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Pastor apologizes for role in prayer vigil after Connecticut massacre

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Pastor apologizes for role in prayer vigil after Connecticut massacre

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Connecticut Lutheran pastor has apologized for participating in aninterfaith prayer vigil for the 26 children and adults killed at a Newtown elementary school in December because his church bars its clergy from worshiping with other faiths.

The December prayer vigil was attended by President Barack Obama, leaders from Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths, and relatives of the 20 first graders who were gunned down in their classrooms two days earlier after a gunman entered their school.

The December 14 shooting shook the nation and led to calls for improved school security, gun control and better mental health care.

The pastor, Rob Morris of Newtown's Christ the King Lutheran Church, provided the closing benediction at the interfaith event.

Earlier this month, the president of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison, wrote a letter to church members saying he had requested an apology from Morris for his participation in "joint worship with other religions."

"There is sometimes a real tension between wanting to bear witness to Christ and at the same time avoiding situations which may give the impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us, and how we get to heaven, really don't matter in the end," Harrison wrote.

"There will be times in this crazy world when, for what we believe are all the right reasons, we may step over the scriptural line," he wrote.

Harrison said he had accepted Morris' apology.

This is not the first time a Lutheran leader has been chastised for participating in a community service in the wake of a local tragedy.

David Benke, a Lutheran pastor in New York, was suspended for praying at an interfaith vigil in 2001, 12 days after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Benke, who had refused to apologize for the incident, was reinstated in 2003.

In his own letter to his church, Morris wrote it was not his intent to endorse "false teaching" and apologized to those who believed he had.

"I did not believe my participation to be an act of joint worship, but one of mercy and care to a community shocked and grieving an unspeakably horrific event," he wrote. "I apologize where I have caused offense by pushing Christian freedom too far, and I request you charitably receive my apology."

by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 6:34 AM
Replies (41-50):
FrogSalad
by Sooze on Feb. 7, 2013 at 1:16 PM

 Just what I was thinking, too.

Quoting Aslen:

Ok... I was confused because Lutherans are generally pretty left leaning.
Thanks for clarifying!


Quoting KarenNEIA:

I heard about this back in 2001 when the other Pastor was "chastised" for it. I was shocked. I think it is sad and it's not a church I would want to belong to. They also do not allow women to have a say in the church and believe they are only allowed to teach Sunday School and cook. But, please keep in mind this is the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, and not the beliefs of the other branches of Lutheran Church such as the ELCA.


 


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soonergirl980
by Silver Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Not my faith not my problem.

wickedfiress
by Kellie on Feb. 7, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Ridiculous.

teri4lance
by Silver Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:26 PM
1 mom liked this



Quoting Stephanie329:

Yep, and note to self: don't go to a Lutheran church.

Quoting teri4lance:

Cue mega eye rolls.

Actually, I attend Lutheran Church - and it's not liek this.

I always think it is a shame when churches of any faith let rules gt in the way of treating each other in a Christ-like way. That is not what God intended. I am very disappointed.


Without ME there would be no awesome!

stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:10 AM
1 mom liked this

Just so you know this is not an accepted practice of all Lutheran churches.  The largest Lutheran Church (ELCA) is known for interfaith outreach.  I was raised in the Lutheran Church, BTW

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Oh my heavens!  I am Catholic and we have great interfaith ministry here.  I always think is a marvel seeing the Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders together...for the same purpose!

I think this is so sad.  I wonder if the Lutherans have a walled off area up in heaven.....


stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:19 AM

Seriously most Lutheran Churches are not like that at all.  The biggest organizations would never do that.

Quoting Stephanie329:

Yep, and note to self: don't go to a Lutheran church.

Quoting teri4lance:

Cue mega eye rolls.


autodidact
by Platinum Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:45 AM

his church has fucked up priorities. hardly unusual in that, sadly. 

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:56 AM

 Thats weird...our school is a eucemenical school (multi denomination ) and Lutheran is one of the faiths...alongside Uniting, Anglican and the main base Catholic.  They have all attended school functions together and give blessings together.

Is this one of those weird offshoot branches?

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:57 AM

 oh thanks for clearing that up :-)

Quoting stacymomof2:

Just so you know this is not an accepted practice of all Lutheran churches.  The largest Lutheran Church (ELCA) is known for interfaith outreach.  I was raised in the Lutheran Church, BTW

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Oh my heavens!  I am Catholic and we have great interfaith ministry here.  I always think is a marvel seeing the Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders together...for the same purpose!

I think this is so sad.  I wonder if the Lutherans have a walled off area up in heaven.....


 

Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 2:07 AM
1 mom liked this
I grew up Lutheran and I have never heard anything like this! Everyone was welcomed in the churches I have been to, and I have never heard a Lutheran priest preach any kind of hate ever! All of them talked about loving one another and being kind and just! The Icelandic church is a majority Lutheran and our bishop is a woman!

I wish they would specify what branch of Lutheranism this was so people don't get the wrong idea about all Lutherans!
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