Film Title: Call to Witness: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Ordination in the Lutheran Church — by Pam Walton — 59 minutes
Distributor: Pam Walton Productions
Summary: (from the distributor’s website)
What People are Saying. . .
“Call to Witness is both an elegy to shattered lives and ruined careers and a testimony to the courage and commitment of queer pastors and their partners who are engaged in one of the most important and controversial battles of our time.”
– Outfest 2000, The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
“Call to Witness goes behind the angry rhetoric to paint a compelling picture of a denomination’s struggle to come to terms with its gay and lesbian congregants. It is an enlightened meditation on an issue that threatens to tear our nation apart and should be required viewing for both sides of the cultural divide.”
– Chris Bull, Washington Correspondent, The Advocate / Co-author, Perfect Enemies: The Religious Right, the Gay Movement, and the Politics of the 1990s.
“The stories in Call to Witness need to be heard if we are to seriously engage in the ‘study of sexuality’ that is currently underway in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. That study has multiple sides and this video presents one seldom heard by the people in our pews, or in the public.”
–Bishop Emeritus Paul Egertson, Southwest California Synod, ELCA.
“In just sixty minutes, Call to Witness captures not only an important piece of history, but also illustrates why religious debates are so essential to our struggle for civil rights.”
– Jim Mitulski, GLBT Outreach Coordinator, James Hormel Center, San Francisco
The Video Includes . . .
> The stories of Rev. Steve Sabin in Iowa, who was outed by his bishop, supported by his congregation, and “tried” by the national church because he refused to resign; Rev. Jane Ralph in Missouri, who was forced out of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with no recourse; and Pastoral Minister Anita C. Hill in Minnesota, who at the time was working to be ordained as an openly lesbian pastor. (Rev. Hill was ordained in an act of ecclesiastical disobedience on April 28, 2001.)
> The stories of two San Francisco congregations that defied the ELCA in 1990 by calling Revs. Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart, and Jeff Johnson, openly gay and lesbian pastors not on the approved ELCA roster.
> An interview with Reverend Joseph Wagner, ELCA Division for Ministry, and Bishop Charles Maahs, ELCA Conference of Bishops.
> The vigilant work of Luthern Lesbian and Gay Ministries as they support pastors and congregations who are being forced out of the ELCA.