Pact with Lutheran church does not open door to gay clergy

Pact with Lutheran church does not open door to gay clergy

(UMNS) The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's acceptance of pastors in same-sex relationships does not pave the way for noncelibate gay clergy to serve in United Methodist churches, officials from the two denominations said.

The Lutheran vote Aug. 21 to drop its ban on gay clergy, coming a day after the denomination approved a full communion pact including the sharing of clergy with The United Methodist Church, raised the question of whether practicing homosexual Lutheran pastors would be permitted in United Methodist pulpits.

Leaders from both churches said Aug. 26, however, that The United Methodist Church’s ban on noncelibate gay clergy is unchanged.

“Our Book of Discipline on that subject did not become null and void when they took that vote," said Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops. "It still applies to United Methodist clergy."

He said there is an expectation that the church's stance "would need to be respected" by clergy appointed to serve United Methodist churches.

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