Lutherans celebrated the life of Bishop Paul Egertson who died recently in his home in Thousand Oaks, California.
Egertson was a staunch ally and advocate for the full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the Evangelical Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA, a little more than a year ago after decades of debate, voted to allow partnered gay and lesbian clergy to serve in the denomination.
The Los Angeles Times noted that as a bishop in California, he was a part of the 2001 ordination of Pastor Anita Hill in St. Paul, Minnesota. For his boldness, he was asked to resign as bishop. He continued to tirelessly advocate for the policy change that finally occurred at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly. Bishop Egertson lived to witness Pastors Anita Hill, Bradley Schmeling, Darin Easler, and many others take their places in the leadership of the denomination.
Emily Eastwood, executive director of the LGBT group Lutherans Concerned said, "Paul Egertson stood up for us and in opposition to the discrimination of the church against us when that was neither popular nor safe. His witness to Christ's redemptive grace and his commitment to helping the church see the error of its position are a shining beacon of prophetic righteousness in the face of determined opposition -- and he did it with grace and eloquence, as befits a follower of Christ. He was a friend and mentor -- always available, with words of calming wisdom. He made a profound difference. He will be missed."
GLAAD worked closely with Lutherans Concerned in 2007 and 2009 to amplify the voices of pro-LGBT Lutherans and will continue to support them as they help their denomination live the policies and practices of equality.