No Merger In Sight

Representatives of the nation’s two largest Lutheran bodies met in August for the first time in five years, but no one is predicting reconciliation between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the more conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS).

The meetings were cordial enough. In fact, some participants who wanted to air the issues that divide the two church bodies, including women’s ordination and perspectives on ecumenism, found the meetings too friendly. Said Paul Werger, chairperson of the ELCA’s conference of bishops, “We stayed out of the trenches. We talked about what we have in common.”

Werger said he was disappointed the two groups did not share the Eucharist; this symbolized, he said, their brokenness. But Ralph Bohlmann, president of the LCMS, said Communion should not be shared without “full, comprehensive doctrinal agreement.” Representatives of the two groups expressed a desire for continued dialogue.

Support For Gays Growing

Homosexuals are welcome in the United Methodist Church. But the church has deemed homosexual practice “incompatible” with Christian behavior, and practicing homosexuals are barred from ministry.

Yet there appears to be a growing number of United Methodist congregations that oppose their denomination’s official stance. Forty-six churches have joined the Reconciling Congregation Program, which opposes any limits on ministerial roles of practicing homosexuals. Organizers of the effort hope to double that number by 1992, when the denomination meets in general conference.

The issue will likely be strongly debated at the church’s 1992 meeting. A 27-member special committee studying homosexuality is due to release its report next ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.