"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