Conservative critics of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted Friday to form a new congregation, triggered by the church’s decision last year to allow gay clergy in committed relationships.
According to the Associated Press, “The overwhelming voice vote by members of the Lutheran Coalition of Renewal created the North American Lutheran Church, a tiny denomination of churches formerly affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, headquartered in Chicago.”
Even as 199 congregations have left the ECLA, and 136 await final approval, with more than 10,000 churches and 4.5 million members, it remains the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States. It is the largest Protestant denomination to allow gay pastors in relationships into its ranks.
According to the AP, the concern over gay pastors represented the outgrowth of broader concerns about departure from scripture, such as the elimination of male pronouns like “Father” and “Son” in favor of “Creator” and “Savior.”