During its August convention in Kansas City, the ASSEMBLIES OF GOD voted to allow PEOPLE WHO WERE DIVORCED AND REMARRIED before their conversion to Christianity to seek ministerial credentials. The resolution passed 998-834 in a secret ballot. The vote reverses the 2.5 million-member denomination's stance of the past 87 years. The General Council had voted down similar measures in 1983, 1991, and 1997.
Citing their disagreement with parts of the BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE, which the Southern Baptist Convention revised in June 2000, three staff members of the North American Mission Board have left the agency. GERRY HUTCHINSON resigned, while DONOSO ESCOBAR and GEORGE PICKLE retired.
Delegates to the August Churchwide Assembly of the EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA in Indianapolis voted 899-115 to begin a four-year, CHURCHWIDE STUDY ON SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS and the ordination of homosexuals. The resulting report will be presented at the 2005 Churchwide Assembly, but delegates also voted 624-381 to create a timeline for the ordination decision before 2005. Current ELCA policy requires homosexual ministers to be celibate. The assembly also plans to develop a statement on human sexuality. Delegates elected MARK HANSON to a six-year term as presiding bishop.1