The Question No One Wants Asked
How do I counsel a celibate homosexual pastor who asks me to explain how the Word of God can be changed by an ELCA convention when he or she has spent a life time struggling with this issue and has resolved it in a different way than has the church?The question was voiced publicly by Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of the ELCA's Northern Great Lakes Synod at the Conference on Sexuality held October 24-26, 2002, in Kansas City, sponsored by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau and can be found published on page 44 of the book of that conference, Christian Sexuality.Early during the Assembly before the sexuality discussions began, I saw Bishop Skrenes outside the plenary hall. So I walked up to him, re-introduced myself, and recalled his question.
"Have you gotten an answer?" I asked.
No, he hadn't.
Confessing that I hadn't either, I thanked him, both for asking the question in public and for his answer to me.
An ELCA News release earlier today reported,
At least two bishops revealed their voting record to their synods -- the Rev. Claire S. Burkat, bishop of the ELCA Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod and the Rev. Thomas A. Skrenes, bishop of the ELCA Northern Great Lakes Synod. Burkat supported the resolution, Skrenes did not.WLUC TV6/FOX UP in Marquette, Michigan, reports,
Burkat and Skrenes committed to continuing conversation with members of the ELCA who do not agree with them.
"I voted against all of these proposals because I believe the theological and biblical case for change was not made," Skrenes wrote in his letter. 'My renewed pledge to you is to be honest, fair and pastoral as we enter the future."
In Marquette, Bishop Tom Skrenes says he will not recommend a gay or lesbian clergy member into the church. He voted against the ruling and fears the decision will only cause a divide.I wonder how many other ELCA Bishops intend to do the same?
"This decision, I think, will not be popular here in the Upper peninsula of Michigan by many of our congregation though there are advocates of this in almost every church in our synod," says Skrenes.
Skrenes says he will talk one-on-one with all of the 85 pastors throughout the Upper Peninsula about how this will effect the church into the future.