After interfaith flap, Lutheran delegates accept new guidelines

Posted: Friday, July 23, 2004

ST. LOUIS (AP) The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has new guidelines for participating in public events following a bitter disagreement over a minister's role in an interfaith service after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Delegates to the denomination's national convention voted 757-446 last week in support of the guidelines developed by a Lutheran commission on theology and church relations.

The denomination's president, the Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, angered some Lutherans when he allowed a New York area minister to participate in a Yankee Stadium memorial service days after the 2001 suicide hijackings.

Some pastors said the service which featured clergy of many religions, along with celebrities and politicians improperly mixed different religious beliefs.

The pastors filed a complaint against the minister who participated. He was eventually cleared, but bad feelings about the event remained, and they figured in Kieschnick's re-election bid at the convention. He survived and won a second term.

As the situation unfolded two years ago, Kieschnick asked the commission to develop the new guidelines, which direct Lutherans to examine whether public events ''faithfully reflect our unqualified commitment to the absolute truth of the Holy Scriptures as the word of God,'' and to consider how participation will be perceived by those inside and outside the 2.6 million-member conservative denomination.

http://www.lcms.org/



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