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Published May 05 2010

Gay ELCA pastor being reinstated to roster

The Rev. Bradley Schmeling, who was removed from the clergy roster in 2007 for being in a gay relationship, is in the process of being reinstated, according to a news release from the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The candidacy committee of the ELCA’s Southeastern Synod, which is based in Atlanta, met April 24 and 25 and approved Schmeling’s request for reinstatement. The reinstatement becomes effective “once the paperwork has been filed,” Schmeling said.

Schmeling was removed from the roster for being in a relationship with the Rev. Darin Easler while serving as pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Atlanta. A disciplinary committee ruled that Schmeling was in violation of an ELCA policy regarding the sexual conduct of pastors. Schmeling’s case gained significant attention across the church and in the news media.

The candidacy committee of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, which is based in Rochester, approved Easler’s request for reinstatement April 30.

The ELCA voted last year to allow individuals in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as ELCA clergy and professional lay leaders. The Church Council adopted the revisions to ministry policy documents April 10.