Sanctions lifted from pro-gay Lutheran church

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com January 18 2003 1:00 AM ET

A bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has lifted sanctions against a St. Paul, Minn., congregation for ordaining a lesbian pastor in 2001 in violation of church policy. The decision this week favoring St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church is one of "posture rather than policy," and rules against gay and lesbian pastors still stand, Bishop Peter Rogness of the St. Paul Area Synod of the ELCA said Thursday. An admonition issued by then-bishop Mark Hanson along with the sanctions against St.-Paul Reformation remain in place, Rogness said. Hanson acted after the congregation installed Anita Hill as pastor in April 2001, five years after her relationship with a woman had been blessed in the church. The congregation, calling the ELCA policy against gay and lesbian pastors "unjust and restrictive," takes Rogness's decision as a hopeful sign, Pastor Paul Tidemann said in a statement.