Magazine article The Christian Century

Lutherans Grant First Ordination Exception. (News)

Magazine article The Christian Century

Lutherans Grant First Ordination Exception. (News)

Article excerpt

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has granted the first exception under a full communion agreement with the Episcopal Church by allowing a new cleric to be ordained by his pastor instead of his bishop. Daniel D. Shaw was expected to be ordained July 20 in Tacoma, Washington, with the approval of the ELCA's top executive.

The full communion pact, which allows both denominations to swap clergy and share in mission projects, went into effect 18 months ago. Under those terms, Shaw would have had to be ordained by a bishop--in keeping with Episcopal tradition. But a loophole passed last year by the Lutherans allowed ordinations by pastors in "unusual circumstances."

Opponents to ordination by bishops pushed the waiver provision because in their view the new rules chipped away at Lutheran tradition and gave too much power to bishops. Episcopal leaders were not happy with the waiver but have rarely complained publicly.

Shaw's bishop, Chris Boerger, granted the exception after consulting with ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, members of local churches and Episcopal Bishop Vincent Warner of Olympia, Washington. Hanson applauded Boerger's handling of the exception and said, "I trust this ordination will be a significant healing step for those in the ELCA who continue to express theological opposition" to parts of the accord "even as we build upon the new opportunities for shared mission with our full communion partners. …

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