The ELCA's Social Statement on Human Sexuality passed by literally ONE VOTE yesterday, 66.667% in favor to 33.333% against.
The 34-page social statement actually touches on homosexuality only briefly, and is intended as a sweeping definition of the ELCA's approach to matters of human sexuality. It also sketches out the church's approach to gender, friendship, marriage and children, cohabitation outside marriage, the commercialization of sexuality, and the global sex trade.One vote. Some of my friends who were present at the assembly had a friend who stepped out to make a phone call before they had called for the vote. He literally ran through the Minneapolis Skyway to make it back in time and barely pressed his voting button before voting ended. If he had been 5 seconds later, the statement wouldn't have passed.
Friday, they'll be voting on Ministry Recommendations that consider opening the ELCA pastoral roster to GLBTQ people, including those in long-term, committed relationships. While the Social Statement needed a 2/3 supermajority to pass, the Ministry Recommendations only need a simple majority (50% + 1). People are speculating that the recommendations will pass, based on the votes of the past week.
In addition to passing the Social Statement, the ELCA also passed a Malaria Initiative, a HIV/AIDS Strategy and a memorial (from an individual synod) on Immigration Reform. You can find all the results of the vote here and the unamended Social Statement here.
Seriously, if you don't think that a single person can make a difference, this is shatters all that. Collectively, everyone contributed to the passage of the Social Statement and yet individually, if one person hadn't vote in favor of the document, it wouldn't have passed.
Also, all this happened in the midst of a tornado. That's right, a TORNADO blew through downtown Minneapolis and right over the convention center yesterday afternoon. The convention center and the church next door had some damage and one person was injured, but overall, everyone was safe. What an incredibly unpredictable day.
Keep it up, ELCA! Hopefully we'll have some good news on Friday.
EDIT: Before anyone gets the completely asinine idea of calling the tornado a sign from God, take a look at these pictures of other damage around the city. Certainly the Electric Fetus record shop and North School wasn't thwarting God's will that afternoon, right?