Walking the Talk: The St. Francis Lutheran (SF) weekly newsletter reports that Sierra Pacific Synod Bishop-Elect Rev. Mark Holmerud will join the Lutherans Concerned contingent marching in the 38th Annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade on June 29.
We have to wonder how St. Francis, an independent Lutheran congregation, came by this information, but we pass it along nonetheless.
Rev. Holmerud's term as bishop begins July 1. A Service of Installation has been set for Saturday, July 12th, at 1:00 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sacramento. ELCA Presiding Bishop Rev. Mark Hanson will preside and preach at the installation.

Big, Fat Gay, Church Wedding Redux: Lutherans Concerned / Los Angeles (LCLA) has published a short primer for same-gender couples wishing to be married in church. California will begin issuing marriage licenses for same-gender couples on June 17. In addition to information about the legal requirements for marriage in California, nine Lutheran churches in the Los Angeles area are listed for couples who want additional information.
You may remember that LCLA sponsored a Big, Fat, Gay, Church Wedding booth at last year's Christopher Street West Pride Fair.

Chicago Loop Lutherans: On May 11, Christ the King Lutheran Church in Chicago commissioned Tana Kjos and Kelly Fryer (pictured) as co-pastoral leaders. The two women will lead the congregation through a renewal program and take on pastoral duties as well.
Kelly Fryer comes to this position with fifteen years' experience as an ELCA pastor and seminary professor. She resigned from the ELCA clergy roster in 2006 when she came to understand her identity as a lesbian.
Her partner in life and vocation Tana Kjos has a graduate degree in Congregational Mission & Leadership and has spent over a decade in church renewal.
Nuances of language are important here: being "commissioned" as a "pastoral leader" is not the same thing as being "called" as a "pastor": commissioned leaders need not be rostered and apparently are not governed by the ELCA policy documents that address clergy in same-sex relationships (Vision and Expectations and Guidelines for Discipline). This affords a measure of protection from the threat of discipline for the congregation, and Christ the King is not the first congregation to take this route. The cost, of course, is that the pastoral leader sets aside, at least for the time being, the ambition of being a pastor.
Christ the King worships on Sundays at 10AM at HI-Chicago (the The J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Hostel), 24 E. Congress Parkway. All are welcome!

More Ordination Outlawry: The Catholic News Agency reports that the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a decree declaring that any women "attempting" ordination and any bishops "attempting to" ordain women are automatically excommunicated by their actions:
Regarding the crime of attempting sacred ordination of a woman
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of holy orders, in virtue of the special faculty conferred to it by the supreme authority of the Church (see canon 30, Canon Law), in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007, has decreed:
Remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1378 of the Canon Law, both he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, and the woman who has attempted to receive the said sacrament, incurs in latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.
If he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman or if the woman who has attempted to receive holy orders, is a member of the faithful subject to the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches, remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1443 of the same Code, they will be punished with major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See (see canon 1423, Canon Law of the Eastern Churches).

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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.

    The current decree will come into immediate force from the moment of publication in the 'Osservatore Romano' and is absolute and universal.

    The most recent "attempted" ordination of a woman occurred on May 4 in Winona, Minnesota when Kathy Redig (pictured) was ordained into the Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an organization that seeks to ordain women in the Catholic Church and whose priests and bishops have often been excommunicated for doing so.
    Bishop of Winona Bernard Harrington responded to the news of Redig’s ordination by saying it made him “very, very sad.” The bishop also said that “She, by her actions, has excommunicated herself.”

    Church's Hands Are Tied: Jesus Blamed: In a L’Osservatore Romano interview regarding the recent decree by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) on the ordination of women, the secretary for the CDF, Archbishop Angelo Amato, declared that the reason only men can be ordained to the priesthood is that, however much church officials might wish to do otherwise, "the Catholic Church is not authorized to change the will of her founder, Jesus Christ. Therefore, in the participation in the life and mission of the Church, women cannot receive the sacrament of Holy Orders and therefore, they cannot carry out the functions proper to the ministerial priesthood." Archbishop Amato stopped short of declaring himself to be a "quiet ally" in the cause of women's ordination.
    Archbishop Amato explained that the Church’s teaching on this matter is founded upon the "free and sovereign will of Jesus Christ, who only called men to be apostles." The Church is bound by the decision of the Lord Himself, he stressed. "For this reason the ordination of women is not possible."

    Brothers of John the Steadfast: The latest installment in the Issues, Etc. saga involves the emergence of Brothers of John the Steadfast (BJS), yet another community of support organizing to keep the former LCMS-backed radio program on the air and to resist the forces that caused Issues, Etc. to be canceled in the first place.
    John the Steadfast was Elector of Saxony in Luther's time. He was instrumental in providing political protection for Luther and was the leader of the Schmalkaldic League of Protestant states formed in 1530 to protect the Reformation.
    The official launch of the Brothers of John the Steadfast will be in mid-June, and the group has published a rollout plan that identifies milestones through January, 2009.
    As a protest group in the LCMS community, the Brothers of John the Steadfast are already facing their first identity crisis: articulating the status of women in the new movement. The LCMS approved women's suffrage in 1969 and affirmed in 2004 that women are eligible for non-pastoral offices. The LCMS tradition forbids the ordination of women.
    Not surprisingly, Brothers of John the Steadfast was first envisioned as an organization for men.
    However, it is clear that women will not be denied the opportunity to participate in the newly emerging movement: the most prominent voice in defense of Issues, Etc. and the values it represents has been that of Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, and one of the first responses to the BJS announcement came from Linda Ratliff asking if women could be steadfast, too.
    The BJS organizers acknowledge that this is an important issue and point proudly to the appointments of Ms. Hemingway as a primary voice of the BJS blog and of Ms Ratliff as the organization's treasurer. However they have yet to work out a detailed plan for women's participation (the suggestion of a "parallel" organization for women is unlikely to be adequate).
    Stay tuned.

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