Magazine article Anglican Journal

ELCIC to Revisit 'Local Option'

Magazine article Anglican Journal

ELCIC to Revisit 'Local Option'

Article excerpt

ALTHOUGH A NEW year has dawned, the National Church Council (NCC) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) will revisit a seemingly perennial theme: same-sex blessings. It was to meet last month in Winnipeg to consider a new same-sex blessing proposal to bring forward to the delegates attending the July 2007 National Assembly of the ELCIC in Winnipeg, which meets in conjunction with the 2007 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The new recommendation would once again recognize the blessing of same-sex couples who want to make a life-long commitment to one another in the presence of God and their community of faith. Known as the "local option," it would require the consent of the pastor and the congregation as expressed in a two-thirds majority parish vote and in consultation with the synod bishop.

What's different this time is the background and strategy to the new proposal.

Last October, the Anglican Journal reported that NCC overruled the jurisdictional authority of the Eastern Synod, which adopted a motion at its 11th biennial assembly in July allowing for the local option in its congregations. The Eastern Synod also voted to ask the 2007 National Convention to reconsider its 2005 decision rejecting same-sex blessings.

The office of the national bishop, Raymond Schultz, has been in consultation with the Eastern Synod regarding the NCC's ruling. What has become clear is the awareness that the blessing of same-sex unions is not a "moral matter" for the Eastern Synod, but a matter of "pastoral ministry and mission strategy. …

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