Los Angeles – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America elected its first openly gay bishop to a six-year term on Friday at an annual assembly in Southern California, officials said.
The election of the Rev. R. Guy Erwin comes after the church’s controversial rule change in 2009 that allowed gays and lesbians to be ordained in the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination. More than 600 congregations have left the denomination since the change.
Erwin, a resident of the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles, currently serves as a pastor at Faith Lutheran Church and a professor of Lutheran Confessional Theology at California Lutheran University.
Ordained in May 2011, Erwin said he waited years for the recognition, and he brings a “deep faith in Christ’s presence in his church lived out in 20 years of parish experience blended with university and seminary-level teaching.”
Officials say the “partnered gay man” is also the first Native American to be elected. Erwin is part Osage Indian.
The ELCA has more than 4 million members in 9,638 congregations across the United States, Caribbean and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Texas home searched as part of ricin-tainted letters investigation
New Boston, Texas – A Texas home was searched and a resident interviewed as part of the investigation into ricin-tainted letters sent to New York City’s mayor and President Barack Obama, a law enforcement official said.
Authorities blocked off the house in New Boston for hours Friday and set up tents in the yard while searching for evidence. FBI agents entered the home wearing white hazardous materials suits and ventilation masks. New Boston is located near the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders.
The law enforcement official said the FBI initiated the search after being contacted by the resident’s spouse.
An FBI spokesperson in Dallas wouldn’t comment.