ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A local congregation has voted 176-0 to defy the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and ordain an openly lesbian minister next April.
Anita Hill, who has worked for St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church since 1983, heads its ministry for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Lutherans, who make up about a fifth of the congregation's membership.
''Full participation is not possible so long as the ELCA excludes calling and ordaining qualified gay and lesbian candidates in committed relationships,'' said the Rev. Paul Tidemann, the pastor.
Last month the ELCA's national council rejected a bid from the St. Paul regional body to allow exceptions to the homosexual clergy ban.
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