One of SW Va.'s largest Lutheran churches breaking from ELCA over gay ministers' decision
Sep 28, 2009 at 12:00 AM
The Roanoke Times is reporting that one of the largest evangelical Lutheran churches in Western Virginia has tanken the first step to split from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.By a majority of 70 percent, members of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Southwest Roanoke County, voted to separate from the largest Lutheran church in North America.The move comes on the heels of the ELCA's decision last month to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy. Previously the ELCA had required gay clergy to remain celibate. Senior pastor Mark Graham said his church does not "want to be seen as anti-gay or against homosexuals," but the ELCA's statement goes against the church's interpretation of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.