When the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted in 2009 to allow member churches to perform weddings for same-sex couples without violating church law. And when Minnesota enacted marriage equality is opened the door for churches engaged in social justice or with LGBT members to support equality directly.
As the La Crosse Tribune reports, that’s an issue the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in La Crescent, Minn., wrestled with for more than a year.
“Then you had to ask the question, ‘Why should somebody who was baptized, confirmed and raised as a member not have the right to be married in the church of his or her upbringing?’” Johnson said. “That’s a harder question to answer.”
“So many of the Scriptures say, ‘welcome all’ and there’s lot of people looking for a church to extend a welcome to people who’ve been oppressed, who’ve been outsiders or outliers,” Woods added. “It’s a missional thing for us to say, ‘Welcome home.’”
WXOW reports that the church didn’t vote, but instead used an alternate practice to determine church policy on same-sex couples:
“We took about a year to have a discussion, knowing we didn’t want to vote on it because voting doesn’t change anybody’s mind, it just creates winners and losers,” Prince of Peace Pastor Mike Woods, said.
Instead, the church decided on a practice Woods calls “communal discernment,” where members of the church are able to meet in groups and discuss feelings and beliefs about the issue at hand.
“Each of us told our stories about how we came to what we believe about it,” he said. “Our best decisions come when many voices have input.”
Here’s WXOW’s report: