Framework: Congregations Decide (CD)
The framework proposes that calling communities have the freedom to include qualified and approved women on their call list when a pastoral vacancy arises. Ordination is held either in the candidate’s home congregation or the calling congregation (community) rather than at district or churchwide level, with minimal to no structural change to the LCA or its districts.
Read more >>
This framework considers the likelihood that calling communities which decide to call an ordained woman to be their pastor will be dispersed across the whole church geographically. Where these calling communities are located initially and over time is unknown. Therefore it is unrealistic to create any geographic or regional location which restricts or restrains the ministry of women pastors to predetermined locations throughout the church. As the female pastor will be called to serve a specific calling community, the expectation and anticipation is that the calling community and the district to which the female pastor is called will give their welcome, support, encouragement and prayer for their pastor. It is underpinned by the following:
- One Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand with one confession
- One teaching on church unity (Augsburg Confession [AC] 7)
- One teaching on the pastoral office (AC 5, 14, 28, TA 6.1-10)
- One theological opinion (TO) on the ministry of men only by the common consent of calling communities.
- One TO on the ministry of both men and women by the common consent of calling communities. An Amendment (or) Supplement) to TA 6.11 (male-only ordination) indicating that both TOs are acceptable and non church-divisive. << Close
Theses of Agreement 1, ‘Principles governing Church Fellowship’ (TA 1), indicates the path that preserves the church in peace and unity.
- The church, as a whole, has not been convinced that the wide range of biblical passages drawn on in the debate has led to a clear conclusion either for or against women’s ordination.
- A lack of agreement on scriptural texts has been accentuated by the fact that male-only ordination has never received majority support at the five synods where a vote has been taken; nor has the case for women’s ordination received the supermajority support required to effect change.
- Male-only ordination can be retained as one of two divergent yet legitimate theological opinions (TOs) and divergent TOs are not ‘divisive of Church fellowship’ (TA 1.4.c, TA 1.4.e).
- The two conditions for non church-divisive TOs have been met by the church as a whole, namely that neither TO runs counter to a clear scriptural teaching, and second, no teaching of the Lutheran Confessions is violated, especially the doctrine of justification by grace alone (TA 1.4.e).
- The Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand would resolve that the church may also ordain women.
- The necessary constitutional amendments would need to be resolved at General Convention of Synod 2024.
- Australian Lutheran College would need to prepare a pathway for women, as well as men, to prepare women for ordination.
- Calling communities would also require enabling constitutional amendments to be made prior to calling a female pastor.
- Calling communities will be able to make their own decision whether and when to amend their constitution from the gender-specific 'man' to non-gendered language.
- No district(s) or regions, whether existing/geographic/non-geographic, are created or established purely for the ordination or non-ordination of women. Any such formation or declaration of areas bordered by either theological opinion could be potentially church-divisive.
- Pastors conferences should remain united gatherings and not be held separately based on theological opinion/conviction regarding this issue.