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Finland's State Church to Sanction Prayer for Gay Marriages

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland's General Synod has approved, by a vote of 78-30, the creation of a prayer for registered same-sex partnerships.

AFP reports: Lutheran

"After years of debate, Finland's state church took a step towards accepting gay relationships with an announcement Friday it would create a "prayer moment" for registered partnerships. 'The proposal offers a positive opportunity to minister to church members who are sexual minorities,' the General Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church's highest administrative body, said in a statement. The General Synod must now draw up a formula for a prayer that walks a fine doctrinal line, observers said. Lutheran ministers will have the choice of performing the prayer with gay couples in a church, but it will not actually constitute a church's blessing of the union itself, synod spokesman Marko Kailasmaa told AFP...The vote can be seen as a concession of sorts to a groundswell of popular support within the church community for Christian gays, lesbians and bisexuals. 'A prayer moment is part of pastoral care ... It's not an official sacrament, but you can't say that a prayer is less important,' Kailasmaa said."

In October, the Church reportedly saw an exodus of tens of thousands of people over remarks it made at a gay rights panel on the Finnish Broadcasting Company.

In related news, here's Finland's "It Gets Better" video, if you missed it.


Watch: Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Speaks Out for Bullied Gay Teens

Mark_hanson

Bishop Mark Hanson, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, lends his voice to the "It Gets Better" project in a new video.

Says Hanson: "Sometimes the words of my Christian brothers and sisters have hurt you. I also know that our silence causes you pain...You are a beloved child of God. Your life carries the beauty and dignity of God's creation...There is a place for you in this world, and in this Church."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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New Denomination to Rise in Lutheran Church Due to Gay Rift

Church leaders unhappy with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's decision to allow non-celibate gay and lesbian pastors into its ranks are expected to come together and vote this week to create a separate denomination.

Lutheran The AP reports:

"Leaders of 18 former ELCA churches are expected to vote Friday to create a brand new Lutheran denomination that they claim will follow the Scriptures more faithfully: the North American Lutheran Church. 'The issue is departure from the word of God,' [Richard] Mahan [lead pastor at St. Timothy in Charleston, W.Va.] said. His church has already voted twice to end its longtime identity as a ELCA church, also ending an annual $36,000 in tithing to the denomination...As of early August, 199 congregations had cleared the hurdles to leave the ELCA for good, while another 136 awaited the second vote needed to make it official. In all there are 10,239 ELCA churches with about 4.5 million members, making it still by far the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. And the breakaway members gathering in Ohio will face their own challenges if they vote to start another denomination at a time when attendance at mainline Protestant churches is falling and denominational distinctions appear irrelevant to a growing number of churchgoers."


Lutherans Allow Pastor with Gay Urges to Return

Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock, whose attendance at a support group for Christians with same-sex attractions was exposed by Lavender Magazine in June, has been allowed to return to the pulpit after a task force could find no evidence that he had ever slept with a man,  the AP reports:

Brock  "Brock told The Associated Press he has known for years he is sexually attracted to men, but doesn't consider himself gay because he never acted on it. 'I am a 57-year-old virgin,' Brock told the Hope Lutheran congregation during services upon returning to the pulpit on Sunday. Brock and Parrish would not share the full task force report, but Parrish said its members could find no evidence Brock ever had sex with men. They confirmed that Brock sought counseling and enlisted another minister as an 'accountability partner' with whom he frequently discussed his struggles. Brock said he intends to step down as senior pastor at Hope Lutheran, but will retain his affiliation with the church and still preach there from time to time."

And - ugh - "Having preached on Twin Cities cable access for about 20 years, he told the AP he hopes to take his broadcasts to a wider national audience with a new message: 'You can have this struggle with same-sex attraction, say no to it, and still follow Christ.'"

Perhaps Brock and Ted Haggard can collaborate on a variety show.


Lutheran Pastor Brad Schmeling and His Partner to Be Reinstated

Schmeling  

The Reverend Bradley Schmeling and his partner Revernd Darin Easler will be reinstated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the AP reports:

"A gay Atlanta pastor and his partner who have been at the center of a battle over the treatment of gay clergy by the nation's largest Lutheran denomination are being reinstated to the denomination's clergy roster, church officials announced Tuesday. The Rev. Bradley Schmeling and his partner, the Rev. Darin Easler, have been approved for reinstatement, the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said in a news release. The approval came roughly eight months after the denomination voted to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy, and just weeks after the ELCA's church council officially revised the church's policy on gay ministers."


News: Burj Khalifa, Avatar, Seoul, Peter Corren, Casey Spooner

 road When Love Takes Over: Write your local newspaper.

 roadCanadian gay activist Peter Corren dies after long illness.

Burj  roadBurj Dubai Khalifa, world's tallest building, opens.

 roadPhotos of every celeb dude nipple that hit the beach over the holidays: Gerard Butler, Jason Statham, Matthew Morrison, more...

 roadD.C. gay bar Halo changes its name, goes green, commits to community pursuits: "The event is the beginning of a year-long process for Logan Circle Spectrum to institute a philosophical shift in corporate culture and set the foundation for national expansion of a new entertainment concept. The LGBT community today has evolved and we want to create a place where people can have fun while having the opportunity to make a more direct impact in our local communities."

 roadMatthew Broderick misses being Bueller.

 roadWashington Post blasts homophobic Virginia state senate candidate Stephen Hunt: "Although he was hardworking, his tenure is remembered mainly for his being unanimously censured by his colleagues after he sent a letter to high school principals denouncing homosexuality as a 'very destructive lifestyle' and urging them to expose students to former gays and lesbians who had rejected homosexuality."

 roadRosie O'Donnell and her new girlfriend, Texas-based artist Tracy Kachtick-Anders.

 roadCasey Spooner (of Fischerspooner) wants you to hear his new track, "Faye Dunaway".

Jg  roadJake Gyllenhaal receives a hot cop escort any time he wants one.

 roadMale model fix: Noah Mills.

 roadSeoul court rules in favor of Pakistani man seeking refugee status because he is gay: " The individual had petitioned the government for refugee status in February of last year. The Justice Ministry rejected his application four months later, however, saying his petition did not meet the criteria of a 'well-founded fear of being persecuted' as stipulated by the U.N. convention on refugees. The Seoul Administrative Court reversed the ministry's decision, saying that should he be repatriated 'there is a high likelihood that the plaintiff will be subject to persecution by the Pakistani government and Muslim society simply because he is gay.'"

 roadNorth Dakota Lutheran church to leave ELCA over gay policies.

 roadMan with world's largest recorded penis can't find work.

 roadBBC presenter Jane Hill: I'm a lesbian.

Avatar  roadAvatar is Pocahontas in space.

 roadRick Warren's urgent plea for $900K inspires windfall: "To no one's surprise, the congregation came through big time, even as Warren took a clubbing in the national media for the 'sky-is-falling' tone of his missive and his surprise that it made news. A spokesman for the church later said Warren also made clear that the ministry 'never asks -- or expects -- outsiders to give.' Saturday night, in the first round of weekend services, Warren announced more than $2.4 million rolled in through online offerings and envelopes delivered to the church's Lake Forest campus, south of Los Angeles."

 roadChanges we can applaud.

 roadThe Oscar contenders as gay porn variants?

 roadSteve Kornell, St. Petersburg, Florida's first openly gay elected official, sworn in.

 roadNew Jersey judge rules surrogate is legal mother: "In the New Jersey case, the surrogate, Angelia G. Robinson, agreed to have the children in 2006 for her brother, Donald Robinson Hollingsworth, an accountant in Manhattan, and his spouse, Sean Hollingsworth. The embryos were created from anonymous donor eggs and fertilized with sperm from Sean Hollingsworth. The girls were born in October 2006 and went to live with the Hollingsworths at their home in Jersey City. But in March 2007 Ms. Robinson filed a lawsuit seeking custody, alleging that she had been coerced into the arrangement."


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