Bishop forced to resign his position for homosexual ordination
Paul W. Egertson, bishop of the Southern California West Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will resign from his post effective July 31. The move comes after the ELCA leaders asked him to do so for ordaining noncelibate lesbian Anita Hill (um, not that Anita Hill) in an April 28 ceremony.

"Acts of conscientious disobedience assume the willingness to accept whatever penalty may be rightly imposed as a consequence," Egertson said in a letter to the Synod Assembly.

The head of the ELCA, Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson, says he "respects Bishop Egertson's integrity and his beliefs." But he also regrets that Egertson "participated in the ordination of a candidate who was not approved for ordination in the church, and therefore, violated church policy."

ELCA leaders say Egertson won't face further discipline, and will teach in the religious studies department of California Lutheran University, an official school of the denomination where he taught before becoming bishop.

It's really not much of a discipline anyway. Egertson's six-year term as bishop was set to end August 31 anyway, and he wasn't seeking re-election to the post.

Wisconsin Supreme Court: If you leave the church, you leave the church
Elo Evangelical Church, once Elo United Methodist Church, left its denomination in 1997 over issues of homosexuality. But they wanted to keep their church building. But in a 5-2 decision (HTML | PDF), the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the property still belonged to the denomination.

The church had argued that a state 1923 state law required the building to be "defunct" or "dissolved" for it to go back to the parent denomination, but the justices rejected that argument. "The existence of the local Methodist church or society is defined by its denominational affiliation, not solely by its continuation as an active congregation," wrote justice Ann Walsh Bradley for the majority. "The cessation of ties to the UMC and the statewide conference renders a local Methodist church or society defunct or dissolved under the statute."

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