THE CURRENT questions related to human sexuality, such as the blessing of same-sex unions, continue to be a divisive issue from which church, media and politics are not detached.
Like the Anglican church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) struggles with the subject. Individual parishes and even bilingual congregations like mine, whose demographic mix is primarily ethnic, are not excluded from the controversy.
Recently, the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Rev. Ishmael Noko, called on the global Lutheran churches to accompany the Anglican Communion "with prayer," following the release of the Windsor Report which studied "the implications of actions considered to be in breach of the bonds of communion." Authored by the Lambeth Commission, the report examined the legal and theological implications following the decision by the Episcopal Church in the United Stares to elect a non-celibate gay man as bishop and the introduction of a same-sex blessing liturgy in the Canadian diocese of New Westminster.
Certainly the question of our Lutheran/Anglican unity in the 2001 Waterloo Declaration is a significant concern, but the major challenge to the potential fracture, said Mr. Noko, must be the global communion of all Christians.
As General Secretary, Mr. Noko heads the Lutheran World Federation--an international communion of 138 church bodies in 77 countries, representing 65 of the 66 million Lutherans worldwide. Founded in Lund, Sweden in 1947, the LWF is headquartered in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva--a location that has ensured co-operation with the World Council of Churches and also leaves the LWF well positioned to act on behalf of its member churches with a principal eye focused towards advancing Christian unity. …