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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 182,077 baptized members in 624 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.

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A NEWS RELEASE
From National Church Council of the ELCIC

LUTHERAN DELEGATES WILL VOTE ON SAME SEX BLESSINGS

Winnipeg, March 9, 2005 (ELCIC)-The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Convention being held in Winnipeg this summer from July 21-24 will be considering a three-part resolution that would allow local congregations to decide if they will authorize the blessing of same sex relationships.

The National Church Council (NCC) of the ELCIC has been asked to provide guidance for the pastoral practice of its synods, congregations, and pastors on this issue that has been a part of public discourse for some time. After careful study of all points of view, the NCC will forward a resolution to the national convention that recognizes:

· The need for a clear process for congregations to follow in order to conduct same sex blessings;
· The right of each congregation to make its own decision on the issue;
· The right of clergy to participate along with their congregations or calling agencies in making the decision to perform such blessings;
· The inadequacy of current guiding documents on issues of homosexuality in light of developing theological, pastoral and sociological scholarship; and
· That a new rite for such blessings would need to be developed.

"The NCC has acknowledged the diversity of opinion within our church on this contentious issue," said ELCIC National Bishop Raymond L. Schultz. "The range of responses regarding this matter within the ELCIC mirrors Canadian public opinion. This resolution captures that spirit by providing a clear question for delegates that offers a process that will allow congregations to decide on their own whether or not to bless same sex relationships."

The NCC conducted an extensive study of important issues surrounding a local option for same sex blessings seeking the guidance of theologians, pastors and lay leaders through essays which are also available to the public on the ELCIC website http://www.elcic.ca

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