Eight-seven churches in total have
publicly vowed to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in America with nearly 5
million members, and join the conservative group Lutheran
Coalition for Renewal (Lutheran CORE) after the ELCA voted in
favor of several gay issues.
Unhappy that ELCA leaders voted to drop
its 20-year-old ban on non-celibate gay and lesbian clergy and
approved a plan to bless gay unions during its Minneapolis meeting in
August, members of Lutheran CORE decided to splinter from the church.
“God is calling us to do something,”
Rev. Paull Spring, chair of Lutheran CORE, told members in September.
“The ELCA has fallen into heresy. It is a time for confession and
a time to resist. It is, please God, also a time for new life and
transformation and for mission.”
According to the group's website, the
highest number of defections have come from Minnesota, where 15
churches have abandoned the ELCA. Another 10 congregations are from
Pennsylvania, while 9 Iowa churches have joined Lutheran CORE.
The churches have affirmed the
group's Common Confession, which reads in part: “We teach and
practice that sexual activity belongs exclusively within the biblical
boundaries of a faithful marriage between one man and one woman.”
Lutheran CORE members agreed in
September to authorize the creation of a panel that will recommend
how the group will leave the ELCA. That report is due next fall.