TRANSGENDER PASTOR ACQUITTED: In what is sure to be a controversial turn of events, a disciplinary hearing committee in the Central Great Lakes Synod has found Pastor Sophie Fortresson innocent of charges that her conduct is incompatible with the pastoral office. Pastor Fortresson completed the transition to female gender identity in February, 2006. She remains married to her wife Ms. Rose Festeburg-Fortresson.
Bishop Thorvald "Wally" Noe-Effingway filed charges against Pastor Fortresson in December, 2006 and sought to have her removed from the roster of ordained ministers. It is unknown at this time if the bishop will appeal the decision, but we've already heard grumblings about the "rogue disciplinary hearing committee" and a lack of support from churchwide.
The complete text of the decision and Bishop Noe-Effingway's public statement about the case can be found on the Central Great Lakes Synod Website.

LLGM, ECP, Roster to Merge: Over the weekend of Feb. 16, leaders of three Lutheran entities committed to full participation for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life and ministry of the Lutheran church agreed to begin forming a new organization.
The boards of both Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries (LLGM) and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP) along with the Extraordinary Candidacy Project Roster have agreed to merge organizational structures, expand mission efforts and create opportunities for congregations, ministry organizations and individuals to work together.
A formal merger will take place in the months ahead. Elections were held to fill leadership positions in an eleven member Covenant Circle which will coordinate the transition to a new organizational structure. The Covenant Circle will develop new bylaws and other organizational documents and recommend their adoption to the LLGM and ECP boards later this year.
Co-conveners of the Covenant Circle are

Sinfully Delicious: You'll be the envy of everyone in your lectionary study group, and your Fair Trade Coffee will be sinfully delicious because you're drinking it from the Official MUG!

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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.

    Pr. Erik Christensen of Chicago, IL, and Ms. Lois Voss of Edina, MN.

    Talking About Sex During Lent: Epic Church in Detroit, MI, (an affiliate of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod) is getting a lot of press (Fox News, Detroit News) for its Lenten series of sermons about sex. Topics include:

    The Bedroom: Battleground or Playground
    Real Desperate Housewives
    Porn: What's the Big Deal
    Sex Ed: Teaching Children about Sex
    Affair-proofing Your Marriage

    There's a short video promo that some will find provocative on the church's web site, but it took so long to download that we lost interest.
    What would C.F.W. Walther say?

    Bishop Ron Warren Changes Earlier Announcement Regarding His Retirement in 2007: Southeastern Synod Bishop Ron Warren will not retire in 2007 as planned. Beginning in September, he'll join Lutheran Disaster Response in a newly created position as liaison to the 65 ELCA synods and bishops and 35 Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) districts and presidents across the United States. In addition, the position will include working with ELCA and LCMS social ministry organizations which partner with synods and districts in responding to disasters. Bishop Warren completes his second term as bishop of the Southeastern Synod on August 31.

    WordAlone Quote of the Week: This week's quote from WordAlone comes from an article by Ms. Stephanie Olson, WordAlone board member:
    Jesus commanded us to protect the little ones from harm to themselves and others. To teach, preach, or show examples otherwise, examples accepting of homosexual behavior as not sinful, is to make even more vulnerable the most vulnerable in our church and our society, especially those who have been confused by clergy who support changing the standards for behavior in our denomination.
    Will WordAlone take a stand on the Epic Church's Lenten Sex Sermon Series? Is it okay to use sex to get people into church?

    Sign Up for E-Confessions: Are you tired of having to guess when the new issue of Lutheran (True) Confessions will be posted each week? Now you can sign up for E-Confessions and receive a summary of each new issue as soon as it's posted. Enter your e-mail address in the form below to sign up now.

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    Disclaimer: is not affiliated with the any other organization,and particularly none of the following: American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC), American Lutheran Publicity Bureau (ALPB), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP) (now defunct), Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM), Fellowship of Confessional Lutherans (FOCL),, International Lutheran Council, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), Lutherans Concerned / North America (LCNA), Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries (LLGM) (now defunct), Lutheran Ministerium and Synod (LMS-USA), Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML), North American Lutheran Church (NALC), Queer Lutheran Liberation Front (QLLF), Societas Trinitatis Sanctae (STS), Wingspan, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), or Word Alone.