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Pastor Walt Kallestad-"No Gay Clergy in My Mega-Church"

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Walt Kallestad, senior pastor of Community Church of Joy, Glendale, AZ, told Church Executive that the movement within his ELCA denomination to allow gay ordained clergy will not be accepted by his congregation or school. The ELCA churchwide meetings in Minneapolis next month will vote on allowing congregations to receive "life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationships" among ordained clergy.

On March 4 Kallestad wrote his congregation "our firm opposition to this policy" in the belief that "the Bible makes it clear that homosexuality is a sin." He expanded on his views in the magazine's interview, noting that the ELCA statement on sexuality has "become a social action issue when it's not. It's a biblical authority issue."

Church of Joy has an attendance of 2,500 and a school of 1,000 students. Kallestad says that "if they are seeking diversity, what they've ended up with is division." He has said he is working with other large congregations against the action when it comes to a vote.

Also in the July issue, Michael Leahy, a recovering sex addict, says that pornography finds its way into the offices of pastors and church leaders as it does in the general workplace.

"Based on my own personal experience talking with pastors and church leaders, it's becoming a major problem thanks to the availability, affordability and anonymity of Internet porn." Leahy is the author of "Porn@Work: Exposing the Office's #1 Addiction" (Northfield Publishing, 2009).

Leahy says that porn is as much a problem for women as for men. "Women make up more than 40 percent of all new admissions to in-residence sexual addiction recovery programs," he says. A third of visitors to porn sites daily are women.

"To offer real help, churches need to work at becoming a 'safe place' for men and women to come forward and seek out help and resources," he says. Not every church needs a recovery program or counselor, "but they should know what churches in the area do have those resources, and they should be willing to refer their people and church attendees to those programs and individuals."

He notes too that churches have legal liability from porn on church computers, with a "risk of costly litigation due to claims of sexual harassment and/or harboring a hostile workplace environment."

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