The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faith Lutheran Church is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The ELCA has over 10,000 congregations in the United States. This diverse body of congregations is led by gifted individuals to serve as pastor and lay rostered leaders. The ELCA offers opportunities for a Lutheran education at every level. The organization is committed to making the world a more just and peaceful place to live. Visit the ELCA website today at http://www.elca.org/.
The Grand Canyon Synod
Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church is a member of the Grand Canyon Synod which is is a synod, or diocese, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Visit the GCS website at http://www.elca.org/ to learn more.
Read the Presiding Bishop's Letter to Congregations regarding the recent Supreme Court decision honoring Marriage Equality. Continue reading below...
Letter from the ELCA Presiding Bishop regarding the Supreme Court decision to uphold Marriage Equality
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and peace to you in the name of the crucified and risen Christ.
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision announcing the right of same-gender couples to have equal access to marriage. For many members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, this decision is a welcome sign of hope and a time for celebration. Other members of this church do not agree with the court’s decision and remain deeply concerned because of their understanding of Scripture.
This decision affects each of us, some profoundly, and we are not of one mind. Let us continue to accompany one another with prayer, love and mutual respect as we reflect on this new reality and remember Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians about the enduring power of God’s love. The ELCA social statement “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” (2009) neither endorses nor forbids same-gendermarriages and recognizes that we have differing understandings and convictions on this matter. In its decision, the court stated that “the First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.”
According to this church’s social statement on human sexuality, all decisions about recognizing, supporting and holding publicly accountable same-gender relationships are entrusted tocongregations. Recognizing that the church is not of one mind on this subject, our 2009 actions provide that congregations and clergy should discern together whether to recognize suchrelationships and to what degree.
Pastors are to engage in conversation, discernment and partnership with the congregations who have called them prior to solemnizing or presiding over a same-gender marriage. On the other hand, no pastor is obligated to solemnize the marriage of any couple, same-gender or different-gender, whom the pastor cannot in good conscience marry.
As Lutheran Christians, we continue to be a church that engages in conversation and discernment in all aspects of our faith and life. Creating space for respectful conversation and dialogue continues to be an important part of our life together. A helpful resource for engaging in difficult conversations is “Talking Together as Christians about Tough Social Issues.” In addition, the ELCA Ministry to and with Same