutheran, they voted to leave and fired Sowell. “Fortunately, I’m thick-skinned,” she said.

So far few ELCA congregations have seen that level of turbulence over the ELCA national assembly’s decision last August to change the policy on gay clergy with the support of 68 percent of about 1,000 assembly delegates. The change allowed pastors in committed same-sex relationships to serve openly; previously they had to remain celibate.

The change makes the ELCA, with about 4.7 million members in the United States, one of the largest U.S. Christian denominations to take a more gay-friendly stance.

By most accounts, the intervening months have been a confusing and murky time for the United States’ largest Lutheran denomination.

Several hundred congregations are moving toward a permanent split with the ELCA and more probably will come, but the number remains a small portion of the 10,000-church denomination.

Last week, a conservative Lutheran group announced its plans to establish the North American Lutheran Church, a new denomination that will recruit dissident congregations. Rather than setting up a clear-cut choice, though, even some critics of the ELCA’s new policy say the move could further confuse already splintered Lutherans at a time when Protestantism in general seems to be moving away from a denominational model.

“It just feels like we’re stepping off a sinking ship, and I’m not inclined to get on another boat,” said the Rev. Bill Bohline, lead pastor at Hosanna! in Lakeville, Minnesota, which had been the state’s second largest ELCA church until its members voted overwhelmingly in January to sever ties with the denomination. “That’s not where the spirit is moving.”

Pushing plans for the new Lutheran denomination is Lutheran CORE, an activist group that led opposition to the gay clergy policy. Critics say liberalizing policies toward homosexuality directly contradicts scripture.

Lutheran CORE leaders hope to have the North American Lutheran Church up and running by August. They hope for a denomination that is less bureaucratic than the ELCA, but still makes it easy for congregations across the country to collaborate on shared goals.

“We heard from many congregations who came to us, who said we’d like to leave the ELCA, but for us the other options aren’t quite right,” said Ryan Schwarz, a private equity manager in Washington who is leading the effort to organize the new denomination.

Since August, congregations have not left the ELCA in huge numbers. The denomination has about 10,000 congregations, and in all 220 have taken at least one of two required votes to leave. So far, only 28 congregations actually have approved leaving, which requires two separate votes that each attain a two-thirds supermajority.

“Even if that number doubles or triples, it would still be less than 5 percent of the ELCA,” said Bishop Peter Rogness of the St. Paul, Minnesota, synod. “So it’s not as though a schism has happened, where we’re a denomination split in half. Nothing on that magnitude is in the offing.”

Lutheran CORE leaders say the process for leaving is laborious and time-consuming, and those that already left were on the leading edge of opposition.

“I think they should be alarmed by these numbers,” said the Rev. Mark Chavez, Lutheran CORE’s director. Many churches, he said, just started the discussion.

“I don’t think the wave has hit them yet,” Chavez said.

Some of the breakaway churches already have found alternative denominations to take them in.

The Lutheran CORE effort is not coming together quickly enough to be viable, said the Rev. Kurt Rau, whose Calvary Lutheran Church in Kalispell, Montana, instead opted to affiliate with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

“They’re a little slow to the party,” Rau said.

His church’s new, much smaller denomination itself split from the ELCA in 2000 over perceptions that the bigger congregation was getting too liberal. So far it has been the chief receptacle for congregations leaving the ELCA.

St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Braunfels, Texas, also joined LCMC, said Brian Baese, a self-employed salesman who is president of the church council.

Lutheran CORE’s proposal came “too little, too late,” Baese said. “We can’t hang around when we don’t know how long this is going to take. The momentum was carrying in this direction, and we had to go with it.”

At St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in La Mesa, California, the congregation also voted to ditch the ELCA, although the Rev. Mark Menacher said that had less to do with gay clergy and more to do with other long-standing theological disputes. St. Luke’s is affiliating with yet another small denomination, the Fellowship of Confessing Lutheran Churches.

Menacher is skeptical about the success of the North American Lutheran Church. “If all that joins you together is concern about same-sex relationships, I don’t think that’s a very strong reason for being,” he said.

Bohline, the Lakeville pastor, said Lutherans should stop worrying so much about how they organize themselves. It is a main reason for the decline of mainline Protestantism in recent decades, he said.

“When I went to seminary, I wasn’t sure I should be a pastor because I didn’t understand what was so different about Lutherans or Baptists or Methodists. And you know, we’re not that different,” Bohline said. “We’re working on the same playing field here. So let’s get on with it.”