The Further Adventures of Jen: On August 21, the church council at Resurrection Lutheran Church in the Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood unanimously approved a resolution recommending that the congregation call Jen Rude to a half-time position as Assistant Pastor.
After her ELCA Candidacy interview last October, the Sierra Pacific Synod Candidacy Committee could find no reason to disallow Jen's candidacy but was also unable to either affirm or postpone her approval. In November, 2006, she was approved for call by the ECP and admitted to the ECP roster. In January, 2007, the Sierra Pacific Candidacy Committee put her candidacy on "indefinite postponement".
Could there be another ordination extra ordinem in November or so?

The Path to 2009: In case you're wondering how the ELCA will arrive at a proposed Sexuality Social Statement in 2009 (and how you might influence that proposal), the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality has published a timeline for its work. The Task Force's next meeting is October 5-7, and November 1 is the deadline for responding to the 3rd installment of the study (Free in Christ to Serve the Neighbor).

Rules Trump Conscience: The Synod of the Pacific Permanent Judicial Commission (Presbyterian Church USA) has ruled that lesbian evangelist emerita Rev. Dr. Jane Adams Spahr committed an offense when she performed the marriages of two lesbian couples in 2004.
The ruling overturns a lower church body's ruling last year that Rev. Spahr had not violated church rules because there was latitude for ministers to rely on their conscience.
The new ruling declared in part: "Regardless of the expression of conscience by the Rev. Dr. Spahr, she may not circumvent the standards of the church." Read the Permanent Judicial Commission's decision.
The decision does not affect Rev. Spahr's ordination, but could lead to further discipinary measures if she continues to perform wedding ceremonies for same sex couples.
Commenting on the decision, Rev. Spahr said, "I am deeply saddened that our church has chosen not to recognize the loving relationships of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members of its own family. It continues to be my honor as a minister to perform marriages for loving, committed couples, no matter what their sexual orientation."

Sloth Never Looked So Good: If you're going to do nothing, you might as well do it in style. Tell the world you aren't afraid to sin boldy by slipping into the Official T-SHIRT!

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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.

    Permission to Reincarnate: "The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid," according to a new order from China's leaders which goes into effect September 1.
    The complex regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs in Beijing is intended to limit the influence of the Dalai Lama and to prevent the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing.
    China already insists that only the Government can approve the appointments of Tibet's two most important monks, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.
    The Dalai Lama's announcement in May, 1995 that a search inside Tibet (conducted with the cooperation of a prominent abbot) had identified the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, who died in 1989, enraged Beijing.
    Communist authorities insisted that the search be restarted and sent a senior Politburo member to Lhasa to oversee the final choice.
    The boy chosen by the Dalai Lama has disappeared. The abbot who worked with the Dalai Lama was jailed and has since vanished. (Read more in The Search for the Panchen Lama by Isabel Hilton.)
    Several sets of rules on seeking out "soul boys" were promulgated in 1995, but not enforced. Hundreds of living Buddhas are now believed to live inside and outside China.
    The new regulations prohibit anyone outside China from taking part in the process of seeking and recognising a living Buddha, effectively excluding the Dalai Lama, who has traditionally played an important role in giving recognition to candidate reincarnates.
    According to some reports, the Dalai Lama has said that he will not be reborn in Tibet while it remains under Chinese control.
    (Source: Jane McCartney, The Times, August 4, 2007.)

    Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?: We're sure that there are lots of Lutherans who have questions about abstinence these days. As a public service for all clergy of the Central Great Lakes Synod and anyone else who will be abstaining from sex until an ELCA Sexuality Social Statement can be approved, we'd like to call our readers' attention to the Abstinence Clearinghouse:
    The mission of the Abstinence Clearinghouse is to promote the appreciation for and practice of sexual abstinence (purity) until marriage through the distribution of age appropriate, factual and medically-referenced materials. We are a clearinghouse for abstinence information and a network of abstinence advocates.
    We have to wonder why the Abstinence Clearinghouse web site has a section named "war room".

    Homework from Pr. Sophie: Pr. Sophie says we should all read up on sacerdotal celibacy. There will be a test. Pr. Sophie promises to return again soon.

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