Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-10-26
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


Lutheran bishop makes pro-gay history
by Chuck Colbert

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

For the first time ever, a presiding Lutheran bishop spoke before a pro-LGBT faith group, which also serves a denominational advocacy organization.

The historic first came on July 7, when Bishop Mark S. Hanson of the Evangelical Church In America (ELCA) delivered the keynote address at Luther Place Memorial Church in Washington, D.C., during a kickoff event for a gathering of ReconcilingWorks that spanned several days.

ReconcilingWorks, formerly Concerned Lutherans, drew about 200 people to its biennial assembly, held this year in the nation's capital July 7-10.

The assembly's calendar of events included liturgical celebrations, workshops, Bible studies and yet another first—a lobbying day on Capitol Hill "to carry the group's witness for LGBT people to their individual U.S. representatives and senators," according to a press release.

Hanson's keynote touched upon a range of intersectional topics such as immigration, ministry to the poor and society's marginalized populations, and LGBT inclusion within the 4.2 million-member ELCA and beyond. During the bishop's nearly hour-long talk, he told the story of a gay college student who told Hanson that his church saved his life.

Based in Chicago, Hanson has served as presiding bishop since 2001. In 2007 he was elected to a second six-year term. A native of Minneapolis, Hanson's installation as bishop took place at Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel in October 2001.

Right after the Hanson concluded his speech, the Rev. Christopher Berry, co-presider of ReconcilingWorks, spoke about the importance of the keynote.

"He very prophetically talked about reconciliation and how it is the work of the people of God," said Berry in a phone interview.

Berry was referring to a bringing together process of the ELCA since the mainline Protestant denomination's 2009 decision allowing for the ordination of openly gay clergy and the blessing of same-gender couples, going so far as to marry them in states that issue civil-marriage licenses to gay couples.

Berry—who serves as in a Lutheran campus ministry at Western Washington University, based in Bellingham, Wash.—also said implementation of the changes is "going very well" in some synods and "very slow" in others.

"We do have more clergy being added to [church] rosters," he added. "At the same time, there are same-gender married clergy in some synods."

Synods are governing districts or jurisdictions of the ELCA.

Berry praised Hanson for his advocacy and leadership. ReconcilingWorks consulted with the bishop at length, Berry said, "throughout all the strife and the work to bring about full inclusion."

Implementation of full LGBT Lutheran equality is underway throughout the church, said Berry, albeit "not as fast as we'd like, but at a good pace."

The presiding bishop's keynote comes just a month after the name change from Concerned Lutherans to ReconcilingWorks.

Why the change? "When people heard 'Concerned Lutherans,'" Berry explained. "They thought about worried Lutherans."

This is not happening any more. "Reconciliation is a process that happens once and for all," he said. "ReconcilingWorks is a good name," one "with double entendres."

With its name change, ReconcilingWorks is drawing upon biblical references to St. Paul in his epistles (letters) warning not to let disagreements foster permanent separation among the faithful one from another.

Coincidently, ReconcilingWorks is based in St. Paul, Minn.

Hanson's keynote also comes at the same time 25 same-sex couples have brought suit in Illinois challenging the state's 16-year ban on gay marriage, a law limiting wedlock to a man and a woman.

Moreover, last month the Metropolitan Chicago Synod called for same-sex civil marriage during its annual assembly, held in Tinley Park June 1-2.

Better yet, the vote for marriage equality was decidedly lopsided, with more than 90 percent of 350 people on hand favoring it.

The local synod encompasses 202 congregations, with nearly 98,000 members, and is located in Chicago and the surrounding area.

The synod assembly also urged the Illinois Legislature and the governor to "extend the protections and dignity of marriage to all persons and to protect the freedom of religion for all faith communities and religious organizations."

Finally, the Chicago assembly urged the local bishop, the Rev. Wayne Miller, to play an active role in making the synod's position known throughout the state—to the Legislature, governor, congregations of the synod, and the public at large.

With its action, Metropolitan Chicago joins synods in Maryland; Minnesota; Washington, D.C.; and Washington state in advocating equal marriage rights.

Out West, Lutheran advocacy is at play as Washington state, too, where voters face a same-sex marriage referendum that will decide the fate a new same-sex civil-marriage law.

There, the Rev. William Christopher Boerger, bishop of the Northwest Washington Lutheran Synod, advocates marriage equality. Boerger even testified before the state House and Senate in advance of the Legislature's passing—and the governor's signing—of a bill into law.

Having hired a part-time staffer, ReconcilingWorks, said Berry, is on the ground "working diligently" with the local bishop to preserve equal-marriage rights at the ballot box.

©Copyright. Chuck Colbert. All rights reserved.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Catholic priests, lay persons call for LGBT, women's rights 2016-10-23 - It was the unlikeliest of press conferences and a sign of times that are changing with unprecedented momentum even from within one of ...

Gay News

Uptown residents stage counter-demonstration to Westboro anti-trans protest 2016-10-21 - About 50 Uptown residents and other community members staged a counter-protest the morning of Oct. 21 when members of Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist ...

Gay News

Evanston synagogue welcomes its first female and lesbian rabbi 2016-10-04 - Evanston native Rabbi Rachel Weiss comes to Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation ( JRC ) as the synagogue's first female and first openly gay rabbi. ...

Gay News

LGBT ministry thanks Kaine for hopeful words on Catholic church, same-sex marriage 2016-09-12 - MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland—New Ways Ministry thanks Vice Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine for speaking with hope about the Catholic Church's eventual ...

Gay News

Open To Thinking: Gays and Justice in the Catholic Church 2016-09-07 - Why do so many gay people remain loyal to the Catholic Church? A dear friend of mine who is a Catholic priest ...

Gay News

World news: Grunt site for trans men, out bishop, South Africa's HIV treatment 2016-09-06 - In Australia, a website called Grunt is focused on trans men who have sex with cisgender men, LGBTQ Nation reported. They're the target ...

Gay News

Trans woman shot in Ind.; church disputes suspect's link 2016-07-23 - In Evansville, Indiana, a trans woman was shot in the jaw by a 26-year-old man who has been connected to a hate group. ...

Gay News

ACLU Praises Ruling to Uphold Contempt Order Against Kim Davis 2016-07-14 - KENTUCKY — A federal appeals courts today dismissed Kim Davis's appeals in the Rowan County marriage licensing case. The U.S. Court of Appeals ...

Gay News

Congregation Or Chadash holds final Pride Shabbat 2016-06-29 - By Gretchen Rachel Hammond A bittersweet feeling was echoed by most of the over 70 people who attended what was to not ...

Gay News

Pope says Catholic Church must apologize to gay people, Dignity responds 2016-06-26 - On June 26, Pope Francis stated that Christians should apologize to gay people and others who the Church has offended or exploited—remarks that ...


Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by