The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America this week is expected to announce results from a three-year study on sexuality, including recommendations on whether the church should change its policies on the blessing of same-sex unions and ordination of gay ministers.
Leaders from the 5 million-member denomination will announce on Thursday the recommendations from a 14-member task force. Church members will act on the proposals at the churchwide assembly in August. The Chicago-based church currently has no official policy on blessing same-sex relationships. It allows members who identify themselves as gay or lesbian to be ordained but expects them to remain celibate.
The study included surveys of more than 28,000 Lutherans, and members from across the church attended voluntary hearings.
"The task force has, since its beginning, represented a spectrum of the views one can hear from within our church," the Reverend James M. Childs Jr., director of the study, said in a statement. Greg Egertson, cochairman of Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries in San Francisco, said the church's current stance on ordination of gay ministers is a "don't ask, don't tell" policy that leads to ambiguity. "The church is very uneven in the application of the current policy," Egertson said.