"Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen"
	The Collect above is appointed for today, Holy Cross Day. Today 
is also the day we received the decision of the ELCA Committee on Appeals 
regarding my standing on the ELCA Roster of Clergy. Not surprisingly, the 
decision was against us. I will be removed from the roster on 28 
September 1998, a mere two weeks from today. The relationship that Karl 
and I have is just too threatening to the ELCA's sense of ecclesiastical 
tidiness. Once again the ELCA administration has put the lie to the 
actions of the Churchwide Assembly to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and 
transgendered Christians in the church. In like, fashion the ELCA has 
today denied that "Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might 
draw the whole world to himself."
	It is a day of bitter disappointment for me, and sorrow at what 
has become of my Lutheran church. I take comfort in the fact that the 
older name for today is "The Triumph of the Cross." I know that in God's 
time the Cross of Christ will indeed triumph over the pain, fear and 
unfaithfulness currently at work in the churches. Until that glorious 
day, may "we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, have grace to 
take up our cross and follow him."
	I want to thank my partner, Karl, for his boundless support and 
love, and for nurturing in me the courage to stand up for the sanctity of 
our love in the face of a judgmental world. I want to thank all our 
friends out there who have sustained us with prayers, kind words, and 
generous gifts to the defense fund and the congregation.
	Now, finally, Lord of Life will have the opportunity to make its 
voice heard in the process. In the short time before the judgment takes 
effect, Lord of Life will decide whether it will abide by the ELCA 
decision, or keep my on as pastor and risk discipline of the 
congregation. We continue to need your prayers.

In gratitude and hope,

Steve

14 September 1998