Affirming the Ministry of Women in the Lutheran Church of Australia

Resolution of St Stephens Lutheran Church, March 2009

To the General Synod of the Lutheran Church in Australia, October  2009

AGM St. Stephens Lutheran Church, Adelaide

St Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Adelaide submitted this resolution for decision by the Synod.  We are not quite sure how it happened that, despite the congregational meeting approving it in March, it ended up as a “late” resolution, and even though it was printed in the Book of Reports so available to everyone for consideration prior to Synod, the Chair of Synod moved quickly to recommend to the Synod that it not be considered.

WHEREAS there is no consensus within The Lutheran Church of Australia at this moment in its history, as demonstrated at both the 2000 and 2006 pastors’ conferences and Synodical conventions, that Scriptures either mandate male only pastors or support the ordination of women to the public ministry; and

WHEREAS, guided by the Holy Spirit, this church has procedures that trust designated individuals and bodies to make decisions about fitness for ordained ministry, and raises up, calls, supports, and maintains the roll of those ordained to serve the public ministry of Word and Sacrament and seeks faithfully to discern in each situation what will best serve the mission of Christ; and

WHEREAS, some members, congregations or districts of the LCA have discerned gifts and skills for ordained ministry in specific women and believe that ordaining and calling such people would serve the mission and ministry of this church while others, even while acknowledging these gifts and skills for ministry, believe that this church must maintain an expectation of a male only ordination, and thus believe that this church cannot call or ordain women; and

WHEREAS, the Church of Christ sometimes has been surprised by the actions of the Spirit, as is reported in the book of Acts when the inclusion of Gentiles was affirmed;

therefore,

be it RESOLVED, that the members of the Lutheran Church of Australia commit themselves in Christian love to respect the bound consciences of those with whom they disagree regarding decisions on the calling and ordaining of women, in this church and with churches ecumenically and globally; and

be it further RESOLVED, that this church, because of its commitment to respect the bound consciences of all, declare its intention to incorporate structured flexibility in decision-making into its policies and procedures so that districts, congregations and others involved in approval for ordained ministry and in the process of extending calls will be free to act according to their convictions regarding both the approving or disapproving for ordained ministry and the extending or not extending of a call to ordained service of a female person who is otherwise qualified; and

be it further RESOLVED, that the Lutheran Church of Australia make provision in its policies to eliminate the prohibition of ordination to women.

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