I'm working on a little half-sheet bulletin insert that would explain what happened and address concerns that might develop from news coverage. Here's what I'm thinking. If you can recommend changes to make this better, please share them. If you want to borrow this, feel free to do so.
Explanation of ELCA Churchwide Assembly decision
Many of you have seen news coverage of the 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly which met Aug. 6-11 in Chicago. News reports have implied that the ELCA has voted to accept clergy in committed homosexual relationships. There has been no change in official church policy.
The ELCA is in the process of developing a social statement on human sexuality. A draft statement is being prepared and will be available for consideration in 2009. The Churchwide Assembly decided to honor the process of preparing a social statement on human sexuality by making no changes to church policy.
The Churchwide Assembly rejected two resolutions that would have changed church policy which requires clergy to abstain from sexual relations outside of a heterosexual marriage to allow pastors to be in “committed same-gender relationships.”
The Churchwide Assembly did approve a resolution asking that bishops refrain from disciplining those in “committed same-gender relationships” during this time of deliberation.
Official church policy has not changed.
Following is the text of the actual resolution approved by the Churchwide Assembly:
Resolved, that in an effort to continue as a church in moral deliberation without further strife and pain to its members the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those congregations and persons who call into the rostered ministry otherwise-qualified candidates who are in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship, and be it further
Resolved, that the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those rostered leaders in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship who have been called and rostered in this church.
I made changes to correct resolution text from "and" to "or" as noted downstream.