Minns’ advice to Lutherans: We left and so should you

As Lutherans who are upset about the ELCA’s decision to welcome gay and lesbians into the full life of their church (with conditions) gather in Chicago, a video from CANA bishop Martyn Minn has been released to greet them. His message: “We know your pain. We left our church. You should leave yours.”

Julia Duin writes at the Washington Times:

Lutheran CORE has drawn 1,200+ folks to a meeting to discuss what future – if any – conservatives have in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America now that that the denomination has OK’d gay clergy as of last month. The CORE folks have given every indication they’re heading out the door to form a new group or join with other dissident Lutheran groups.

And CANA is encouraging them to move out, according to a short video posted on YouTube. CANA’s lead bishop, Martyn Minns, until recently the rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Va., shows up in somewhat informal garb with a number of icons and religious paintings behind him. Am not sure the reason for the rodeo music accompaniment but sure enough, the bishop tells Lutherans that “We know the pain; we’ve been there” in reference to how his parish and 14 other churches left the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia from 2005-2007 – and the ensuing lawsuit that occurred when they tried to take their property with them.

Meanwhile the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Mark Hanson, has warned the CORE group about the devastating effect of withholding funds in protest. The AP reports:

Withholding funding would hurt the mission of the Chicago-based denomination, Hanson wrote.

“Although these actions are promoted as a way to signal opposition to churchwide assembly actions or even to punish the voting members who made them, the result will be wounds that we inflict on ourselves, our shared life, and our mission in Christ,” he wrote.

At least, CORE is being honest about why they are angry. CANA has always denied that their leaving was about homosexuality per se, but The Rev. Mark Chavez, director of Lutheran CORE, said the gay clergy vote was the devastating event — “a departure from God’s clear word.”

CORE provides an entry into the ELCA that has not existed before to create strife and division, building on the reaction to the Synod votes to create a wedge in yet another mainline denomination. The Institute for Religion and Democracy has never had a successful foothold in the ELCA, while they have set up groups to combat the leaderships of the Episcopal, Presbyterian and Methodist churches. The connection with Minns, CANA, his former parish and IRD is well-known. A broad-based anti-gay, politically conservative movement across mainline denominational lines is the goal of this sort of encouragement. .

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