Friday, January 19, 2007
Prayers for the Rev. Bradley Schmeling, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America ...
...who is an ordained gay minister, living with a partner, in contradiction with the requirements of his church. The ELCA currently requires potential clergy who are gay or lesbian to be celibate.
St. John's Lutheran Church knew Schmeling was gay when they called him to be their pastor. Not too long afterward, he formed a relationship with Darin Easler, a former Lutheran pastor. His bishop, Ronald Warren, proceeded to file charges. Schmeling is due to go on trial today; the trial is closed to the public and is expected to take 4 days.
St John's is standing by Schmeling. Laura Crawley, the president of the congregation, said, “If he’s removed from the roster of ordained pastors, he won’t be removed from our pulpit automatically. We remain, as we were when we hired him back in 2000, committed to having Pastor Brad as our pastor for as long as he chooses to stay."
St John's is also determined to stay affiliated with the ELCA, although the Synod could impose punitive measures against them if they stay their course.
A Chicago Tribune article (link below) details how the members of the congregation are almost unanimously determined to stand by Rev. Schmeling. When he was called, only 6 members out of then 250 voted against him. James Mayer was one of them. He left the church, and tried to find another one.
But, Bradley Schmeling loved his congregation. The church was "barely hanging on when he came." But, in the 6 years he was there, it grew from 250 to 350. Schmeling reached out to, and consoled, Mayer's wife and daughter, not out of some homosexual agenda, but because he wanted to show them love, whether they were old members or complete strangers. People came to see him for who he was, an ordinary man, who happened to be a pastor, who happened to be showing Jesus' love, as Jesus commanded us to.
And an amazing thing happened: James Mayer came back to the church, and in fact contributed to Schmeling's defense fund.
"When asked about biblical verses that condemned homosexuality, though, Mayer's posture stiffens. He says: ''I don't go there.
``That's between Pastor Brad and God,'' he says. ``None of us are perfect. We're all going to answer for our sin.''
When asked about ELCA guidelines, he grasps for the right words.
Finally, he says after sighing, ``I don't know everything in the world. I don't understand how we all couldn't be born perfectly.
''It's just that over a period of time, I came to realize Pastor Brad wasn't the person I thought he was. He was still gay. But the knowledge that I had of gay people wasn't who he was.
``He was just like everybody else.''
(You all really should read the Tribune article just to hear James' words.)
Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson declared, "Jesus is the homosexual agenda in the Episcopal Church." People like him, like Janet Edwards, and Bradley Schmeling are executing that homosexual agenda in their churches, all over the world. In every Christian denomination, from Southern Baptists to the United Church of Christ, there are affirming groups, following the homosexual agenda. They deserve our prayers. And Rev. Bradley Schmeling deserves to remain a priest in good standing in the ELCA, as does Rev Janet Edwards in the Presbyterian Church. I pray that they both do, as do all other clergy who are in the same situation.
Posted by W at 3:32 PM