With attention to diverse history, theology, experiences and concerns, this article uses Lutheran contexts and identities to construct a frame for the eventual telling of untold 2SLGBTQIA+ stories. This paper provides accessible structural elements (narratives, time-markers, web-links, videos and image files from reputable sources in Canadian and Lutheran history and theology so readers interested in life-giving quests of belonging can more easily and accurately engage in the ongoing work of reformation from the position of unity in the Gospel that sets people free.
From Bishop Susan Johnson: "It was my privilege to take part online in the 2022 Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives. Sponsored by the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives and held in London, England, the meeting brought together interreligious and political leaders from around the world who are concerned with the rights and safety of 2SLGBTQIA+ persons. There were several presentations, including one by Archbishop Linda Nicholls of the Anglican Church of Canada on Canada’s actions to protect rights for gender identity and gender expression and to ban conversion therapy. There were also in-depth reports of the current situation for 2SLGBTQIA+ persons regarding conversion therapy in Hungary and the Caribbean. The highlight of the conference was the unanimous passing on 22nd March 2022 of the Principles to Safeguard LGBT+ Lives2, which sets out the following principles:...".
From Issue Editor Sherry Coman: "It is a tremendous pleasure to present the strong and wise voices on offer in this issue, in their innovative expressions of what it means to identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ people and/or allies in a variety of contemporary contexts. I am so grateful for their courage and their insights, both scholarly and personal. This issue has attempted to frame a dialogue in which compatible voices find solidarity by standing together in theme or by lining up in accidental symmetries of experience. The fluidity of gender identity, which reaches deep into the 2SLGBTQIA+ acronym, invites us to consider more deeply the challenges of living a differently-formed identity within a cisheterosexual dominant society....
This article seeks to present a study of gender and sexuality based on an Indigenous and theologically interpreted understanding of ourselves, wonderfully made by God, who formed our inward parts and knit us together in our mother’s wombs. If we understand personhood in general and gender in particular to be a matter of lived experience rather than merely a matter of physicality, biology, and physiology, then our hearts and our spirits can be open to experiencing all people as Creator made them rather than through very limiting, merely mortal definitions. This article accesses the lived experience of Anglican Archdeacon Venerable Rosalyn Kantlaht’ant Elm, born of the Oneida Nation, Bear Clan, whose name Kantlaht’ant means “One who Shakes the Leaves,” and who is identified by the Haudenosaunee term laksá. The concept of the Resurrection Body from Pauline scripture and a traditional hermeneutical lens are used to affirm that all that Creator makes has been, is, and always shall be glorious.
Sermon based on John 11:38-44: Today, we come to the last of John’s seven signs, each pointing to some revelation about Jesus. In our study so far we have heard words of recognition, invitation, abundance, hope, declarations of love and freedom from shame. We discovered that Christ offers all these things without condition. So today as we hear of the seventh sign, and with it this time Christ’s offer of resurrected life, we also need to ask, What could possibly prevent someone from the abundant life that God intends for them? In the story of the raising of Lazarus Jesus, "greatly disturbed" (the story goes) comes to the tomb and asks that the stone that is sealing it be taken away....
In 2021 the ELCIC Celebrates 45 years of Lutheran Women being Ordained to serve as Clergy - and so able to preach in the Assembly and preside over sacramental ministry, and are further able to serve in the highest levels of study, discernment and leadership - including that of President/Bishop. By 2021, the ELCIC has had two female synodical or district leaders and the Susan Johnson is the current National Bishop of the ELCIC.
While the ELCIC celebrates the ordination of women, this was not a step the LCC could take at the time of Merger negotiations, nor would take today. Already at the time of the Merger negotiations this was a matter more complicated than simply "conservative" or "Liberal" personalities and what it means to be a "woman" and to be "ordained." Since the time of the Merger, discussions within the ELCIC and LCC "Traditions" regarding Human Sexuality (physiology, gender, gendering, gender identity, sexual orientation) and "Orders of Estates" or hIerarchy in family, state and church as well as "Ecclesiology" (Lutheran theology, Doctrinal investigation, ecumenical insights...) have changed even more, and the church bodies have diverged even more.
Yet, the ELCIC and the LCC are able to work together in Canadian Lutheran World Relief
Toward a More Inclusive Communion
Inclusion and acceptance, rather than exclusion and discrimination, is the hallmark of communion in Christ. The vision of an inclusive communion of women and men still lies before us unfulfilled. While acknowledging that policies have been put in place at the level of the LWF governing bodies and LWF Secretariat; for various reasons, these policies are far from being actualized in some of the member churches.
More than two thirds of the LWF member churches by now have adopted procedures that allow for the ordination of men and women. Churches that have taken this decision have found their witness enhanced by new gifts brought into the ordained ministry. This is an experience that the LWF continues to commend to its members. Through scholarship programs and other means, women have increasingly qualified themselves for leadership and positions of responsibility in church and society. However, there is a pressing need for many member churches to take further measures allowing and encouraging women to assume roles of leadership. Synods and other decision-making bodies should take bold steps, where still required, to move out of inherited patterns of male dominance. We should actively seek, through our theology, to overcome traditional and cultural mechanisms whereby women are denied such positions on the grounds they are women. Violence against women is a radical form of exclusion that denigrates the image of God in the victim as well as the perpetrator. It represents a fundamental challenge, having an impact on the inner life of the church and that of the wider community in which it witnesses. The LWF has taken a strong stand against this social evil through the widespread distribution of its publication Churches Say “NO” to Violence against Women, 3 produced by the desk for Women in Church and Society of the Department for Mission and Development (DMD). We must commit together as a communion to apply the document to our local contexts as we observe the World Council of Churches (WCC) ecumenical “Decade to Overcome Violence (2001–2010) Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace.” We have committed ourselves to an inclusive communion, in which younger generations will be more and more included in the life of the churches. Young people, who represent both the future of the church and an important part of its present life, provide significant contributions to the under standing of the gospel and its proclamation. Increased participation of young people is happening in some churches, but not in others. The Bible is full of stories of young people who influence the life of the church. Let us not be afraid of the creativity of young people in our midst. The LWF has established policies to ensure youth participation and contribution. In particular, we have committed ourselves to achieving 20 percent youth participation in our major decision-making bodies. As we prepared for this Assembly, we were informed by several churches that they were not able to include youth representatives as asked for by our guidelines. I appeal to the LWF member churches to reflect on the importance of this commitment, and to honor it.
Since the inception of the LWF in 1947, its member churches have prayed for a fellowship that is inclusive of all Lutherans in the world. However, over three million Lutherans remain outside the fellowship of the LWF, even while sharing in the Lutheran confession and our spiritual fellowship in Christ. In several areas in the world, the LWF and its member churches collaborate with the Lutheran communities outside the LWF in diaconal activities. But the yearning for a fully inclusive Lutheran communion remains unfulfilled. Lack of a united Lutheran witness undermines the integrity of our mission and reduces the vitality of our ecumenical engagement. Shouldn’t the common affirmation of the Lutheran confessional writings be sufficient for church fellowship among the Lutheran churches? What are the real reasons that keep Lutherans apart? I am pleased to inform the Assembly that a process of consultation is in place between representatives of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), which represents most of the Lutherans still outside our fellowship, and the LWF. Common ground as well as differences are being identified in the area of theology, with particular refer ence to confessional and ecumenical issues. The importance of enhanced coordination, communication, and theological discussion has been emphasized. It is my hope that the conversation the LWF and ILC are currently engaged in will bring us forward substantially in this area. I also am happy to report that since the Ninth Assembly we have maintained close relations with the three associate member churches—the Lutheran Church of Australia, Japan Lutheran Church, and Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Norway. All are represented at this Assembly. In Norway, the Church of Norway and Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Norway constitute the LWF national committee. The associate member churches in Australia and Japan are both active participants in the regional programs of the Asian Lutheran churches. This is of great value to the life of the LWF, and one day will hopefully lead to full membership of these churches.
How can the two main Lutheran Church bodies in Canada have such different understandings from the same Scriptures/Bible and Confessional Commitments?
The answer can be discerned from the 1) undergirding constructions of the arguments that inform positions as well 2) the processes and participants involved in prayerful construction, and theological engagement with Scripture and Tradition.
Too often the differences between the church bodies are categorized along contemporary society tropes (such as being "conservative" or "liberal" organizations) when there are much more dynamic considerations at work. Dynamic considerations include not just "Scriptures" as "the Bible", but what version of the Bible and/or Confessions, what tradition of the original and later translated language of the Bible and/or Confessions....
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