One of the nation’s largest denominational social services networks is in danger of a major split over the decision by one of the participants to take a tolerant stance on homosexuality. According to a report by the Associated Press, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (logo, top portion), a theologically conservative denomination, has announced “that direct work with its larger and more liberal counterpart, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA, logo, bottom portion], has become ‘difficult if not impossible,’ because of doctrinal differences,” including the 2009 decision by the ELCA to allow for the ordination of homosexuals as clergy members. The AP report noted that like Catholic Charities, “Lutheran agencies are some of the biggest service providers in their communities and have been struggling to meet increased demand for help during the recession. Just one of the joint Lutheran agencies, Lutheran Services in America, said on its website that it encompasses more than 300 health and human services organizations with a combined annual budget of more than $16 billion.”
The Rev. Herb Mueller, first vice president for the St. Louis-based Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, said his denomination recognizes that “this is a difficult issue.
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