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Lutherans Break Over Gay Pastors

Lutherans Break Over Gay Pastors

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Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America opposed to last year's vote to allow pastors in committed same-sex relationships are meeting this week to form a breakaway denomination.

According to the Associated Press, critics of the decision will meet in Columbus, Ohio, where, "Leaders of 18 former ELCA churches are expected to be among more than 1,000 Lutherans voting Friday to create a brand new Lutheran denomination that they claim will follow the Scriptures more faithfully: the North American Lutheran Church."

Dissident church leaders acknowledge that they would not be forced to install a gay pastor under the new ELCA rules. Still, they say their departure is a matter of what they would be expected to teach.

The new denomination will reveal its 18 charter churches Friday, which they hope to grow to at least 200 within one year, according to the AP.

The ECLA, with more than 10,000 churches and 4.5 million members, remains the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States, and the largest Protestant denomination to allow gay pastors in relationships into its ranks.

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