Lutherans review ordination under Episcopal pact; reject gay rule

Posted: Friday, November 17, 2000

CHICAGO (AP) -- Clergy ordination rules that are part of a new unity pact between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will be reconsidered, following questions by the national council of the 5.2 million-member Lutheran denomination.

The Lutheran-Episcopal pact requires that clergy be ordained in Episcopal fashion, by bishops in a line of ''apostolic succession'' traced back to the early church. Current Lutheran practice allows fellow pastors to ordain, and some Lutherans insist that this exception continue.

The Lutheran news service said the council directed officials to consult Lutheran bishops and the Episcopalians about a new bylaw allowing such exceptions, for action at the Lutheran convention next August.

The Lutheran national council also rejected a proposal to loosen its ban on clergy living in committed homosexual relationships.

The proposal, from the Lutherans' regional body in St. Paul, Minn., would have allowed exceptions to a 1990 policy against same-sex activity. While rejecting the request 23-5, the council endorsed ongoing ''prayerful conversations'' on the issue.

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