From a Lutheran CORE press release:
Lutheran CORE leaders announce that a new Lutheran church body will be formed for those leaving the ELCA
NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. — Leaders of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal) have voted to begin work on a proposal for a new Lutheran church body for those who choose to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, they announced Wednesday, Nov. 18.
The votes by ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August to allow pastors to be in committed same-sex relationships have created a biblical and theological crisis throughout the ELCA and conflict in local congregations. Many congregations and individuals are considering the possibility of leaving the ELCA or have chosen to redirect giving away from the national church.
More than 1,200 Lutherans gathered in Fishers, Ind., Sept. 25-26 unanimously voted to authorize the Lutheran CORE Steering Committee “to initiate conversations among the congregations and reform movements in Lutheran CORE and other compatible churchly organizations leading toward a possible reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism” and to bring a recommendation for action in 2010. The Lutheran CORE Steering Committee decided Tuesday that a new church body likely will be necessary and directed that work begin on a church body proposal.
“Many ELCA members and congregations have said that they want to sever ties with the ELCA because of the ELCA’s continued movement away from traditional Christian teachings. The vote on sexuality opened the eyes of many to how far the ELCA has moved from Biblical teaching,” said the Rev. Paull Spring of State College, Pa., Lutheran CORE Chair.
“Lutheran CORE will aid in the formation of a Lutheran church body for those congregations and individuals that choose to end their affiliation with the ELCA. This church body will stand where Lutherans have always stood and will center its life on the mission of the church to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Spring, the retired bishop of the Northern Pennsylvania Synod.
A special working group will draft the church body proposal. The recommendations are to be released in February to allow interested individuals and congregations time for feedback. Final proposals will be brought to the Lutheran CORE Convocation Aug. 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio.
The working group will also bring recommendations for the continuation of Lutheran CORE as a free-standing synod that will serve both Lutherans in the ELCA and those in other church bodies. This working group will be in conversation with other Lutheran church bodies about ways to work together. Lutheran CORE has expressed an interest in working closely with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, an association of Lutheran congregations which many ELCA congregations have joined. The proposed church body is intended to provide a place for congregations that desire a more a traditional denominational structure.
“We have not made any firm decisions about what this church body will be or how it will be structured. That reality will come into focus as the working group meets with the members of Lutheran CORE who are looking for a new church body and with other Lutheran church bodies in North America,” explained Ryan Schwarz of Washington, D.C., who chairs the working group.