Thursday, May 15, 2008

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Set to Ordain Gay Minister

Gay issue dividing Lutheran Church:

In an all too familiar story line...

"'In the midst of some of my painful experiences at seminary, I think I discovered something about the Gospel. I learned that Jesus ministered in the margins. And I discovered that table of outcasts. And I really met that Christ through those experiences.'

Dawn Hutchings, the pastor of Holy Cross, believes Mr. Ketola is the ideal person to become the first openly gay Lutheran pastor.

Rev. Hutchings said she knows her parish will face consequences, but she thinks going ahead with the ordination will be a benefit for the entire Church.

She said most people who are against gay ordination are opposed to it in theory. But she said it is harder to be against the idea when you work with someone like Mr. Ketola.

In fact, she wants Mr. Ketola to be an 'ambassador' for gay ordination throughout the Church.

Susan Johnson, the National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, also would like to see gays ordained, but she is against this ordination because it is a break with the Church as a whole.

Bishop Johnson said this is an odd situation for her because she remembers when women were not considered worthy to be ministers -- so she knows what it is like to be on the outside. But she still feels it is better that the Church come to a consensus before change takes place.

"People are very committed to their Church and they would prefer to remain within it. But they want it to reflect their understanding of theology, their understanding of scripture and faithfulness to God's word. And that's where the moment of tension takes place, when we have differing opinions."