And while the resolution allowing for homosexual ministers in the ELCA passed by a relatively slim margin (559-451), the resolution concerning fellowship with the Methodist Church passed by an amazing 958-51 vote.
First of all, what is “full communion”? According to an ELCA news release, it is defined this way:
Full communion is not a merger. But it means that the two churches express a common confession of Christian faith; mutual recognition of Baptism and sharing Holy Communion; join worship and freedom to exchange members; agree to mutual recognition of ordained ministers for service in either church; express a common commitment to evangelism, witness and service; engage in common decision-making on critical matters; and a mutual lifting of criticisms that may exist between the churches.
Starting with the issue discussed above, that of practicing homosexual ministers, one is surprised to read this statement: “mutual recognition of ordained ministers for service in either church.” Now, the UMC’s official position still is this:
While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.
Good for the UMC!