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U.S. Lutherans to begin study of homosexuality

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Rev. James M. Childs Jr. starts work Feb. 1 as director of a four-year study of homosexuality ordered last year by an assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The study will produce a sexuality statement and shape future policy. Liberal Lutherans have been advocating ordination of openly homosexual pastors and blessings for same-sex couples.

Childs is a theology and ethics professor and former academic dean at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. He is taking a leave, since the job at Chicago church headquarters is full time.

Childs said the process "will be attentive to God's Word, open, fair, rigorous and as representative and participatory as possible."