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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Church Relations News: Ethiopian Lutherans Reject Same Sex Clergy and Marriage

Out of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus reiterated its rejection of the ELCA decision that allows gays and lesbians to become clergy. The majority of Lutherans in Africa are in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya. This accords well with Natural Law.


2 Nov 2010 14:51 / Last update: 4 Nov 2010 13:26

EECMY Reiterates Rejection to Same sex Marriage, blessing to registered same sex partners for clergy services

The President & General Secretary Chairing the meeting
In a letter addressed to the Right Reverend Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) reiterated her firm stand, in rejection to the decision of the ELCA that allows gays and lesbians to become clergy and engaged in the Church ministry. The EECMY believes and relentlessly asserts that acceptable marriage is only the marital union between man and woman, as this is preordained union by God the creator to form a family (Gen. 2:22 & 24).
The letter is written in view of the decision of the six Council of the Church, which met in Gimbi Jorgo Synod of the Church from July 6-13, 2010. The Council reaffirmed the previous decision of the Church against the unbiblical decision of the ELCA, which is “to bless "registered homosexual partners for leadership in the Church".
The letter noted that the EECMY since August 2009,has been extremely shocked by the direction that ELCA chose to take without taking into consideration first of all the teachings of the Bible which is the only ground of true Christian faith and secondly the mutual partnership that both Churches are having on the basis of serving the Lord. The fundamental position of the EECMY on any ethical issue including homosexual practice rests on her belief in the eternal truth of the teaching of the Holy Scripture and not on human decision that deviates from the scripture, the letter added.
Gimbi Choir ofering songs
The letter further underlined that ELCA’s un-biblical direction has compelled the Council to question the place of mutual belonging, unity of purpose and mutual care for the well-being of the whole body that encompasses the EECMY and the ELCA and others who are united in the body of Christ. According to this letter addressed to the ELCA with serious concern, the unilaterally taken direction by ELCA, has deeply disturbed, saddened and dismayed the EECMY constituency at large and provoked worries and uncertainties pertaining to the long-standing relations between EECMY and ELCA.
On the other hand, it was indicated that the council expressed sincere appreciation to the devoted commitment of the forefathers from EELCA who served in the EECMY with different positions as pastors, teachers, theologians and others involved in social and development works that the church carries out in Ethiopia. The letter in particular acknowledged the legacy of persons like Rev. Dr Herbert Schaeffer and many others that will continue to remind the EECMY the importance of love, care and passionate commitment that they demonstrated in their ministry to the Church of God.
In addition, taking into consideration the long-standing historic Partnership between herself and the ELCA, which is deeply grounded in true biblical faith and Lutheran identity the EECMY has not only expressed deep concern, but called upon the leadership of the ELCA to rethink of the truth for which their forefathers have committed themselves and lived for it. Accordingly, the council unanimously voted to call on the ELCA to consider lifting its decision for the sake of the unity of the body of Christ, the universal Church to which all true Christians belong together.
It was noted that the response from ELCA, on this plea of the EECMY will be reported to the 7th Council of the Church for appropriate action in line with Standard Agreement. The Council further decided that “having given notice to the partners in question, petitions and intercessory prayers be carried out for the Church bodies concerned; by all EECMY members at all levels of the Church during the one year of waiting, that they may truly return to the inspired Biblical teaching.
The EECMY had and has the conviction, the council underlined noting the historic Mission partnership between the EECMY and the ELCA would continue to bear witness on the basis of the biblical faith of both parties and their Lutheran identity in the years to come. It further affirmed that the Bible is the inspired word of God and a guide for for the partnership in God's Mission, which is the sole ground on which the forefathers of both churches had built their mission partnership and entered a covenant to abide with it.
participants of the Council
Earlier, the three president emeritus’ of the EECMY also in a separate statement expressed their concern in connection with ELCA’s decision that allows blessing to homosexuals and lesbians to hold the positions of leadership/clergy services in the Church. Rev. Francis Stephanos, Rev. Yadessa Daba and Rev. Itefa Gobena in their statement of concern to ELCA stated that human behavior and practices may change over times but the eternal Holy and Inspired Word of God will never change.
Accordingly, the emeritus presidents said they will urge the ELCA in the spirit of the long-standing companionship with it, expressing their deep concern and resentment to the decisions of ELCA’s assembly which has come down in the form of social statement, ministry policies and practices and does not adhere to the true biblical teaching.
Written by: Shibru Galla, EECMY Public Relation Officer

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