Lutherans and the UMC – Gay Clergy and Full Communion

I just read the following article: Lutherans to Allow Sexually Active Gays as Clergy.

In addition, the ELCA Adopts Full Communion Agreement with the United Methodist Church.

I am not sure how these are going to co-exist. According to the above article, “Full communion makes possible a variety of joint ministries, sharing of resources and interchangeability of clergy.”

How will clergy be interchangeable among the denominations if there is disagreement about whether a self-avowed, practicing homosexual can serve as a clergy person?

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11 thoughts on “Lutherans and the UMC – Gay Clergy and Full Communion

  1. The policy states that congregations who do not wish to hire clergy in committed, monogamos, same-gendered relationships do not have to.

  2. Our UM Bishops still couldn’t appoint a non-celibate homosexual pastor to a church.

    I really wonder what we are getting for the money (over a million dollars a year) we spend for the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns.

    What does it mean to have “full communion” between two denominations that practice open communion and (at least for the UMC) already have pastors from other denominations appointed to fill pulpits. There doesn’t seem to be an Act II here.

    Ecumenical relationships are only going to make an impact when individual churches are working together. Even for Nothing But Nets, what difference does it make whether we’re in full communion or not?

  3. I’m involved in the local church that I’m a member of because it provides me with the opportunities that I find very appealing. Having come out of a faith community that I was active in on several levels I don’t want to get caught in the middle of denominations games again. I’m at where I’m at because of that individual local church and it’s leadership team and not it’s national organization I don’t care what goes on at that level, it’s not my problem. If I wanted conflict I would have stay a Southern Baptist.

  4. Full communion is missionally-focused. It is about joint collaboration and coordination on the local level, including joint campus ministries, outreach initiatives, etc.

    The ELCA resolution allows for a greater pool of qualified clergy to be appointed to such positions that the UMC would allow on its own. Thus, I think we’d need some Discipline work to see the qualifications or restrictions on appointments under full communion.

    But it doesn’t mean “this won’t work.”

    • What’s truly weird about this is that there are some conferences that don’t have enough appointments for all their clergy.

      If campus ministries wanted to work together, they could have before.

  5. I am so sick of the unending disagreements. Let’s just get all the episcopal polity folks together and divide into 3 denominations: those who reject gays and ordained women, those who accept ordained women but reject gays and those who want full inclusion of gays and women. Maybe then we can all focus on mission and ministry the way we believe God wants.

    • Thank you! Unity is what we all need as a whole. There will always be differences but it’s past time to move forward on the issues of gender, race, and sexual orientation. God is love and love is Godly. It is not for us to judge anyone. It is for us to embrace.

  6. My concern is that we have developed a Unity pact so to speak with a segment of the church that seems to be moving away from the catholic consensus on the issue of homosexuality. Of the 2.1 Billion world Christians 99.9 percent of them are on one side of this contentious issue, and .01 percent are on the other. We seem to be aligning with the outliers. I would much rather see our Inter-religious agencies taking a good hard look at whether we can continue to be aligned with the ECUSA for example as they move further and further toward Apostacy – as defined even within their own Anglican Communion. Why do we always tend to align ourselves with the organizations who are dead and/or dying. Those organizations who have lost the power of the Holy Spirit, have abandoned the faith once delivered to the saints, and have gone chasing after the God’s of tolerance and inclusiveness.

  7. Finally I understand that inclusion in the Kingdom of God is a matter of popularity! I’m relieved frankly, because acceptance is pretty scary. It’s a comfort to know that Spiritual right comes from statistical might.

    I’m saddened though, because we could have a much more cohesive faith if only Peter hadn’t blatantly flaunted this ideal with Cornelius, or Phillip hadn’t acted so rashly with the Ethiopian Eunuch!

    It seems lately that more and more people are acting in defiance to this idea, people who fail to understand the simple precept that any idea that is unpopular is in defiance of God’s will. Don’t they understand simple math?


    You may say “slippery slope”, but I would argue not as slippery as you’d hope.

  8. What seems to be missed is that Full Communion also required JOINT decisions on critical issues. The ELCA’s unilateral decision to ordain practicing homosexuals when full communion involves sharing pastors, was an immediate violation of the Full Communion. They have proved themselves to be untrustworthy partners. In my opinion, the UMC should now dissolve Full Communion with ELCA to preserve its integrity.

    • Richard – Interesting point. I had not considered the clause about joint decisions on critical issues. This would certainly be a critical issue within the church’s discussion today.

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