LA Times, 15 Mar 06

Altadena Pastor Faces Censure Over Ceremony

A longtime openly gay Altadena pastor faces removal from the clergy after he exchanged rings and vows with his partner during a worship service at his church.

The Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently formed a five-member panel to determine whether the Rev. John M. Kauffman, pastor of Christ the Shepherd Lutheran Church, should be reprimanded for the ceremony, which disregarded the Lutheran Church's policy that requires gay pastors to be celibate. It will convene later this month.

Southwest California Bishop Dean W. Nelson said he supports Kauffman's decision, but added that his personal beliefs will not be a factor in the synod's decision. If the panel, after conducting interviews, suggests disciplinary action, Nelson said he would file formal charges that would lead to a hearing presided over by both local and national synod members.