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Global Lutheran schism over homosexuality: The Church of England Newspaper, February 17, 2013 p 7. February 22, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden, Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) has broken with the Church of Sweden, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and all “churches who have openly accepted same-sex marriage.”

The split between one of the largest African members of the Lutheran World Federation mirrors and liberal American and European churches mirrors the disputes in the Anglican Communion over doctrine and church discipline.

The General Assembly of the Mekane Yesus (Place of Jesus) Church, meeting in Addis Ababa from 27 Jan to 2 Feb, ratified a July 2012 decision by its church council to end Eucharistic fellowship with the two leading liberal members of the World Lutheran Fellowship over their decision to allow gay clergy and same-sex blessings.

“The ELCA is very saddened by this decision,” said the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for ELCA Global Mission, noting the American Lutheran church had been “walking with the people of Ethiopia for more than 50 years, and our sister church, the Church of Sweden, for more than 150 years.”

While the Mekane Yesus Church is “closing the door to this partnership,” Mr. Malpica Padilla said the ELCA and the Church of Sweden “are not locking the doors from our side. It is open for when you decide it is time to resume this journey together. It is my hope that in the near future, we will again walk together in Christian love.”

In his address to January synod meeting, the president of the EECMY, the Rev. Wakseyoum Idosa said the EECMY “had lived in partnership with some partners for over a century.”

“Challenges and changes that we encounter in out contexts are forcing us to make decisions which are consistent with our belief about God and our biblical, theological and ethical understandings and our contexts where the church operates. One of these challenges as you all know is the controversial issue on human sexuality which has been on the agenda of the EECMY since 2006.”

The EECMY had issued a “clear statement on the position of the church on this issue” in 2010, President Idosa said, and the Council of the Church at its July meeting determined to take action to break with the Church of Sweden and the ELCA.

“The decision of the Council that has been endorsed by the General Assembly will be communicated to the concerned churches on the basis of the bilateral relations that exist between the church and concerned partners,” he said.

Founded by Lutheran missionaries in the 19th century, the Mekane Yesus church has experienced rapid growth over the past forty years. President Idosa told the General Assembly over the past three years the church had added one million members, and at year’s end counted 6,012,184 members and 7,840 congregations.