MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Jay Wiesner has become the Twin Cities' third openly gay pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, defying a denominational policy that is under review.
Current ELCA policy forbids ordination of candidates in same-sex relationships but allows gay clergy who are committed to celibacy. According to Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries, Wiesner and his partner of five years, Timothy Anthony, ''were formally married'' May 1 at Bethany Lutheran Church, where he will be installed on the staff next month.
Anthony was ordained Sunday at Bethany, though Minneapolis Synod Bishop Craig Johnson did not attend. He has previously declined to recognize a local lesbian pastor.
Bethany's pastor, Steven Benson, said Johnson could impose sanctions ranging from removal of the Bethany congregation from ELCA rolls to ousting Benson himself, but he doesn't know what, if anything, the bishop might do.
At the climax of the ordination, 100 persons in the packed sanctuary recited a resolute ''thanks be to God,'' then ripped into clamorous applause, joyous hollering, foot-stomping and fist-pumping.
The 5 million-member denomination, the largest U.S. Lutheran body, is scheduled to act on a report covering its sex and clergy policy at next year's national assembly.
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