What follows is the transcript of the debate on matters of Human Sexuality (Specifically E2 and the substitute motion) captured from the feed at http://www.elca.org. I’ve done only light editing catching a few obvious errors. I make no representation about the spelling of names. I provide it because of the interest in this debate, and I would rather see the words of the individuals rather than summaries.
Paul Landel, Metro Chicago. I speak in favor of the substitute. Speakers on this matter keep referring to the March 2007 bishop’s statement. It was not a statement of all the bishops. I and a number of others voted against it because for me, this matter does not have to have a social statement to correct something that goes against the Gospel and welcoming posture of our Lord. We claim to be a sent and welcoming church. However, for GLBT children of God, it is only a partial welcome. When the spirit moves any of them toward rostered ministry, they are confronted with the statement from vision and expectations that in essence says, “you must deny your sexuality.” Our expectation of celibacy thwarts the movement of the spirit. Double standards in the church of Jesus Christ must go. Now is the time for action. The Gospel is our reason for change.
BISHOP HANSON: Further speaking microphone 11.
Reverend Chair, Tom Screnes, bishop, Northern Great Lakes Synod. I support the Memorial Committee recommendations and oppose any change on this floor of our current standards and guidelines. I have stood on a dozen occasions and more in front of congregational meetings, in church basements, in church sanctuaries across the upper peninsula of Michigan and northeastern Wisconsin and have answered questions about our sexuality study for two and three hours at each session. I have assured these congregations that there is a deliberative process that will culminate in a 2009 decision by the Churchwide Assembly. I have told my congregations, I have repeatedly said “we are in a process. We want you to know that we want your study, your input, your reflection, your prayer for a decision to be made in 2009.” If we change the timetable now, we will lose the trust of many congregations, hundreds, perhaps thousands of congregations; and they will not trust me in many of those places in my Synod because of what we have done here. I support the memorial recommendation — Memorial Committee recommendation and urge the process to play out into 2009.
BISHOP HANSON: Thank you. Further speaking, microphone 8?
Dean Nelson, Southwest California Synod. I speak in favor of the substitute motion. 6 our Synod is one of 21 who voted this spring to ask this Assembly to change the vision and expectations to allow gaze and lesbians in mutual chaste and same sex partnerships to serve in the rostered ministries of our church. This was not a small action for us for we have been asking the church to consider this change for at least a dozen years. Why? Because we have experienced firsthand how God has used gifted pastors and associates in ministry in what the state of California calls domestic partnerships to bless the church and live the mission mandate Christ has given to all of us. Partnered leaders in our Synod and in other Synods help us to pray and praise our God. They faithfully preach the word and administer the sacraments. They teach the faith, care for the suffering, stand with the oppressed and grow the body of Christ. Why should we be afraid to acknowledge them as brothers and sisters in Christ and welcome and affirm their gifts in the rostered ministries of our church? Are we afraid that they will undermine the family or shatter the unity of the church? We have heard others say this; however, the Scriptures say that God puts the solitary in families and that the unity of the church, which is Christ’s one God-given and spirit-protected will always exist. The most common command in all of God’s word is: Fear not. Do not be afraid. Whenever we hear this word, God does a new thing, and that new thing brings a blessing.
BISHOP HANSON: Time. Thank you. Microphone 7?
Timothy Whiteman from northwest Washington. I’m just a grunt pastor out there on the frontlines in the land of Nun, but I come from the land of Nun. And I’m concerned that the mixed message that we continually give by being a church that claims to be a Bible church and then selectively ignores passages, it just destroys our Evangelical integrity. . I think it’s important that we remember that full participation in this church is not measured by those who are on the clergy roster. 99.64% of this church are not denied full participation in this church because they’re not one of the 17,000 ordained clergy. We are given full participation in this church by receiving of the word and of the sacrament. And there should be no other judgment for what is full participation in this church. I know 21 Synods did respond to the national referendum from the appeals committee. But 44 Synods did not. That’s two-thirds of this church chose not to get involved, trying to end-run the process. I speak against the amendment. I think we should finish the process and we should continue the work that we’ve started. We’ve committed a lot of time and a lot of work to that process. To end-run it would destroy the credibility of all of that work.
BISHOP HANSON: Further speaking, microphone 4.
Reverend Chair, my name is Karen I’m from the Oregon Synod. I’d like to tell you a little bit about how this policy has affected my family. We have two children. But it’s my daughter I’m particularly concerned about. At six months of birth, she was baptized Lutheran. At that point, the church rejoiced. Rejoiced with her because she was a Lutheran child of God. We took her to Sunday school as every parent was taught to do. She was confirmed in a Lutheran church. She went to a Lutheran college. While in college, she had a couple of discoveries. The first was that she was called to be an ordained minister. The second discovery is the one that really hurts me. She realized that she could not fulfill that call because she was a lesbian. She’s been in a committed relationship for 12 years. She has denied the Lutheran church. She is not a member. It’s difficult for us to remain members of a church who cannot accept our daughter 100 percent. A lot of us are probably thinking that the best route is to wait until 2009, since we’re already going to be considering a sexuality social statement then. If we link this policy to a social statement that may not even get approved, we will make congregations who call partnered gay and lesbian pastors wait years more in fear of losing discipline — of being disciplined and losing their pastor. While it may seem like a sensible move to wait until the sexuality social statement is considered in 2009, Bishop Chilstrom suggested if we take the action this year to remove this policy, allowing everyone to truly have a place at the table will allow us to have a much better conversation in 2009. But the whole range of human sexuality. Thank you.
BISHOP HANSON: Thank you. Further speaking, Microphone 1.
Reverend Chair, I’m John Anderson. I serve as bishop in southwestern Minnesota. I’ been deeply enriched by all the conversation. Thank you to all of you sharing your thoughts. I want to speak in favor of the memorials’ committee to refer and their concern for process. I think their statement in their recommendation about the complexity of this issue for our church is accurate and helpful. As I’d served in the office of bishop, I’ve had the opportunity to go to many interesting meetings. With people who are deeply disagreeing about important things and are trying to discern truth together. And what I’ve learned at those meetings is that process really matters. And I know that people are concerned we’re going too fast and too slow. And you can drive into a ditch both ways. But I want to speak for the recommendation because I think it’s helpful. I don’t know if you’ve noticed what I’ve noticed, but this church is divided along sociological grounds. There are people on the prairie and in our prairie churches who think we should implement change but by and large watch the bishops, watch the Synods, those that are rural are in a different place about this than those that are urban. Not monolithically but to a large extent. I wonder what that means? I wonder what kind of conversations we need to have. I wonder where God is in that. I speak for this recommendation also because I think — this referral. Because whatever we decide together would be best be built on the theological, Biblical and work of a social statement process that would help us as we move forward. Our people care deeply about theology and the Bible. I hope that we might do the work of building a statement and then move forward. I support the recommendation for referral.
BISHOP HANSON: Thank you. Further speaking, microphone 6.
Reverend Chair, my name is Katrina Foster of the metro New York Synod and I’m the pastor at a Lutheran church in the Bronx. I want to share a short story with you. September 1st, 1968 I was born. In October of 1968, I was adopted. December 13th, 1968, I was baptized into the Lutheran church. At four years old, I knew that I was called to be a pastor. December 4th, 1994, I was ordained. May 17th, 1998, I changed holy vows very similar to my parents’ vows that they used in 1956 and I exchanged them with my partner, Pamela cal an manis. April 5th, 2002, our daughter was born. October 13th, 2002, our daughter was baptized. God anointed me in baptism, gifted me through the spirit and has called me through the church and ordained me to serve in Word and Sacrament ministry. God gave me the gifts for ministry but did not see fit to give me the gifts necessary to live a single life but has called me to be a part of a family, first with my partner Pamela and now with our daughter Zoya. A picture of us is on Page 10 of the devotion in story book that was prepared for this Assembly. Bishop, we are not strangers to this church. God has made us a part of each other through our baptism. We must change this policy because we need to live together openly and so that we who are gay with families can have the same joys and responsibilities as our straight counterparts. If you believe the policy is wrong, don’t delay. Bring it to the floor and vote it down. If you believe that gay partnered pastors are called, bring it to the floor and put it in place. Thank you.
BISHOP HANSON: Further speaking, microphone 9?
Roy Reilly, New Jersey Synod. I’m in the very awkward position of being in a line in opposition to the memorial that our Synod adopted overwhelmingly, indeed we adopted all three of the resolutions overwhelmingly and not surprisingly the Synod is very much for change. And because the ministry of gay and lesbian persons on the territory of our Synod is so stunningly filled with grace and faith, and they are frankly indispensable to our mission on our territory. But I’m also aware that there are others in this church that have counted on having a social statement in place that could both inform and shape their perspective on these matters. And I believe that we need to honor that. And to have that opportunity for that social statement to take place in the 2009 Assembly. I do believe in the next 24 months we have got to create some space for this church, particularly for those Synods that are in these situations where we greatly value the ministry of gay and lesbian rostered leaders and want those to continue. And I’m hoping that there will be other opportunities in this Assembly to create that space. I can also share with you that in October, at the request of the taskforce on human sexuality, the bishops will be meeting with that taskforce in two sessions: For the purpose of gaining the advice of the bishops as to what needs to be addressed in that social statement. I would encourage us to continue on this journey together and move toward the 2009 Assembly, and therefore I’m speaking in favor of the Memorial Committee’s recommendation. BISHOP HANSON: Microphone 2?
Pastor Jill Henning, south eastern Synod. I am president of the Georgia tech campus ministry board, and do we not already have a precedent of changing policy? We changed the policy on the campus ministry regarding campus ministry prior to adopting the social statement on education that we had before us today. Is that not a precedent?
BISHOP HANSON: I’m going to leave it either as a rhetorical question or I’ll ask somebody to answer it because I tend to — I don’t view the chair’s role as answering content questions other than procedural questions. Do you want to let the question stand to decide who will answer it?
I want do glow if that has happened. I am newly elected. But I wanted to make sure that was what I understood.
BISHOP HANSON: Secretary Almen has offered to respond.
LOWELL ALMEN: The operation of Lutheran campus ministry, as we’ve heard in this Assembly, goes back a Century. A variety of documents have been in place, both in the days of the Lutheran council USA for the oversight of campus ministry and then that process moved into the ELCA when the ELCA was formed. So the revision in the documents related to campus ministry were based on the patterns of campus ministry and the needs identified. That particular policy document did not need to be grounded in a social statement since it related to the functional operation of campus ministry in the ELCA.
BISHOP HANSON: I will not treat that as a speech but a question, so we will allow another negative — I mean red mic, excuse me. Then I believe we’re coming at time for the — we have three minutes before we pause for prayer. Microphone 12.
Reverend Chair, I’m Ron Pitman from Oregon. I’m also the Vice President of the Oregon Synod. And we were one of the 21 Synods that moved — adopted the memorial as it is now substituted by a large majority. And I’m also a member of the Churchwide minority committee and I advocated for it and I support the substitute now. And there were also others on our Memorial Committee that supported the substitute at that time. For myself, after much thought and prayer, I came to the conclusion that all persons regardless of their sexual orientation were equal children of God and deserved my respect, love, prayers and equal treatment. In my career as an insurance agent, I had several clients who lived as partners in same-sex relationships. I always treated these customers with the same respect, care and professional attention as my other clients. Therefore, if I was to treat my clients and friends in my secular life in this way, it seemed not only natural but a moral obligation to accept and treat my sisters and brothers in my church family the same way. Three years ago, the Oregon Synod became a reconciling in Christ Synod. Since then, because we reached out to others to find out how to make the RIC designation more than a piece of paper, my life has been open to a whole group of new friends, both heterosexual and GLBT. Everything I’ve encountered has exhibited the most amazing and wonderful example of Christian love and acceptance. I am so grateful to have been welcome into this faith —
BISHOP HANSON: Time. Thank you. microphone 7 and then — microphone 7 and then following your address, we will be one minute. People at the mic will remain at the mic for prayer. Microphone 7.
Reverend Chair, my name is pastor — from northeastern Pennsylvania Synod. This is my first time to attend the Churchwide Assembly. It undermines the current policy of this church. To love God and to love the neighbor is of course everybody’s call. To stand in solidarity with the poor and the marginalized is God’s call to the church universal and it is not a liberal or conservative issue. Yes, our God is a God of justice and he calls all of us to do justice in loving kindness to our fellow brothers and sisters. In order to do these things, however, we do not need to undermine the authority of the Word of God. Anything that is done undermining all our emotions and sentiments, any actions based on sentiment and emotions undermines the Word of God. God never compromises in his holiness for the fact that holiness is that God’s very essence. . ELCA is trying to include and welcome people of color, and I am a result of that and so grateful. But the debates about gay and lesbian issue is a scary and driving away the very people we want to include or reach out. We cannot do injustice. We cannot do justice to fellow humans doing a great injustice to the Word of God.
BISHOP HANSON: Thank you. We will now pause for a minute of silence per your decision. And I will conclude that with prayer. The Lord be with you.
AUDIENCE: And also with you.
BISHOP HANSON: Let us pray. Most high and holy God, pour out upon us your one and unifying spirit and awaken in every confession of the whole church a holy hunger and thirst for unity in you through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, amen. Continuing with microphone 2.
Reverend Chair, my name is Constance Killmark, I’m the Vice President in south central Wisconsin. I speak in favor of the new motion, the substitute motion as amended. I am deeply impressed with how much gay and lesbian clergy love this church. We make it so hard and yet they stay and serve. Under our present policy, we strand our ordained gay and lesbian clergy in celibacy, possibly for decades of their service. We know that celibacy is a gift given to very few people. A pastor’s is a lonely calling. We make personal stability much more difficult when we deny the Honorable choice of a life partner to any pastor. From the comfort of our heterosexuality where we suffer none of the consequences of this policy, I implore us to extend full citizenship in God’s kingdom on earth on the same terms as we enjoy to our gay and lesbian rostered clergy. Thank you.
BISHOP HANSON: Thank you. Further speaking microphone 3. [Laughter] If you’d like to read Paul Schreck’s emails, they’ll be available over lunch. The one I got up here said “you’re doing fine, dear.” [Laughter] Are we there? Microphone 3.
Reverend Chair, Brandy Johns, southwestern PA Synod. I come to the microphone to show the balance of divisiveness of this issue. I come to the microphone to show that this issue divides not laterally but vertically and that young people such as myself support the recommendation of the Memorials Committee. Just as this issue divides the population, I, too, feel inner conflict and unrest about the position I will eventually take on the issue of the full inclusion of practicing gay and lesbian pastors. However, though I am by no means deadly sure about the matters of sexuality, I am certain that for the sake of the respectability of the national expression of our church, we must defer further action on sexuality until the completion of our applicable social statement. For deferment is not procrastination nor is — the issue. And it is most certainly not to be solved in the wombs our homosexual brothers and sisters in Christ. Rather, voting to suspend action lends credence to the sustainable meaningfulness of the Churchwide Assembly as an institution and the work it does biennially. Just as making policy changes now before the completion of our social statement undermines the work and authority of assemblies, past, present and future. , for example, if policy changes about criminal justice, whatever those might or could be are passed between our authorization of creating a social statement and its approval then I would feel our work on that issue to be worthless.
BISHOP HANSON: Microphone 10.
Reverend Bishop, Vern Vickerson, pastor New York Synod. I speak in favor of the substitution. We talk of process, of good order, of giving the sexuality study the time it needs to do their work. We talk of the gifts for ministry this church is losing by denying access toward nation and call for those gay and lesbian persons living in committed partnerships, but what we are really talking about is sex. The physical sexual relations between two human beings in loving, faithful and life long relationships, whether it be the marriage between woman and man or between partners of the same gender. That’s what we are really debating. And in the great scheme of things, and even in the context of a faithful, for giving, loving relationship, which lasts a lifetime, in that context, this issue is about as big as that spec in my sister’s or brother’s eye which Jesus cautions me not to worry over much about but rather to take care of the log in my own eye. This is the issue we are spending so much time on and have spent all this time on. And two years more will not make a whole lot of difference except for those whom justice has been delayed and denied for so long already. I think now is the time to change it. And I pray that my church will do the right thing and make this decision. Thank you.
BISHOP HANSON: Thank you. Microphone 1?
Eric Peterson, south central Synod of Wisconsin. A question of privilege and for information for the body. In regards to the mandate from the Church Council to the taskforce and the scope of the taskforce on sexuality, it is my understanding that the taskforce views its questions and deliberations on rostering as completed. After the ’05 Assembly. And I would like clarity that the taskforce will take the issue and not the general issues of — eye and implementing the social statement. And how is it that we intend to discuss rostering in a social statement of this church? And so I think those are important questions that this body needs answered to deal with the disposition of referral and its actions here.
BISHOP HANSON: Thank you. You had a complex question that I heard that would involve the perspective of people related to the taskforce on the social statement. I had not invited them to the stage, but they are in the hall. So if you wouldn’t mind, while they gather to give answer to your question, we could have another speaker; is that okay?
I would be amenable to that.
BISHOP HANSON: So, colleagues — Mr. Peterson, if you could go to make sure that the resource people heard your question, they’re gathering with Pastor Miller in the corner. I will take that as a question. So we still should have a green mic speaking next. Could you give me the next green mic? 5. Are you wanting a procedural matter? Point of clarification? Microphone 6, excuse me. State your name.
Joyce, Indiana Kentucky Synod. There are several different definitions for the words “chastity and celibacy” I would like for us to define it just so we know what we’re talking about in this sense.
BISHOP HANSON: We’re walking the lines now where questions become part of the debate. I would regard that as a question that you need to wait till it’s your turn. That’s not a privileged question. You can ask it, but you have to wait your turn in line, okay? Just wherever you were in line, but I don’t regard that as a privileged question that interrupts debate. Microphone 5, you are the next speaker. Larry Cantu, from the West Virginia western Maryland Synod. I speak in favor of the recommendation of the Memorials Committee. I’m from one of the Synods that — of the 44 Synods that did not somehow send the questions or the memorials to the church body. I’m the son of Mexican immigrant worker who has had the audacity and privilege to serve as a ministry of Word and Sacrament for 45 years. During that time, I have been involved in issues of justice. People of color. Ordination of women. Conscientious objectors. Ordination of the disabled. And I must say that I cannot view the altering of the visions and expectations as a justice issue. For me, the issue is still Biblical. I cannot find in my reading of the word, in my teaching through the Scriptures 20 times a single blessing that somehow says that it is a blessing from God on same-gender relationships that are sexual. I am able, as a student of the historical critical method. It does permit me to put aside the condemnations of the Old Testament and moderate the fervor of St. Paul. However, it also makes me greatly aware that the people of the way, the people of the book of faith were constantly placing themselves over against the prevailing community cultures around them.
BISHOP HANSON: Time. Thank you. Microphone 8. Thank you. I’m still looking to see if the resource people. Microphone 8?
Mary Halverson, Minneapolis area Synod. Less than one week ago, less or more than one week ago less than one mile from grace church and your former hope church an 8-lane bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River. This drew the attention of the world not only to the lives lost and many miraculously saved. But also to infrastructures that protect and serve our communities. Talking about the importance of people is an important step of the healthy and strong. If any baptized child of God called to ministry with the gifts and qualifications for that ministry is barred from that call, the church’s infrastructure is sorely weakened. When the waters of baptism spill across a forehead, the spirit is set loose, inspiring, nurturing and calling forth faith-built servants. If we do not want certain persons to become our pastors, we should hold off on baptizing anyone until we are sure of their sexual orientation. At the core of our Lutheran identity is our baptism. We are a marked people, marked with the cross of Christ forever. We may attempt to exclude or control who’s acceptable for ordination and who isn’t, but then along comes the theological directive that is our baptism. We cannot stop the flow of God’s grace which rests equally on all dripping foreheads, gay and straight. Without the full participation of our gay and lesbian members at my church, our infrastructure would be diminished. These leaders truly live lives of deep faith even though they have been denied their ordination and silence, they remain connected to their beloved church. And through them they are living by faith and hope. And for me and for all of us are a profound witness of faith. Thank you. BISHOP HANSON: Microphone 3.
I’m Rick Foss, I serve as bishop in the eastern North Dakota Synod, member of the conference of bishops. Reverend Chair, I speak in favor of the thoughtful resolution from the Memorials Committee to refer this matter to the ELCA taskforce on sexuality. You’ve heard some previous speakers say that we are the highest legislative body and that we should pay little attention to the processes in place or decisions and timelines from previous gatherings but simply seize the moment or find the Holy Spirit in a darting rabbit. While it’s true that we are commissioned to make decisions here and now, in an even deeper sense we are part of an on going church and we are called to consider the impact of our actions on the whole church, past, present and future. Presiding Bishop Hanson, you have worked very hard and very effectively to build trust throughout this whole church. Tirelessly traveling, listening, preaching and being with the nearly 5 million people in the pews and pulpits across this church. The process set in place for studying this complex, difficult issue has been carefully tended in order to deepen that trust as we together with discernment, prayer and study try to find the ways forward. The process is nearly completed but there’s a crucial step remaining. For the next two years as a social statement is being developed with the participation of this whole body, the whole ELCA, not just the 1,000 of us here today. To short-circuit the process, ignore assemblies past and future and give the decision to yourselves at this Assembly, I believe the trust building work done by you and this church, by no context differ, people I serve and others do, Synods differ, but I am sure that they will respond to whatever we decide fairly well at the end of a process and quite poorly if we short-circuit it. I plead with us to adopt the decision to refer. Thank you.
BISHOP HANSON: Microphone — I’m just looking to see when the resource people are ready. After the next speaker they will respond to Mr. Peterson’s question. Microphone 4.
Reverend Chair, Jim Morel from the Oregon Synod. I was baptized a Lutheran Christian and have always found strength knowing that God has his loving arms around us. The first time I entered St. James Lutheran church, I found myself settled to a back pew not to anyone who might impose a threat and I was quite content being within my little Lutheran bubble. I quickly realized the sanctuary, the pulpit and most significantly the altar reached out to embrace me in that back pew with the love which passes all understanding. My faith has grown as God provided to me a partner in life. My faith has grown knowing it is God’s outward expression of the love that Christopher and I have to worship with each other every Sunday. My faith has grown empowered by the reminders of my baptism as we witness others baptized into the same body of Christ that I was 38 years ago. My faith has grown as I kneel in communion with other believers knowing that none should be excluded from the banquet of God’s grace. My faith has grown as I recognized the reconciling truth in 1 Corinthians that just as the body is one and has many members, so it is with Christ. I have been called to serve in many roles at St. James as assistant minister, chair of our mission development team and a member of our pastor’s mutual ministry team. My prayer for the church is that we be transformed from fear and prejudice, from ignorance and division, to the inclusive love of our benevolent God who Rosa would have the worst that you man at this could do to itself. . Bishop Hanson, this morning as I boarded the bus as the last person and sat in the very last row and watched the sunrise up over the lake and onto the pier, as a leader in this sent church, it is a challenge to be a leader or invite people to experience this Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which marginalizes who I am as a gay male Christian —
BISHOP HANSON: Time.
And others who are called to ministry.
BISHOP HANSON: Thank you. Sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude. I was setting up the answer. Thank you. You did have your allotted time. I’m going to call on Pastor Roger Willard who is director for studies in our program unit on church in society to respond to the question about the relationship of a social statement to church policies. Pastor Willard?
Thank you, Bishop Hanson. In the policies and procedures document that guide the whole process for social statements and in fact spell out how this church addresses social issues, it indicates that social statements govern the internal and external practices of this church. The current social policy in relation to these issues is not stated in a document of the ELCA, but is — but we operate on the basis of our predecessor body social statements in so far as they are in agreement. And it is on that basis that the ministry — the visions and expectations and so forth have articulated the understanding that’s there. The social statement process is our opportunity as a church to do the kind of theological work that would allow us to reconsider this — to consider, rather, this kind of understanding. The taskforce is — their primary role is to listen and to think with this church, and it is very clear to the taskforce that this is an issue on which this church would like matters to be addressed. That being said, it is on the general issue of sexuality, and in particularly on homosexuality, in terms of theological, Biblical and confessional matters that we would do our work, that would not directly address ministry policy. However, the — as I’ve indicated, the basis of ministry policy is to be governed by the social statements. It is also possible that implementing resolutions of a social statement could direct the kind of — could direct this church to indicate changes for ministry policy based on the understanding of that social statement. And so in many ways, would give us the opportunity to call for that — for changes to ministry policy once we have agreed as a church on our understanding on sexuality in general. .
BISHOP HANSON: Perhaps an example would be what we’re doing on education. First we adopt the social statement on education. Should that be adopted, there are a set of implementing resolutions that would reflect actions based upon that social statement. And I heard pastor Willard to say it’s possible, in response to Mr. Anderson’s question, to adopt a statement on human sexuality; and should that provide the basis for recommended changes in the rostering of persons in this church, those recommendations would be in that set of implementing resolutions. Now, we have time for one more speech, one more comment. Microphone 11? And then we will have to go to the orders of the day for worship, which always centers our life as an Assembly. I’d ask you to please hear the speaker at 11 and then I will ask you to return to your seats for the announcements. Microphone 11?
Reverend Chair, I’m from the south eastern Minnesota Synod. My name is Carla Nimroy. I am deeply troubled that this church, this great church that we have come to love is so divided on this issue. The ELCA has come to a cross road and we cannot decide which way to take. It is very simple for me to say, if we say that this church is built on the Scriptures, the Holy Scriptures we serve as our instructions from God that we cannot decide to follow that, the Lutheran church is an institution that is a very praying institution, however, we lack the ability to listen to God’s instructions. Why are we in a hurry to decide this? To make this decision? We have selected a talented group of people to look into this issue for us. I will ask this church and this whole Assembly that we allow the people that we have elected to do their work. And in that time, let’s stop and listen to God’s instructions. This issue is emotionally charged, as you can see. We hear personal stories and testimony from many people. And I feel for everybody that we are emotionally charged instead of being spiritually charged to deal with this issue. I ask this Assembly to leave our personal and emotional issues behind. Let and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. Thank you.