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Lutheran Split Could Shake Up Social Service Networks

One of the largest social service networks in the U.S. faces a shakeup over the Bible and homosexuality.

The theologically conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod says it has become "difficult if not impossible" to continue working with the more liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Last year, the latter abolished barriers to ordaining gays and lesbians.

Together, the two Lutheran denominations run social service programs ranging from adoption to disaster relief in the United States.

Neither denomination would discuss the financial impact Wednesday. However, just 1 of their joint agencies, Lutheran Services in America, has an annual budget of more than $16 billion.

The conservative Lutherans announced this week they will no longer train military chaplains with their liberal brethren. More such breaks are expected in the coming months.

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