The Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (ELCA) on Friday elected its first openly gay bishop.
The Rev. R. Guy Erwin was elected to a
six-year term to the Southwest California Synod, which includes Los
Angeles, according to a press release by ReconcilingWorks, which
represents LGBT people in the Lutheran community. The election was
held during the synod's 3-day annual assembly in Woodland Hills,
The move comes two years after the ELCA
ended its ban on openly gay ministers.
Emily Eastwood, executive director of
ReconcilingWorks, applauded the vote.
“The election of Pastor Erwin to the
office of bishop occurred because he was the best candidate, not
because he was a partnered gay man. Pastor Erwin is an eminent
scholar and church leader. He is a teacher at heart and was an
excellent pastor long before the was ordained in 2011. In many ways
his election is simply the logical and appropriate next step for our
denomination following the 2009 elimination of policies precluding
pastors in committed same-gender relationships.”
“In other ways, Pastor Erwin's
election marks a new and brighter day for lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender Lutherans as one of our own has been chosen not in spite
of being gay, but because he is truly gifted and skilled for the
office. Once again, today we are proud to be Lutherans.”
Erwin and his partner, Rob Flynn, are
members of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in North Hollywood.