Church won't speak further on dispute

Saturday, February 16, 2002

KIRKWOOD, Mo. -- The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will quietly consider charges its leader in New York violated church rules by worshipping with members of other faiths at a rally following the Sept. 11 attacks. The church announced it will no longer comment on the issue.

The Rev. David Benke, president of the church's Atlantic district, faces charges, made by several pastors and one congregation, after taking part in a Sept. 23 rally at Yankee Stadium called "A Prayer for America." The church's rules only allow its pastors to lead worship services with clergy from other denominations if they have a formal agreement with the synod.

The charges ask that Benke be disciplined. A ruling should be made by the end of April.

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