An Atlanta couple of homosexual men, defrocked in years past, have been reinstated as clergy now that the denomination has voted to include sexual deviants as shepherds of the flock.
UPDATE 7/25/10: New York Times praises ELCA as largest denomination to elevate sexual deviants
UPDATE 7/24/10: Seven ELCA sexually deviant 'pastors' in the San Francisco Bay area pardoned
-- From "Largest Lutheran group reinstating 2 gay ministers" by Kate Brumback, Associated Press Writer 5/4/10
The Rev. Bradley Schmeling and his partner, the Rev. Darin Easler, have been approved for reinstatement, the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said in a news release. Their reinstatement comes about eight months after the denomination voted to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy, and about three weeks after the ELCA's church council officially revised the church's policy on gay ministers.
Schmeling, who serves as pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta, was removed from the church's clergy roster in 2007 for being in a same-sex relationship with Easler. A disciplinary committee ruled that Schmeling was violating an ELCA policy regarding the sexual conduct of pastors.
Even though Schmeling had been removed from the ELCA clergy roster, he remained pastor at St. John's, putting the church in violation of ELCA guidelines, said the Rev. H. Julian Gordy, bishop of the ELCA Southeastern Synod.
Easler left United Redeemer Lutheran Church in Zumbrota, Minn., in 2003 to serve as a chaplain. He and Schmeling met at a church conference in Minnesota in 2004, and he moved to Atlanta to be with Schmeling the following year.
Easler was removed from the clergy roster in 2006 after having been without a parish for three years, the church said in a statement. He transferred to the United Church of Christ, which is a full communion partner of the ELCA, and worked in hospice care as a bereavement coordinator.
He recently applied to the candidacy committee of the ELCA's Southeastern Minnesota Synod in Rochester and was approved April 30. He plans to continue his hospice work under the auspices of the ELCA.
To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.
Related story: Schism Looms for ELCA Lutherans