On Sunday, October 14 First United Lutheran Church of San Francisco hosted a Service of Healing & Reconciliation to mark their return to the ELCA. After calling openly gay pastor Jeff Johnson, First United was suspended in 1990, then expelled in 1995. Their actions, along with those of St. Francis Lutheran Church began the movement that became Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries, then the Extraordinary Candidacy Project and eventually to the formation of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
During the service this weekend Bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod, the Rev. Mark S. Holmerud, preached and the Reverend Jeff Johnson presided. Rev. Susan Strouse, pastor at First United, blogged about the service and process leading up to reconciliation:
Tomorrow, the congregation I serve will rejoin the denomination which expelled it years ago. To say that the wounds of that expulsion have disappeared or no longer have some spots that are still sore would be wrong. Wounds must be acknowledged and treated with tenderness. But we must also acknowledge and be open to the healing work that is happening within us.
Read Susan’s full blog post here. Susan was on the ELM Roster for a period of time when her call was in jeopardy because she was serving First United.