ELCA proposed social statement on genetics
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has prepared a social statement that addresses issues in genetics and biotechnology. A task force authorized by the 2005 Churchwide Assembly was formed in 2007 to lead this process and craft a proposed social statement was considered by the 2011 Churchwide Assembly.
ELCA news release
Feb. 24, 2011
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) today released Genetics, Faith, and Responsibility, a proposed social statement on genetics, the result of more than five years of study, consultation and deliberation throughout the church. After review by the ELCA Conference of Bishops in March and the ELCA Church Council in April, the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly is expected to consider the proposed social statement when it meets in August in Orlando, Fla. More
A letter from the task force co-chairs (PDF)
Executive summary of the proposed statement (PDF)
Frequently asked questions on the proposed statement (PDF)
Visit www.elca.org/genetics for updates throughout the process.
Resources Related to the Sexuality Discussion
This list of resources was prepared by Bishop Peter Rogness. If you have questions about additional resources, please call 651.224.4313 or email Beth Helgen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Download this list (PDF)
Actions Adopted by the 2009 Churchwide Assembly
Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust
This social statement was adopted by the 2009 Churchwide Assembly and serves as a teaching tool for pastors and congregations in discussions about sexuality. (PDF)
Brief Summary of Actions
Provides a brief overview of actions around both the social statement and ministry policies adopted by the Churchwide Assembly. (PDF)
Ministry Policies Resolutions (as adopted at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly)
The ministry policies as adopted, with vote totals included. (PDF)
Background Materials for 2009 Churchwide Assembly Consideration
In the last decade, the ELCA has engaged in study about sexuality. A number of resources were prepared (PDF):
- Background Essay on Biblical Texts for “Journey Together Faithfully, Part Two: The Church and Homosexuality,” by Arland Hultgren and Walter Taylor, 2003. These highly respected biblical scholars have both have written previously on the subject of the Bible and our contemporary discussion of homosexuality from very different perspectives. In this essay they are not engaged in debate. Instead they provide an excellent account of how scholars have interpreted the texts that deal most directly with same-sex activity. In so doing they give us an important analysis of how different scholars studying the same texts, using comparable methods, can come to different conclusions.
- Journey Together Faithfully, Part One: ELCA Studies on Sexuality (2002)
- Journey Together Faithfully, Part Two: The Church and Homosexuality (2003) This is the study that leads groups through the biblical texts most commonly cited as relating to homosexuality.
- Journey Together Faithfully, Part Three: Lutherans Talk about Human Sexuality (2006)
Remarks to the 11th Churchwide Assembly from Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson
Bishop Hanson delivered the these remarks at the completion of business related to the social statements and the recommendations on ministry policies. (PDF)
Pastoral Letter from Bishop Robert Driesen, Upper Susquehanna Synod
Bishop Driesen, who did not support the ministry policies recommendations, reflects on what the changes mean for his ministry.
E-Letters from Bishop Peter Rogness
Bishop Peter Rogness sent e-letters—The Way It Looks from Here—about CWA actions to rostered leaders and others in late summer and early fall of 2009, and included thoughts about what it means to our ministry and mission together. (PDF)
- August 21, 2009: Reflections from the 2009 Churchwide Assembly
- August 26, 2009: More Reflections from the 2009 Churchwide Assembly
- September 29, 2009: The Heart of the Decision
- September 30, 2009: Scripture as Authority
- October 1, 2009: Registering Dissent
- November 12, 2009: A Time of Holy Conversations
Other Resources Related to the Sexuality Discussion
Greeting from Ishmel Noko, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation
Ishmel Noko addressed voting members and spoke to the effect of our actions on our global relationships (PDF)
Statement by the Rev. David Preus about 2009 CWA Actions
The Rev. David Preus served as president of The American Lutheran Church and reflects on his opposition to the changes, but his intention to remain in the ELCA. (PDF)
The Bible, the Church, and Faithful Discernment
Dr. Brian Peterson, professor of New Testament at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, discusses biblical texts in the light of the Churchwide Assembly actions.
The concept of “bound conscience” has been used to help Lutherans understand how the church can remain together despite two opposing views on homosexuality.
- FAQ on Bound Conscience
- Essay on Bound Conscience by Dr. Timothy Wengert, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
- Wengert Remarks on Bound Conscience to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly
Read the blog post entitled "In the Aftermath: Reflections following the 2009 Churchwide Assembly," by David Yeago.
Planning a Forum or Discussion in Your Congregation
Guidelines and Ground Rules for Discussion of Difficult Issues
Martin Luther refers to “the mutual conversation and consolation of the saints,” suggesting that when Christians engage in difficult discussions, such conversation becomes a holy, sacred thing. But such conversations aren’t easy…and in order to avoid internecine warfare that tears up the body of Christ, some guidelines for ground rules are included in this document.
A Possible Format for a Forum
You could launch a forum in your congregation without an agenda, but it’s a good idea to have a road map, so you have an idea of where you’re going and to make certain that you cover important topics. The attached document contains a possible format for a 90-minute forum, based on experiences of synod staff about what works well (and not so well!).
As synod staff have talked with pastors and congregational leaders and participated in forums, a set of common questions has emerged. This document addresses some of these concerns.