Plate Tectonics: On September 17, Lutherans Concerned North America (LCNA) released a detailed response to the Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality.
The 10-page LCNA response addresses each of the five sections of the Draft Social Statement, noting both the strengths of each section and the portions for which changes or additions are recommended. This comes in tabular form with columns to show the wording of the current draft, the proposed action (that is, retain, change, add or delete), and the reason for the proposed change. Also included are recommendations for the "implementing resolutions" that would accompany the adoption of a completed social statement as well as suggestions for changes to ELCA rostering policy.
In March, when the Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality was released, we noted that initial reactions from both sides of the full inclusion for LGBT people debate were substantially similar. In the intervening months, the ideological and methodological differences between proponents and opponents of full inclusion have become clearer. An interesting exercise for those who want to experience these differences first hand is to read the LCNA response side by side with the open letter from Lutheran CORE.

After Ike: Yes, Hurricane Ike was a big deal. For those of you in California, imagine a single storm stretching roughly from San Francisco to San Diego. The storm struck September 13, centered on the Galveston-Houston area. Hundreds of thousands of homes lost power. Houston officials warned that they could no longer guarantee the safety of the water supply and urged residents to boil water.
Churches improvised. Under severely reduced circumstances (see picture), St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church stuck to its regular schedule for mass on Sunday September 14.
The ELCA Gulf Coast Synod moved its office to a temporary facility at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Phillipsburg in Brenham seventy miles northwest of Houston and began the difficult job of assessing damage to churches throughout the synod. The results of the synod's efforts are published on its web site.
As of September 21, power had not yet been restored at Grace Lutheran in Houston where Pr. Lura Groen presides at worship services outdoors on the church's front porch.

Launching the Luther Decade: Lutherans like to ground the Reformation in an event that is fixed in time and space: Luther's posting of 95 theses on the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Preparations for the 500th anniversary of that event have long been underway.
Of course, there is more to the reformation than Lutheranism, and in 2009 the Reformed Church will observe Calvin09, the 500th anniversary of Jean Calvin's


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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.

    birth.
    Not content to let the Reformed Church scoop the Reformation's half-millennium celebration, on the weekend of September 19-21 the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) launched its Luther Decade. The beginning of the Luther Decade commemorates Luther's move from Erfurt to Wittenberg in 1508.
    The festivities began with a reenactment of Luther's arrival on the banks of the Elbe. A bicycle tour from St Augustine's Monastery in Erfurt to Wittenberg featured Tour de France participant Ralf Grabsch, who was born near Wittenberg, and two other cyclists. Bishop Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) preached at the opening worship service on September 21 at the Schlosskirche. It is not known if the worship included a rite of foot washing.

    Prop. 8 Scorecard: Proposition 8 is the California ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriages in California. It's ballot title is "Eliminates Right of Same-sex Couples to Marry." (Earlier this year the California Supreme Court ruled that previous prohibitions on same-sex marriages violated the state constitution.)
    On September 10, the Episcopal Bishops of California issued a statement opposing Prop. 8:
    We do not believe that marriage of heterosexuals is threatened by same-sex marriage. Rather, the Christian valuesof monogamy, commitment, love, mutual respect and witness of monogamy are enhanced for all by providing this right to gay and straight alike. Society is strengthened when two people who love each other choose to enter into marriage, engaged in a lifetime of disciplined relationship building that serves as a witness to the importance of love and commitment.
    Signing of the statement were:
    The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California
    The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Assisting Bishop, Diocese of California
    The Rt. Rev. Barry L. Beisner, Bishop of Northern California
    The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles
    The Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton, Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles
    The Rt. Rev. Sergio Carranza, Bishop Assistant of Los Angeles
    The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, Bishop of El Camino Real
    The Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, Provisional Bishop of San Joaquin
    The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, Bishop of San Diego

    Faith communities supporting Prop. 8 include:Roman Catholic Church,Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Mark Your Calendar: Friday October 17 will be a gala concert at Holy Trinity Church (10 Trinity Square, Toronto) to benefit the Ambassador of Reconciliation program of Holy Cross Lutheran Church. The concert features singer, songwriter, spoken word and theater artist Evalyn Parry (pictured). The festivities begin at 7:30 and there will be a silent auction in addition to the performance. Contact Pr. Lionel Ketola at Holy Cross Lutheran Church Newmarket, Ontario.

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