LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Southern California's ranking Lutheran bishop says the church has asked him to resign for participating in last month's ordination of a lesbian in defiance of church law.
Bishop Paul W. Egertson, whose son is gay, said Wednesday he has not decided whether to comply with the request, which comes just months before his term expires Aug. 31. He was not expected to seek re-election.
Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson asked Egertson before the ceremony to reconsider his participation, said John Brooks, a spokesman for the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Brooks would not confirm that the bishop had asked Egertson to resign.
Egertson, 65, became bishop of the Southern California (West) Synod in 1995. The synod includes 140 churches, 275 ministers and nearly 46,000 baptized members.
Egertson became the church's first active bishop to participate in the ordination of a lesbian when he took part n the ceremony for Anita Hill, who is in a relationship with another woman. Hill was made a minister during an ordination at a church in Minnesota.
Egertson said he was conscience-bound to defy the church by joining in Hill's ordination.
"I can no longer advocate this cause with credibility from a position of personal safety," Egertson wrote Anderson at the time.
Some church leaders were concerned about Egertson when he was elected bishop in 1995 because he said he had earlier joined in blessing same-sex couples.
For that reason, Egertson said, he promised in writing to resign if he ever felt he must defy church law as a matter of conscience. He said Anderson has now asked him to follow through.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.