In a phone conversation before the afternoon session, during which delegates would decide the issue of ordination, [South Carolina Bishop Herman R.] Yoos said he voted in favor of recognizing same-sex unions but that he planned to vote against ordaining gays and lesbians in committed, publicly accountable relationships.
“My position is we need to live with same-sex unions blessed and recognized for a period of time to discern whether to take the next step or not.” Yoos said he is not necessarily opposed to the idea, but he is cautious about moving too fast. He called the new policy a profound and historical change but worried that two such changes in quick succession might be one too many.
Proponents of the new policy pledged to work with the church to achieve reconciliation.
“Today I am proud to be a Lutheran,” Emily Eastwood, executive director of Lutherans Concerned/North America, said in a statement. “The ELCA has always had gay ministers, now those and all ministers are free to claim who they are and to have the love and support of a life-long partner, regardless of orientation or gender identity, which is all we ever asked.”
The Rev. Steve Plonk, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Mount Pleasant, said the debate certainly has infiltrated his congregation, which includes some who want the church to lead on the issues of gay marriage and ordination, others who embrace a more orthodox view and insist the church shouldn’t even discuss the matter and still others who hope for careful, gradual progress.
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