By Fredrick Nzwili
Nairobi, 3 May (ENI)--The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania says it will not accept money or help from groups that allow or support the legalisation of same-sex marriages.
"Those in same-sex marriages, and those who support the legitimacy of such marriage, shall not be invited to work in the ELCT," says a statement posted to the church's Web site (www.elct.org/) on 29 April. "We further reject their influence in any form, as well as their money and their support."
...It comes in advance of the 70-million strong Lutheran World Federation once-every-seven-years assembly in Stuttgart, Germany, from 20 to 27 July and where homosexuality is expected to be a divisive issue....
The statement said the Tanzanian church will bar people in same-sex unions from working among its membership. The church said the statement followed the approval by the ELCT executive council of the church's Bishops' Council statement which lists the measures.The bishops from the Tanzanian church, which is the largest Lutheran church in Africa and the second largest in the world after the Church of Sweden, said they disagree with the reasons fronted by those advocating for same-sex marriages.
"We reject inappropriate and false interpretations of scripture produced to justify the marriage of people of the same gender," they stated.
The Church of Sweden in October said it will allow the celebration of same-sex marriages in places of worship, an action which led to protests from Lutheran churches in Africa.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has also taken some actions which Lutheran churches in the global South view as initial steps towards legalising homosexual unions.
Full statement: www.elct.org/news/2010.04.004.html
Tanzania the second largest Lutheran Church?! Apparently, the German Lutheran Church is divided into three separate entities (Hanover, no. 10 below must be the largest) which together make up the largest group.
In the following table you have the official membership figures based on, I presume in every case, baptisms, which is sort of like "ancestry" or "race" on a census form for Swedes and other Europeans—they are nominal members of state churches where Sunday attendance is probably less than even 5 percent of "members." So I'd wager that, week to week, on a given Sunday, there are more Lutherans worshiping in church in Africa, Indonesia, and Malagasy than in Europe and the U.S. combined. From Wikipedia, with "membership" in millions.
- Church of Sweden (6.75)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (5.3)
- Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (5.3)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (4.6) (number on rolls; only 2.7 mil. have taken communion in the past two years)
- Church of Denmark (4.5)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (4.5)
- Protestant Christian Batak Church, Indonesia (4.2)
- Church of Norway (4.0)
- Malagasy Lutheran Church (3.0)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, Germany (3.0)