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Sexuality Should Not Be Divisive, Bishop Says

May 03, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

YANKTON, S.D. — Congregations should not allow the issue of human sexuality to split the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the denomination's head bishop said.

The Lutherans' 5.1 million members face a challenge to "talk openly with one another, to disagree with one another about human sexuality and, more particularly, the place of gay and lesbian people in our congregations and ministry," Mark Hanson told a conference of pastors.

The Rev. James M. Childs Jr. of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, who is directing a sexuality study, told the meeting his committee has received 1,000 letters and e-mails.

Meanwhile, Hanson's predecessor as presiding bishop, Herbert Chilstrom, and the retired bishop of the St. Paul area, Lowell Erdahl, told a conference at St. Olaf College in Minnesota that the denomination should welcome gays and lesbians without reservation.

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