Dear brother in Christ, Bishop Mark Hanson, greetings.
On February 28, 2005, I wrote you a letter titled: “A Concern About: Journeying Together Faithfully”. The letter was an appeal written out of a Christian concern regarding the subject of homosexuality in its current stage within the ELCA. I hope the letter reached your office.
With only about two weeks before the meeting of the ELCA Church-wide Assembly, some information available to us says that the Assembly will vote on the subject in question despite a large number of appeals suggesting the contrary – a delay.
Much as we acknowledge the right of the ELCA to deal with her own church affairs, we however, feel that safeguarding our co-operation and companionship is profoundly significant. We are mutually engaged in God’s Mission. We have joint statements which binds us together as partners in the furtherance of the Gospel. The word, “..... you shall be my witnesses ......” (Acts 1:8) points to unity in witnessing.
In that spirit, brother, Bishop Hanson, I appeal to you again, on behalf of the North Western Diocese of the ELCT, to delay the voting on this very divisive subject.
We are aware of several recommendations which are intended to be brought before the Assembly for discussion and vote taking. The third one, speaks about “affirm and uphold” traditional standards (for us this is in line with our appeal), but then it continues to speak about “create a process … which may permit exception to the expectations”! This recommendation suggests two contradictory positions at the same time. It is painful and even harmful. Contradictions should be avoided.
Dear colleague in the vineyard, allow more time for discussion. Allow more contacts with the outside (USA). Create more opportunities for listening, study and prayer. This is not too “expensive”!
Faith, hope and love.