Nuptials: Pr. Pieter Oberholzer and Fanie Zondagh, his partner of 20 years, were lawfully married on Good Friday in South Africa where Pr. Oberholzer is on the staff of Inclusive and Affirming Ministries in Cape Town, South Africa. Pr. Oberholzer is rostered with the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP). St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco called Pr. Oberholzer to serve as "missionary-at-large" in 1999. South Africa legalized same-sex unions in December, 2006. Pr. Oberholzer reports: "We had a battle to find someone to perform it, as state officials - according to law - may refuse if they have conscientious objections. We found a retired gay priest in the country who holds one of the first official licenses to do this. It [was] a small ceremony with only friends -a lesbian couple - as our witnesses - as we already did the big 'vow thing' 5 years ago."
Hate Crime Prevention: On April 12, 2007, the "Senate" version of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act was introduced. The Senate's counterpart to HR1592 is S1105, but the bill will be known as the "Matthew Shepard Act" in memory of Matthew Shepard who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming in October 1998. The Queer Lutheran Liberation Front has announced it's support of HR1592 and is encouraging people to email congressional representatives.
Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates 80th Birthday: In a letter of congratulations to Pope Benedict XVI for his upcoming birthday, the president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Bishop Mark Hanson, has written "I pray that your ministry of vision and friendship as Bishop of Rome and primate of the Roman Catholic Church will continue for many years to come." The Pope celebrates his 80th birthday on Monday, 16 April.
Hanson, who is also presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, noted that the 10th anniversary of the 1999 signing of the historic Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification is only two years away. He expressed his desire that the 2009 celebrations "will take into account the magnitude of this declaration for our communions today and likewise capture the urgency of our work together tomorrow."
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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
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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.
Save the Date: We hear June 16, 2007 is the tentative date for the ordination extra ordinem of Dawn Roginski at St. Francis (SF). Ms. Roginski is rostered with the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP) and has been called to serve St. Francis (SF) as Pastor of Parish Programs.
More Grassroots: It looks as though at least one more Synod will consider our proposal that the ELCA disclose the cost of any disciplinary actions undertaken to enforce the celibacy requirement imposed on gay and lesbian clergy. The Sierra Pacific Synod will consider a resolution based on this proposal at it's assembly April 19-21, and preliminary discussions are under way with voting members in other synods.
Talking Points: Since we've been approached by representatives of several synods about our proposal, we feel a brief Q&A would be helpful.
Why is it important to disclose the cost of these disciplinary activities?
Disciplinary actions regarding gay and lesbian clergy are not part of the church's core mission and ministry. These disciplinary actions can also be very expensive, and the church does not have unlimited resources. Disclosure of the cost of enforcing the church's policy regarding gay and lesbian clergy provides a standard for evaluating this policy in relation to the church's other priorities.
If adopted, will this memorial handicap the ELCA in prosecuting cases of clergy sexual abuse?
No. This memorial seeks disclosure of and limits on the cost of only those disciplinary activities undertaken to enforce the requirement that gay and lesbian clergy remain celibate. There is a clear distinction between the enforcement of this requirement and enforcement of other standards for sexual conduct of people rostered by the ELCA.
Can the two "RESOLVEDS" be split into separate resolutions?
Yes! We understand that there may be people who support the disclosure the cost of disciplinary actions and do not wish to impose any cap on expenditures at this time.
Is this resolution a form of policy change?
No, this resolution does not address the question of policy change. This resolution seeks to make explicit the cost to the ELCA of enforcing the policy.
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