The censure against Abiding Peace Lutheran congregation in Kansas City, Missouri which has been in effect since March 2001 has been lifted. The censure was put in place because the congregation called and ordained ELM roster member Pastor Donna Simon the previous October. Bishop Gerald Mansholt of the ELCA Central States Synod lifted the censure.
Pastor Donna has served that congregation since her ordination and call. Donna Simon is a 1999 graduate of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA. She was extraordinarily ordained by ELM in 2000.
Her service and ministry drew praise from the bishop. In his letter to the congregation, he said of Pastor Donna, a lesbian not yet on the roster of the ELCA, and her service as pastor for nine years: “…though ordained outside the established processes of the Church, Pastor Simon has been a gracious witness among us in this synod as well as in the larger Church. She has spoken the truth in love, and shared her witness and struggle as a baptized child of God, even as she has prayed for a day of wider understanding and acceptance in the Church.”
Bishop Mansholt, in notifying the synod of the lifting of the censure, repeated the above praise for Pastor Donna and commented on the faithfulness of the congregation at Abiding Lutheran: “As the Church studied, prayed and conversed with one another over the matters of gay and lesbian people in the Church, Abiding Peace Church might have walked away. But they remained in the Church and stayed in dialog with brothers and sisters who were trying to make sense of these issues in the light of the Gospel. They kept on praying for a better day, a time of wider awareness and acceptance. . . . I know the congregation also longs for the day when their pastor might be welcomed onto the roster of the ELCA.”
Here is also a link to Donna’s blog: http://www.peacepastor.blogspot.com/
We celebrate this great news and hope the best for Rev. Simon’s and her congregation!