Chicago, IL (AP) -- The leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America wants gay and lesbian teens to know that they're "the people God created them to be."
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson has joined President Barack Obama and prominent celebrities in recording video messages aimed at reducing despair and suicide among gay youths.
Hanson says, "Sometimes the words of my Christian brothers and sisters have hurt you." But he assures homosexual teens that there's a place for them "in this church."
The ELCA allows gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy -- a policy that has prompted a number of congregations to leave the largest U.S. Lutheran denomination.