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Forum Staff Reports, Published December 03 2009

ELCA to host online town hall forum Sunday

Rev. Mark Hanson, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will host an online town hall forum at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, in which he will share priorities and hopes of the ELCA.

Hanson said he expects the conversation to inlcude some discussion of what has transpired in the ELCA since the Churchwide Assembly in August when the denomination opted to allow gays in committed relationships to serve in the clergy.

"I would hope we can talk about how, in these weeks and months following our churchwide assembly, we have the opportunity to be a church that does not deny our differences on human sexuality, but isn't defined by those differences. It gives us an opportunity to witness to the culture that such questions need not finally separate us," he said.

Hanson told the ELCA News Service he plans to discuss in the forum how the ELCA is a church "in God's grace going forward in mission, and how that shared commitment to be engaged in mission continues to define who we are in the ELCA."

The program will be webcast live from Chicago. The audience will ask questions of the presiding bishop. Web viewers can watch the event and submit questions at http://www.ELCA.org/townhall. The forum will be available for on-demand viewing on the ELCA Web site by the close of business Monday.