(CNN)– For more than two decades, the Rev. R. Guy Erwin couldn't officially be a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. On Friday, he was elected a bishop.
Erwin's election signals a shift not only for the ELCA – the nation's seventh largest church – but also for American Christianity. Only one other mainline Protestant denomination, the Episcopal Church, has elected openly gay and lesbian bishops.
“In these days such milestones seem to be coming at an ever-faster rate," Erwin told CNN, "and eventually what seems revolutionary now will seem normal and predictable."Even NCR reported this:
In addition, financial support for the denomination hit an all-time low of about $60 million in 2009, the church announced. ELCA Treasurer Christina Jackson-Skelton said the economic recession and “disagreements within congregations” about the decision on gay clergy had contributed to the decline.