FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: January 14, 2005

Contact: Greg A. Egertson, Co-Chair, LLGM

E-mail: [email protected]

Cell: 415-722-4224

 

 

SF MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM TO RECEIVE AWARD AT GAY LUTHERANS' ANNIVERSARY

 

Celebration Takes Place as the Lutheran Church Concludes 4-Year

Study of Homosexuality

 

 

 

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will be the featured speaker at

Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries’ 15th anniversary celebration.

 

The mayor will speak at a gala banquet at the Cathedral Hill Hotel on

Saturday, January 15, 2005, at 8 p.m. Mayor Newsom will receive the

Voice of Distinction Award for his leadership in seeking to legalize

same-sex marriage in San Francisco.

 

The occasion celebrates the 15th anniversary of the ordinations of the

first openly gay and lesbian Lutheran pastors in the United States on

January 20, 1990, and the founding of Lutheran Lesbian and Gay

Ministries, an advocacy organization for full participation for LGBT

people in the Lutheran Church.

 

The 1990 ordinations were controversial because the candidates had not

been approved for ordination by the parent church body, the Evangelical

Lutheran Church in America. The three candidates were graduates of

Lutheran seminaries and had qualified for call and ordination in all

respects, except that they did not agree to abstain from homosexual

sexual relationships, as required by the ELCA’s policy. After a church

trial, the calling congregations, St. Francis and First United Lutheran

Churches of San Francisco, were subsequently expelled from the ELCA.

The expulsions brought national attention to ministries with gay and

lesbian people, and sparked a lively debate among Lutherans.

 

Fifteen years later, both churches are alive and well, the three

ordained people are still involved in ministry, and the struggle by

LGBT people for full participation in the life of the church and

society continues.

 

The gala celebration comes two days after the Evangelical Lutheran

Church in America’s taskforce on sexuality recommended no change in

the current policy that requires openly gay and lesbian pastors to remain

celibate.

 

"We are dismayed and deeply saddened by the taskforce’s report," said

Greg Egertson, Co-Chair of Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries.

 

"After four years of study, we expected more leadership from our

church, and more progress toward justice. Instead, the recommendations

continue to encourage the discrimination of gay and lesbian pastors

in our church," Egertson said.

 

"Even so, this is a time of celebration for us," Egertson said. "Our

numbers are growing, our ministries are thriving and the gifts of gay

and lesbian Lutheran pastors are being recognized, affirmed and shared.

If you want to see the future face of inclusive Lutheran ministry,

this is it."

 

The anniversary event will be preceded by a 3:30 PM worship service

at St. Francis Lutheran Church, 152 Church St. in San Francisco,

honoring the ministries of nearly 40 LGBT pastors and seminarians who

have been rostered with the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, and the

history of the Lutheran ministries to lesbian and gay people which

began 15 years ago.