Bishop lifts censure on church with lesbian pastor

Action is first of its kind
A Missouri bishop has lifted the public censure of a Lutheran church that hired a lesbian minister in 2000. The action is seen as the first of its kind since the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination removed a ban on gay clergy last summer.

Bishop Gerald Mansholt of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lifted the public censure and admonition against Abiding Peace Lutheran Church in North Kansas City, Missouri, in a January 25 letter that was reported recently by the ELCA. The censure had been imposed by a previous bishop.

In 2000, Abiding Peace hired Donna Simon, an open lesbian, as pastor. Before the final step to her ordination, Simon told an ELCA committee that she could not comply with the denomination’s ban on gay and lesbian leaders. That ban was lifted last summer at the 4.5-million-member ELCA’s Church wide Assembly.


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