GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The ELCA vote of 2009 divided Lutherans forever. The decision to allow gay and lesbian pastors in committed relationships to be ordained into ministry caused a ripple effect of defections.
On Tuesday many of those ripples gathered for a Lutheran conference at Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley.
Some of them reflecting on who they have become as a faith community since then.
"The positive part about it is its helped people to I think discern who they are and what they believe and what is important in life and ministry," Pastor Steve of Calvary Lutheran Church said. His church parted with the ELCA but has not affiliated itself with another group.
In the aftermath of that decision a new group was formed; the North American Lutheran Church.
Its Bishop says it was needed for those Lutherans who could not embrace the ELCA's decision on GLBT ministry inclusion.
"We think that advancing agendas where you end up compromising some of the most basic of doctrine in the church is not faithful." NALC Bishop John Bradosky said.
The NALC is just one of several groups convening this week in Golden Valley.
Another is Lutheran Core, a group that says is trying to bridge the gap of ELCA members who wanted to keep with the ELCA, but who also believe marriage is only sacred between a man and a woman.
"There are a lot of issues we don't agree about but realize the issues we do agree on are far more important than the ones we don't agree about," Core member Steve Shipman said.
Those other issues, these folks say, are what they want to focus on moving forward from the division still so clearly visible looking back.
A spokesperson for the ELCA says that the organization is as strong today - if not stronger - since the vote back in 2009.
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