Here’s How a Lutheran Bishop Should Speak About Ordaining Actively Homosexual Persons
Kenyan Lutheran bishop rebukes Swedish church on lesbian bishop
By Fredrick Nzwili
Nairobi, 16 November (ENI)–The executive committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya has expressed shock, dismay and disappointment at the consecration of the Rev. Eva Brune, a lesbian who lives with her partner, as a bishop in the Church of Sweden.
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible this unfortunate and anti-scriptural development in a church body that bears the name of the great reformer, Dr Martin Luther,” said Archbishop Walter Obare, the leader of the ELCK in a statement on 13 November, after the church’s executive committee meeting in Nairobi.
Brune, aged 55, who lives in a legal relationship with her partner, was consecrated as the bishop of Stockholm in a ceremony at Uppsala cathedral on 8 November. The Rev. Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund, a female pastor, was consecrated as the bishop of Harnosand in northern Sweden, alongside Brune.
Obare said that at the time of Martin Luther, the church in Sweden was a pillar of the “Biblical Reformation” but it had “now decided to go apostate by consecrating a lesbian woman” and he described the action by the church as a “rejection of Christendom”.
The Kenyan archbishop’s letter on behalf of the executive committee of the church was co-signed by the general secretary of the denomination, the Rev. John Halakhe.
“We … are watching with shock, dismay and disappointment these recent developments on what we would call ‘the mega’ church bodies in the world, when they work so hard and tirelessly to lead the world into religious-less society,” said Obare.
He referred also to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s decision in August to allow homosexuals to serve as pastors in the church.
The Church of Sweden, with 6.9 million members is the largest single church belonging to the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation, while ELCK has 100 000 members.
“This act by the Church of Sweden constitutes a loveless and callous disregard of the spiritual condition of those caught in homosexual bondage,” said Obare. He termed women’s ordinations into church service as a recent and unfortunate innovation that is at the “epicentre of spiritual lesbianism in the church today”.
The Kenyan bishop noted, “We feel compassion for those among us who are caught in homosexual bondage and want them to know the transforming power of God’s forgiveness and love.”
The Rev.Halakhe said the acceptance of homosexuality in Europe and North America is causing discomfort among some LWF members ahead of the body’s once-every-seven-years assembly to be held in Stuttgart, Germany in 2010.
“Churches in Africa and Asia will bring it up in the assembly. We feel this time it has gone too far [with the ordinations],” he told Ecumenical News International on 15 November.
Asked if the ELCK would leave the LWF if actions such as those by the Church of Sweden continue, Halakhe said, “We have not been pushed by anybody, but if we are, we will definitely leave.” [495 words]
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