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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: George Erdner on January 25, 2010, 01:06:24 PM

Title: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 25, 2010, 01:06:24 PM
There seems to be a reluctance to allow a thread that's about one particular congregation voting to leave remain active and open because it goes deep into the larger issues of congregations leaving and the ramifications thereof. So, I figure if there's a thread that whose topic is supposed to be all updates about congregations voting to leave, and whether the votes are "go" or "stay", and the follow-up discussions of the ramifications of those votes and the policies and procedures pertaining to such votes, then it wouldn't go "off topic" as long as there are ELCA congregations taking votes to leave.

This is that thread.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Keith Falk on January 25, 2010, 03:16:50 PM
While certainly not listing everyone, "Captain Thin" has what seems to be a pretty up-to-date list of congregations leaving - most of them sourced by newspaper articles and the like.


http://blog.captainthin.net/?p=294 (http://blog.captainthin.net/?p=294)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 25, 2010, 03:20:43 PM
Here's one that hits me personally. It was the location where I received much of my Lay Worship Leader training. The pastor there was one of our instructors on preaching. I shot the people at that church. It was the location for the 5th anniversary celebration of the JDDJ with Bishops McCoid and Wuerl (of the Pittsburgh Diocese) both preaching. Below is a "fair use" extract of a few paragraphs, and a link to the entire article.

Lutheran congregation to vote on leaving denomination
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Lutheran congregation in Monroeville will vote on whether to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in the wake of the denomination's August decisions to allow local option on the ordination of partnered gay people and on the blessing of same-sex unions.

The first of two required votes, each needing a two-thirds majority, will take place Jan. 31 at The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. The Congregation Council has proposed joining a much smaller group, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

"This is about the authority of Scripture, not homosexuality," said the Rev. Eric Ash, the pastor. He said gay people are welcome to join Good Shepherd and receive the sacraments, but that he can't find biblical justification for blessing same-sex relationships or ordaining those in such partnerships. He called the national church's decisions "the final straw" after years of actions that he believed watered down the Christian call to repentance and conversion.

"This is not a rash decision," he said.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10019/1029221-56.stm#ixzz0deoAW60W (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10019/1029221-56.stm#ixzz0deoAW60W)

I think that Pastor Ash's statements are dead-on correct in terms of being an accurate articulation of the traditionalist position.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 25, 2010, 03:24:45 PM
While certainly not listing everyone, "Captain Thin" has what seems to be a pretty up-to-date list of congregations leaving - most of them sourced by newspaper articles and the like.


http://blog.captainthin.net/?p=294 (http://blog.captainthin.net/?p=294)

You are correct! That link was posted in the last thread about congregations leaving the ELCA on January 12, 2010. That's the thread that was just closed down. It was also posted on December 19, 2009 in a thread that has slipped off of the main page.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Michael Slusser on January 25, 2010, 03:42:41 PM
Here's one that hits me personally. It was the location where I received much of my Lay Worship Leader training. The pastor there was one of our instructors on preaching. I shot the people at that church. It was the location for the 5th anniversary celebration of the JDDJ with Bishops McCoid and Wuerl (of the Pittsburgh Diocese) both preaching. Below is a "fair use" extract of a few paragraphs, and a link to the entire article.

I was there for the JDDJ celebration! Two members of that congregation sang in the same chorus that I sang with when I lived in Pittsburgh.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 25, 2010, 04:57:02 PM
Here's one that hits me personally. It was the location where I received much of my Lay Worship Leader training. The pastor there was one of our instructors on preaching. I shot the people at that church. It was the location for the 5th anniversary celebration of the JDDJ with Bishops McCoid and Wuerl (of the Pittsburgh Diocese) both preaching. Below is a "fair use" extract of a few paragraphs, and a link to the entire article.

I was there for the JDDJ celebration! Two members of that congregation sang in the same chorus that I sang with when I lived in Pittsburgh.

Peace,
Michael

I was there as well! Were you the guy in black with a clerical collar? I probably saw you. I was one of the guys wearing a necktie.

(Aside to everyone else -- well over half the people attending were clergy, and almost all were in their clerics. I don't think I've ever seen so many clerical collars in one gathering before, including the Synod Assembly.)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 25, 2010, 07:29:14 PM
We can add Moe Lutheran Church, in Roseau Minnesota, to the list. They voted on the 17th.

There's no news article, but I did see this entry in their Events Calendar on their website for the 17th.

FOLLOWING ANNUAL MTG OF THE CONGREGATION, SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MTG

I wonder if this will raise some procedural questions if the "special" meeting and the "regular" meetings are held consecutively.


Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Paul L. Knudson on January 25, 2010, 08:15:38 PM
The ELCA congregation in Maple Lake, Minnesota, held their first vote to leave the ELCA on Sunday, January 24.  The vote was over 90% to leave with a good spirit present.  They also voted to join LCMC with a similar percentage vote.

By the way our bishop consulted with Christ Lutheran here in Hutchinson, Minnesota, and came alone as per request.  Faith Lutheran Church, where I belong will recommend a special meeting later in February for its first vote.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Bergs on January 25, 2010, 11:19:34 PM
A few weeks ago I reported that American Public Media (Minnesota Public Radio) was looking for stories on those considering leaving or staying in the ELCA and why.  There was an invitation to tell your stories about why you were thinking the way you were.  Here is the follow up email I received.  The reporter says most folks writing to them are planning on staying.  That is not surprising given the demographics of public radio and so far a large majority of ELCA folk. 

Anyway, I post it as we will likely hear some upcoming story on the "Speaking of Faith" radio program.

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

Quote
Recently you told us about how changes in the ELCA are affecting you, your church, or your community.

Thank you. (If you have more to say, you can do so here.)

We are learning a lot as we read through the more than 2,200 responses we've gotten from ELCA members all over the country.

Most people who have written to us said they haven't considered leaving the church over the ELCA's stance allowing people in committed same-gender relationships to be pastors. Many were concerned that we are giving too much attention to those who want to leave, rather than focusing on the story that most individuals and churches plan to stay with the ELCA.

People who have considered leaving or have already left the ELCA said they can't be part of a church that disobeys Biblical teaching, and that this vote to allow practicing gay clergy was simply one example of a much larger change in the church -- putting American culture above God.

The overwhelming response, from many, many Lutherans of all perspectives, is simply that this church split issue grieves them.

We are currently inviting some religion writers, journalists and theologians to read through the responses and help us make sense of the stories and insights you and others have shared. We will work with these partners and Speaking of Faith -- our program on religion, ethics, meaning and ideas -- to produce a Web site where you'll be able to read people's personal stories (those we've gotten permission to post), as well as what our partners pull from what they read. We'd also like it to be a place where you can continue this conversation online.

In addition, we hope to host an in-person discussion here in our studios in St. Paul, Minnesota, this spring. I'll keep you updated.

When you filled out our survey about the ELCA, you also became a source in our Public Insight Network -- 80,000 smart, connected people who serve as expert sources to help American Public Media reporters uncover trends, find stories missed by others, and produce great coverage on national shows such as Speaking of Faith and Marketplace, and regional newsrooms such as Minnesota Public Radio.

You know a great deal about the ELCA, and we hope you'll share some of your other knowledge to help us cover the news.

We'll e-mail you about once a month asking for your input on topics we're covering. Respond when you have something to say. My fellow Public Insight analysts and I will read your responses, and we'll pass your insights on to reporters and editors.

If an e-mail query isn't relevant to you, delete it or forward it to friends or family who may have knowledge to share.

I hope to hear from you again soon. Feel free to contact me directly anytime with your suggestions, questions or story ideas.

Best wishes,

Melody Ng
Public Insight Analyst
Minnesota Public Radio News
651-290-1499
mng@mpr.org
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on January 26, 2010, 10:52:32 AM
St. Mark's in Lindenhurst, IL (1,400 baptized, Metro Chicago Synod) took its first vote on Sunday with 93% voting to leave the ELCA and 96% voting to affiliate with the LCMC. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on January 26, 2010, 11:42:05 AM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: JMerrell on January 26, 2010, 11:54:07 AM
Union Lutheran in Salisbury, NC (founding congregation of the NC Synod and over 230 yrs old) took their first vote before Christmas.  Over 2/3 voted to leave.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 26, 2010, 01:31:11 PM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).

And there is finally one being held only a one-hour drive from my home! I'll be there!
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: karen on January 26, 2010, 04:01:49 PM
1/21  Bethel Lutheran in Colorado Springs took 2nd vote.  Left ELCA, joined LCMC.

Congregation membership about 1000

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on January 26, 2010, 07:37:07 PM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).

And there is finally one being held only a one-hour drive from my home! I'll be there!

Me too - we will finally get to meet face to face. Looking forward to it George.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on January 26, 2010, 09:10:55 PM
SRN Radio News, which is broadcast on one of our local "Christian" radio stations, reported this afternoon on a first vote at St. Matthew, Columbus, Georgia.

According to the local newspaper (http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/story/987919.html), the vote was 99-54 to stay.  The senior pastor, who opposed the CWA's actions, encouraged the congregation's departure.  The associate pastor favored the CWA's actions, but was reportedly willing to set that aside for congregational unity.

The same article reports 9 Southeastern Synod congregations have had votes since August, with 4 (all in Georgia) garnering the 2/3rds necessary to leave in a first vote.

Christe eleison, Steven+

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 26, 2010, 09:12:38 PM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).

And there is finally one being held only a one-hour drive from my home! I'll be there!

Me too - we will finally get to meet face to face. Looking forward to it George.

I'll be easy to recognize. I'm the fat guy with the white beard.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on January 26, 2010, 11:51:47 PM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).

And there is finally one being held only a one-hour drive from my home! I'll be there!

Me too - we will finally get to meet face to face. Looking forward to it George.

I'll be easy to recognize. I'm the fat guy with the white beard.

Hope there's no visiting Santa Clauses there - that could get confusing by your description.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 27, 2010, 12:54:34 AM
1/21  Bethel Lutheran in Colorado Springs took 2nd vote.  Left ELCA, joined LCMC.

Congregation membership about 1000



There are at least two others in Colorado Springs as well, I am, as I did with Bethel continuing my practice of not publishing names until the gauntlet is run, and the dust settles.... Karen are you in Colorado?

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: karen on January 27, 2010, 08:35:57 AM
No, I'm no longer in Colorado.  I live in Kansas now.  But Bethel was my home congregation a number of years ago.  I passed the info along not to glory in it - not by any means.  The pain being felt across this country causes me great sorrow - and great anger.

Karen
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 27, 2010, 12:02:05 PM
No, I'm no longer in Colorado.  I live in Kansas now.  But Bethel was my home congregation a number of years ago.  I passed the info along not to glory in it - not by any means.  The pain being felt across this country causes me great sorrow - and great anger.

Karen

It does indeed. The good folks at Bethel will be ok, according to God's Promises but this is painful as you note. In Colorado Springs they will have sister congregations to walk along side them. That will be a blessing.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on January 28, 2010, 01:03:54 PM
Another big one, Hosanna! LC / Lakeville MN voted to leave the ELCA. 92.5% voted yes to leave. Second vote will be on 5/16/10.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on January 28, 2010, 03:59:47 PM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).

And there is finally one being held only a one-hour drive from my home! I'll be there!

Me too - we will finally get to meet face to face. Looking forward to it George.

I'll be easy to recognize. I'm the fat guy with the white beard.

You just discribed a fair percentage of the people at our last synod assembly. I just noticed, however, that the forum is at noon on a Sunday. That will make it difficult for clergy to attend. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 28, 2010, 04:09:21 PM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).

And there is finally one being held only a one-hour drive from my home! I'll be there!

Me too - we will finally get to meet face to face. Looking forward to it George.

I'll be easy to recognize. I'm the fat guy with the white beard.

You just discribed a fair percentage of the people at our last synod assembly. I just noticed, however, that the forum is at noon on a Sunday. That will make it difficult for clergy to attend. 

I noticed that as well. I suspect that this is primarily a meeting to explain the situation with the LCMC with the members of the host congregation. I have no way of knowing that for sure, but it defintely looks that way. I intend to take notes to pass on to any who are curious but who cannot attend.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on January 28, 2010, 04:20:27 PM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).

And there is finally one being held only a one-hour drive from my home! I'll be there!

Me too - we will finally get to meet face to face. Looking forward to it George.

I'll be easy to recognize. I'm the fat guy with the white beard.

You just discribed a fair percentage of the people at our last synod assembly. I just noticed, however, that the forum is at noon on a Sunday. That will make it difficult for clergy to attend. 

On futher investigation, I checked the web site of Christ our Shepherd LC and it looks to me like this meeting with LCMC and CORE reps is to help Christ our Shepherd members prepare for a first vote to leave the ELCA the following week.  I'm not sure that this is intended to be a general information meeting and I wouldn't feel comfortable attending (nor as clergy do I think it would be appropriate to attend) without an invitation from the pastor.  
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Richard Johnson on January 28, 2010, 04:28:44 PM
Sierra Pacific Synod newsletter just arrived, with the following list of congregations in process of considering to leave:

Concordia, Kingsburg - 2nd vote 1/31
Emanuel, Lodi - 1st vote 1/31
Mt. Zion, Yreka - 1st vote 2/14
Sierra, Auberry - 2nd vote 2/28
Gloria Dei, San Jose - 2nd vote 3/21
Life, Richmond - 2nd vote 4/11
Chinese, San Francisco - 2nd vote 4/11
St. John's, Los Banos - 2nd vote 4/18
Shepherd of the Valley, Galt - 2nd vote     4/18

In addition to these congregations, Grace, Redway, voted 19-5 to finalize leaving the ELCA on January 3rd, and St. Stephen's, El Dorado Hills, voted but did not reach the required 2/3 majority when they held their first vote last fall.

With a couple of exceptions, these are rural congregations. The largest one on the list is the Lodi congregation, with 573 baptized members. The list includes the two ethnic Chinese congregations in the synod. Eleven congregations would be approximately 5% of the synod's congregations.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on January 28, 2010, 04:44:17 PM

On futher investigation, I checked the web site of Christ our Shepherd LC and it looks to me like this meeting with LCMC and CORE reps is to help Christ our Shepherd members prepare for a first vote to leave the ELCA the following week.  I'm not sure that this is intended to be a general information meeting and I wouldn't feel comfortable attending (nor as clergy do I think it would be appropriate to attend) without an invitation from the pastor.  

The notices of the meetings are intended to be invitations.  If you don't feel comfortable about showing up uninvited call the church and ask about it to make sure.  I did seek and received permission to post them prior to doing so.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on January 28, 2010, 04:50:46 PM

Having spent four years in Northern California and doing my internship there, I am actually surprised it is this many. Five percent within six months of CWA is a lot, especially for one of the more liberal areas of California.

 Combined with the fact that in the Pacifica Synod every substantial sized congregation has left or redirected, and SW CA was already tanking pre-CWA,  I think we will see those three synods in CA merging in the near future. Back to the old PSW-LCA model which encompassed Utah, Nevada, AZ, CA, and Hawaii !!! (or ALC, South Pacific District!)

 
Sierra Pacific Synod newsletter just arrived, with the following list of congregations in process of considering to leave:

Concordia, Kingsburg - 2nd vote 1/31
Emanuel, Lodi - 1st vote 1/31
Mt. Zion, Yreka - 1st vote 2/14
Sierra, Auberry - 2nd vote 2/28
Gloria Dei, San Jose - 2nd vote 3/21
Life, Richmond - 2nd vote 4/11
Chinese, San Francisco - 2nd vote 4/11
St. John's, Los Banos - 2nd vote 4/18
Shepherd of the Valley, Galt - 2nd vote     4/18

In addition to these congregations, Grace, Redway, voted 19-5 to finalize leaving the ELCA on January 3rd, and St. Stephen's, El Dorado Hills, voted but did not reach the required 2/3 majority when they held their first vote last fall.

With a couple of exceptions, these are rural congregations. The largest one on the list is the Lodi congregation, with 573 baptized members. The list includes the two ethnic Chinese congregations in the synod. Eleven congregations would be approximately 5% of the synod's congregations.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 28, 2010, 04:55:49 PM

On futher investigation, I checked the web site of Christ our Shepherd LC and it looks to me like this meeting with LCMC and CORE reps is to help Christ our Shepherd members prepare for a first vote to leave the ELCA the following week.  I'm not sure that this is intended to be a general information meeting and I wouldn't feel comfortable attending (nor as clergy do I think it would be appropriate to attend) without an invitation from the pastor.  

The notices of the meetings are intended to be invitations.  If you don't feel comfortable about showing up uninvited call the church and ask about it to make sure.  I did seek and received permission to post them prior to doing so.

I just sent an e-mail to the pastors at Christ our Shepherd before reading this post requesting permission to attend. Actually, I phoned first but they had been closed for 45 minutes already. If the reply is anything but positive, I'll pass it along.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: frluther1517 on January 28, 2010, 09:31:04 PM
So have we reached a synod yet?   Last count of congregations I heard officially was around 150 (-45 who didn't get the required 2/3) to leave.  I'm sure that number is growing by the week??  It's hard to tell which are overlaps, have these new ones been counted?  I know the Northeastern Iowa Synod has 182 congregations.  It seems to me we are approaching that number fast.  It seems to me more profound to talk about the ELCA losing comparatively 1 Synod out of 65 as opposed to 180 out of 10,400 congregations. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 28, 2010, 10:38:55 PM
So have we reached a synod yet?   Last count of congregations I heard officially was around 150 (-45 who didn't get the required 2/3) to leave.  I'm sure that number is growing by the week??  It's hard to tell which are overlaps, have these new ones been counted?  I know the Northeastern Iowa Synod has 182 congregations.  It seems to me we are approaching that number fast.  It seems to me more profound to talk about the ELCA losing comparatively 1 Synod out of 65 as opposed to 180 out of 10,400 congregations. 

The losses are actually even worse than the numbers indicate. If the conversations I've had with people from one congregation in New York State that voted something around 55%/45% to leave, and is therefore stayiing, most of the 55% are starting a new, LCMC mission congregation, and the 45% remaining will be hard-pressed to make the mortgage payments and/or keep a pastor. We won't know until the dust settles, but it's a safe bet that some of those 45 congregations who couldn't muster the 2/3rds required to leave the ELCA will be folding or merging.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on January 28, 2010, 11:13:38 PM
So have we reached a synod yet?   Last count of congregations I heard officially was around 150 (-45 who didn't get the required 2/3) to leave.  I'm sure that number is growing by the week??  It's hard to tell which are overlaps, have these new ones been counted?  I know the Northeastern Iowa Synod has 182 congregations.  It seems to me we are approaching that number fast.  It seems to me more profound to talk about the ELCA losing comparatively 1 Synod out of 65 as opposed to 180 out of 10,400 congregations. 

The losses are actually even worse than the numbers indicate. If the conversations I've had with people from one congregation in New York State that voted something around 55%/45% to leave, and is therefore stayiing, most of the 55% are starting a new, LCMC mission congregation, and the 45% remaining will be hard-pressed to make the mortgage payments and/or keep a pastor. We won't know until the dust settles, but it's a safe bet that some of those 45 congregations who couldn't muster the 2/3rds required to leave the ELCA will be folding or merging.

That does seem the case. I have heard of congregations in Minnesota who have not gotten the 2/3rds necessary that are splitting. The group desiring to leave the ELCA forms a new congregation and those that stay are left with a financial mess. Of course the movement has only just begun.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: LTSwede on January 28, 2010, 11:38:05 PM
Lord of Life in Portage Mi. voted 89? to 34? (not totally certain on the numbers) to stay in the ELCA on their first vote on Jan. 24th.  While an overwhelming majority voted to stay, most of the minority voters will be leaving the congregation calling into question the whole future of this small community.  Losing a third of your community (no matter how the vote goes) is a tragedy.  This is one of the major problems facing the ELCA - the slow bleed of  the CWA actions.  This congregation may "stay" in the ELCA, but now it's long term viability has been seriously compromised.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 29, 2010, 12:11:28 AM
There is standard process for two congregations who lose viable membership (PS I am on record as saying there is no such thing as a non-viable congregation .. but whatever) to merge and come together. I am not sure what happens where both have pastors? The in-process example I know, one had a vacancy, served by retired pastors. I think the Synod ends up with the vacated property, if there is any, and that would be an option to buy, for those who left, and are gathering in "the elementary school."

If everyone is patient, things will tend to even out as water finds its level. Of course when 2000 churches merge into 1000, that will be a bump in the congregation totals "after the fact."

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 29, 2010, 12:14:20 AM
So have we reached a synod yet?   Last count of congregations I heard officially was around 150 (-45 who didn't get the required 2/3) to leave.  I'm sure that number is growing by the week??  It's hard to tell which are overlaps, have these new ones been counted?  I know the Northeastern Iowa Synod has 182 congregations.  It seems to me we are approaching that number fast.  It seems to me more profound to talk about the ELCA losing comparatively 1 Synod out of 65 as opposed to 180 out of 10,400 congregations. 

The losses are actually even worse than the numbers indicate. If the conversations I've had with people from one congregation in New York State that voted something around 55%/45% to leave, and is therefore stayiing, most of the 55% are starting a new, LCMC mission congregation, and the 45% remaining will be hard-pressed to make the mortgage payments and/or keep a pastor. We won't know until the dust settles, but it's a safe bet that some of those 45 congregations who couldn't muster the 2/3rds required to leave the ELCA will be folding or merging.

That does seem the case. I have heard of congregations in Minnesota who have not gotten the 2/3rds necessary that are splitting. The group desiring to leave the ELCA forms a new congregation and those that stay are left with a financial mess. Of course the movement has only just begun.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

I've said this before, and I'll say it again in the event some lurker reads it and realizes that it's a good idea.

If bishops and their staffs want to put more emphasis on pastoral care for the pewsitters than with "getting tough" with malcontents, perhaps they can encourage two nearby congregations who are both contemplating leaving the ELCA to hold informal combined meetings to discuss their mutual futures. If both congregations have a simple majority who want to leave the ELCA but not a 2/3rds majority, maybe there's an alternative to both of them losing half their members and though both remaining in the ELCA, both would be struggling, and maybe ultimately forced to merge anyway. Instead, if both congregations can come to a mutual agreement of which congregation will stay in the ELCA, and which will leave for another Lutheran body, then members in congregations that aren't on the "side" they want can transfer to the other. In that way, one of the ELCA congregations would be 100% members who want to remain ELCA, and the other congregation would be 100% people who want to join a different Lutheran body.

There is nothing in the ELCA Constitution or bylaws that prevents this. Members of any ELCA congregation can transfer their letters of membership to other ELCA churches any time they want to. Informal conversations among Lutherans of different congregations are not a regulated activity. There's nothing that prevents a bishop from making an informal suggestion to pastors in his synod.

I don't see how anyone could object to that course of action. The result would be two strong, viable Lutheran congregations where once there were two strong, viable Lutheran congregations. The alternative, letting events take their course, would probably lead to three Lutheran congregations, two radically weakened ELCA congregations and a new, third congregation comprised of members from both of the now damaged ELCA congregations.

I wonder if there are any bishop's assistants or staff members lurking in here who might pass this idea along.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 29, 2010, 12:31:58 AM
There is standard process for two congregations who lose viable membership (PS I am on record as saying there is no such thing as a non-viable congregation .. but whatever) to merge and come together. I am not sure what happens where both have pastors? The in-process example I know, one had a vacancy, served by retired pastors. I think the Synod ends up with the vacated property, if there is any, and that would be an option to buy, for those who left, and are gathering in "the elementary school."

If everyone is patient, things will tend to even out as water finds its level. Of course when 2000 churches merge into 1000, that will be a bump in the congregation totals "after the fact."

TV

I was involved in a congregational merger once, in the SWPA synod. The bishop was trying to convince three congregations located within less than a mile of each other, in neighborhoods that had seen their populations drop to less than half of what they once had been. One was a former ALC, the other former LCA, the third former AELC. The bishop was urging them to merge, sell all three properties (all old buildings on relatively valuable commercial land), and use the proceeds to build one new modern building that cost less to heat and maintain. He failed. They wouldn't go for it.

The former AELC congregation was hanging on, barely. Same with the former LCA congregation. The ALC congregation was on it's last legs. Almost all of the members who attended were people who had moved to distant neighborhoods and drove past five or six perfectly good ELCA churches on their way to the old family church on Sundays. The congregation did have a large number of senior citizens and shut-ins. On the Sundays when they had an ordained pastor leading worship (every other Sunday), there were sometimes more people having communion brought to their homes than received it in the church.

When the former ALC congregation realized it would be totally out of money after two more months of utility bills, they agreed to merge with the former AELC church so that their shut-ins would still belong to a congregation. Otherwise, if they simply closed their doors, their seniors would be at the mercy of the synod providing pastoral coverage.

The merger consisted of both congregations pooling all their assets. There was a very moving ceremony, with representatives from the congregation that was closing its doors handing various symbolic artifacts to representatives of the other congregation, such as offering plates, a small altar cross, candles, etc. Technically, the former AELC congregation and the former ALC congregation became one congregation. In actual practice, all but the shut-ins from the former ALC congregation found new churches to join closer to where they now lived. The new, merged congregation kept the name of the former AELC congregation, and sold off the former ALC congregation's building.

I did do pulpit supply at a merged congregation in Saltsburg, PA a few times. It was the product of the joining of the former St James Lutheran Church and the St John Lutheran Church. It was called "Sons of Zebedee".
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 29, 2010, 04:38:41 AM
The mission planners generally tell us that when congregations whose membership and other resources have diminished merge just in order to "survive" the result is another dying congregation, on life support so that the few remaining people can keep attending "their" church.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on January 29, 2010, 08:08:11 AM
The mission planners generally tell us that when congregations whose membership and other resources have diminished merge just in order to "survive" the result is another dying congregation, on life support so that the few remaining people can keep attending "their" church.

I think that Charles is right on this one. The merged congregation rarely equals the sum of the parts. I think this is especially true when the congregations merge but continue to worship in the sanctuary of one of the merged churches. The folks who have had to sell their buildings generally don't feel as if they are equal partners. I do believe, however, there has been some success in merging congregations when the members of the dissolved congregations form a new mission congregation and focus on mission and birth and not simply survival.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 29, 2010, 12:29:44 PM
I won't debate or dispute what happens when two dying congregations merge out of desperation. If congregations are dying because the city or neighborhoods they are located in are dying, so be it. If a merger between two dying congregations results in one congregation that lasts a year or two longer than either would have lasted without the merger, then that's a year or two more of the Gospel rightly preached and the sacraments properly administered. I recall the bishop's sermon at the last service held at Zion Lutheran, in which he pointed out that not only is the church at Ephesus gone, the entire city of Ephesus is gone.

Christians are people who trust in God and who have hope in God's grace and assistance. Such faithful people do not throw up their hands in despair because the last straw that they can grasp at has a bad track record.

Congregations can begin to slide into failure for many reasons. Blanket observations on the track record of various remedies, such as mergers, that fail to take into account specific circumstances and more importantly, that fail to acknowledge that God's will determines outcomes, not the expertise of mission planners, are unhelpful at best, and counterproductive at worst.

The merged congregation I referenced earlier, Sons of Zebedee, was the result of a merger back in the 19th century. It was a strong, thriving congregation for a long, long time. If the economic base of the city of Saltsburg hadn't collapsed, it would probably still be a thriving congregation today. As it is, it does the best that it can in an area of steadily declining population.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on January 29, 2010, 12:43:36 PM

This was mentioned by several of us last fall. The true fallout is not tallying who is leaving, it is congregations in conflict who will lose 1/3 to 1/2 of membership. Sadly, there will be many congregations of the ELCA closing their doors forever.....moving to another body isn't an option, they can't pay the bills , and are bk.

Our task force meeting went very, very well last night. We have one more meeting, and will be ready in February to make recommendations to our board .

So have we reached a synod yet?   Last count of congregations I heard officially was around 150 (-45 who didn't get the required 2/3) to leave.  I'm sure that number is growing by the week??  It's hard to tell which are overlaps, have these new ones been counted?  I know the Northeastern Iowa Synod has 182 congregations.  It seems to me we are approaching that number fast.  It seems to me more profound to talk about the ELCA losing comparatively 1 Synod out of 65 as opposed to 180 out of 10,400 congregations. 

The losses are actually even worse than the numbers indicate. If the conversations I've had with people from one congregation in New York State that voted something around 55%/45% to leave, and is therefore stayiing, most of the 55% are starting a new, LCMC mission congregation, and the 45% remaining will be hard-pressed to make the mortgage payments and/or keep a pastor. We won't know until the dust settles, but it's a safe bet that some of those 45 congregations who couldn't muster the 2/3rds required to leave the ELCA will be folding or merging.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 29, 2010, 01:20:20 PM

This was mentioned by several of us last fall. The true fallout is not tallying who is leaving, it is congregations in conflict who will lose 1/3 to 1/2 of membership. Sadly, there will be many congregations of the ELCA closing their doors forever.....moving to another body isn't an option, they can't pay the bills , and are bk.

Our task force meeting went very, very well last night. We have one more meeting, and will be ready in February to make recommendations to our board .

So have we reached a synod yet?   Last count of congregations I heard officially was around 150 (-45 who didn't get the required 2/3) to leave.  I'm sure that number is growing by the week??  It's hard to tell which are overlaps, have these new ones been counted?  I know the Northeastern Iowa Synod has 182 congregations.  It seems to me we are approaching that number fast.  It seems to me more profound to talk about the ELCA losing comparatively 1 Synod out of 65 as opposed to 180 out of 10,400 congregations. 

The losses are actually even worse than the numbers indicate. If the conversations I've had with people from one congregation in New York State that voted something around 55%/45% to leave, and is therefore stayiing, most of the 55% are starting a new, LCMC mission congregation, and the 45% remaining will be hard-pressed to make the mortgage payments and/or keep a pastor. We won't know until the dust settles, but it's a safe bet that some of those 45 congregations who couldn't muster the 2/3rds required to leave the ELCA will be folding or merging.

That's some of the follow-up I had in mind when launching this thread. From what I know of group dynamics, and the tendency of people to evaluate ideas based on the credentials of the person submitting the idea rather than simply looking at the idea's merits, people like me can send suggestions like I posted above to reduce the negative impact all we want. It won't do any good. I doubt if a single bishop in the ELCA would even open an e-mail from some layman in Georgia he never heard of. But, if some lurker in this forum who does have his bishop's ear passes the idea for some casual and informal coordination in urging congregations to work together along to the bishops, then maybe some good could come of it. Personally, I believe that most bishops in the ELCA want to do what will best serve the people in the pews. I also believe that the idea of congregations informally "joining in order to separate" is so outside the box that it might not occur to many people, but once heard and considered, might be seen to have some merit.

Actually, it wouldn't even take a bishop's involvement. A conference dean could make the suggestion. The council presidents of two nearby congregations both in turmoil could get together and decide to so something similar.

If someone, anyone, can come up with a better and/or alternative suggestions of idea for how congregations could ease the negative consequences of the aftermath of the CWA, I'll wager everyone would like to hear them. I know we'll soon read reasons why my idea won't work, since I'm the one who thought of it, and my ELCA credentials are too tarnished for me to be listened to.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on January 29, 2010, 10:06:40 PM
So have we reached a synod yet?   Last count of congregations I heard officially was around 150 (-45 who didn't get the required 2/3) to leave.  I'm sure that number is growing by the week??  It's hard to tell which are overlaps, have these new ones been counted?  I know the Northeastern Iowa Synod has 182 congregations.  It seems to me we are approaching that number fast.  It seems to me more profound to talk about the ELCA losing comparatively 1 Synod out of 65 as opposed to 180 out of 10,400 congregations. 

Upper Susquehanna has 130 or so congregations.  We have reached synod mass.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on January 29, 2010, 10:15:24 PM
So have we reached a synod yet?   Last count of congregations I heard officially was around 150 (-45 who didn't get the required 2/3) to leave.  I'm sure that number is growing by the week??  It's hard to tell which are overlaps, have these new ones been counted?  I know the Northeastern Iowa Synod has 182 congregations.  It seems to me we are approaching that number fast.  It seems to me more profound to talk about the ELCA losing comparatively 1 Synod out of 65 as opposed to 180 out of 10,400 congregations. 

The losses are actually even worse than the numbers indicate. If the conversations I've had with people from one congregation in New York State that voted something around 55%/45% to leave, and is therefore stayiing, most of the 55% are starting a new, LCMC mission congregation, and the 45% remaining will be hard-pressed to make the mortgage payments and/or keep a pastor. We won't know until the dust settles, but it's a safe bet that some of those 45 congregations who couldn't muster the 2/3rds required to leave the ELCA will be folding or merging.

The failed vote splits will take several years to implode, since most congregations have some money in the bank and some assets that they can sell even as they cut expenditures to the bare minimum.  Major building maintenance is deferred while wishful thinking sustains a shrinking group of folks in a downward spiral.  Since a congregation can survive for decades while doing the minimum possible.  I don't  expect we will see a torrent of departures; just an initial bump in 2010 with a continually increasing number of closures over the next decade.  Sorry for the grimness, but that's how I see it going down.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on January 29, 2010, 10:21:10 PM
So have we reached a synod yet?   Last count of congregations I heard officially was around 150 (-45 who didn't get the required 2/3) to leave.  I'm sure that number is growing by the week??  It's hard to tell which are overlaps, have these new ones been counted?  I know the Northeastern Iowa Synod has 182 congregations.  It seems to me we are approaching that number fast.  It seems to me more profound to talk about the ELCA losing comparatively 1 Synod out of 65 as opposed to 180 out of 10,400 congregations. 

The losses are actually even worse than the numbers indicate. If the conversations I've had with people from one congregation in New York State that voted something around 55%/45% to leave, and is therefore stayiing, most of the 55% are starting a new, LCMC mission congregation, and the 45% remaining will be hard-pressed to make the mortgage payments and/or keep a pastor. We won't know until the dust settles, but it's a safe bet that some of those 45 congregations who couldn't muster the 2/3rds required to leave the ELCA will be folding or merging.

That does seem the case. I have heard of congregations in Minnesota who have not gotten the 2/3rds necessary that are splitting. The group desiring to leave the ELCA forms a new congregation and those that stay are left with a financial mess. Of course the movement has only just begun.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

I've said this before, and I'll say it again in the event some lurker reads it and realizes that it's a good idea.

If bishops and their staffs want to put more emphasis on pastoral care for the pewsitters than with "getting tough" with malcontents, perhaps they can encourage two nearby congregations who are both contemplating leaving the ELCA to hold informal combined meetings to discuss their mutual futures. If both congregations have a simple majority who want to leave the ELCA but not a 2/3rds majority, maybe there's an alternative to both of them losing half their members and though both remaining in the ELCA, both would be struggling, and maybe ultimately forced to merge anyway. Instead, if both congregations can come to a mutual agreement of which congregation will stay in the ELCA, and which will leave for another Lutheran body, then members in congregations that aren't on the "side" they want can transfer to the other. In that way, one of the ELCA congregations would be 100% members who want to remain ELCA, and the other congregation would be 100% people who want to join a different Lutheran body.

There is nothing in the ELCA Constitution or bylaws that prevents this. Members of any ELCA congregation can transfer their letters of membership to other ELCA churches any time they want to. Informal conversations among Lutherans of different congregations are not a regulated activity. There's nothing that prevents a bishop from making an informal suggestion to pastors in his synod.

I don't see how anyone could object to that course of action. The result would be two strong, viable Lutheran congregations where once there were two strong, viable Lutheran congregations. The alternative, letting events take their course, would probably lead to three Lutheran congregations, two radically weakened ELCA congregations and a new, third congregation comprised of members from both of the now damaged ELCA congregations.

I wonder if there are any bishop's assistants or staff members lurking in here who might pass this idea along.


Way too rational!  I like it very much, but folks get emotionally attached to a place and its feel over and above being a people called by God to point folks to the cross and wash their feet.  Jesus ministry and the early church in Acts/Paul, like Abraham's life and the Jewish exodus, were itinerant events.  Maybe there is something for us to learn about how we are called to be church.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 29, 2010, 10:50:57 PM
I would not be surprised if we lose the equivalent of two synods, say perhaps 400+ congregations. This does not mean the death of the ELCA.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on January 29, 2010, 10:58:48 PM
No it doesn't, and I agree with your numbers.  The initial loss will be something less than 500.  Hidden alongside, though, will be upwards of 3000 congregations who will become largely impotent due to a slow membership bleed over the next decade.  Perhaps George is on to something about the leadership being proactive and encouraging a sorting out process to minimize the transition costs in terms of money, witness, and vitality.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 29, 2010, 11:28:37 PM
I agree with the numbers with one major caveat. The block Synods and their discernment have yet to be heard from. If NE Iowa, SC etc, are tilted away, then the numbers change radically and jeopardize the ability of the ELCA to hold cohesion. I sadly expect the ELCA to ignore Crumley et al, and just shove them aside. That would be a mistake.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on January 29, 2010, 11:35:12 PM
I agree with the numbers with one major caveat. The block Synods and their discernment have yet to be heard from. If NE Iowa, SC etc, are tilted away, then the numbers change radically and jeopardize the ability of the ELCA to hold cohesion. I sadly expect the ELCA to ignore Crumley et al, and just shove them aside. That would be a mistake.

TV

Educate me, please.  What's a 'block synod'?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on January 29, 2010, 11:54:33 PM
I agree with the numbers with one major caveat. The block Synods and their discernment have yet to be heard from. If NE Iowa, SC etc, are tilted away, then the numbers change radically and jeopardize the ability of the ELCA to hold cohesion. I sadly expect the ELCA to ignore Crumley et al, and just shove them aside. That would be a mistake.

TV

Educate me, please.  What's a 'block synod'?

I'm speaking of those churches that are not leaving right now but very opposed to the CWA actions. They are more opposed than many that are voting to leave. They will respond in Synod, not as a congregation, or as a member of the ELCA. I count the SC Synod as one of those.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 30, 2010, 04:32:58 AM
The LC-MS vicar writes:
I sadly expect the ELCA to ignore Crumley et al, and just shove them aside.

I comment:
I do not expect that anyone will be shoved aside or ignored. I'd bet that former Bishop Crumley has already had personal conversations with key leaders in the ELCA. And once again, just because we do not agree with someone or do what they want done does not mean that they are being ignored or shoved aside.
I have the highest regard for Dr. Crumley, a man who was a great leader of the ELCA, especially with regard to ecumenical relations. We worked together quite closely and I was with him on one of his key visits to Pope John Paul II.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Michael Slusser on January 30, 2010, 09:49:03 AM
From Saturday morning's Saint Paul Pioneer Press:

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_14299059?nclick_check=1

Excerpt:

John Brooks, spokesman for the national ELCA, said the August vote at a Minneapolis conference followed years of study by ELCA officials. "In their minds, it is the right thing to do," he said.

Brooks said the protests were scattered.

Two votes are required before a church may leave the ELCA, each requiring a two-thirds majority. Out of 10,400 congregations nationally, 152 churches have taken the first vote. Of those, 45 failed to get that majority.

So far, four churches have severed ties with the ELCA, Brooks said.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Bergs on January 30, 2010, 10:25:19 AM
The LC-MS vicar writes:
I sadly expect the ELCA to ignore Crumley et al, and just shove them aside.

I comment:
I do not expect that anyone will be shoved aside or ignored. I'd bet that former Bishop Crumley has already had personal conversations with key leaders in the ELCA. And once again, just because we do not agree with someone or do what they want done does not mean that they are being ignored or shoved aside.
I have the highest regard for Dr. Crumley, a man who was a great leader of the ELCA, especially with regard to ecumenical relations. We worked together quite closely and I was with him on one of his key visits to Pope John Paul II.

Charles is correct that many like Bishop Crumley will not be shoved aside and ignored.  If our experience is of any note, he will be parodied, persecuted, pilloried, and punished.  He is too much of a high value target to ignore, therefore he must be properly neutered.   Bishop Crumley must have one of them-there "attitudes of exclusivity" mentioned in the thread titled Wartburg College Chapel Message. 

Lord have mercy
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 30, 2010, 10:29:59 AM
Brian Bergs writes:
Charles is correct that many like Bishop Crumley will not be shoved aside and ignored.  If our experience is of any note, he will be parodied, persecuted, pilloried, and punished.  He is too much of a high value target to ignore, therefore he must be properly neutered.

I comment:
And if that happens - the parody, persecution, pillory and punishment (not a bad alliterative phrase, BTW) - directed at Dr. Crumley, I guarantee that I will be loud, present and vociferous in his defense. So you let me know when all those things happen.
I'm wondering how we would pillory or punish anyone, but maybe you know.  ;)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on January 30, 2010, 10:31:08 AM
WOW. and double WOW.

This just shows me how much leaders have their heads in the sand. Protests are "scattered"? And only in rural areas? Ha! Talk to the three Synods who are down 300-550K in giving, and the suburban churches are leaving in droves.

The leadership is vastly underestimating this situation. Oh well, maybe by the end of the year when they are in real fiscal crisis they might wake up.


  

From Saturday morning's Saint Paul Pioneer Press:

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_14299059?nclick_check=1

Excerpt:

John Brooks, spokesman for the national ELCA, said the August vote at a Minneapolis conference followed years of study by ELCA officials. "In their minds, it is the right thing to do," he said.

Brooks said the protests were scattered.

Two votes are required before a church may leave the ELCA, each requiring a two-thirds majority. Out of 10,400 congregations nationally, 152 churches have taken the first vote. Of those, 45 failed to get that majority.

So far, four churches have severed ties with the ELCA, Brooks said.

Peace,
Michael

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on January 30, 2010, 10:36:33 AM
From Saturday morning's Saint Paul Pioneer Press:

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_14299059?nclick_check=1

Excerpt:

John Brooks, spokesman for the national ELCA, said the August vote at a Minneapolis conference followed years of study by ELCA officials. "In their minds, it is the right thing to do," he said.

Brooks said the protests were scattered.

Two votes are required before a church may leave the ELCA, each requiring a two-thirds majority. Out of 10,400 congregations nationally, 152 churches have taken the first vote. Of those, 45 failed to get that majority.

So far, four churches have severed ties with the ELCA, Brooks said.

Peace,
Michael


John Brooks, spokesman for the national ELCA, said the August vote at a Minneapolis conference followed years of study by ELCA officials. "In their minds, it is the right thing to do," he said.


But we were recently told that these decisions were only the work of the CWA, not ELCA leadership . . .   ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on January 30, 2010, 10:37:47 AM
Brian Bergs writes:
Charles is correct that many like Bishop Crumley will not be shoved aside and ignored.  If our experience is of any note, he will be parodied, persecuted, pilloried, and punished.  He is too much of a high value target to ignore, therefore he must be properly neutered.

I comment:
And if that happens - the parody, persecution, pillory and punishment (not a bad alliterative phrase, BTW) - directed at Dr. Crumley, I guarantee that I will be loud, present and vociferous in his defense. So you let me know when all those things happen.
I'm wondering how we would pillory or punish anyone, but maybe you know.  ;)

Riiiigggghhhhhttt . . . ::)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 30, 2010, 10:41:57 AM
Nice to be taken seriously in the discussion.  ;D
Anyone who has been here for a while might understand that I would leap to the defense of Dr. Crumley if those things predicted started to happen. And I'd take a side bet that they won't happen, except perhaps for some intermperate and un-characteristic words from fringe extremists; the same kind of people who on the "other side" say the revisionists are unitarian, anti-Gospel, schemers out to destroy the ELCA.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on January 30, 2010, 12:25:18 PM
From Saturday morning's Saint Paul Pioneer Press:

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_14299059?nclick_check=1

Excerpt:

John Brooks, spokesman for the national ELCA, said the August vote at a Minneapolis conference followed years of study by ELCA officials. "In their minds, it is the right thing to do," he said.

Brooks said the protests were scattered.

Two votes are required before a church may leave the ELCA, each requiring a two-thirds majority. Out of 10,400 congregations nationally, 152 churches have taken the first vote. Of those, 45 failed to get that majority.

So far, four churches have severed ties with the ELCA, Brooks said.

Peace,
Michael


John Brooks, spokesman for the national ELCA, said the August vote at a Minneapolis conference followed years of study by ELCA officials. "In their minds, it is the right thing to do," he said.


But we were recently told that these decisions were only the work of the CWA, not ELCA leadership . . .    ;D


So you noticed that, too.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Bergs on January 30, 2010, 12:31:52 PM
Quote from: Charles_Austin
Brian Bergs writes:
Charles is correct that many like Bishop Crumley will not be shoved aside and ignored.  If our experience is of any note, he will be parodied, persecuted, pilloried, and punished.  He is too much of a high value target to ignore, therefore he must be properly neutered.

I comment:
And if that happens - the parody, persecution, pillory and punishment (not a bad alliterative phrase, BTW) - directed at Dr. Crumley, I guarantee that I will be loud, present and vociferous in his defense. So you let me know when all those things happen.
I'm wondering how we would pillory or punish anyone, but maybe you know. 

I am glad for your defense just as I defended those who disagreed with me during our congregation's "discernment process."  

I wish you could have been there when our ELCA called and ordained pastor called out the 17 Lutheran theologians who opposed the 2005 CWA resolutions on sexualtiy (which included Bishop Crumley) as Pharisees in a sermon.  

Grace & Peace,
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Lutheranistic on January 30, 2010, 12:35:52 PM
Quote
John Brooks, spokesman for the national ELCA, said the August vote at a Minneapolis conference followed years of study by ELCA officials. "In their minds, it is the right thing to do," he said.

But we were recently told that these decisions were only the work of the CWA, not ELCA leadership . . .    Grin

Well, to (I'll admit, a little grudgingly) put the best possible construction on that quote, the intention might have been that in the minds of ELCA officials, it is the right thing to do to implement the decisions made by participants at CWA2009. Maybe.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on January 30, 2010, 05:25:08 PM

John Brooks, spokesman for the national ELCA, said the August vote at a Minneapolis conference followed years of study by ELCA officials. "In their minds, it is the right thing to do," he said.

But we were recently told that these decisions were only the work of the CWA, not ELCA leadership . . .   ;D


So you noticed that, too.

That is the reporter's interpretation of Mr. Brooks' statements.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on January 30, 2010, 05:32:44 PM
From Saturday morning's Saint Paul Pioneer Press:

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_14299059?nclick_check=1

Excerpt:

John Brooks, spokesman for the national ELCA, said the August vote at a Minneapolis conference followed years of study by ELCA officials. "In their minds, it is the right thing to do," he said.


Key phrase:  "in their minds, it is the right thing to do,"

Not in light of scripture, or with witness of the Church, or the Lutheran Confessions, or any other fixed reference point.  I'm surprised he didn't say that they feel it's the right thing to do - that would have been most accurate.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: GalRev83 on January 30, 2010, 06:36:06 PM
Quote from: Charles_Austin
Brian Bergs writes:
Charles is correct that many like Bishop Crumley will not be shoved aside and ignored.  If our experience is of any note, he will be parodied, persecuted, pilloried, and punished.  He is too much of a high value target to ignore, therefore he must be properly neutered.

I comment:
And if that happens - the parody, persecution, pillory and punishment (not a bad alliterative phrase, BTW) - directed at Dr. Crumley, I guarantee that I will be loud, present and vociferous in his defense. So you let me know when all those things happen.
I'm wondering how we would pillory or punish anyone, but maybe you know. 

I am glad for your defense just as I defended those who disagreed with me during our congregation's "discernment process."  

I wish you could have been there when our ELCA called and ordained pastor called out the 17 Lutheran theologians who opposed the 2005 CWA resolutions on sexualtiy (which included Bishop Crumley) as Pharisees in a sermon.  

Grace & Peace,
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

Well, I wish you could have seen the behavior of the Division for Ministry Board back in the day when I served on it. You would understand "pilloried" easily!

After months of planning, the board went into a panel discussion, with three people on each "side" of the issue of rostering those in PALMSS relationships. (Note  the discussion was introduced by the Director of the Division who said, in so many word, "I don't see why we have to keep discussing this. Young people like my son mock us and say, 'Dad, when is the church going to catch up with the real world?' And I really believe that in 20 years this won't even be an issue." Thanks, Dr. Wagner.)

So then we go through the "hearing." Or whatever you want to call it. And, later, in worship, I (who was drafted to be the "parish pastor supporting existing policy" -- being told I was the only one they could find (yeah, right) --was mocked and scolded IN THE PRAYERS. Yes! "God, forgive those  who would use rules and regulations to legalistically oppress your beloved children..." -- because I have talked about candidacy practices and guidelines and why I felt they were worthy of support and were still right and workable....

That's just one way we pillory and punish. It was my final meeting as a board member (after 6 years of service -- I made a full term.) It left a bad taste in my proverbial mouth that persists to this day. I have no doubt Bp. Crumley is in for it, somewhere, somehow.....!
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 30, 2010, 11:24:08 PM
Pastor Smith, I'm sorry you felt mistreated that way and believe that folks using prayers and meetings like that to do so were wrong.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on February 02, 2010, 10:56:14 AM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).

I know a few people replied that they would be going to the meeting in Peachtree City, Georgia on Sunday, February 21.  So I wanted to make sure you knew that a time correction was posted today - instead of a noon start time it starts at 1:00PM.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 02, 2010, 12:32:27 PM
Only slightly off topic - LCMC has been holding open informational meetings all over the country.  Thus far they have been announcing them by email list-servs.

A bunch of them came out this morning and I called up and asked if they wanted them sent out to a wider audience than just the folks on the list-serv.  The answer was affirmative so I have posted them to the lcmcfriends.info message board in a new thread LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0).

I know a few people replied that they would be going to the meeting in Peachtree City, Georgia on Sunday, February 21.  So I wanted to make sure you knew that a time correction was posted today - instead of a noon start time it starts at 1:00PM.

Thank you for noting the time change. I had contacted the pastor there asking whether it would be appropriate for me to attend. Her response was that I would be welcome.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Erme Wolf on February 02, 2010, 10:01:16 PM
    South Zumbro Lutheran Church of rural Kasson, MN voted 74-11 to leave the ELCA.  This is the first vote.  Pastor Mark Schwarz reported that they will be taking their second vote in January of 2011.   This is the third congregation in the SE MN Synod to take a vote to leave.  (South Zumbro is a 700 member congregation, not large by Minnesota standards but large in most synods outside of the upper Midwest/Great Plains states.)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 02, 2010, 10:27:54 PM
They are taking their votes a year apart? Why?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 02, 2010, 10:29:06 PM
They are taking their votes a year apart? Why?

Why don't you ask them?

Here's their phone number: (507) 365-8110

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on February 03, 2010, 08:01:17 AM
Shepherd of the Valley (http://www.shepherd-lutheran.org/news.html), Afton, Minnesota.

Quote
On Sunday, January 31st, 2010, SOV members voted to sever the church's affiliation with the ELCA.  The vote passed by a full 90 percent majority (410 of 455 members present at meeting).  The group also passed by a 91 percent majority (414 of 455 present) a resolution to form a new relationship with the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).  The ELCA resolution will need to ratified by a subsequent two-thirds majority vote in a subsequent meeting in May.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 03, 2010, 09:18:51 AM
They are taking their votes a year apart? Why?

I would imagine because they want to take a good amount of time figuring out which Lutheran group to associate with. That take research, discussion with members of the various groups, and meetings to keep people informed. A year is not too long.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Mike Bennett on February 03, 2010, 10:20:28 PM
They are taking their votes a year apart? Why?

Why don't you ask them?

Here's their phone number: (507) 365-8110


What'd they say, Charles?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on February 03, 2010, 10:26:59 PM
It should be noted that in our research on this issue the 90 days is the MINIMUM time between two votes. I don't believe there is a maximum time stated. While a year is a long time in my mind, it shows that this congregation is being thoughtful, and in a process of discernment.

As  a pastor, I was always taught you are not only called from a particular parish, but to another one. Sometimes, the times were in agreement, sometime the call "from" one parish was felt for a while before the call "to" another parish.

I would say they have good leadership that is looking at the "to" call, as well as the "from" aspect of the situation. As Rob said, a year is a good time frame for not rushing things.

This also tells us the fallout will be felt for years to come, and as has been noted by many on this forum, churches will be voting to leave over the next few years, not just this year.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Mike Bennett on February 04, 2010, 03:05:32 PM
They are taking their votes a year apart? Why?

Why don't you ask them?

Here's their phone number: (507) 365-8110


What'd they say, Charles?

Bump
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 04, 2010, 05:14:40 PM
They are taking their votes a year apart? Why?

Why don't you ask them?

Here's their phone number: (507) 365-8110


What'd they say, Charles?

What's the area code for the Amazon Dessert? ???

Bump
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 04, 2010, 05:28:54 PM
They are taking their votes a year apart? Why?

Why don't you ask them?

Here's their phone number: (507) 365-8110


What'd they say, Charles?

What's the area code for the Amazon Dessert? ???

Bump

I don't know, but an "Amazon Dessert" probably includes a variety of tropical fruits and maybe a little ice cream.   ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on February 04, 2010, 05:44:12 PM
They are taking their votes a year apart? Why?

Why don't you ask them?

Here's their phone number: (507) 365-8110


What'd they say, Charles?

What's the area code for the Amazon Dessert? ???

Bump

I don't know, but an "Amazon Dessert" probably includes a variety of tropical fruits and maybe a little ice cream.   ;D

OK.  Now we're getting silly.   :P
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Lutheranistic on February 05, 2010, 10:46:42 AM
FYI, regarding Central, Elk River, MN:

http://www.clcelkriver.org/

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 05, 2010, 11:08:29 AM
FYI, regarding Central, Elk River, MN:

http://www.clcelkriver.org/



One selected quote from that website:

As we anticipate our meeting we continue to pray for Pastor Cyndi-Ganzkow-Wold and the people of Elk River Lutheran. As you know the Synod has advised the members of Elk River to retain their membership at Central until after the second vote.  Some members, who have chosen to leave Central's worshipping body, are actively recruiting people to come and defeat the motion.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Bergs on February 05, 2010, 11:19:22 AM
Last night I had dinner at my in-law's.  My father-in-law is a retired ELCA pastor who served a congregation in western North Dakota in the 1970's.  He is hearing from a number of his former friends in that part of the country.  They are telling him that many congregations are in a great turmoil over this and are leaving their local congregations and finding other Lutheran churches that match their beliefs.  He was obviously very disturbed about what is happening, this is tearing communities apart in places he has heard from.  He has also never revealed any opinion on the great sexuality debate and has tried to remain very neutral about it.  

This is all so very sad.

Grace & Peace
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 05, 2010, 11:27:30 AM
He has also never revealed any opinion on the great sexuality debate and has tried to remain very neutral about it.  



I'm sorry to hear that. The main thing that will ease the turmoil is strong, spirit-filled leaders in the church taking sides for what is right and leading the people as God would have the people lead. I'm not saying that all are called to get involved, and that those who sit on the sidelines should be condemned. But those who sit on the sidelines are not helping the situation.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Michael Slusser on February 05, 2010, 11:42:01 AM
Good Shepherd Lutheran in Monroeville PA voted not to move to LCMC after all:
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_665014.html

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 05, 2010, 12:38:18 PM
Good Shepherd Lutheran in Monroeville PA voted not to move to LCMC after all:
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_665014.html

Peace,
Michael

That is not good news for Good Shepherd.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 05, 2010, 12:45:17 PM
He has also never revealed any opinion on the great sexuality debate and has tried to remain very neutral about it.  



I'm sorry to hear that. The main thing that will ease the turmoil is strong, spirit-filled leaders in the church taking sides for what is right and leading the people as God would have the people lead. I'm not saying that all are called to get involved, and that those who sit on the sidelines should be condemned. But those who sit on the sidelines are not helping the situation.

What is right is working hard to keep the Body of Christ together. Studying 1 Corinthians again convinces me again and again that factions within the body are detrimental to the whole body. That's the "side" I've taken -- and the theme of the sermon I preached after the CWA. As far as I know, we've had no turmoil in our congregation. I've also heard from "outsiders" that our members have shared that -- and appreciated that approach. My colleague in town is taking a different approach. There is turmoil in the congregation. One member is transferring to ours. Another family from there has talked to me, expressing their disapproval. There are people in our pews who agree with the decisions the CWA assembly made -- and express pride in those decisions -- not just those related to sexual relationships.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 05, 2010, 12:58:28 PM
He has also never revealed any opinion on the great sexuality debate and has tried to remain very neutral about it.  



I'm sorry to hear that. The main thing that will ease the turmoil is strong, spirit-filled leaders in the church taking sides for what is right and leading the people as God would have the people lead. I'm not saying that all are called to get involved, and that those who sit on the sidelines should be condemned. But those who sit on the sidelines are not helping the situation.

What is right is working hard to keep the Body of Christ together. Studying 1 Corinthians again convinces me again and again that factions within the body are detrimental to the whole body. That's the "side" I've taken -- and the theme of the sermon I preached after the CWA. As far as I know, we've had no turmoil in our congregation. I've also heard from "outsiders" that our members have shared that -- and appreciated that approach. My colleague in town is taking a different approach. There is turmoil in the congregation. One member is transferring to ours. Another family from there has talked to me, expressing their disapproval. There are people in our pews who agree with the decisions the CWA assembly made -- and express pride in those decisions -- not just those related to sexual relationships.

What is also right is excising the cancer that is threatening to destroy it, but the CWA of 2009 means the cancer is allowed to grow and kill the body.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 05, 2010, 01:44:16 PM
He has also never revealed any opinion on the great sexuality debate and has tried to remain very neutral about it.  



I'm sorry to hear that. The main thing that will ease the turmoil is strong, spirit-filled leaders in the church taking sides for what is right and leading the people as God would have the people lead. I'm not saying that all are called to get involved, and that those who sit on the sidelines should be condemned. But those who sit on the sidelines are not helping the situation.

What is right is working hard to keep the Body of Christ together. Studying 1 Corinthians again convinces me again and again that factions within the body are detrimental to the whole body. That's the "side" I've taken -- and the theme of the sermon I preached after the CWA. As far as I know, we've had no turmoil in our congregation. I've also heard from "outsiders" that our members have shared that -- and appreciated that approach. My colleague in town is taking a different approach. There is turmoil in the congregation. One member is transferring to ours. Another family from there has talked to me, expressing their disapproval. There are people in our pews who agree with the decisions the CWA assembly made -- and express pride in those decisions -- not just those related to sexual relationships.

What is also right is excising the cancer that is threatening to destroy it, but the CWA of 2009 means the cancer is allowed to grow and kill the body.

That's one interpretation. It's not the one I believe, nor, apparently many others. I would think that if pastors and congregation consider it a cancer that will destroy the body, they would want to get away from it as soon as possible. Not that many congregations have voted to leave.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Pilgrim on February 05, 2010, 02:01:08 PM
Brian Stoffregen wrote: What is right is working hard to keep the Body of Christ together. Studying 1 Corinthians again convinces me again and again that factions within the body are detrimental to the whole body. That's the "side" I've taken -- and the theme of the sermon I preached after the CWA.

Pilgrim notes: Thus the highest operating "value" is "unity", particularly as expressed currently by the ELCA - as opposed to truth, or love, or a variety of other things.

Now are factions detrimental? Of course. But what you seemingly and continually fail to grasp is that unity is a "gift" given by God, not an accomplishment of theological, intellectual or emotional "detante" achieved among humanity. Thus, what is "right" may, in fact, NOT be "working hard to keep the Body of Christ together" since that infers that it somehow depends upon "us". Your "works-righteousness", in spite of rhetoric, continually shows through, Brian. Reference the wheat and tares parable in Matthew.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 05, 2010, 02:01:40 PM
He has also never revealed any opinion on the great sexuality debate and has tried to remain very neutral about it.  



I'm sorry to hear that. The main thing that will ease the turmoil is strong, spirit-filled leaders in the church taking sides for what is right and leading the people as God would have the people lead. I'm not saying that all are called to get involved, and that those who sit on the sidelines should be condemned. But those who sit on the sidelines are not helping the situation.

What is right is working hard to keep the Body of Christ together. Studying 1 Corinthians again convinces me again and again that factions within the body are detrimental to the whole body. That's the "side" I've taken -- and the theme of the sermon I preached after the CWA. As far as I know, we've had no turmoil in our congregation. I've also heard from "outsiders" that our members have shared that -- and appreciated that approach. My colleague in town is taking a different approach. There is turmoil in the congregation. One member is transferring to ours. Another family from there has talked to me, expressing their disapproval. There are people in our pews who agree with the decisions the CWA assembly made -- and express pride in those decisions -- not just those related to sexual relationships.

What is also right is excising the cancer that is threatening to destroy it, but the CWA of 2009 means the cancer is allowed to grow and kill the body.

That's one interpretation. It's not the one I believe, nor, apparently many others. I would think that if pastors and congregation consider it a cancer that will destroy the body, they would want to get away from it as soon as possible. Not that many congregations have voted to leave.

Brian, the problem is that many of the things that you believe are just plain wrong.

Right and wrong simply are. Groups of people may vote about such things, but those votes are not binding, decision making events. They are merely public opinion polls. It is quite possible for a majority of people to be wrong.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 05, 2010, 07:28:22 PM

What is right is working hard to keep the Body of Christ together. Studying 1 Corinthians again convinces me again and again that factions within the body are detrimental to the whole body. That's the "side" I've taken -- and the theme of the sermon I preached after the CWA. As far as I know, we've had no turmoil in our congregation. I've also heard from "outsiders" that our members have shared that -- and appreciated that approach. My colleague in town is taking a different approach. There is turmoil in the congregation.


The pastor at the mother church of several Central Illinois ELCA congregations (including Zion) took the same approach as you, Brian.  The congregation is in turmoil.  He decided to accept a new call, which only delayed the worst of the still-developing turmoil a few weeks.

Based on what I see in Illinois, the degree of congregational turmoil (if any) has little to do with the pastor's expressed perspective (if any) and much to do with the responses (if any) of recognized congregational lay leaders -- responses that frequently do not follow pre-conceived expectations.

ymmv, spt+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 05, 2010, 07:43:54 PM
Brian Stoffregen wrote: What is right is working hard to keep the Body of Christ together. Studying 1 Corinthians again convinces me again and again that factions within the body are detrimental to the whole body. That's the "side" I've taken -- and the theme of the sermon I preached after the CWA.

Pilgrim notes: Thus the highest operating "value" is "unity", particularly as expressed currently by the ELCA - as opposed to truth, or love, or a variety of other things.

Now are factions detrimental? Of course. But what you seemingly and continually fail to grasp is that unity is a "gift" given by God, not an accomplishment of theological, intellectual or emotional "detante" achieved among humanity. Thus, what is "right" may, in fact, NOT be "working hard to keep the Body of Christ together" since that infers that it somehow depends upon "us". Your "works-righteousness", in spite of rhetoric, continually shows through, Brian. Reference the wheat and tares parable in Matthew.

Read through 1 Corinthians. If that's too much, just read 3:1-3, to discover how Paul defines spiritual babes -- and gives clues to what it means to be spiritually mature.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Ken Kimball on February 05, 2010, 10:03:22 PM
Read through 1 Corinthians 5-6 And read how Paul still sees the Levitical code as applicable to sexual behavior (and observe that in 1 Cor 5 it was an apparent consensual adult, committed, caring, publicly accountable life long monogamous incestual relationship; how callous of Paul to condemn two people who loved each other; he should have insisted that they be ordained!).   Of course what Paul saw as sexual immorality in 1 Cor 6 was simply his cultural conditioning that failed to account for how healthy it would be for the men of the Corinthian congregation to relieve their sexual tensions and maybe even witness to Christ to the prostitutes (ahem, comfort providers). 

 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 05, 2010, 10:20:40 PM
Read through 1 Corinthians 5-6 And read how Paul still sees the Levitical code as applicable to sexual behavior (and observe that in 1 Cor 5 it was an apparent consensual adult, committed, caring, publicly accountable life long monogamous incestual relationship; how callous of Paul to condemn two people who loved each other; he should have insisted that they be ordained!).   Of course what Paul saw as sexual immorality in 1 Cor 6 was simply his cultural conditioning that failed to account for how healthy it would be for the men of the Corinthian congregation to relieve their sexual tensions and maybe even witness to Christ to the prostitutes (ahem, comfort providers). 

 

Oh come on Ken, you know the only reason Paul was against Prostitution was because he didn't realize that they were really "tension relief" workers.  If he had our knowledge of prostitution he would have been okay with it. :P

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 06, 2010, 05:29:30 PM
Received from my bishop.

Dear Leaders:
 
The following is from Secretary David Swartling:
 
I write to update you on the number of congregations that have taken votes to terminate their relationship with the ELCA. This update is based upon information provided to the Office of the Secretary by synods.

As of February 3, we have been advised that 220 congregations have taken votes to leave the ELCA.  In 156 congregations, the first vote passed; in 64 congregations the first vote failed. 28 congregations have taken a second vote, all of which passed.  (This does not mean that all 28 of these congregations have been removed from the roster because Synod Council approval is required for congregations established by the ELCA and former congregations of the Lutheran Church in America, and, in some cases, the vote is disputed because questions exist regarding the process.) 

It also is worthy to note that 16 synods have not reported any congregations that have voted to terminate their relationship with the ELCA.
May we continue to keep in prayer those moving out of this church, those still in discernment, and those who are choosing to remain.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: LutherMan on February 07, 2010, 03:55:18 PM
Churches ponder ELCA split
http://www.omaha.com/article/20100207/NEWS01/702079900/-1/news

Nebraska and Iowa are feeling the fallout from a decision by the nation's largest Lutheran denomination to allow noncelibate gay clergy and church leaders, as well as recognition of same-sex couples.

Thanksgiving Lutheran Church in Bellevue voted Jan. 31 to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or ELCA. It takes two votes with at least a two-thirds majority, taken at least 90 days apart, for a congregation to split from the national church.

The Jan. 31 vote was Thanksgiving's second vote, so it appears to make the church the first Nebraska congregation to break from the ELCA since a controversial churchwide assembly in August.
<snip>
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 07, 2010, 04:03:12 PM
Churches ponder ELCA split
http://www.omaha.com/article/20100207/NEWS01/702079900/-1/news

Nebraska and Iowa are feeling the fallout from a decision by the nation's largest Lutheran denomination to allow noncelibate gay clergy and church leaders, as well as recognition of same-sex couples.

Thanksgiving Lutheran Church in Bellevue voted Jan. 31 to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or ELCA. It takes two votes with at least a two-thirds majority, taken at least 90 days apart, for a congregation to split from the national church.

The Jan. 31 vote was Thanksgiving's second vote, so it appears to make the church the first Nebraska congregation to break from the ELCA since a controversial churchwide assembly in August.
<snip>

This quote makes me sick in my stomach:

Bishop David deFreese, leader of the ELCA Nebraska Synod, noted that those voting to leave were a small percentage of the state's 260 congregations with 119,000 members.

Still, he said, it hurts.

“Our goal is always to enlarge the circle, to touch more people with God's love and hope,” deFreese said.

He said he was saddened not only by the congregations' departures, but also by the message they could send to society.

“This is maybe just another statement to society that the church is judgmental,” he said. “We want to have the church seen with arms out, longing to care.”
[/b]

And this guy is a bishop!?!?!?

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 08, 2010, 05:56:05 AM
Not only is Bishop deFreese a bishop, but he is a man with a long record of distinguished pastoral ministry in Nebraska.
Folks here may have their views, but apparently the people in Nebraska like him.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: olarmy02 on February 08, 2010, 09:35:38 AM
Not only is Bishop deFreese a bishop, but he is a man with a long record of distinguished pastoral ministry in Nebraska.
Folks here may have their views, but apparently the people in Nebraska like him.

How is that apparent?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 08, 2010, 09:43:57 AM
Not only is Bishop deFreese a bishop, but he is a man with a long record of distinguished pastoral ministry in Nebraska.
Folks here may have their views, but apparently the people in Nebraska like him.

How is that apparent?

If he gets re-elected, that could be taken as proof that the people who vote for him like him.

I'm curious what his popularity has to do with what he does in the performance of his job. I could never understand knee-jerk linkage between an evaluation of an action taken or statement made by a person and how popular the person is.

Do you suppose it has something to do with the premise that popular people are automatically doing the right things, which is why they are popular?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: olarmy02 on February 08, 2010, 09:46:29 AM
Received from my bishop.

Dear Leaders:
 
The following is from Secretary David Swartling:
 
I write to update you on the number of congregations that have taken votes to terminate their relationship with the ELCA. This update is based upon information provided to the Office of the Secretary by synods.

As of February 3, we have been advised that 220 congregations have taken votes to leave the ELCA.  In 156 congregations, the first vote passed; in 64 congregations the first vote failed. 28 congregations have taken a second vote, all of which passed.  (This does not mean that all 28 of these congregations have been removed from the roster because Synod Council approval is required for congregations established by the ELCA and former congregations of the Lutheran Church in America, and, in some cases, the vote is disputed because questions exist regarding the process.) 

It also is worthy to note that 16 synods have not reported any congregations that have voted to terminate their relationship with the ELCA.
May we continue to keep in prayer those moving out of this church, those still in discernment, and those who are choosing to remain.

Fun with numbers. Instead of 16 synods that have yet to have congregations terminate their relationship with the ELCA how about 49 synods have had congregations vote to terminate their relationship with the ELCA?  
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 08, 2010, 10:12:12 AM
Not only is Bishop deFreese a bishop, but he is a man with a long record of distinguished pastoral ministry in Nebraska.
Folks here may have their views, but apparently the people in Nebraska like him.

How is that apparent?

Charles has the gift of pulling statements such as this out of thin air, which is why I've dubbed him "The Oracle of ELCA"  [that would be pronounced "elk-a", for those of you playing along at home.]
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: LutherMan on February 08, 2010, 10:16:04 AM
Not only is Bishop deFreese a bishop, but he is a man with a long record of distinguished pastoral ministry in Nebraska.
Folks here may have their views, but apparently the people in Nebraska like him.
I am sure he is a nice enough guy, but no matter how distinguished his career and how much he is liked in NE, he is powerless to stop the bleeding.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Christopher Miller on February 08, 2010, 10:52:22 AM
deFreese also raked a friend of mine over the coals when he DARED to request an "exceptional" ordination.

Hubris runs all ways around "this" church.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 08, 2010, 11:02:36 AM
deFreese also raked a friend of mine over the coals when he DARED to request an "exceptional" ordination.

Hubris runs all ways around "this" church.

What exactly did he do?  Like it or not, under existing rules, a bishop must do some "coal raking" in order to determine with the PB and synod council whether to grant an exception. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 08, 2010, 11:07:18 AM
Not only is Bishop deFreese a bishop, but he is a man with a long record of distinguished pastoral ministry in Nebraska.
Folks here may have their views, but apparently the people in Nebraska like him.
I am sure he is a nice enough guy, but no matter how distinguished his career and how much he is liked in NE, he is powerless to stop the bleeding.

I don't know this bishop, but speaking in general terms about leadership, a leader who gives the people he is leading what they want, and tells them what they want to hear, and who won't take the hard but unpopular stands when such stands are needed will usually be popular, and seldom truly powerful. I have to disagree that any bishop in any synod in the ELCA is "powerless" to at least slow down the bleeding. But to exert such leadership power would often come at the expense of being popular.

The ancient Roman leadership recognized that giving the people the bread and circuses that the people wanted kept the leaders popular. At least, it worked for a time.

The sad thing is, one of the church's reasons for existing is to bear witness to the Gospel and the Law. The Law is clear that there are things that are right to do, and things that are wrong to do. Statements like, “We want to have the church seen with arms out, longing to care”, are not consistent with bearing true witness to the Law. It is the truth that sets us free, not carefully nuanced slogans made to cause people to see the church a certain way.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: grabau on February 08, 2010, 11:20:09 AM
I guess we had not really taken account of how deeply secularist relativism had penetrated the respectable denominatios. grabau
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 08, 2010, 11:22:32 AM
...

Fun with numbers. Instead of 16 synods that have yet to have congregations terminate their relationship with the ELCA how about 49 synods have had congregations vote to terminate their relationship with the ELCA?  

Actually the numbers don't necessarily line up indicative of mood in the Synods. Two synods where I know churches have left, are by and large very supportive of the CWA actions. It was a case of, "Well I guess any hope of us ever being accepted in this Synod is gone." So where a church has left, the Synod is very pro-ELCA trends.

On the other hand, although it is hard to prove a negative without the data, I would strongly suspect that in Synods where congregations expect the Synod leadership to help them with their protest, they have no reason to leave - yet. So those 16 "all is quiet here" Synods may well be where the time bomb lies.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 08, 2010, 07:17:06 PM
This is hilarious. The bishop is now denounced because he enforces the policies we established on ordination. Anybody see the irony in that?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 08, 2010, 07:46:30 PM
Not only is Bishop deFreese a bishop, but he is a man with a long record of distinguished pastoral ministry in Nebraska.
Folks here may have their views, but apparently the people in Nebraska like him.

How is that apparent?

Charles has the gift of pulling statements such as this out of thin air, which is why I've dubbed him "The Oracle of ELCA"  [that would be pronounced "elk-a", for those of you playing along at home.]

Chuck, you have hit the nail right smack dab on the head. Below is further proof of how correct you were:

This is hilarious. The bishop is now denounced because he enforces the policies we established on ordination. Anybody see the irony in that?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Erme Wolf on February 09, 2010, 12:16:08 AM
This is hilarious. The bishop is now denounced because he enforces the policies we established on ordination. Anybody see the irony in that?

What I see is the irony of the Bishop of the Nebraska Synod, a synod that at the start of the ELCA was almost evenly half ALC and half LCA, giving an extremely hard time to a candidate who requests ordination by someone other than the synodical bishop, when just over 20 years ago that would have been normal in the former ALC districts and until the passage of CCM was still allowed across the ELCA.  Yes, the bishop is within his rights to say no to a request for the exception; but you also need to understand that there is no recourse if the bishop says no.  The candidate can go no where else, not even back to his/her home synod.  It is not a good use of power, even if one has the right to say no.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 09, 2010, 05:44:49 AM
So what is a proper use of "power", if that's what it is? The exceptions to our ordination practices are supposed to be just that, exceptions, and the idea was that they would not continue forever as we moved into our ecumenical agreements. And perhaps - we here cannot know - the bishop believed the candidate's reasons were not valid. Candidates are not always right, even those who share our opinions.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 09, 2010, 09:51:10 AM
When a person in a bishop must decide how to use the power of his office, his first place to turn to for guidance is scripture. If, and only if scripture is unclear, then the second place to turn is the explanations of scripture found in the Lutheran Confessions. The resource of last resort is denominational rules. However, anyone who makes to bishop who can't find all the answers they need in scripture and the confessions needs to rethink if his call to serve a bishop might have been a mistake.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Tom on February 09, 2010, 10:21:43 AM
When a person in a bishop must decide how to use the power of his office, his first place to turn to for guidance is scripture. If, and only if scripture is unclear, then the second place to turn is the explanations of scripture found in the Lutheran Confessions. The resource of last resort is denominational rules. However, anyone who makes to bishop who can't find all the answers they need in scripture and the confessions needs to rethink if his call to serve a bishop might have been a mistake.





George I agree with you.  It seems to me that our current "bevy" of bishops does not want to stand for what they believe or what they don't bellieve.  It is so much easiier to "follow th rules" and not worry about scripture or the confessions.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 09, 2010, 10:42:12 AM
I cannot imagine, especially if I were serving as an ELCA Bishop, that a newly graduated seminarian would be able to come up with a theological justification for having his very first action as a pastor being the intentional rejection of the ministry of his Bishop.  That that sort of precedent/statement cannot serve one well as a parish pastor.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: edoughty on February 09, 2010, 10:47:10 AM
I cannot imagine, especially if I were serving as an ELCA Bishop, that a newly graduated seminarian would be able to come up with a theological justification for having his very first action as a pastor being the intentional rejection of the ministry of his Bishop.  That that sort of precedent/statement cannot serve one well as a parish pastor.

Pax, Steven+

Circle the date in red.  Steven and I are agreed.

Erik
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 09, 2010, 12:54:02 PM
I cannot imagine, especially if I were serving as an ELCA Bishop, that a newly graduated seminarian would be able to come up with a theological justification for having his very first action as a pastor being the intentional rejection of the ministry of his Bishop.  That that sort of precedent/statement cannot serve one well as a parish pastor.

Pax, Steven+

I tend to agree with you. However, I can see how a recently graduated seminarian, whose understanding of the role of the office of bishop is freshly determined by the kind of intense study of the Scriptures and Confessions that seminary training is supposed to provide might, in his own mind, separate the office of Bishop as an institution from the specific Bishop leading a given synod. I think I'd have a hard time agreeing with anyone with a freshly minted M. Div rejecting any particular bishop, but I think I could understand someone with a freshly minted M. Div rejecting the concept that ordination must be by a bishop.

Much of my understanding of proper ordination practices is based specifically on what you have told me in posts about things like congregations ordaining their own pastors when the bishop refuses.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Erme Wolf on February 09, 2010, 12:59:51 PM
I cannot imagine, especially if I were serving as an ELCA Bishop, that a newly graduated seminarian would be able to come up with a theological justification for having his very first action as a pastor being the intentional rejection of the ministry of his Bishop.  That that sort of precedent/statement cannot serve one well as a parish pastor.

Pax, Steven+

Steven, ordinarily I would agree with you.  But for one thing, we do live in strange times, and odder things may indeed happen within the ELCA before all is said and done.  And for another,  my main objection really is not that the bishop said no to the request.  It is his giving seminarians (and I believe there has been more than one) a hard time (my words; "raking over the coals" is how it has been described to me by others) for making the request, something for which there is provision in the sacred ELCA constitution for semianrians to do.  That is being a bully, because one has the power to be one.  

(And Erik, all I can say is, would you agree with Steven if your bishop was one of those who had prosecuted clergy for being in violation of the "chaste life" requirement for homosexuals as understood in V&E 1990?  Just curious.  And no, you don't have to answer that question.)  

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Erme Wolf on February 09, 2010, 01:01:32 PM
So what is a proper use of "power", if that's what it is? The exceptions to our ordination practices are supposed to be just that, exceptions, and the idea was that they would not continue forever as we moved into our ecumenical agreements. And perhaps - we here cannot know - the bishop believed the candidate's reasons were not valid. Candidates are not always right, even those who share our opinions.

Funny, my copy of the ELCA Constitution does not show the expiration date for that particular exception clause?  Perhaps you could enlighten all of us with telling us what that date is, and under what provision/page of the Constitution we can all find it? 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Christopher Miller on February 09, 2010, 01:13:22 PM
I have had two friends "raked over the coals". Luckily, I was not. The main issue is that "this" church has made a human construct a requirement. That's why I'm not an EC.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: edoughty on February 09, 2010, 01:44:11 PM
I cannot imagine, especially if I were serving as an ELCA Bishop, that a newly graduated seminarian would be able to come up with a theological justification for having his very first action as a pastor being the intentional rejection of the ministry of his Bishop.  That that sort of precedent/statement cannot serve one well as a parish pastor.

Pax, Steven+

Steven, ordinarily I would agree with you.  But for one thing, we do live in strange times, and odder things may indeed happen within the ELCA before all is said and done.  And for another,  my main objection really is not that the bishop said no to the request.  It is his giving seminarians (and I believe there has been more than one) a hard time (my words; "raking over the coals" is how it has been described to me by others) for making the request, something for which there is provision in the sacred ELCA constitution for semianrians to do.  That is being a bully, because one has the power to be one.  

(And Erik, all I can say is, would you agree with Steven if your bishop was one of those who had prosecuted clergy for being in violation of the "chaste life" requirement for homosexuals as understood in V&E 1990?  Just curious.  And no, you don't have to answer that question.)  


I've been "raked over the coals" once or twice, and it was no picnic, and I don't support such raking.  But I do support a Bishop's perogative to grant an exception or not.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: GalRev83 on February 09, 2010, 02:26:11 PM
I was doing some reading on Central Lutheran of Elk River, Minn. (Minneapolis Synod) and their second vote this past Sunday to leave the ELCA. This is a pretty darned big church but I found their pastor's letter about the vote most interesting..http://www.clcelkriver.org/

Especially these two snippets:
"84 new brothers and sisters who joined Central on Sunday, January 31. In Christ's Name, WELCOME!"
(I was wondering if they are picking up disaffected members from local churches remaining in the ELCA...?)

...and...
"Central's growing generosity as evidenced by General Fund Offerings that are up $49,000 as compared to a year ago at this time. In the 2009 fiscal year Central gave away $361,825.66 to ministries beyond Central. This is an increase of 565% since the fiscal year in 2002 when we gave away $54,438.  Why do I compare to 2002?  It was at a congregational meeting in the spring of 2002 when we decided to tithe as a congregation.  God is indeed faithful!"

This impressed me -- especially in light of all the statements that the economy is devastating the offerings across the ELCA. These are staggering figures. Wondering what everyone here might think -- it is indeed worth reading this letter from the pastor.

This congregation shows an average attendance of 980 on a Sunday, per the ELCA site.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MaddogLutheran on February 09, 2010, 02:53:13 PM
So what is a proper use of "power", if that's what it is? The exceptions to our ordination practices are supposed to be just that, exceptions, and the idea was that they would not continue forever as we moved into our ecumenical agreements. And perhaps - we here cannot know - the bishop believed the candidate's reasons were not valid. Candidates are not always right, even those who share our opinions.

Funny, my copy of the ELCA Constitution does not show the expiration date for that particular exception clause?  Perhaps you could enlighten all of us with telling us what that date is, and under what provision/page of the Constitution we can all find it?  
Thank you for this, Pastor Wolf, as it was exactly my reaction--it's better coming from you, as an "approved" dissenter.

And I'm left to wonder, what would be valid reasons by a candidate under this line of reasoning?  It would seem to me a pre-cursor to "bound conscience" (to beat the dead horse).  For me, I would say that the candidate would have to say something more than "because, I want to do it that way".  So it can't be that "I want my childhood pastor to do 'it' ".  Laying out a Word-Alone-type argument would seem legitimate for a bishop to consider.  Please understand, I think bishops should be doing ordinations, as a sign of the broader communion we claim to be.  But to make an argument that the by-laws may say it, but that doesn't mean I (the bishop) have to hear your argument, is a bit high-handed.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 09, 2010, 03:10:33 PM
Especially these two snippets:
"84 new brothers and sisters who joined Central on Sunday, January 31. In Christ's Name, WELCOME!"
(I was wondering if they are picking up disaffected members from local churches remaining in the ELCA...?)

With a church that big, it's hard to say but I would not be surprised if many of them were disaffected former members of ELCA churches. I serve in a pretty rural area with several ELCA churches within a 10-mile radius of me. That I know of, I am the only ELCA pastor in this area who has expressed any interest to the congregation I serve in looking at Lutheran church-bodies outside the ELCA. Being rural of course, word gets around and members from some of these other congregations have expressed their frustration to me at their own pastor's unwillingness to look outside the ELCA, and with some they at least imply that if we were to leave the ELCA they might transfer. So, like I said, I wouldn't be surprised.

If that is the case and most of those 84 new members were disaffected former-members of area ELCA churches, then I think there is a more tactful way of celebrating that than doing so in conjunction with the final vote to leave.  Maybe it's just me, but that seems to have an air of gloating to me.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on February 09, 2010, 03:11:20 PM
We are experiencing the same thing at La Casa. Giving up, attendance up, ministries growing, and we are giving away more money than ever before.

And the growth is not coming at the expense of other ELCA churches, although we are getting a few here and there.  But of the 45 coming to new member class later this month, only one is from another ELCA church upset about the voting.

Most of the folks leaving our ELCA churches in the Valley are moving to non-denom and community churches. They want nothing to do with the word "Lutheran" anymore. Sad.  


I was doing some reading on Central Lutheran of Elk River, Minn. (Minneapolis Synod) and their second vote this past Sunday to leave the ELCA. This is a pretty darned big church but I found their pastor's letter about the vote most interesting..http://www.clcelkriver.org/

Especially these two snippets:
"84 new brothers and sisters who joined Central on Sunday, January 31. In Christ's Name, WELCOME!"
(I was wondering if they are picking up disaffected members from local churches remaining in the ELCA...?)

...and...
"Central's growing generosity as evidenced by General Fund Offerings that are up $49,000 as compared to a year ago at this time. In the 2009 fiscal year Central gave away $361,825.66 to ministries beyond Central. This is an increase of 565% since the fiscal year in 2002 when we gave away $54,438.  Why do I compare to 2002?  It was at a congregational meeting in the spring of 2002 when we decided to tithe as a congregation.  God is indeed faithful!"

This impressed me -- especially in light of all the statements that the economy is devastating the offerings across the ELCA. These are staggering figures. Wondering what everyone here might think -- it is indeed worth reading this letter from the pastor.

This congregation shows an average attendance of 980 on a Sunday, per the ELCA site.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: edoughty on February 09, 2010, 03:21:09 PM
I would think, if the candidate has a theological (or other) argument to make, arguing for an exception, then a wise and thoughtful Bishop certainly would listen.  That does not mean, however, that the same wise and thoughtful Bishop will agree with the candidate's reasons, and/or grant the exception to the norm.  

It also seems to me that a wise and thoughtful candidate for ordination, knowing that the norm since 2001 has been that bishops ordain pastors, would (a) have a really good reason why they need an exception; (b) have a plan for what to do if the answer came back "no,"; and (c) might consider whether the ELCA is, in fact, the *specific* Lutheran denomination to which they are called, since there are probably some USA Lutheran denominations where pastors regularly ordain.  

I don't know this candidate's story, but if they went through seminary on the four-year plan (junior, middler, intern, senior) then certainly the CCM norm was in effect even before they began.  I understand hoping that the church will change by the time you are ordained (believe me!) but . . . . in the case of bishops ordaining, it has not.  
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 09, 2010, 03:58:15 PM
It also seems to me that a wise and thoughtful candidate for ordination, knowing that the norm since 2001 has been that bishops ordain pastors, would (a) have a really good reason why they need an exception; (b) have a plan for what to do if the answer came back "no,"; and (c) might consider whether the ELCA is, in fact, the *specific* Lutheran denomination to which they are called, since there are probably some USA Lutheran denominations where pastors regularly ordain.  

And here we have the absolute absurdity of CCM; that those candidates who simply seek an ordination that is in line with AC VII, AC XiV, and AC XXVIII are the ones who have to defend their theological position.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: edoughty on February 09, 2010, 04:07:44 PM
It also seems to me that a wise and thoughtful candidate for ordination, knowing that the norm since 2001 has been that bishops ordain pastors, would (a) have a really good reason why they need an exception; (b) have a plan for what to do if the answer came back "no,"; and (c) might consider whether the ELCA is, in fact, the *specific* Lutheran denomination to which they are called, since there are probably some USA Lutheran denominations where pastors regularly ordain.  

And here we have the absolute absurdity of CCM; that those candidates who simply seek an ordination that is in line with AC VII, AC XiV, and AC XXVIII are the ones who have to defend their theological position.

Call it absurd if you wish (and clearly you do wish to); but this has been the ELCA's stance for a decade now; so I would think a candidate would prepare for a possible "Why should you not follow the norm?" and a possible "No, the exception is not granted." 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 09, 2010, 04:18:44 PM
It also seems to me that a wise and thoughtful candidate for ordination, knowing that the norm since 2001 has been that bishops ordain pastors, would (a) have a really good reason why they need an exception; (b) have a plan for what to do if the answer came back "no,"; and (c) might consider whether the ELCA is, in fact, the *specific* Lutheran denomination to which they are called, since there are probably some USA Lutheran denominations where pastors regularly ordain.  

And here we have the absolute absurdity of CCM; that those candidates who simply seek an ordination that is in line with AC VII, AC XiV, and AC XXVIII are the ones who have to defend their theological position.

Call it absurd if you wish (and clearly you do wish to); but this has been the ELCA's stance for a decade now; so I would think a candidate would prepare for a possible "Why should you not follow the norm?" and a possible "No, the exception is not granted." 

I am going to speak to the bold, because I think what you say here is important for the orthodox who wish to remain in the ELCA to understand. The HE was adopted, and for a time local option or "conscience" was OK for those seeking ordanation. However it is clearly seen now that allowing the orthodox to have their conscience was only temporary. Once the HE became the norm, it is clear that the door will slowly but surely be closed on conscience. If you want to serve in that church you better be prepared to accept the HE as adopted by the CWA.

Now consider this last CWA. Yes, the orthodox will be given their bound conscience for a time. However, that door will shut. The norm will be full acceptance everywhere. The orthodox will be allowed to stay for the moment, but eventually the ones who come out of the seminaries will be told "Why should you not follow the norm? Your bound conscience is not accepted."

Something to think about if you're planning on staying with the ELCA.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 09, 2010, 04:31:08 PM
Steven said it clearly upstream. What is a bishop to make of a candidate who says "No, bishop, you may not be at my ordination; for I do not consider your ministry as a bishop as having anything to do with me."
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 09, 2010, 04:40:27 PM
It also seems to me that a wise and thoughtful candidate for ordination, knowing that the norm since 2001 has been that bishops ordain pastors, would (a) have a really good reason why they need an exception; (b) have a plan for what to do if the answer came back "no,"; and (c) might consider whether the ELCA is, in fact, the *specific* Lutheran denomination to which they are called, since there are probably some USA Lutheran denominations where pastors regularly ordain.  

And here we have the absolute absurdity of CCM; that those candidates who simply seek an ordination that is in line with AC VII, AC XiV, and AC XXVIII are the ones who have to defend their theological position.


Call it absurd if you wish (and clearly you do wish to); but this has been the ELCA's stance for a decade now; so I would think a candidate would prepare for a possible "Why should you not follow the norm?" and a possible "No, the exception is not granted." 

There is a world of difference between being asked to justify one's request and being "raked over the coals".
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Mike Bennett on February 09, 2010, 04:46:26 PM
This is hilarious. The bishop is now denounced because he enforces the policies we established on ordination. Anybody see the irony in that?

And as usual, anybody who cares is left to guess or to look up what "This" might mean, due to refusal to use the simple "Quote" feature provided to forum subscribers.  I guess oracles don't use the "Quote" function.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: olarmy02 on February 09, 2010, 04:48:58 PM
Steven said it clearly upstream. What is a bishop to make of a candidate who says "No, bishop, you may not be at my ordination; for I do not consider your ministry as a bishop as having anything to do with me."

Are Bishops really that thin skinned?  I had a liberal female ordained Presbyterian pastor/professor of church history say of Bishops, "Ugh they are just so Bishopy."   ;)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 09, 2010, 04:59:49 PM
I have had two friends "raked over the coals". Luckily, I was not. The main issue is that "this" church has made a human construct a requirement. That's why I'm not an EC.

This church, and its predecessor bodies have always made the human construct of attestation by a bishop (or district president) a requirement.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on February 09, 2010, 05:02:07 PM
Steven said it clearly upstream. What is a bishop to make of a candidate who says "No, bishop, you may not be at my ordination; for I do not consider your ministry as a bishop as having anything to do with me."

Out of mere orneriness, I want to take the opportunity to disagree with both Pr. Tibbetts and Pr. Austin.  Making a request to be ordained in the exceptional manner approved by the ELCA does not mean that a candidate has rejected the ministry of the bishop.  Rather, it means that the candidate does not believe that the ministry of the bishop necessarily involves being physically present at each ordination within his or her synod.  If a candidate were to make the statement above, then, yes, of course, the request would be denied.  But it is rather simplistic to assume that such disrespect for the office of bishop can be the only reason for making such a request.  The burden falls upon the candidate to show that his or her request is a valid one and convincing enough for the bishop to grant the request.

I write this not as someone who would have made such a request if it were available at the time of my ordination.  As a matter of fact, when I was ordained, I naively expected the bishop would be there, but found out that his presence was the exception rather than the rule.  Nonetheless, I have never believed that my ordination was any less valid or proper because of it.  Adiaphora, I believe you call it.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 09, 2010, 05:04:03 PM
So what is a proper use of "power", if that's what it is? The exceptions to our ordination practices are supposed to be just that, exceptions, and the idea was that they would not continue forever as we moved into our ecumenical agreements. And perhaps - we here cannot know - the bishop believed the candidate's reasons were not valid. Candidates are not always right, even those who share our opinions.

Funny, my copy of the ELCA Constitution does not show the expiration date for that particular exception clause?  Perhaps you could enlighten all of us with telling us what that date is, and under what provision/page of the Constitution we can all find it?  
Thank you for this, Pastor Wolf, as it was exactly my reaction--it's better coming from you, as an "approved" dissenter.

And I'm left to wonder, what would be valid reasons by a candidate under this line of reasoning?  It would seem to me a pre-cursor to "bound conscience" (to beat the dead horse).  For me, I would say that the candidate would have to say something more than "because, I want to do it that way".  So it can't be that "I want my childhood pastor to do 'it' ".  Laying out a Word-Alone-type argument would seem legitimate for a bishop to consider.  Please understand, I think bishops should be doing ordinations, as a sign of the broader communion we claim to be.  But to make an argument that the by-laws may say it, but that doesn't mean I (the bishop) have to hear your argument, is a bit high-handed.

The "exception clause" gives candidates the right to ask for an exception to the requirement of a synod bishop officiating at the ordination. It doesn't say that a bishop has to grant the exception.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 09, 2010, 05:10:28 PM
Steven said it clearly upstream. What is a bishop to make of a candidate who says "No, bishop, you may not be at my ordination; for I do not consider your ministry as a bishop as having anything to do with me."

Are Bishops really that thin skinned?  I had a liberal female ordained Presbyterian pastor/professor of church history say of Bishops, "Ugh they are just so Bishopy."   ;)

Given how ELCA bishops are picked, I'd venture to say that any blanket statement about the bishops of the ELCA is probably wrong. It's not like they have any measurable qualification beyond (1) being an ordained pastor and (2) elected by a Synod Assembly. True, I believe that God's call plays a part, but I know of no way to measure that particular qualification.

The "exception clause" gives candidates the right to ask for an exception to the requirement of a synod bishop officiating at the ordination. It doesn't say that a bishop has to grant the exception.

Where does the "exception clause" call for "raking over the coals"?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Mike Bennett on February 09, 2010, 05:10:52 PM

Out of mere orneriness, I want to take the opportunity to disagree with both Pr. Tibbetts and Pr. Austin.  Making a request to be ordained in the exceptional manner approved by the ELCA does not mean that a candidate has rejected the ministry of the bishop.  Rather, it means that the candidate does not believe that the ministry of the bishop necessarily involves being physically present at each ordination within his or her synod.  


When I hear of ordination candidates who insist (and I always suspect it's with coaching from their mentors) on defining the conditions under which they'll be ordained, I'm always reminded of brides to be (and I always suspect it's with coaching from bride's mother) who insist on defining the conditions under which they insist that the pastor marry them in the church.  I tend to think that each is over-reaching.  In this church whese folk lore includes Luther engaged in "full contact" debate, both written and verbal, can anybody visualize him dictating the conditions of his ordination?  I sure can't.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: GalRev83 on February 09, 2010, 06:12:50 PM
Especially these two snippets:
"84 new brothers and sisters who joined Central on Sunday, January 31. In Christ's Name, WELCOME!"
(I was wondering if they are picking up disaffected members from local churches remaining in the ELCA...?)

With a church that big, it's hard to say but I would not be surprised if many of them were disaffected former members of ELCA churches. I serve in a pretty rural area with several ELCA churches within a 10-mile radius of me. That I know of, I am the only ELCA pastor in this area who has expressed any interest to the congregation I serve in looking at Lutheran church-bodies outside the ELCA. Being rural of course, word gets around and members from some of these other congregations have expressed their frustration to me at their own pastor's unwillingness to look outside the ELCA, and with some they at least imply that if we were to leave the ELCA they might transfer. So, like I said, I wouldn't be surprised.

If that is the case and most of those 84 new members were disaffected former-members of area ELCA churches, then I think there is a more tactful way of celebrating that than doing so in conjunction with the final vote to leave.  Maybe it's just me, but that seems to have an air of gloating to me.

Oh, I didn't read it that way -- the letter includes the urging to attend the final vote, and so was obviously written before the final vote. It just happens that the final vote (Feb.7) is now reported on the web page. The new members were received 1/31. I didn't get a gloating tone, but YMMV, I guess. Interesting to me that you heard it that way.

Donna
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 09, 2010, 06:19:33 PM
Steven said it clearly upstream. What is a bishop to make of a candidate who says "No, bishop, you may not be at my ordination; for I do not consider your ministry as a bishop as having anything to do with me."

Not what I said at alll.  Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" (interesting how what was the norm throughout the overwheliming majority of Lutheranism up until 2001, and really probably still is today, has now become 'excpetional' in the ELCA) need not in any way, shape or form be interpreted as telling a bishop that his or her presence is not desired at an ordination. And it certainly isn't even in the same ballpark as saying to said bishop that their ministry has nothing to do with a person being ordained.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 09, 2010, 06:21:45 PM
Especially these two snippets:
"84 new brothers and sisters who joined Central on Sunday, January 31. In Christ's Name, WELCOME!"
(I was wondering if they are picking up disaffected members from local churches remaining in the ELCA...?)

With a church that big, it's hard to say but I would not be surprised if many of them were disaffected former members of ELCA churches. I serve in a pretty rural area with several ELCA churches within a 10-mile radius of me. That I know of, I am the only ELCA pastor in this area who has expressed any interest to the congregation I serve in looking at Lutheran church-bodies outside the ELCA. Being rural of course, word gets around and members from some of these other congregations have expressed their frustration to me at their own pastor's unwillingness to look outside the ELCA, and with some they at least imply that if we were to leave the ELCA they might transfer. So, like I said, I wouldn't be surprised.

If that is the case and most of those 84 new members were disaffected former-members of area ELCA churches, then I think there is a more tactful way of celebrating that than doing so in conjunction with the final vote to leave.  Maybe it's just me, but that seems to have an air of gloating to me.

Oh, I didn't read it that way -- the letter includes the urging to attend the final vote, and so was obviously written before the final vote. It just happens that the final vote (Feb.7) is now reported on the web page. The new members were received 1/31. I didn't get a gloating tone, but YMMV, I guess. Interesting to me that you heard it that way.

Donna

It is hard to see all the nuances on a web-page. But personallly in such a situation, I would have the new-member Sunday a few months removed from the Sunday where the congregation votes to leave.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 09, 2010, 06:23:36 PM
Especially these two snippets:
"84 new brothers and sisters who joined Central on Sunday, January 31. In Christ's Name, WELCOME!"
(I was wondering if they are picking up disaffected members from local churches remaining in the ELCA...?)

With a church that big, it's hard to say but I would not be surprised if many of them were disaffected former members of ELCA churches. I serve in a pretty rural area with several ELCA churches within a 10-mile radius of me. That I know of, I am the only ELCA pastor in this area who has expressed any interest to the congregation I serve in looking at Lutheran church-bodies outside the ELCA. Being rural of course, word gets around and members from some of these other congregations have expressed their frustration to me at their own pastor's unwillingness to look outside the ELCA, and with some they at least imply that if we were to leave the ELCA they might transfer. So, like I said, I wouldn't be surprised.

If that is the case and most of those 84 new members were disaffected former-members of area ELCA churches, then I think there is a more tactful way of celebrating that than doing so in conjunction with the final vote to leave.  Maybe it's just me, but that seems to have an air of gloating to me.

Oh, I didn't read it that way -- the letter includes the urging to attend the final vote, and so was obviously written before the final vote. It just happens that the final vote (Feb.7) is now reported on the web page. The new members were received 1/31. I didn't get a gloating tone, but YMMV, I guess. Interesting to me that you heard it that way.

Donna

Before anyone starts crying "foul" if an ELCA congregation accepts a bunch of new voting members shortly before a vote is take to leave the ELCA, I suggest everyone who isn't already familiar with the ELCA Congregation Trend report to look up some random congregations. The typical ELCA church's actual voting membership is far larger than their typical average Sunday attendance. When it comes time for a go/no-go vote, no one is surprised to see large numbers of CEOs or worse showing up for the vote, specially invited by the "pro-stay" side of the issue.

There's nothing wrong with the "pro-stay" side stacking the deck by bringing in voting members who haven't been inside the church in years, but who hadn't been cleansed from the voting rolls prior to the meeting. But there's also nothing wrong with the "pro-leave" side stacking the deck in their favor by recruiting new members.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 09, 2010, 06:31:38 PM
It also seems to me that a wise and thoughtful candidate for ordination, knowing that the norm since 2001 has been that bishops ordain pastors, would (a) have a really good reason why they need an exception; (b) have a plan for what to do if the answer came back "no,"; and (c) might consider whether the ELCA is, in fact, the *specific* Lutheran denomination to which they are called, since there are probably some USA Lutheran denominations where pastors regularly ordain.  

And here we have the absolute absurdity of CCM; that those candidates who simply seek an ordination that is in line with AC VII, AC XiV, and AC XXVIII are the ones who have to defend their theological position.

Call it absurd if you wish (and clearly you do wish to); but this has been the ELCA's stance for a decade now; so I would think a candidate would prepare for a possible "Why should you not follow the norm?" and a possible "No, the exception is not granted." 

I am not denying that. Certainly a candidate seeking "exceptional ordination" in the ELCA should be prepared to do what they need to do. I just think it's absurd that a pastoral candidate in a denomination that claims to be Lutheran should be forced to defend a position that has been perfectly in line with confessional Lutheranism for nearly 500 years. I am no mathemitician but I am pretty sure nearly 500 years is a lot longer than nearly a decade. But, you're right if one is going to seek ordination in the ELCA they bettter be prepared to play the ELCA games.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 09, 2010, 06:37:08 PM
Where does the "exception clause" call for "raking over the coals"?

The judgment of "raking over the coals" usually comes from the rakee. Before agreeing with that assessment, I would want to hear how the bishop describes his/her actions.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 09, 2010, 06:39:32 PM
Steven said it clearly upstream. What is a bishop to make of a candidate who says "No, bishop, you may not be at my ordination; for I do not consider your ministry as a bishop as having anything to do with me."

Not what I said at alll.  Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" (interesting how what was the norm throughout the overwheliming majority of Lutheranism up until 2001,

But not the norm among all Lutherans; and certainly not the norm among the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 09, 2010, 07:14:15 PM
So what is a proper use of "power", if that's what it is? The exceptions to our ordination practices are supposed to be just that, exceptions, and the idea was that they would not continue forever as we moved into our ecumenical agreements. And perhaps - we here cannot know - the bishop believed the candidate's reasons were not valid. Candidates are not always right, even those who share our opinions.

Funny, my copy of the ELCA Constitution does not show the expiration date for that particular exception clause?  Perhaps you could enlighten all of us with telling us what that date is, and under what provision/page of the Constitution we can all find it?  
Thank you for this, Pastor Wolf, as it was exactly my reaction--it's better coming from you, as an "approved" dissenter.

And I'm left to wonder, what would be valid reasons by a candidate under this line of reasoning?  It would seem to me a pre-cursor to "bound conscience" (to beat the dead horse).  For me, I would say that the candidate would have to say something more than "because, I want to do it that way".  So it can't be that "I want my childhood pastor to do 'it' ".  Laying out a Word-Alone-type argument would seem legitimate for a bishop to consider.  Please understand, I think bishops should be doing ordinations, as a sign of the broader communion we claim to be.  But to make an argument that the by-laws may say it, but that doesn't mean I (the bishop) have to hear your argument, is a bit high-handed.

The "exception clause" gives candidates the right to ask for an exception to the requirement of a synod bishop officiating at the ordination. It doesn't say that a bishop has to grant the exception.
Why write such a clause into a document unless there is some assumption that the general gist of the request-- disagreement with CCM-- is allowable in the ELCA? Presumably a candidate has the right to ask for anything he wants. Does the document specify that the candidate may request a million dollar signing bonus from the bishop but the bishop need not grant the request? Of course not. Anyone can ask for anything. Writing the clause into the document at least gives some formal acknowledgement that, taken simpliciter, the right to express disagreement with CCM and instead go by the prior policy will be honored.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 09, 2010, 08:04:56 PM
Steven said it clearly upstream. What is a bishop to make of a candidate who says "No, bishop, you may not be at my ordination; for I do not consider your ministry as a bishop as having anything to do with me."

Not what I said at alll.  Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" (interesting how what was the norm throughout the overwheliming majority of Lutheranism up until 2001,

But not the norm among all Lutherans; and certainly not the norm among the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans.

I neither said all Lutherans, nor Roman Cathollc nor Orthodox. I am aware that it was not the norm among Orthodox and Catholics. But no matter. The ELCA could publically endorse pganism and you'd find a way to defend it.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 09, 2010, 09:50:49 PM
Steven said it clearly upstream. What is a bishop to make of a candidate who says "No, bishop, you may not be at my ordination; for I do not consider your ministry as a bishop as having anything to do with me."

Not what I said at alll.  Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" (interesting how what was the norm throughout the overwheliming majority of Lutheranism up until 2001,

But not the norm among all Lutherans; and certainly not the norm among the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans.

I neither said all Lutherans, nor Roman Cathollc nor Orthodox. I am aware that it was not the norm among Orthodox and Catholics. But no matter. The ELCA could publically endorse pganism and you'd find a way to defend it.

Too late. Herchurch already did it, and Brian has repeatedly (albeit left-handedly) defended it.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: grabau on February 09, 2010, 11:46:09 PM
Interesting, the renewed Lutheran Churches in the old Soviet bloc have freely chosen to adopt historic episcopacy and at the same time reject the revisionism of the west European neology.  grabau
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 10, 2010, 12:25:46 AM
So what is a proper use of "power", if that's what it is? The exceptions to our ordination practices are supposed to be just that, exceptions, and the idea was that they would not continue forever as we moved into our ecumenical agreements. And perhaps - we here cannot know - the bishop believed the candidate's reasons were not valid. Candidates are not always right, even those who share our opinions.

Funny, my copy of the ELCA Constitution does not show the expiration date for that particular exception clause?  Perhaps you could enlighten all of us with telling us what that date is, and under what provision/page of the Constitution we can all find it?  
Thank you for this, Pastor Wolf, as it was exactly my reaction--it's better coming from you, as an "approved" dissenter.

And I'm left to wonder, what would be valid reasons by a candidate under this line of reasoning?  It would seem to me a pre-cursor to "bound conscience" (to beat the dead horse).  For me, I would say that the candidate would have to say something more than "because, I want to do it that way".  So it can't be that "I want my childhood pastor to do 'it' ".  Laying out a Word-Alone-type argument would seem legitimate for a bishop to consider.  Please understand, I think bishops should be doing ordinations, as a sign of the broader communion we claim to be.  But to make an argument that the by-laws may say it, but that doesn't mean I (the bishop) have to hear your argument, is a bit high-handed.

The "exception clause" gives candidates the right to ask for an exception to the requirement of a synod bishop officiating at the ordination. It doesn't say that a bishop has to grant the exception.
Why write such a clause into a document unless there is some assumption that the general gist of the request-- disagreement with CCM-- is allowable in the ELCA? Presumably a candidate has the right to ask for anything he wants. Does the document specify that the candidate may request a million dollar signing bonus from the bishop but the bishop need not grant the request? Of course not. Anyone can ask for anything. Writing the clause into the document at least gives some formal acknowledgement that, taken simpliciter, the right to express disagreement with CCM and instead go by the prior policy will be honored.

The focus of the exception was not so much on what a candidate for ordination could request or expect and more on what a bishop could permit. 

Upon the adoption of CCM, bishops no longer could permit anyone other than a bishop to ordain.  Under the exception, a bishop may authorize a pastor not serving as a bishop to preside at an ordination.  However, a bishop may decide unilaterally never to exercise this authority.  And before exercising the authority, he or she must first consult with the synod council and the presiding bishop.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 10, 2010, 02:26:21 AM
Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" ... need not in any way, shape or form be interpreted as telling a bishop that his or her presence is not desired at an ordination.


1) That is what a parishioner tried to tell me when informing me that she wanted to be married in the Church, that she wanted young Pastor Y (whom she had known since that pastor was a child and the bride-to-be was a teen-aged Sunday School aide) to preside at the wedding, and that I was certainly welcome to sit with the congregation at the wedding. 

Well, sorry, she could try to explain it any way she wanted, but it simply doesn't work that way.  I'm the called pastor, and she was rejecting my pastoral ministry.  The congregation council immediately saw it that way without me suggesting so and, had the wedding happened under her terms, the rest of my parishioners would have recognized it as such.  Pastor Y, who has a rather different perspective on ordination than I do, also understood what was happening. 

2) I have been making this particular argument since the exception by-law was proposed.  I'll also remind you that this must be a two-way street: the Pastor who respects the Office of the Bishop ought to be able to expect the Bishop to respect the Office of the Pastor.  That this expectation is frequently violated in the ELCA doesn't mean Pastors need to change this expectation.

3) I cannot help it that ELCA Bishop have not, at least in public, sought to theologically defend a denial of granting an exception.  (Nor can I help it that ELCA Bishops and authorities seem to be incapable of justifying anything they do or don't do as a result of theological discernment.  I pray that some do, but their public statements and actions tend to be mere assertions of power, rather than expressions of the authority that comes with the Office.) 

I would not be such a Bishop, and the seminarian and I would have been having appropriate Bishop-to-potential pastor conversation since the early candidacy inquiries.  Being "raked over the coals" for making the request at the very end of that process is certainly an inappropriate response to the request.  (OTOH, those seminary profs encouraging this sort of "confessional" nonsense, as well as instilling in seminarians an attitude that anything other than acquiescense is "raking over the coals," need to be raked over the coals.) 

Pax, Steven+
 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 10, 2010, 03:04:40 AM
Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" ... need not in any way, shape or form be interpreted as telling a bishop that his or her presence is not desired at an ordination.


1) That is what a parishioner tried to tell me when informing me that she wanted to be married in the Church, that she wanted young Pastor Y (whom she had known since that pastor was a child and the bride-to-be was a teen-aged Sunday School aide) to preside at the wedding, and that I was certainly welcome to sit with the congregation at the wedding. 

 


Sorry, but I really don't think that is the same thing at all. Not even close. If it were the norm and standard for other pastors to preside at weddings done at your church then it might be a better parallel. But clearly that is not the case. And nor was it the case, until 2001, that every ordination would require the laying on of hands of a bishop. As I said, I'll agree that since the ELCA does now have such a system in place, a pastoral candidate should be prepared to make their case. But I completely disagree with your implying that a candidate who does so should have to worry about whether the bishop is offended by such a request. If a candidate simply applying for the by-law offends a bishop then that person should probably not be a bishop. All the candidate should have to worry about is making a sound case applying scripture and the Lutheran confessions. Now, we all know that history has shown that with many bishops, that still is not enough. But at least, having done that, the candidate can rest easy knowing that they did what was expected of them. This is the type of stuff that makes me think that if and when I do leave the ELCA, I hope I never end up in another church-body that has bishops.   
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Dadoo on February 10, 2010, 09:10:46 AM
Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" ... need not in any way, shape or form be interpreted as telling a bishop that his or her presence is not desired at an ordination.


1) That is what a parishioner tried to tell me when informing me that she wanted to be married in the Church, that she wanted young Pastor Y (whom she had known since that pastor was a child and the bride-to-be was a teen-aged Sunday School aide) to preside at the wedding, and that I was certainly welcome to sit with the congregation at the wedding. 

 


Sorry, but I really don't think that is the same thing at all. Not even close. If it were the norm and standard for other pastors to preside at weddings done at your church then it might be a better parallel. But clearly that is not the case. And nor was it the case, until 2001, that every ordination would require the laying on of hands of a bishop. As I said, I'll agree that since the ELCA does now have such a system in place, a pastoral candidate should be prepared to make their case. But I completely disagree with your implying that a candidate who does so should have to worry about whether the bishop is offended by such a request. If a candidate simply applying for the by-law offends a bishop then that person should probably not be a bishop. All the candidate should have to worry about is making a sound case applying scripture and the Lutheran confessions. Now, we all know that history has shown that with many bishops, that still is not enough. But at least, having done that, the candidate can rest easy knowing that they did what was expected of them. This is the type of stuff that makes me think that if and when I do leave the ELCA, I hope I never end up in another church-body that has bishops.   

Steve (and Steven for that matter),

It seems to me that there are a number of issues at stake that are not easily distinguished: 1)theology, including scripture and history; 2) ecumenical agreements; 3) the nuts and bolts daily functioning of the church, congregation and synod; 4) personal preferences. What Steven's post brings to the foreground is the possibility that personal matters are driving the interpretation and assertion of the other issues. I have to believe, having met pastors and seminary profs that disciple them, that personal preferences, including distain for authority,  are driving at least a few of the applications for exception. Whether problems accepting authority should disqualify someone from the ordained ministry is better discussed by others than me; I am not that interested. And if it is a matter of "I want my dad to do my ordination because grandpa did his and I want to keep the family streak alive" then I would suggest that one has already accepted an apostolic succession or historic episcopate but we are merely arguing which one gets to ordain.

I also believe, and this is more to Steven's post, that the issue of reciprocity need be raised here. There are plenty of non and anti denominational, radically congregational, churches out there, some of them with the "Lutheran" label. ELCA is not one of them. The church and the synod have a stake in the work of the congregation. The synod's mission plan includes my congregation. It relies on my congregation and has benefit for my congregation. On the other side of the spectrum: A horrible crash in a congregation, like the one in Texas some years ago, has repercussions all through the organization, in that case, two synods, two professors, one seminary, and the national church. Nuts and bolts DO matter. They will be held responsible for us; we, the pastors, might just as well be accountable to them, even symbolically by being ordained by the person whom the church elected to do ordinations: the synodical bishop. And we will, and are, being held responsible for them. The fallout from CWA09 was felt and fielded first by congregations and their pastors. We are either connected or we are not.

I have met a few, not many, but a few Episcopalians. Nice bunch of folks. Lots of dough. Their theology is not terribly interesting to me; much to rooted in Calvin. They are not too terribly plentiful where I live. I am not a fan of all the ecumenical agreements we made. If you are going to make an agreement with someone then it should be more than: "we will be we and you will be you and you can come over here and be we and we can go over there and be you." In America one can do all of that already anyhow. If we bother to have an agreement then there should be some concrete actions that be asked of both sides. CCM's great sin was that it did that and the result was that we had a portion of the church balk. But that balk had the potential to teach the ELCA about making decisions and asking things of itself. The exception clause really did not help the learning process. It merely made compromise based on personal convictions, dare I say bound consciences, with even minority voices the norm. It was tried again in 09 with the result we are now seeing played out. Organizations need to make decisions. Not everyone will be happy. They needed to learn to live with it. The exceptions clause and the 09 CWA attempt to both have and not have gay clergy, are both signs of an organization that really is afraid to make decisions and stick with them.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: olarmy02 on February 10, 2010, 09:32:36 AM
Morning All,

Steering back to the thread topic for a minute, I noticed on the LCMC website there are 112 new LCMC congregations since 19AUG2009.  I've also looked at the AFLC, TAALC, LCMS, and WELS websites and haven't found any news on new congregations having joined.  Have any of these church bodies added any former ELCA congregations since the CWA?  Just curious. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 10, 2010, 09:42:54 AM
Morning All,

Steering back to the thread topic for a minute, I noticed on the LCMC website there are 112 new LCMC congregations since 19AUG2009.  I've also looked at the AFLC, TAALC, LCMS, and WELS websites and haven't found any news on new congregations having joined.  Have any of these church bodies added any former ELCA congregations since the CWA?  Just curious. 

Well I can only say that the AFLC has received quite a bit of interest according to our President's letter to the pastors (in December I think he wrote that there were about 240 contacts from 32 states, in January he said there were more still). I couldn't tell you if any of those congregations have joined the AFLC, and we probably won't know until this summer when the next annual meeting is held. The website for AFLC isn't updated as often as LCMC's so it really isn't always a reliable indicator of just how many are now moving over to the AFLC.

With that said, I fully expect that the vast majority of congregations who leave the ELCA will join LCMC or CORE. AFLC, TAALC, LCMS, and WELS will probably offer seminary help to those affiliations, but I believe the issues we talked about before concerning WO and the inerrancy of Scripture (as well as stricter pastoral guidelines, eg, no divorced pastors for the AFLC) will cause people to move more towards LCMC and CORE at this time.

I believe that AFLC and LCMS will offer seminary help in particular because it appears that the LCMS is already helping in some ways with Lutheran Institute, and I believe they are accepting LCMC candidates into their seminaries. I see that AFLC has had LCMC pastors attending their Summer Institute of Theology, as well as accepting other Lutheran types. So I can see cooperation in that area now and in the future.


Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: olarmy02 on February 10, 2010, 09:58:49 AM
Thanks Pastor Buechler,

It is interesting to see the amount of congregations that have contacted the AFLC, even if we don't know hard numbers joining yet.  AFLC and LCMS seem to be the two most mentioned bodies being compared to the LCMC at congregations looking for a new affiliation.  I figure there have to be some folks choosing them.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 10, 2010, 10:26:02 AM
Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" ... need not in any way, shape or form be interpreted as telling a bishop that his or her presence is not desired at an ordination.


1) That is what a parishioner tried to tell me when informing me that she wanted to be married in the Church, that she wanted young Pastor Y (whom she had known since that pastor was a child and the bride-to-be was a teen-aged Sunday School aide) to preside at the wedding, and that I was certainly welcome to sit with the congregation at the wedding. 

 


Sorry, but I really don't think that is the same thing at all. Not even close. If it were the norm and standard for other pastors to preside at weddings done at your church then it might be a better parallel. But clearly that is not the case. And nor was it the case, until 2001, that every ordination would require the laying on of hands of a bishop.

First of all, bishops officiating at ordinations was the norm in parts of the ELCA. From what I've heard, it was normal for bishops on the east coast to preside at all ordinations. Some clergy from that region were surprised to hear that bishops in the upper midwest normally did not officiate at ordinations. That was foreign to their experience.

Secondly, to push your comments about Steven's analogy further. It is more like a congregation who had a pastor who allowed all sorts of weddings and officials in the building, but then calls a new pastor who establishes the rule, with council approval, that only the called pastor will officiate at weddings.

What would we think of parents who paid $50 to a church for their wedding 30 years ago, insisting that $50 is all that their child should pay today since that used to be the "rule"?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Lutheranistic on February 10, 2010, 10:36:05 AM
Quote
What would we think of parents who paid $50 to a church for their wedding 30 years ago, insisting that $50 is all that their child should pay today since that used to be the "rule"?

I didn't realize you even KNEW my parents, Brian.  ::)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 10, 2010, 10:39:04 AM
Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" ... need not in any way, shape or form be interpreted as telling a bishop that his or her presence is not desired at an ordination.


1) That is what a parishioner tried to tell me when informing me that she wanted to be married in the Church, that she wanted young Pastor Y (whom she had known since that pastor was a child and the bride-to-be was a teen-aged Sunday School aide) to preside at the wedding, and that I was certainly welcome to sit with the congregation at the wedding. 

 


Sorry, but I really don't think that is the same thing at all. Not even close. If it were the norm and standard for other pastors to preside at weddings done at your church then it might be a better parallel. But clearly that is not the case. And nor was it the case, until 2001, that every ordination would require the laying on of hands of a bishop.

First of all, bishops officiating at ordinations was the norm in parts of the ELCA. From what I've heard, it was normal for bishops on the east coast to preside at all ordinations. Some clergy from that region were surprised to hear that bishops in the upper midwest normally did not officiate at ordinations. That was foreign to their experience.

Secondly, to push your comments about Steven's analogy further. It is more like a congregation who had a pastor who allowed all sorts of weddings and officials in the building, but then calls a new pastor who establishes the rule, with council approval, that only the called pastor will officiate at weddings.

What would we think of parents who paid $50 to a church for their wedding 30 years ago, insisting that $50 is all that their child should pay today since that used to be the "rule"?

Talk about comparing apples and oranges . . .
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 10, 2010, 10:54:31 AM


First of all, bishops officiating at ordinations was the norm in parts of the ELCA. From what I've heard, it was normal for bishops on the east coast to preside at all ordinations. Some clergy from that region were surprised to hear that bishops in the upper midwest normally did not officiate at ordinations. That was foreign to their experience.


I don't think that regionalism was the issue.  In the LCA, as a rule, bishops officiated at all ordinations in the upper midwest (and probably everywhere).  I attended several ordination services in Illinois and Minnesota, which generally took place in conjunction with synod conventions. 

Perhaps you are speaking about the ALC practice.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Revbert on February 10, 2010, 11:01:22 AM
News from Indianapolis (to get us back on topic):

Cross and Crown, a congregation of my youth, and later, college days, is in a free-fall.

Following a vote that barely failed to get the 2/3rds necessary for leaving the ELCA, the majority of the council resigned, followed about 10 days later with the resignation of the pastor. Since then, the church secretary and youth and family ministry leader resigned. The council just decided to eliminate TWO services of the three they had for the foreseeable future.

My sister was active in the congregation until the pastor's recent resignation. She is looking for a Lutheran "home" now in the Indianapolis area.

This is a sad thing to see...Lord, have mercy

Art Hebbeler
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 10, 2010, 11:01:37 AM
Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" ... need not in any way, shape or form be interpreted as telling a bishop that his or her presence is not desired at an ordination.


1) That is what a parishioner tried to tell me when informing me that she wanted to be married in the Church, that she wanted young Pastor Y (whom she had known since that pastor was a child and the bride-to-be was a teen-aged Sunday School aide) to preside at the wedding, and that I was certainly welcome to sit with the congregation at the wedding. 

 


Sorry, but I really don't think that is the same thing at all. Not even close. If it were the norm and standard for other pastors to preside at weddings done at your church then it might be a better parallel. But clearly that is not the case. And nor was it the case, until 2001, that every ordination would require the laying on of hands of a bishop.

First of all, bishops officiating at ordinations was the norm in parts of the ELCA. From what I've heard, it was normal for bishops on the east coast to preside at all ordinations. Some clergy from that region were surprised to hear that bishops in the upper midwest normally did not officiate at ordinations. That was foreign to their experience.

Secondly, to push your comments about Steven's analogy further. It is more like a congregation who had a pastor who allowed all sorts of weddings and officials in the building, but then calls a new pastor who establishes the rule, with council approval, that only the called pastor will officiate at weddings.

What would we think of parents who paid $50 to a church for their wedding 30 years ago, insisting that $50 is all that their child should pay today since that used to be the "rule"?

Talk about comparing apples and oranges . . .

Well, there are some people who believe that things in the church have to be exactly the way they have always been. One lady, early in my career, continue to pay or $25/year "dues" to the church.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 10, 2010, 11:07:54 AM


First of all, bishops officiating at ordinations was the norm in parts of the ELCA. From what I've heard, it was normal for bishops on the east coast to preside at all ordinations. Some clergy from that region were surprised to hear that bishops in the upper midwest normally did not officiate at ordinations. That was foreign to their experience.


I don't think that regionalism was the issue.  In the LCA, as a rule, bishops officiated at all ordinations in the upper midwest (and probably everywhere).  I attended several ordination services in Illinois and Minnesota, which generally took place in conjunction with synod conventions. 

Perhaps you are speaking about the ALC practice.

In online discussions about CCM, it did come out that many folks in the upper midwest (where ALC was stronger) didn't realize that bishops out east (which was more of an LCA stronghold) normally officiated at all ordinations. Only after someone shared that information, did the midwesterners understand the comments of pastors who said, "CCM won't make any difference." Similarly, those out on the east (especially with the LCA background,) didn't realize that bishops normally authorized another pastor to officiate at ordinations in other regions. When they became aware of that, they better understood the complaints.

While these "conversations" I remember were mostly regional (east vs. upper midwest,) they also reflected some differences between the practices of ALC and LCA. In either case, it showed that there was a lack of communication and understanding about different segments of the ELCA.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 10, 2010, 11:19:18 AM


First of all, bishops officiating at ordinations was the norm in parts of the ELCA. From what I've heard, it was normal for bishops on the east coast to preside at all ordinations. Some clergy from that region were surprised to hear that bishops in the upper midwest normally did not officiate at ordinations. That was foreign to their experience.


I don't think that regionalism was the issue.  In the LCA, as a rule, bishops officiated at all ordinations in the upper midwest (and probably everywhere).  I attended several ordination services in Illinois and Minnesota, which generally took place in conjunction with synod conventions. 

Perhaps you are speaking about the ALC practice.

In online discussions about CCM, it did come out that many folks in the upper midwest (where ALC was stronger) didn't realize that bishops out east (which was more of an LCA stronghold) normally officiated at all ordinations. Only after someone shared that information, did the midwesterners understand the comments of pastors who said, "CCM won't make any difference." Similarly, those out on the east (especially with the LCA background,) didn't realize that bishops normally authorized another pastor to officiate at ordinations in other regions. When they became aware of that, they better understood the complaints.

While these "conversations" I remember were mostly regional (east vs. upper midwest,) they also reflected some differences between the practices of ALC and LCA. In either case, it showed that there was a lack of communication and understanding about different segments of the ELCA.

And I say again, in the LCA, the bishops in the upper midwest always (or nearly always) presided at ordinations.  It had nothing to do with region. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Michael Slusser on February 10, 2010, 11:25:27 AM
First, James Gale's reply to RevSteve on the exceptions issue was one of the clearest, best-reasoned posts I've seen on this Forum in 2010. Thank you!

Second, no one reacted to the numbers from ELCA spokesman John Brooks that I quoted out of the St. Paul Pioneer Press of January 30 (see reply # 51 above). Here they are again:

Quote
Two votes are required before a church may leave the ELCA, each requiring a two-thirds majority. Out of 10,400 congregations nationally, 152 churches have taken the first vote. Of those, 45 failed to get that majority.

So far, four churches have severed ties with the ELCA, Brooks said.


Granted, that makes no accounting for fractured congregations, ongoing voting processes, and individual departures. But are those numbers accurate or inaccurate?

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: olarmy02 on February 10, 2010, 11:29:11 AM
First, James Gale's reply to RevSteve on the exceptions issue was one of the clearest, best-reasoned posts I've seen on this Forum in 2010. Thank you!

Second, no one reacted to the numbers from ELCA spokesman John Brooks that I quoted out of the St. Paul Pioneer Press of January 30 (see reply # 51 above). Here they are again:

Quote
Two votes are required before a church may leave the ELCA, each requiring a two-thirds majority. Out of 10,400 congregations nationally, 152 churches have taken the first vote. Of those, 45 failed to get that majority.

So far, four churches have severed ties with the ELCA, Brooks said.
[/size]

Granted, that makes no accounting for fractured congregations, ongoing voting processes, and individual departures. But are those numbers accurate or inaccurate?

Peace,
Michael

Considering 112 congregations have joined the LCMC since the middle of August, and as Pastor Buechler noted above that approx 240 have contact the AFLC for information I would say that those numbers are neither accurate nor precise.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 10, 2010, 11:42:29 AM
Concerning contacts with The AALC. I mentioned one congregation that has completed the move to that Association. I do not as a matter of normal conversation discuss in process activity, as it is a time of great anxiety. I think you can assume that diligent congregations also contact The AALC. Because of its irenic and gentle nature, I doubt that you will see regular news flashes. There are clearly hundreds of congregations in discernment right now, if my sample is anything.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 10, 2010, 12:14:59 PM


Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" ... need not in any way, shape or form be interpreted as telling a bishop that his or her presence is not desired at an ordination.


 Organizations need to make decisions. Not everyone will be happy. They needed to learn to live with it. The exceptions clause and the 09 CWA attempt to both have and not have gay clergy, are both signs of an organization that really is afraid to make decisions and stick with them.

And I would say that "learning to live with it" applies to both the candidate and the bishop. The bishops went forward knowing of the by-law just as candidates went forward knowing of the "gift" of episcopal ordiantion that we had received. Both should be prepared to deail with it. It's absurd for Steven to suggest that a pastoral canddiate applying for the by-law excpetion should worry about whether the bishop's feelings are going to be hurt. The system in place allows for candidates to apply for the excpetion. No bishop should be taken aback when that happens. That's all I am saying.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 10, 2010, 12:21:58 PM
First, James Gale's reply to RevSteve on the exceptions issue was one of the clearest, best-reasoned posts I've seen on this Forum in 2010. Thank you!

Second, no one reacted to the numbers from ELCA spokesman John Brooks that I quoted out of the St. Paul Pioneer Press of January 30 (see reply # 51 above). Here they are again:

Quote
Two votes are required before a church may leave the ELCA, each requiring a two-thirds majority. Out of 10,400 congregations nationally, 152 churches have taken the first vote. Of those, 45 failed to get that majority.

So far, four churches have severed ties with the ELCA, Brooks said.
[/size]

Granted, that makes no accounting for fractured congregations, ongoing voting processes, and individual departures. But are those numbers accurate or inaccurate?

Peace,
Michael

Considering 112 congregations have joined the LCMC since the middle of August, and as Pastor Buechler noted above that approx 240 have contact the AFLC for information I would say that those numbers are neither accurate nor precise.


We should also keep in mind that joining LCMC doesn't necessarily mean that a congregation has left the ELCA. Many congregations are voting to join LCMC on the same day that they have the vote to initiate the process ie enter into the 90-day consultation period. I question the numbers also because it seemed like immediately afterCWA there was news of one or two large congregations leaving the ELCA every week. Clearly there appears to be some fudging with the numbers going on. I would like to see these same figures six-months from now. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 10, 2010, 12:35:31 PM
...  no one reacted to the numbers from ELCA spokesman John Brooks that I quoted out of the St. Paul Pioneer Press of January 30 (see reply # 51 above). Here they are again:

Quote
Two votes are required before a church may leave the ELCA, each requiring a two-thirds majority. Out of 10,400 congregations nationally, 152 churches have taken the first vote. Of those, 45 failed to get that majority.

So far, four churches have severed ties with the ELCA, Brooks said.



If we take into account congregations yet to begin, such as the one I know which will have first vote Feb 21, and the one that has yet to schedule their first vote, but clearly will, I think it is fair to assume for starters,
 the press accounts in a few months will begin.

"Out of 9,XXX congregations nationwide,"


Quote

Granted, that makes no accounting for fractured congregations, ...


and this would imply at least a thousand congregations that will have to shuffle and sort out viable communities in the next year. That is the concern I see as being foremost. In the end, staying leaving, can be done in peace. This sorting out is messy indeed.

Quote

 But are those numbers accurate or inaccurate?
Peace,
Michael

Technically, I would have no reason to believe they aren't reasonably good snapshots at the time of the news release. Keep in mind that those joining LCMC do not have to leave ELCA (yet, the Secretary's threat is yet to be played out.) The ELCA can and should count those congregations as not leaving/left until that transpires. So that "112" count is not really there yet. 240 contacts can be from those who will eventually vote to stay...

But in truth. No those numbers aren't even close to accurate any more, in my humble opinion. I know of far more than 4 who absolutely have "left in spirit," and do not consider themselves ELCA. TheCaptain documents at least a dozen who have voted their second vote and passed with usually much more than 2/3. We'll have to wait for the Bishops/Councils to get around to signing their hall passes and permission slips.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2010, 12:44:48 PM
News from Indianapolis (to get us back on topic):

Cross and Crown, a congregation of my youth, and later, college days, is in a free-fall.

Following a vote that barely failed to get the 2/3rds necessary for leaving the ELCA, the majority of the council resigned, followed about 10 days later with the resignation of the pastor. Since then, the church secretary and youth and family ministry leader resigned. The council just decided to eliminate TWO services of the three they had for the foreseeable future.

My sister was active in the congregation until the pastor's recent resignation. She is looking for a Lutheran "home" now in the Indianapolis area.

This is a sad thing to see...Lord, have mercy

Art Hebbeler

I can't help but wonder how many of those in the slightly less than one-third side who "won" the vote deep down inside didn't much care one way or another which denomination their congregation was affiliated with, so long as everyone stayed together. I wonder if there was a non-binding opinion poll taken prior to the vote that attempted to gauge how many insisted on leaving, how many insisted on staying, and how many were going to flip a coin and hope everyone just stayed together.

BTW, I'm going to keep beating that horse for a while. If one lurker in a congregation facing a go/stay vote reads it and follows the advice and a congregation is able to avoid a crash and burn like the one described because of me harping on that, then the repetition will have been worthwhile.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 10, 2010, 12:53:31 PM

... I wonder if there was a non-binding opinion poll taken prior to the vote that attempted to gauge how many insisted on leaving, how many insisted on staying, and how many were going to flip a coin and hope everyone just stayed together.

BTW, I'm going to keep beating that horse for a while. If one lurker in a congregation facing a go/stay vote reads it and follows the advice and a congregation is able to avoid a crash and burn like the one described because of me harping on that, then the repetition will have been worthwhile.

I agree that these straw polls on mood are crucial. The congregation I mentioned that was among the first, if not the first to leave post August, started that process months before the CWA. It allowed the 98+-100% formal votes later. I can't imagine having a first vote without test reaching for mood and counsel from the people first. A good test vote is - "Shall the task force continue to explore our options?" which is exactly what that congregation voted on in August.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2010, 01:00:53 PM
and this would imply at least a thousand congregations that will have to shuffle and sort out viable communities in the next year. That is the concern I see as being foremost. In the end, staying leaving, can be done in peace. This sorting out is messy indeed.

You are right that it can be done in peace. But it can only be done in peace if the leadership of the ELCA places a higher emphasis on pastoral care of the individual members than it does on preserving the institution of the ELCA. In more than one post (probably in this thread), I have suggested that bishops lead adjacent congregations who are considering leaving to instead consider what amounts to a merger/departure strategy, where instead of two congregations voting 60/40 to leave and ending up with two damaged congregations that only have 40% of their former members, plus a new mission start-up (or two) in the LCMC with the people from the 60% sides, they could end up with one ELCA congregation that had the 40%ers from both congregations, and one LCMC congregation with the 60%ers from both congregations.

Sure, some individuals might not like that solution. It's nowhere near perfect. (What plan conceived by a human is?) But it strikes me as a heck of a lot better than what's happening with the ELCA adopting their "get tough" policy.

Of course, for that idea of mine to work, there would have to be some in the leadership who place the good of the people ahead of the good of the institution. That idea is only "mine" because I suggested it. It's actually such a dirt-simple and obvious solution that anyone in a position of leadership of the ELCA who truly placed the people ahead of the institution would have thought of it on his own. The fact that no one in a position of leadership in the ELCA has come forward with any public statement of any sort of plan to ease the pain of separation strikes me as proof that no one in a position of leadership in the ELCA places the people ahead of the institution.

As I see it, the lack of action is proof of a lack of care. I would love to be proven wrong by having someone demonstrate where anyone in a position of leadership in the ELCA has taken action that places the good of the people ahead of the good of the institution.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: grabau on February 10, 2010, 05:21:55 PM
Our Synod constitution (pre LCA) specified that bapptismal sponsors must be confirmed active LUTHERANS. 
some were very displeased at this and sought another denomination.  grabau
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 10, 2010, 09:25:07 PM

As I see it, the lack of action is proof of a lack of care. I would love to be proven wrong by having someone demonstrate where anyone in a position of leadership in the ELCA has taken action that places the good of the people ahead of the good of the institution.

George, I really don't want to rain on your parade.  Your proposal is a sensible solution to our dilemmas.

I've also been part of attempts to get separate congregations near each other to co-operate in order for ministry to continue in some way.  And the typical reaction is, "What a great idea -- to save my church!"  Everyone likes the idea as long as the other side is giving up their church.  It usually takes years to work these things out with good synodical leadership and healthy congregational leadership that also trusts in the goodwill of the synodical leadership. 

I don't think that describes the situation we're in.  Especially the "trusting the goodwill of the Synod" part.

But I'd love to be proved wrong.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2010, 10:13:11 PM

As I see it, the lack of action is proof of a lack of care. I would love to be proven wrong by having someone demonstrate where anyone in a position of leadership in the ELCA has taken action that places the good of the people ahead of the good of the institution.

George, I really don't want to rain on your parade.  Your proposal is a sensible solution to our dilemmas.

I've also been part of attempts to get separate congregations near each other to co-operate in order for ministry to continue in some way.  And the typical reaction is, "What a great idea -- to save my church!"  Everyone likes the idea as long as the other side is giving up their church.  It usually takes years to work these things out with good synodical leadership and healthy congregational leadership that also trusts in the goodwill of the synodical leadership. 

I don't think that describes the situation we're in.  Especially the "trusting the goodwill of the Synod" part.

But I'd love to be proved wrong.

Pax, Steven+

Steven, I totally agree with the situation you describe. I've seen it first hand, and even related the story of how it happened in one little corner of the SWPA synod a while back. That is absolutely the typical reaction. It is a major hurdle that any good leader will have to overcome. To succeed at what I have described would not be easy. Even if the attempt were made, there's no guarantee that it would be successful. For such a plan to succeed would require help from the Holy Spirit, particularly in terms of inspiration to the leader doing the leading to lead with skill, diplomacy, and persuasiveness.

But even if it would be an uphill struggle, against strong opposition and with poor odds of success, I have yet to hear or read of a single leader in the ELCA even making an attempt to try.

If someone tries and fails, that's one thing. When no one even tries, that's pathetic.


Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 10, 2010, 10:45:58 PM
But even if it would be an uphill struggle, against strong opposition and with poor odds of success, I have yet to hear or read of a single leader in the ELCA even making an attempt to try.


Let me ponder that some, George.  I'm thinking of congregations, both as individual parishes and as neighboring ones, that are simply terribly conflicted over all this.  I'm thinking of places where a vote to stay in the ELCA is not the same as a vote endorsing the CWA's actions. 

And as I take into account the various ways in which congregations in my synod, in my conference, are conflicted over these matters, and when the in-parish conflicts have erupted, I'm wondering when would be (or have been) the time to raise your suggestion. 

As one of my colleagues now in his second interim since the CWA -- both parishes in which there are strong voices on both sides of the stay/leave, pay-redirect, and pro/con-CWA disputes -- keeps saying to me of the CWA's actions, "What were they thinking?"

It's a mell of a hess, and it's just started.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Erme Wolf on February 10, 2010, 10:50:43 PM
News from Indianapolis (to get us back on topic):

Cross and Crown, a congregation of my youth, and later, college days, is in a free-fall.

Following a vote that barely failed to get the 2/3rds necessary for leaving the ELCA, the majority of the council resigned, followed about 10 days later with the resignation of the pastor. Since then, the church secretary and youth and family ministry leader resigned. The council just decided to eliminate TWO services of the three they had for the foreseeable future.

My sister was active in the congregation until the pastor's recent resignation. She is looking for a Lutheran "home" now in the Indianapolis area.

This is a sad thing to see...Lord, have mercy

Art Hebbeler

Oh, Art.  I am so sorry to hear about this.  

This is a painful, painful time for many congregations.  I will keep Cross and Crown, and your sister, in my prayers.

And it doesn't matter which side of the issues the congregation is on.  The decisions of this past August is taking a fearful toll on many congregations, and pastors, and faithful laity who built and sacrificed and sought to serve the Lord.  

Somehow, God may yet bring new life out of all of this.  I continue to make this my prayer for the ELCA.  

In peace,
Erma
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2010, 11:58:17 PM
And as I take into account the various ways in which congregations in my synod, in my conference, are conflicted over these matters, and when the in-parish conflicts have erupted, I'm wondering when would be (or have been) the time to raise your suggestion. 

I'm not sure of when would be (or would have been) the best time. But I am 100% sure that "never" is not the right time.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on February 11, 2010, 12:38:48 AM


Applying for an "exceptional ordiantion" ... need not in any way, shape or form be interpreted as telling a bishop that his or her presence is not desired at an ordination.


 Organizations need to make decisions. Not everyone will be happy. They needed to learn to live with it. The exceptions clause and the 09 CWA attempt to both have and not have gay clergy, are both signs of an organization that really is afraid to make decisions and stick with them.

And I would say that "learning to live with it" applies to both the candidate and the bishop. The bishops went forward knowing of the by-law just as candidates went forward knowing of the "gift" of episcopal ordiantion that we had received. Both should be prepared to deail with it. It's absurd for Steven to suggest that a pastoral canddiate applying for the by-law excpetion should worry about whether the bishop's feelings are going to be hurt. The system in place allows for candidates to apply for the excpetion. No bishop should be taken aback when that happens. That's all I am saying.

Considering that candidates in process are at the mercy of the candidacy committee, especially if they leave everything and go to a four year seminary (and perhaps have family along for the ride), and the bishop is part of the candidacy process if not the committee itself, the bishops' reaction (and the committee, too) is a consideration.  When I was in-process the WA folks were promoting exceptions to episcopal ordination through on-campus meetings.  My relators made it very clear that there would be no exceptional ordinations from my synod.  Being in the precarious position of no home, no job/income, no insurance, and always one negative decision away from being out, I wasn't about to rock the boat and risk the synod's ire by seeking an exception even if I felt called to seek one.  The potential negative consequences for me and especially my family weren't worth it.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on February 11, 2010, 12:47:50 AM
and this would imply at least a thousand congregations that will have to shuffle and sort out viable communities in the next year. That is the concern I see as being foremost. In the end, staying leaving, can be done in peace. This sorting out is messy indeed.

You are right that it can be done in peace. But it can only be done in peace if the leadership of the ELCA places a higher emphasis on pastoral care of the individual members than it does on preserving the institution of the ELCA. In more than one post (probably in this thread), I have suggested that bishops lead adjacent congregations who are considering leaving to instead consider what amounts to a merger/departure strategy, where instead of two congregations voting 60/40 to leave and ending up with two damaged congregations that only have 40% of their former members, plus a new mission start-up (or two) in the LCMC with the people from the 60% sides, they could end up with one ELCA congregation that had the 40%ers from both congregations, and one LCMC congregation with the 60%ers from both congregations.

Sure, some individuals might not like that solution. It's nowhere near perfect. (What plan conceived by a human is?) But it strikes me as a heck of a lot better than what's happening with the ELCA adopting their "get tough" policy.

Of course, for that idea of mine to work, there would have to be some in the leadership who place the good of the people ahead of the good of the institution. That idea is only "mine" because I suggested it. It's actually such a dirt-simple and obvious solution that anyone in a position of leadership of the ELCA who truly placed the people ahead of the institution would have thought of it on his own. The fact that no one in a position of leadership in the ELCA has come forward with any public statement of any sort of plan to ease the pain of separation strikes me as proof that no one in a position of leadership in the ELCA places the people ahead of the institution.

As I see it, the lack of action is proof of a lack of care. I would love to be proven wrong by having someone demonstrate where anyone in a position of leadership in the ELCA has taken action that places the good of the people ahead of the good of the institution.

What the heck!  I'm going to suggest your proposal to my bishop when I meet with him next week.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: LutherMan on February 11, 2010, 09:57:44 AM
Shepherd of the Woods Lutheran church and school, Jacksonville, Florida had their second vote last night, passing at about 82%.  They are now an LCMC congregation.
www.sotwjax.org/
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: SmithL on February 11, 2010, 01:56:25 PM
I have suggested that bishops lead adjacent congregations who are considering leaving to instead consider what amounts to a merger/departure strategy, where instead of two congregations voting 60/40 to leave and ending up with two damaged congregations that only have 40% of their former members, plus a new mission start-up (or two) in the LCMC with the people from the 60% sides, they could end up with one ELCA congregation that had the 40%ers from both congregations, and one LCMC congregation with the 60%ers from both congregations.

I like your idea.  I thought that if just one congregation in the area had aligned with CORE or LCMC, it would provide opportunity for a lot more people who felt that they couldn't remain with the ELCA.  However, I just don't see that happening here in the Bay Area.  And a Bishop who tolerates Herchurch is highly unlikely to be willing to facilitate your proposal.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on February 11, 2010, 08:25:19 PM
I have suggested that bishops lead adjacent congregations who are considering leaving to instead consider what amounts to a merger/departure strategy, where instead of two congregations voting 60/40 to leave and ending up with two damaged congregations that only have 40% of their former members, plus a new mission start-up (or two) in the LCMC with the people from the 60% sides, they could end up with one ELCA congregation that had the 40%ers from both congregations, and one LCMC congregation with the 60%ers from both congregations.

I like your idea.  I thought that if just one congregation in the area had aligned with CORE or LCMC, it would provide opportunity for a lot more people who felt that they couldn't remain with the ELCA.  However, I just don't see that happening here in the Bay Area.  And a Bishop who tolerates Herchurch is highly unlikely to be willing to facilitate your proposal.

You mean there are limits on that vaunted human characteristic 'tolerance'?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: GalRev83 on February 12, 2010, 12:56:27 PM
Geneva Lutheran Church, Geneva, Illinois is in discernment. A member of their discernment team is chronicling his experiences  on a blog:

http://genevalutheran.blogspot.com/

I encourage folks to glance at it, at least. It is a glimpse into the experiences of a diligent layman who is attempting to be faithful. I admire his frankness and his willingsness to explore the issues.

Donna
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: RevSteve on February 12, 2010, 02:00:40 PM
Geneva Lutheran Church, Geneva, Illinois is in discernment. A member of their discernment team is chronicling his experiences  on a blog:

http://genevalutheran.blogspot.com/

I encourage folks to glance at it, at least. It is a glimpse into the experiences of a diligent layman who is attempting to be faithful. I admire his frankness and his willingsness to explore the issues.

Donna

Thanks for sharing this. I will encourage members of our "State of the church task force" (which serves basically the same function as Geneva's "affiliation" taks force) to read this. I think it will be helpful for them.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on February 12, 2010, 02:17:51 PM
Yes, thank you for sharing a window into one congregation's discernment process.  I've posted a link to the site to my congregation's facebook page since folks are interested in what is going on across the ELCA outside of what is presented by the usual sanitized news sources.  It is difficult any way you come at it, but this is refreshingly frank.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Lutheranistic on February 16, 2010, 03:42:06 PM
From http://kstp.com/news/stories/S1396931.shtml?cat=1 (http://kstp.com/news/stories/S1396931.shtml?cat=1)

Minn. church votes to leave ELCA over gay clergy

KASSON, Minn. (AP) - Another Lutheran church in southeastern Minnesota has voted to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over the group's policy on accepting gay clergy.

The Rev. Mark Schwartz, of South Zumbro Lutheran Church, tells the Post-Bulletin of Rochester that his church voted 74-11 on Sunday to leave the ELCA.

The ELCA requires a second vote at least 90 days after the first to complete the process to leave. South Zumbro will take its second vote in January 2011.

The ELCA's Churchwide Assembly voted in August to allow sexually active pastors in committed same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy.

ELCA spokeswoman Katie Livingood says there are no other churches among the 185 congregations in the ELCA's southeastern Minnesota synod planning a separation vote.

---

Information from: Post-Bulletin, http://www.postbulletin.com

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Michael Slusser on February 16, 2010, 03:59:18 PM
Interesting, Steve. I attended a wedding at the other ELCA congregation in Kasson, St. John's, a couple of years ago, and admired Pr. Anderson's conduct of the wedding service and her preaching. It looks as if about 10% of South Zumbro participated in this first vote. I wonder what the inter-congregational dynamics will be in the interim before vote #2 next January.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Lutheranistic on February 16, 2010, 04:49:34 PM
Interesting, Steve. I attended a wedding at the other ELCA congregation in Kasson, St. John's, a couple of years ago, and admired Pr. Anderson's conduct of the wedding service and her preaching. It looks as if about 10% of South Zumbro participated in this first vote. I wonder what the inter-congregational dynamics will be in the interim before vote #2 next January.

Peace,
Michael
Pastor Marie Anderson is indeed well-regarded, even outside her own parish and synod. I'm somewhat familiar with the small town/2 ELCA congregation dynamic, and it's my experience that both congregations live pretty separate lives. But since this is a situation likely to occur in other locations, necessity may become the mother of invention. And that's probably not a bad thing.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: GalRev83 on February 17, 2010, 01:34:01 PM
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Oregon, Illinois, took its first vote to leave the ELCA on Jan. 31, and the 2/3rds majority was achieved. The Bishop has asked a former pastor of the congregation to return and guide "the remnant" (their terminology) in discerning their future.

Donna
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on February 17, 2010, 01:46:46 PM
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Oregon, Illinois, took its first vote to leave the ELCA on Jan. 31, and the 2/3rds majority was achieved. The Bishop has asked a former pastor of the congregation to return and guide "the remnant" (their terminology) in discerning their future.

Donna

Is this their first vote?  If so, then it is the bishop's responsibility to carry out a period of consultation with the WHOLE congregation in preparation for the 2nd vote.  Or is the bishop attempting to divide the congregation?  I would hope that is not the case.  What is the purpose of this former pastor's involvement in this process?  If it is not to facilitate the discernment of the whole congregation, then it is a schismatic meddling in the affairs of this congregation.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 17, 2010, 01:56:16 PM
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Oregon, Illinois, took its first vote to leave the ELCA on Jan. 31, and the 2/3rds majority was achieved. The Bishop has asked a former pastor of the congregation to return and guide "the remnant" (their terminology) in discerning their future.

Donna

Is this their first vote?  If so, then it is the bishop's responsibility to carry out a period of consultation with the WHOLE congregation in preparation for the 2nd vote.  Or is the bishop attempting to divide the congregation?  I would hope that is not the case.  What is the purpose of this former pastor's involvement in this process?  If it is not to facilitate the discernment of the whole congregation, then it is a schismatic meddling in the affairs of this congregation.

Marshall Hahn
Oh, wow--while I agree with your assessment something tells me that at least two posters will soon weigh in with a differing view . . . ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 17, 2010, 02:11:42 PM
From http://kstp.com/news/stories/S1396931.shtml?cat=1 (http://kstp.com/news/stories/S1396931.shtml?cat=1)

Minn. church votes to leave ELCA over gay clergy

KASSON, Minn. (AP) - Another Lutheran church in southeastern Minnesota has voted to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over the group's policy on accepting gay clergy.

The Rev. Mark Schwartz, of South Zumbro Lutheran Church, tells the Post-Bulletin of Rochester that his church voted 74-11 on Sunday to leave the ELCA.

The ELCA requires a second vote at least 90 days after the first to complete the process to leave. South Zumbro will take its second vote in January 2011.

The ELCA's Churchwide Assembly voted in August to allow sexually active pastors in committed same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy.

ELCA spokeswoman Katie Livingood says there are no other churches among the 185 congregations in the ELCA's southeastern Minnesota synod planning a separation vote.

---
This story states that the vote was taken at the congregation's Annual Meeting, not at a specially called meeting, which could prove problematic.

http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/print_story.asp?a=436753
Information from: Post-Bulletin, http://www.postbulletin.com

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: GalRev83 on February 17, 2010, 03:03:19 PM
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Oregon, Illinois, took its first vote to leave the ELCA on Jan. 31, and the 2/3rds majority was achieved. The Bishop has asked a former pastor of the congregation to return and guide "the remnant" (their terminology) in discerning their future.

Donna

Is this their first vote?  If so, then it is the bishop's responsibility to carry out a period of consultation with the WHOLE congregation in preparation for the 2nd vote.  Or is the bishop attempting to divide the congregation?  I would hope that is not the case.  What is the purpose of this former pastor's involvement in this process?  If it is not to facilitate the discernment of the whole congregation, then it is a schismatic meddling in the affairs of this congregation.

Marshall Hahn

Marshall, I was rather surprised by the choice of the former pastor to serve as guide/support for those who disagreed with the vote to leave. He is a retired pastor and so, I imagine, serves in interims and such. But I am not sure that this is exactly "kosher...."

This is the Northern Illinois Synod, however, and Bishop Wollersheim is the bishop in question. When I served in that synod I remember him playing fast and loose with procedures when they displeased him. The most memorable example (for me) was at the assembly where a straw poll was to be taken on the "Episcopalian question." It was a tense atmosphere, the poll was finally accoplished. Then, as is so often the case, a lot of people decided to leave the assembvly early.

In response to a question at this late point in the proceedings, the bishop decides to reconsider the question and re-do the poll. Rev. Frank Moyer, the parliamentarian, rushes up brandishing Robert's Rules of Order but is brushed aside by the good bishop. "Ah, who needs the rules anyway," says the bishop (and I paraphrase):"We'll just vote again and the heck with it." Result: the opposite of the first poll!

I pray for the Northern Illinois Synod but especially for my traditionalist friends up there.

Donna
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: SmithL on February 17, 2010, 03:25:57 PM
This story states that the vote was taken at the congregation's Annual Meeting, not at a specially called meeting, which could prove problematic.
I've seen a lot of governing bodies regularly conduct several meetings in one day.  I don't see why a congregation couldn't conduct their annual meeting, adjourn that meeting, and then open the specially-called meeting.  That's not the type of detail that would likely be included in the reporter's story.
Larry
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 17, 2010, 03:31:15 PM
This story states that the vote was taken at the congregation's Annual Meeting, not at a specially called meeting, which could prove problematic.
I've seen a lot of governing bodies regularly conduct several meetings in one day.  I don't see why a congregation couldn't conduct their annual meeting, adjourn that meeting, and then open the specially-called meeting.  That's not the type of detail that would likely be included in the reporter's story.
Larry

The thing is, regardless of whether the i's are dotted and t's crossed totally and completely correctly, If a congregation votes to leave the ELCA and join another church Lutheran body, and stops sending money to any part of the ELCA, and calls a pastor who is not a "rostered" ELCA pastor, and joins another Lutheran Body, changes the signs and letterheads, and otherwise operates as a Lutheran congregation that isn't part of the ELCA, what could the ELCA possibly do about it, other than kick them out?

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: order191 on February 17, 2010, 03:57:32 PM
The thing is, regardless of whether the i's are dotted and t's crossed totally and completely correctly, If a congregation votes to leave the ELCA and join another church Lutheran body, and stops sending money to any part of the ELCA, and calls a pastor who is not a "rostered" ELCA pastor, and joins another Lutheran Body, changes the signs and letterheads, and otherwise operates as a Lutheran congregation that isn't part of the ELCA, what could the ELCA possibly do about it, other than kick them out?

Sue them and try to take their building?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Christopher Miller on February 17, 2010, 04:10:31 PM
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Oregon, Illinois, took its first vote to leave the ELCA on Jan. 31, and the 2/3rds majority was achieved. The Bishop has asked a former pastor of the congregation to return and guide "the remnant" (their terminology) in discerning their future.

Donna

Is this their first vote?  If so, then it is the bishop's responsibility to carry out a period of consultation with the WHOLE congregation in preparation for the 2nd vote.  Or is the bishop attempting to divide the congregation?  I would hope that is not the case.  What is the purpose of this former pastor's involvement in this process?  If it is not to facilitate the discernment of the whole congregation, then it is a schismatic meddling in the affairs of this congregation.

Marshall Hahn

Marshall, I was rather surprised by the choice of the former pastor to serve as guide/support for those who disagreed with the vote to leave. He is a retired pastor and so, I imagine, serves in interims and such. But I am not sure that this is exactly "kosher...."

This is the Northern Illinois Synod, however, and Bishop Wollersheim is the bishop in question. When I served in that synod I remember him playing fast and loose with procedures when they displeased him. The most memorable example (for me) was at the assembly where a straw poll was to be taken on the "Episcopalian question." It was a tense atmosphere, the poll was finally accoplished. Then, as is so often the case, a lot of people decided to leave the assembvly early.

In response to a question at this late point in the proceedings, the bishop decides to reconsider the question and re-do the poll. Rev. Frank Moyer, the parliamentarian, rushes up brandishing Robert's Rules of Order but is brushed aside by the good bishop. "Ah, who needs the rules anyway," says the bishop (and I paraphrase):"We'll just vote again and the heck with it." Result: the opposite of the first poll!

I pray for the Northern Illinois Synod but especially for my traditionalist friends up there.

Donna

NIL Synod is appropriately named. My wife and I spent a year there for her internship. What do you expect when you bring in Matthew Fox to speak to your leaders?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 17, 2010, 04:18:23 PM
The thing is, regardless of whether the i's are dotted and t's crossed totally and completely correctly, If a congregation votes to leave the ELCA and join another church Lutheran body, and stops sending money to any part of the ELCA, and calls a pastor who is not a "rostered" ELCA pastor, and joins another Lutheran Body, changes the signs and letterheads, and otherwise operates as a Lutheran congregation that isn't part of the ELCA, what could the ELCA possibly do about it, other than kick them out?

Sue them and try to take their building?

As long as a congregation doesn't try to leave in violation of the rules, such a suit almost certainly will fail.  And the rules make clear that when a synod expels a congregation, the congregation keeps its property.   
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 17, 2010, 04:22:39 PM
The thing is, regardless of whether the i's are dotted and t's crossed totally and completely correctly, If a congregation votes to leave the ELCA and join another church Lutheran body, and stops sending money to any part of the ELCA, and calls a pastor who is not a "rostered" ELCA pastor, and joins another Lutheran Body, changes the signs and letterheads, and otherwise operates as a Lutheran congregation that isn't part of the ELCA, what could the ELCA possibly do about it, other than kick them out?

Sue them and try to take their building?

There is that option. And it raises some issues. If the ELCA (or one of its synods, which is the same thing from a public relations perspective) were to sue such a congregation, whether it won or lost, would that convince more congregations to stay in the ELCA, or would it tip the balance on many 60/40 vote congregations over to the 70/30 side? If such a congregation were sued, considering how slowly the wheels of the courts turn, would it be likely that the congregation being sued would be able to manage a 100% vote to leave, done properly, and with all the i's dotted and t's crossed before the suit came to trial, rendering the suit moot?

Does anyone think that headlines like "ELCA Sues to Take Building from Faithful" would help the ELCA's mission?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 17, 2010, 04:34:50 PM
The thing is, regardless of whether the i's are dotted and t's crossed totally and completely correctly, If a congregation votes to leave the ELCA and join another church Lutheran body, and stops sending money to any part of the ELCA, and calls a pastor who is not a "rostered" ELCA pastor, and joins another Lutheran Body, changes the signs and letterheads, and otherwise operates as a Lutheran congregation that isn't part of the ELCA, what could the ELCA possibly do about it, other than kick them out?

Sue them and try to take their building?

There is that option. And it raises some issues. If the ELCA (or one of its synods, which is the same thing from a public relations perspective) were to sue such a congregation, whether it won or lost, would that convince more congregations to stay in the ELCA, or would it tip the balance on many 60/40 vote congregations over to the 70/30 side? If such a congregation were sued, considering how slowly the wheels of the courts turn, would it be likely that the congregation being sued would be able to manage a 100% vote to leave, done properly, and with all the i's dotted and t's crossed before the suit came to trial, rendering the suit moot?

Does anyone think that headlines like "ELCA Sues to Take Building from Faithful" would help the ELCA's mission?

Under most circumstances, I can't imagine that any synod would sue, in part for the PR reasons you identify and in part because the synod almost certainly would have a weak case.

The only situation in which I could see a congregation becoming embroiled in litigation is if the internal "stay" and "go" factions both are fighting aggressively for the congregation's name and property.  In that situation, depending on all the particular facts, a synod might well join the "stay" faction on the same side of a lawsuit.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 17, 2010, 04:48:59 PM
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Oregon, Illinois, took its first vote to leave the ELCA on Jan. 31, and the 2/3rds majority was achieved. The Bishop has asked a former pastor of the congregation to return and guide "the remnant" (their terminology) in discerning their future.

Donna

Is this their first vote?  If so, then it is the bishop's responsibility to carry out a period of consultation with the WHOLE congregation in preparation for the 2nd vote.  Or is the bishop attempting to divide the congregation?  I would hope that is not the case.  What is the purpose of this former pastor's involvement in this process?  If it is not to facilitate the discernment of the whole congregation, then it is a schismatic meddling in the affairs of this congregation.

Marshall Hahn

Marshall, I was rather surprised by the choice of the former pastor to serve as guide/support for those who disagreed with the vote to leave. He is a retired pastor and so, I imagine, serves in interims and such. But I am not sure that this is exactly "kosher...."

This is the Northern Illinois Synod, however, and Bishop Wollersheim is the bishop in question. When I served in that synod I remember him playing fast and loose with procedures when they displeased him. The most memorable example (for me) was at the assembly where a straw poll was to be taken on the "Episcopalian question." It was a tense atmosphere, the poll was finally accoplished. Then, as is so often the case, a lot of people decided to leave the assembvly early.

In response to a question at this late point in the proceedings, the bishop decides to reconsider the question and re-do the poll. Rev. Frank Moyer, the parliamentarian, rushes up brandishing Robert's Rules of Order but is brushed aside by the good bishop. "Ah, who needs the rules anyway," says the bishop (and I paraphrase):"We'll just vote again and the heck with it." Result: the opposite of the first poll!

I pray for the Northern Illinois Synod but especially for my traditionalist friends up there.

Donna

NIL Synod is appropriately named. My wife and I spent a year there for her internship. What do you expect when you bring in Matthew Fox to speak to your leaders?
Amazing--today is the 22nd anniversary of my departure from NIL.   When did they invite Fox to speak?   (The year before I left, leading up to the melding together of the LCA's Illinois Synod and the ALC's Illinois District there was a "Professional Leader's Conference" at which an ALC husband/wife clergy team led a session on "expanding your spiritual horizons" which included a reading list of occult books with the notation "not for the faint of heart."    As one colleague observed, "Not for the orthodox, either."
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: SmithL on February 17, 2010, 04:55:00 PM
... what could the ELCA possibly do about it, other than kick them out?

Double-Secret Probation?
 ::)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Christopher Miller on February 17, 2010, 05:01:37 PM
Matthew Fox was their speaker in October of 2005. My wife lasted two sessions, I lasted 2 1/2, and made a obvious walkout in the middle of the 3rd session. They kept calling him a "prophet". I think they misspelled that.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 17, 2010, 05:33:10 PM
Matthew Fox was their speaker in October of 2005. My wife lasted two sessions, I lasted 2 1/2, and made a obvious walkout in the middle of the 3rd session. They kept calling him a "prophet". I think they misspelled that.

Isn't Matthew Fox still lost on that ephemeral island?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Christopher Miller on February 17, 2010, 05:53:28 PM
Matthew Fox was their speaker in October of 2005. My wife lasted two sessions, I lasted 2 1/2, and made a obvious walkout in the middle of the 3rd session. They kept calling him a "prophet". I think they misspelled that.
Isn't Matthew Fox still lost on that ephemeral island?
Different Matthew Fox. This is the heretic who founded Wisdom University. That one is #23 in Jacob's cave.  ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Michael Slusser on February 18, 2010, 09:29:31 PM
From the ELCA news release of Feb. 18, 2010, regarding the announcement of a plan for a new Lutheran denomination:

"The 2010 ELCA Yearbook reports that there are 10,239 congregations in the ELCA. As of Feb. 4 the ELCA Office of the Secretary reported that 220 congregations had taken initial votes to terminate their relationship with the ELCA. Sixty-four of those congregations failed to achieve the required two-thirds vote to continue in the process.  Through Feb. 4, 28 congregations had taken a second vote. The Office of the Secretary confirmed that seven congregations have officially left the ELCA."

For those of us keeping score at home . . . .

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on February 20, 2010, 05:36:37 PM
Just an FYI for those keeping score at home.  The LCMC website just posted that there are now 300 US member congregations.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 20, 2010, 05:42:17 PM
Just an FYI for those keeping score at home.  The LCMC website just posted that there are now 300 US member congregations.

That currently makes LCMC the fourth largest Lutheran church body in the United States. Congratulations.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 20, 2010, 06:33:08 PM
Pastor Buechler writes:
That currently makes LCMC the fourth largest Lutheran church body in the United States. Congratulations.

I note:
Well, if that really means anything. Sorry, I just sense a bit of triumphalism here. And numbers don't mean much except in relation to other numbers.
ELCA- 10,239 congrgations
LC-MS- 6,123 congregations
WELS - 1,200 congregations
LCMC -    300 congregations
BTW, one notes that the percentage of decline in membership in the ELCA, LC-MS, and WELS is about the same. But who's counting?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 20, 2010, 07:05:34 PM
Pastor Buechler writes:
That currently makes LCMC the fourth largest Lutheran church body in the United States. Congratulations.

I note:
Well, if that really means anything. Sorry, I just sense a bit of triumphalism here. And numbers don't mean much except in relation to other numbers.
ELCA- 10,239 congrgations
LC-MS- 6,123 congregations
WELS - 1,200 congregations
LCMC -    300 congregations
BTW, one notes that the percentage of decline in membership in the ELCA, LC-MS, and WELS is about the same. But who's counting?

Until recently. The ELCA membership decline has become more rapid, and Mark's mention of the increase in LCMC makes that clear. So you can pretend there is nothing to see here. That however is not reality.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 20, 2010, 08:18:57 PM
Pastor Buechler writes:
That currently makes LCMC the fourth largest Lutheran church body in the United States. Congratulations.

I note:
Well, if that really means anything. Sorry, I just sense a bit of triumphalism here. And numbers don't mean much except in relation to other numbers.
ELCA- 10,239 congrgations
LC-MS- 6,123 congregations
WELS - 1,200 congregations
LCMC -    300 congregations
BTW, one notes that the percentage of decline in membership in the ELCA, LC-MS, and WELS is about the same. But who's counting?

Until recently. The ELCA membership decline has become more rapid, and Mark's mention of the increase in LCMC makes that clear. So you can pretend there is nothing to see here. That however is not reality.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

On top of that is the annoying little fact that the ELCA's staunchest apologists all refuse to acknowledge. And I apologize for repeating this again, but some people just don't seem to get it.

When people stop attending an ELCA church and join a different, non-ELCA congregation, there is seldom a formal letter of resignation written. There's often not even a phone call. All that happens is that family doesn't show up in church on Sundays any more. According to the ELCA's model constitution for congregations (and subject to some variation) a membership isn't terminated until at least a full year elapses with no record of an offering and taking communion. Very few ELCA churches take the roll each Sunday. The may count noses, but they don't name them all. The only time that a congregation compiles a list of everyone who has made an offering is when they run the annual offering records through the bookkeeping software to print out receipts for members to use on their income tax. And even when the congregation has a list of all who made offerings (the assumption is usually made that if you were present to put an offering in the plate, then you were present for communion as well), it is not an automatic process to compare the giving list against the membership roster to purge the members who stopped coming. Most families who stopped attending ELCA churches in 2009 after the August CWA won't officially be noticed as having left the ELCA until January of 2010.

That is not to say that anyone who isn't blind (or blinded by institutional loyalty) is wrong to observe that there has been an increase in the rate of membership decline. There is most definitely an acceleration of decline. But the outdated historical data that showed all major Lutheran bodies declining at a similar rate is simply irrelevant and outdated old data.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on February 20, 2010, 09:33:30 PM
I'm pointing it out as one of the persistent complaints (back when LCMC was only around 100 congregations) from some people who probably ought to be involved in LCMC has been that it's too small and has no future - or poor opportunity for mobility.  As an association gets to 300 and sees 400 as a real possibility in the not too distant future - those excuses/concerns evaporate.  Perhaps those who stayed put over the last 5 years because of these concerns will now lose their fear and the numbers - rather than slow - will accelerate.  Just some thoughts on human nature.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on February 20, 2010, 10:37:17 PM

I have said it before and I will say it again...LCMC will grow, as will CORE, as will NALC. But the real damage being done are the two pastors I have talked to this week whose large congregations may go bust because ELCA foisted this vote upon their parishes and they have folks up in arms on both sides. As George has pointed out, how many have just walked? How many are at bible churches ?

So far, the LCMS seems to have gained less from this schism in our area than places like Scottsdale Bible Church.

We all know the lights go out for the ELCA with just current trends, counting no schism , in 2046. So crank up the dates a few decades, I would place bets on 2022.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steve Ames on February 20, 2010, 11:25:17 PM
Pastor Charles Austin: BTW, one notes that the percentage of decline in membership in the ELCA, LC-MS, and WELS is about the same.

Pastor, I know you wish to be accurate, so looking at the last five years – 2003 to 2008:

The ELCA baptized membership declined from 4,984,925  to 4,633,887 or by 351,038 -- 7.12%

The LCMS baptized membership declined from 2,488,936  to 2,337,349 or by 151,587 -- 6.15%

The WELS baptized membership declined from 401,243  to 389,364 or by 11,879 -- 2.96%


The ELCA communicant membership declined from 3,724,321  to 3,483,336 or by 240,985 -- 6.54%

The LCMS communicant membership declined from 1,894,822  to 1,803,900 or by 90,922 -- 4.84%

The WELS communicant membership declined from 314,840 to 308,430 or by 6,410 --  2.04 %


With all due respect to LCMS Atlantic District President Benke, I would attribute the faster decline in the LCMS versus the WELS to dissatisfaction with the resolution of the Yankee Stadium Prayer controversy.  What was the cause for the ELCA decline?  The LCMC appears to have around 65,000 baptized members in its single membership US and Canadian congregations [excluding dual ELCA congregations] -- growing by 45,000 from November 2003 to December 2009  [ Source: my tracking of LCMC membership] -- which beg the question what happen to the rest of those leaving the ELCA? 

Now with the ELCA 2009 CWA decision on sexuality apparently giving a reason for its membership to leave for the LCMC or the organizing North America Lutheran Church or others one can wonder what the next five years will hold?  Just how much faster will the ELCA decline versus the LCMS and the WELS?  Before the ELCA merger the top three Lutheran church bodies in the U.S. were the LCA, the ALC and the LCMS so perhaps the WELS will be dropping out of the top three list.  Could the ELCA be joining the WELS in dropping from the top three list?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 21, 2010, 05:25:19 AM
I was considering plus or minus 5 percent as "about the same," but people can arrange the numbers of the losses whatever way they wish to do so, or to set whatever paramenters make sense to them.
Bottom line: none of us are "growing" by large numbers (and neither are the Southern Baptists, by the way). And any "growth" in LCMC or a new denomination will not be "growth" in terms of evangelism, but will be people leaving one church body for another.
I once tweaked a Florida pastor who was speaking loudly about the growth of his congregation. I asked him how many were "new Christians" or even "new Lutherans" and how many were people from Iowa, Wisconsin and New Jersey who had moved to Florida.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: GalRev83 on February 21, 2010, 07:29:40 AM
Since we have gotten into statistics that are reported on parochial reports, let me ask this -- has anyone else wondered about the redefinition of the statistics we are being asked to submit beginning with this year's report? Now instead of communing/contributing (which is strictly definable) we are asked to submit a number of members who participate in worship and programs (or something like that -- I am at home right now and don't have the report in front of me). I know in our church this altered the numbers significantly. I don't quite get what is behind this -- it was so much more nebulous and we puzzled over how to ascertain the exact number.

Did anyone else wonder about this? ???
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Dadoo on February 21, 2010, 07:43:28 AM
Pastor Charles Austin: BTW, one notes that the percentage of decline in membership in the ELCA, LC-MS, and WELS is about the same.

Pastor, I know you wish to be accurate, so looking at the last five years – 2003 to 2008:

The ELCA baptized membership declined from 4,984,925  to 4,633,887 or by 351,038 -- 7.12%

The LCMS baptized membership declined from 2,488,936  to 2,337,349 or by 151,587 -- 6.15%

The WELS baptized membership declined from 401,243  to 389,364 or by 11,879 -- 2.96%


The ELCA communicant membership declined from 3,724,321  to 3,483,336 or by 240,985 -- 6.54%

The LCMS communicant membership declined from 1,894,822  to 1,803,900 or by 90,922 -- 4.84%

The WELS communicant membership declined from 314,840 to 308,430 or by 6,410 --  2.04 %


With all due respect to LCMS Atlantic District President Benke, I would attribute the faster decline in the LCMS versus the WELS to dissatisfaction with the resolution of the Yankee Stadium Prayer controversy.  What was the cause for the ELCA decline?  The LCMC appears to have around 65,000 baptized members in its single membership US and Canadian congregations [excluding dual ELCA congregations] -- growing by 45,000 from November 2003 to December 2009  [ Source: my tracking of LCMC membership] -- which beg the question what happen to the rest of those leaving the ELCA? 

Now with the ELCA 2009 CWA decision on sexuality apparently giving a reason for its membership to leave for the LCMC or the organizing North America Lutheran Church or others one can wonder what the next five years will hold?  Just how much faster will the ELCA decline versus the LCMS and the WELS?  Before the ELCA merger the top three Lutheran church bodies in the U.S. were the LCA, the ALC and the LCMS so perhaps the WELS will be dropping out of the top three list.  Could the ELCA be joining the WELS in dropping from the top three list?


Steve,

The average annual death rate in the USA is about 800 per 100,000 or 0.8% per year. On a six year chart that would mean that 4.8% of the decreases are due to death, higher if it is true that we are significantly older as a church. In other words: If a denomination held on to all her members but made no new converts it would have shrunk 4.8% during those years. Using the communing membership as a measure that bodes well for WELS which is replacing at least half the death rate. The 09 statistics for ELCA are yet to be compiled (they were due last Monday). The years 2009 through 2012 will be the key to understanding the gravity if CWA 09's decision. We wait and work.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 21, 2010, 03:20:13 PM
I don't quite get what is behind this -- it was so much more nebulous and we puzzled over how to ascertain the exact number.

Did anyone else wonder about this? ???

The new phrase is: "Total number of people actively participating in the life of the congregation in 2009."  Huh?

So, I looked at the explanation: "This number includes childdren and non-members.  Count anyone who actively participates in worship, Bible study, choir, youth events, Christian education, service opportunities, etc."

Not much of a help.  Do I include the friend-of-a-member who attended our 1 week Adult Vacation Bible School?  The woman I baptized at home, communed once at home, then died?  How about the couple, active members of sister congregation, who worship with us on the 5th Sunday of a month because we still do the Holy Communion liturgy that day and eat at the Fat Tuesday pancake supper?  The couple who moved out-of-state, where there is no Lutheran Church nearby, and who still send in a monthly offering and e-mail the parish secretary every now and again?   The young C&E family?  The volunteers in our mission who worship with us only the Sunday they are commissioned?


Granted, I can see where the old Communed-Confirmed-Contributed doesn't work well -- those "emerging churches" who have no members yet have a community of folks who are there regularly; the CCC member whose made the count because the usher saw him throw a fiver in the plate at the Easter Sunrise service and the pastor remembered that he communed that day; the out-of-stater who sends an offering and communion registration from another church; etc.

I started with those who communed during the year, added a few more from the non-members that showed up with some regularity, submitted that figure, and since then I've thought of perhpas 10 more folks who seem to fit this profile.  But since we don't keep track of these folks, it's all a guess anyway.

Pax, Steven+
repentant accountant
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Keith Falk on February 21, 2010, 03:42:26 PM
And what if (under the "service opportunities") a congregation has a weekly, extensive ministry?  We serve between 250-300 meals a week on Wednesday evenings, for free.  Because we're located in a small town (~2500 people), we have relied on help from other congregations and civic groups to help.  So every congregation except the SBC congregation in town helps at least two or three times during the year.. plus the Rotary, plus the Girl Scouts, plus a teachers' group, the fire fighters, city council, and so on and so on and so on... our average worship attendance in 2009 was 76.  If I guestimate the numbers who fit under that question, assuming community meals count, I'd put it at around 400 to 500.

If one were the suspicious type, one would wonder why, in a tumultuous time in the ELCA, when knowing the numbers of worship attenders and congregations (and whether or not there is decline) is all the rage, a new statistical category is being introduced.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: EarlOfOrmond on February 21, 2010, 04:56:33 PM
When people stop attending an ELCA church and join a different, non-ELCA congregation, there is seldom a formal letter of resignation written. There's often not even a phone call. All that happens is that family doesn't show up in church on Sundays any more.

But it does happen.

My wife and I did so.

We wrote the pastor of our ELCA congregation a request for peaceful release, which is a form of a letter of resignation.

We did it for several reasons:

Compliance with Matthew 18

Making a clean break

A courtesy to the former pastor instead of just leaving him hanging and having to pay apportionments to the Synod for two people no longer there

Making our views as to why we left clearly known, with no equivocation

Hopefully, if we run into our former pastor in public, we can be nice to one another and wish one another well, rather than trying to avoid one another.

I would recommend doing so for anyone leaving their congregations, but, of course, don't be insulting or nasty.  Take the Sgt. Joe Friday approach: "Just The Facts."
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: SmithL on February 21, 2010, 06:28:49 PM
With all due respect to LCMS Atlantic District President Benke, I would attribute the faster decline in the LCMS versus the WELS to dissatisfaction with the resolution of the Yankee Stadium Prayer controversy. 

I agree that the Yankee Stadium controversy has hurt the LCMS, but the slower decline of WELS membership doesn't really surprise me.  They are a smaller organization to start with, and their members tend to be true believers.  No one accidentally joins a WELS congregation.  ELCA congregations are more likely to have members that aren't necessarily there because they are Lutheran, but are there because they like the pastor, service, location, or some other feature of the church.  And those folks have less reason to stay with a congregation or church body that no longer meets their needs.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Mel Harris on February 21, 2010, 06:51:59 PM


I don't quite get what is behind this -- it was so much more nebulous and we puzzled over how to ascertain the exact number.

Did anyone else wonder about this? ???


The new phrase is: "Total number of people actively participating in the life of the congregation in 2009."  Huh?

So, I looked at the explanation: "This number includes childdren and non-members.  Count anyone who actively participates in worship, Bible study, choir, youth events, Christian education, service opportunities, etc."


I have been wondering why this had not been brought up for discussion here.  When I was working on our report, I phoned the Office of the Secretary and asked some questions about who to include in this number.  The lady I spoke to said that for confirmed members of the congregation I was to include only those who had contributed and communed in 2009 according to the records of the congregation, and that I should include adults, who are not members of the congregation, who did attend our services, or some regularly scheduled Bible study on a somewhat regular basis.  I asked some specific questions about children and was told that I was not to include those who simply attended our Vacation Bible School, but I was to include those who attended services somewhat regularly, and those who attended our Friday after school program on a somewhat regular basis, whether or not they were members.  I was told the reason for this change was that many pastors had complained that the number of confirmed members who had communed and contributed did not reflect how many people were involved in the life of their congregation.

From what I was told in that phone conversation, I was able to fill out that line on the report with a number that I can support with a list of names.  I do not doubt that some pastors may have simply pulled a number out of thin air for that line of the report; but then I have ample evidence that some pastors have pulled numbers out of thin air for many of the lines on statistical reports in the past.  (To give an example from the distant past, I was at a congregation's annual meeting where the list of confirmed members with how much they had contributed in the previous year, in the report printed for that meeting, was significantly higher than the total number of confirmed members printed in that same report.  That was back in the days when ALC districts asked congregations to contribute a certain amount per confirmed member.)

Mel Harris  
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steve Ames on February 21, 2010, 08:33:04 PM
Peter Kruse:  On a six year chart … If a denomination held on to all her members but made no new converts it would have shrunk 4.8% during those years.
A minor point but to get a five year change one needs to have six years so your 4.8% should be 4.0%.  However, Mr. Kruse, I cannot image a church body with no youth and no births.

Consider:
United States Birth Rate:  14.2  per 1000

United States Death Rate: 8.3 per 1000

Annual Growth: 5.9 per 1000 or 0.59% or five year growth of 3.0%
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004395.html

Peter Kruse:  Using the communing membership as a measure that bodes well for WELS which is replacing at least half the death rate.

Actually the standard I believe should be a 3% growth so any decline does not bode well for the WELS.  I can think of at least two factors used to explain a 3% decline versus a 3% growth but I won’t bore this forum with that.  Simply, there is no grounds for anything other than a realization that there is some hard work that needs to be done while accepting however the Lord should bless such work.


Pastor Charles Austin:  I was considering plus or minus 5 percent as "about the same,"

Pastor, with all due respect, math apparently is not one of your strong points.  With the population annually growing by 0.6%, over a time frame of 5 years 5% is very significant.  I would think the average person would find 0.5% to 1.0% difference in a five year church growth stat to be significant.  Under the present circumstances to be arguing that the current ELCA decline as insignificant compared to the LCMS and the WELS as support that recent ELCA CWA actions as having no impact is, to be honest, just not credible.  Please keep in mind, Pastor Austin, I probably have significant differences with all sides in the ELCA debate and have no reason to be all that sympatric with any of them.  Consider I also disagree with the suggestion that the ELCA decline can be explained by folks leaving for the LCMC. I find your comment about ELCA/ LCMS/ WELS membership changes to be deceptive – possibly unintentional due to poor math skills.


Larry Smith:  the slower decline of WELS membership doesn't really surprise me.   They are a smaller organization to start with, and their members tend to be true believers.  No one accidentally joins a WELS congregation.

Of course, the smaller organization also means that there are far more places where a person will find no WELS congregation and if move there will have a reason to leave the WELS.  Your “true believer” comment is interesting and I’m not sure how to understand it.  Perhaps you are suggesting that the WELS does a better job in instructing prospective members and turning away those who do not wish to be a Lutheran.  On the other hand, I would suggest that WELS would lose more members because of this emphasis on doctrine and practice does not fit well in the lifestyles promoted by this world.  If you don’t mind I would appreciate your expanding on your thought.  Thanks.  After all, it appears that the ELCA has been trying to be more embracing of everyone regardless of lifestyle and this does not appear to be working out.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Paul L. Knudson on February 21, 2010, 09:32:14 PM
Thought I would report on the first vote of Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, Minnesota, where I am a member.  This congregation has been a member of Word Alone since the beginning.  Both pastors have been leaders in WA and Lutheran CORE.  We spent the fall until now even with that to prepare for a vote we sought to leave us unified.

We had 201 members present and voting this afternoon.  The spirit was good with plenty of time given for questions and answers.  In the end the vote was 178 to 23, 88%, to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  I would be very suprised if we lost members from this.  The process was handled very well and resulted in a high vote.  Those experienced with congregational meetings will recognize this total participation was itself good.  Faith expects to be in the Augustana District of LCMC.  Actually we presently hold dual membership in the ELCA and LCMC.  After a 90 day plus interval we should have a similar second vote.

We trust that this action will not cut us off from the forming Lutheran CORE "denomination."  There is every hope that these two entities will find many ways to work together harmoniously.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 21, 2010, 10:00:53 PM
We trust that this action will not cut us off from the forming Lutheran CORE "denomination."  There is every hope that these two entities will find many ways to work together harmoniously.

I spent two hours this afternoon hearing a presentation from representatives of CORE and of the LCMC. Both expressed mutual respect, and that both LCMC and CORE intended to work together in every way possible and practical. One thing that was mentioned was that a congregation could join LCMC with a simply 51% majority vote and could leave the same way. (And please, no nitpicking about whether I really meant 50% + 1, or 50.1%. Life's to short for such foolish pettiness.)

You should have no difficulty at all in moving to the NALC if you prefer a more structured denomination, or staying in LCMC if you find a more congregationalist arrangement to be preferable. The important thing is that NALC and LCMC will both be faithful, confessional Lutheran bodies, and in agreement on matters of theology. It is only in the details of governance that you'll find differences. Those are the kinds of differences that are easy to work around.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 21, 2010, 10:11:42 PM
The important thing is that NALC and LCMC will both be faithful, confessional Lutheran bodies, and in agreement on matters of theology. It is only in the details of governance that you'll find differences. Those are the kinds of differences that are easy to work around.

What you call differences in the "details of governance" often are not at all easy to resolve.  For many, governance structure should appropriately be determined by principles of ecclesiology.  And views on ecclesiology often are deeply held and rooted in theological conviction.  You need only look to the battles over CCM to realize this.

I'm not saying that differences on questions of governance necessarily will cause conflicts.  But I would not assume that no problems will arise.  Indeed, the chances of conflict are well greater than trivial.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 21, 2010, 10:33:08 PM
The important thing is that NALC and LCMC will both be faithful, confessional Lutheran bodies, and in agreement on matters of theology. It is only in the details of governance that you'll find differences. Those are the kinds of differences that are easy to work around.

What you call differences in the "details of governance" often are not at all easy to resolve.  For many, governance structure should appropriately be determined by principles of ecclesiology.  And views on ecclesiology often are deeply held and rooted in theological conviction.  You need only look to the battles over CCM to realize this.

I'm not saying that differences on questions of governance necessarily will cause conflicts.  But I would not assume that no problems will arise.  Indeed, the chances of conflict are well greater than trivial.

I'm only saying that the governance described in the vision statement of the NALC and as presented to the congregation I visited this afternoon compared to the governance of the LCMC do not contain the kinds of serious disagreement that should impede two neighboring congregations of the two different bodies from working together on shared ministry missions or projects. It's not like NALC is buying into the whole "apostolic succession" deal that lead to the founding of the LCMC.

It comes down to whether or not one regards a problem (which you point out could occur) as something that would be easy to work around (as I indicated). I'd rather call those things that are easy to work around as "situations" rather than "problems", but that's a minor semantic point. I might like to refer to easy-to-solve problems as "situations", but I still recognize them as problems.

But, I failed to take into account how picky some folks can be over minor issues. At the worship service this morning, the church I was visiting had the offering before the sermon. That didn't bother me at all, but I'll wager that the ultra-picky could raise up in high dudgeon over the sacrilege of altering the precise order of events as they are supposed to take place in a proper, confessional Lutheran worship service. If such people are elected to positions of authority, then your prediction of problems changes from probably to inevitable.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 21, 2010, 11:00:10 PM
The important thing is that NALC and LCMC will both be faithful, confessional Lutheran bodies, and in agreement on matters of theology. It is only in the details of governance that you'll find differences. Those are the kinds of differences that are easy to work around.

What you call differences in the "details of governance" often are not at all easy to resolve.  For many, governance structure should appropriately be determined by principles of ecclesiology.  And views on ecclesiology often are deeply held and rooted in theological conviction.  You need only look to the battles over CCM to realize this.

I'm not saying that differences on questions of governance necessarily will cause conflicts.  But I would not assume that no problems will arise.  Indeed, the chances of conflict are well greater than trivial.

I'm only saying that the governance described in the vision statement of the NALC and as presented to the congregation I visited this afternoon compared to the governance of the LCMC do not contain the kinds of serious disagreement that should impede two neighboring congregations of the two different bodies from working together on shared ministry missions or projects. It's not like NALC is buying into the whole "apostolic succession" deal that lead to the founding of the LCMC.

It comes down to whether or not one regards a problem (which you point out could occur) as something that would be easy to work around (as I indicated). I'd rather call those things that are easy to work around as "situations" rather than "problems", but that's a minor semantic point. I might like to refer to easy-to-solve problems as "situations", but I still recognize them as problems.

But, I failed to take into account how picky some folks can be over minor issues. At the worship service this morning, the church I was visiting had the offering before the sermon. That didn't bother me at all, but I'll wager that the ultra-picky could raise up in high dudgeon over the sacrilege of altering the precise order of events as they are supposed to take place in a proper, confessional Lutheran worship service. If such people are elected to positions of authority, then your prediction of problems changes from probably to inevitable.


Here I know George to be right. I have noticed that there is great cooperation between a Tanzanian diocese and the AFLC. That diocese is governed quite differently than the AFLC. However that does not keep the two bodies from cooperating with one another and supporting each other. The governing is not the thing that brings them together or keeps them together. What brings them together and keeps them together is a shared understanding of the nature of Holy Scripture, Creeds, and Confessions. Imagine that. Congregational polity and Episcopal heirarchy working harmoniously hand in hand. It is being done.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 22, 2010, 01:13:32 AM
The important thing is that NALC and LCMC will both be faithful, confessional Lutheran bodies, and in agreement on matters of theology. It is only in the details of governance that you'll find differences. Those are the kinds of differences that are easy to work around.

What you call differences in the "details of governance" often are not at all easy to resolve.  For many, governance structure should appropriately be determined by principles of ecclesiology.  And views on ecclesiology often are deeply held and rooted in theological conviction.  You need only look to the battles over CCM to realize this.

I'm not saying that differences on questions of governance necessarily will cause conflicts.  But I would not assume that no problems will arise.  Indeed, the chances of conflict are well greater than trivial.

I'm only saying that the governance described in the vision statement of the NALC and as presented to the congregation I visited this afternoon compared to the governance of the LCMC do not contain the kinds of serious disagreement that should impede two neighboring congregations of the two different bodies from working together on shared ministry missions or projects. It's not like NALC is buying into the whole "apostolic succession" deal that lead to the founding of the LCMC.

It comes down to whether or not one regards a problem (which you point out could occur) as something that would be easy to work around (as I indicated). I'd rather call those things that are easy to work around as "situations" rather than "problems", but that's a minor semantic point. I might like to refer to easy-to-solve problems as "situations", but I still recognize them as problems.

But, I failed to take into account how picky some folks can be over minor issues. At the worship service this morning, the church I was visiting had the offering before the sermon. That didn't bother me at all, but I'll wager that the ultra-picky could raise up in high dudgeon over the sacrilege of altering the precise order of events as they are supposed to take place in a proper, confessional Lutheran worship service. If such people are elected to positions of authority, then your prediction of problems changes from probably to inevitable.


Ah yes.  I misunderstood your earlier post and apologize for that.  My comments related to potential internal difficulties that new Lutheran church bodies could confront as they define (or don't define) their ecclesiology.  I agree wholeheartedly that an orthodox "EC" Lutheran body and an orthodox "confessing evangelical" Lutheran body could and would cooperate on many fronts without problem.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 22, 2010, 03:38:09 AM
James Gale writes:
I agree wholeheartedly that an orthodox "EC" Lutheran body and an orthodox "confessing evangelical" Lutheran body could and would cooperate on many fronts without problem.

I note:
Certainly. But the bigger issue is: why the need for those two camps to be in two different church bodies in the first place? And is that where those who oppose the ELCA are headed? Two directions? Two new church bodies? One "episcopal," one "congregational"? It sometimes seems that way.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Dadoo on February 22, 2010, 06:59:00 AM
James Gale writes:
I agree wholeheartedly that an orthodox "EC" Lutheran body and an orthodox "confessing evangelical" Lutheran body could and would cooperate on many fronts without problem.

I note:
Certainly. But the bigger issue is: why the need for those two camps to be in two different church bodies in the first place? And is that where those who oppose the ELCA are headed? Two directions? Two new church bodies? One "episcopal," one "congregational"? It sometimes seems that way.

If the ecclesiologies are truly incompatible would it not make sense that the two sides gather into separate church bodies? Keeping them together for the sake of keeping them together will require a structure that neither side is content with and as a result they will waste plenty of good energy in squabbling and griping.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 22, 2010, 07:30:36 AM
Peter Kruse writes;
If the ecclesiologies are truly incompatible would it not make sense that the two sides gather into separate church bodies?

I resond:
I understand that, so I am wondering now whether - along with a matter of biblical interpretation - church order is something that certain people consider "church-dividing." So those who feel they must leave the ELCA must now form two new church bodies, for while they agree on the interpretation of scripture regarding sexuality, they do not agree on matters of oversight?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on February 22, 2010, 07:47:44 AM
Interesting, looking at the new document fom CORE with a vision of the new church to be formed....   Reaction among a few people, quite conservative in their theology, is that by being so open to those who stay in ELCA and those who leave, to both LCCM and NALC, to both congregational membership and pastoral membership, dual memberships and all that-- it seems pretty wishywashy as body and since we come from an AELC background we keep asking the question can a group survive a decade at the level of 200 congregations, even if there are two bodies of 200 parishes each (LCCM and NALC)?  We know that to be a tenuous future.   And since the congregation has to survive even to be a symbol of protestation to CWA, maybe that is why it seems like very large congregations are making the move rather than smaller ones.    Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Dadoo on February 22, 2010, 08:52:30 AM
Peter Kruse writes;
If the ecclesiologies are truly incompatible would it not make sense that the two sides gather into separate church bodies?

I resond:
I understand that, so I am wondering now whether - along with a matter of biblical interpretation - church order is something that certain people consider "church-dividing." So those who feel they must leave the ELCA must now form two new church bodies, for while they agree on the interpretation of scripture regarding sexuality, they do not agree on matters of oversight?

Charles

It has taken me a long time to get my head around the "free standing synod" idea first offered by CORE. I am getting there but have ways to go. There is  a  a shift afoot in the understanding of how a congregation is connected to the OHCA church and what the use of a denomination is in that process. In the new scheme the OHCA church in not assumed divided; one merely lives in separate rooms thereof. The term "church dividing" is itself a problem here. Maybe " "judicatory dividing" is more accurate.  So it is not so much about NALC or LCMC or about any other physical constitutional entity. Look at it as a pragmatic move: By moving into of these configurations a layer of frustration with ELCA functioning is removed in the hope that the congregations and pastors can get on with the work of evangelizing.

That said:
I would say that the answer to the question for the need of NALC and LCMC is: "So what." They can work together just fine if they chose to do so. Both are set up to receive clergy from one another, or at least that might be a possibility. Both seem to be very pragmatic about where the resources for their parishes will come from, NALC even lists a number of para church organizations they will use. Dual rostering is no problem for them but if a parish or a pastor just can not stand the polity of the other body it is no offense to not be rostered there; they still will work with them often, since this is  the first generation, based on personal ties from once having met in ELCA and in the future, likely, based on personal ties going back to seminary days.

 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Erme Wolf on February 22, 2010, 09:23:16 AM
Peter Kruse writes;
If the ecclesiologies are truly incompatible would it not make sense that the two sides gather into separate church bodies?

I resond:
I understand that, so I am wondering now whether - along with a matter of biblical interpretation - church order is something that certain people consider "church-dividing." So those who feel they must leave the ELCA must now form two new church bodies, for while they agree on the interpretation of scripture regarding sexuality, they do not agree on matters of oversight?

Charles

It has taken me a long time to get my head around the "free standing synod" idea first offered by CORE. I am getting there but have ways to go. There is  a  a shift afoot in the understanding of how a congregation is connected to the OHCA church and what the use of a denomination is in that process. In the new scheme the OHCA church in not assumed divided; one merely lives in separate rooms thereof. The term "church dividing" is itself a problem here. Maybe " "judicatory dividing" is more accurate.  So it is not so much about NALC or LCMC or about any other physical constitutional entity. Look at it as a pragmatic move: By moving into of these configurations a layer of frustration with ELCA functioning is removed in the hope that the congregations and pastors can get on with the work of evangelizing.

That said:
I would say that the answer to the question for the need of NALC and LCMC is: "So what." They can work together just fine if they chose to do so. Both are set up to receive clergy from one another, or at least that might be a possibility. Both seem to be very pragmatic about where the resources for their parishes will come from, NALC even lists a number of para church organizations they will use. Dual rostering is no problem for them but if a parish or a pastor just can not stand the polity of the other body it is no offense to not be rostered there; they still will work with them often, since this is  the first generation, based on personal ties from once having met in ELCA and in the future, likely, based on personal ties going back to seminary days.

 

I have hesitated to get involved here but I do want to say something about Lutheran CORE and what it is and is in the process of becoming. 

The biggest part of "reconfiguration of North American lutheranism" is not with the proposal for a new denomination.  (Been there, done that, right Harvey?)  The reconfiguration is Lutheran CORE itself.  Lutheran Coalition for Reform died on the floor of the assembly in August.  What is emerging is the "free-standing synod" (as difficult as that language is to define for folks) or "association" that is pan-Lutheran, not a denomination, not a split from the ELCA or from any other Lutheran denomination.  Lutheran CORE, now about renewal, no longer sees it's reason for existing as reforming the ELCA.  That may very well happen, and if it does I will rejoice, but it is not why CORE exists. 

Notice one thing in the new proposal:  we reaffirm the ordination of women, but we will not be confined by it.  What this means is that Lutheran CORE is open to all Lutherans, whether or not one is ordaining women.  Lutheran CORE will not be ordaining anyone (church bodies, denominations, do that, and L-CORE is not a denomination).  How might this work?  Frankly, I don't know; and when was the last time anyone tried?  The ELCA can't; all of its serious ecumenical alliances are with bodies that allow for women's ordination, because otherwise there can be no exchange of clergy.  Which means that the ELCA cannot make any serious overtures to other more conservative Lutheran bodies, other than through the LWF; any attempt (even before last August) runs aground on the shoals of WO.  Can Lutheran CORE see a way past this?  Possibly, because it isn't a church body, but a pan-Lutheran free-standing synod talking about what we can do together to support traditionalist Lutheran identity within the Church catholic. 

It is an audacious idea.  No wonder most people don't "get it":  heck, it took me about five months, and I'm on the steering committee!  It may not work; it may not fly; but boy, oh boy, if it does won't we have fun!

In short, stay in the ELCA or go;  NALC gets tried and works or it doesn't and is another failed micro-synod; people work in LCMC or LCMS or whatever other alphabet combination one wants:  Lutheran CORE is trying something that transcends denominations, rather than trying to become one.  (Please, spare me that.)

I for one am going to continue to make the argument for "free-standing synod":  it is a concept that has grown on me, and IMNSHO, is one whose time has come.

Erma
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Paul L. Knudson on February 22, 2010, 09:41:51 AM
I'm off to work so will not get into this much now.  I do appreciate the takes of George, Peter, and Erma on the various aspects of the "reconfiguration."  We do not see what we are about as a dividing of the Body of Christ.  We also realize time may show that other directions or reconfigurations are needed. 

Our concern is how to bear faithful witness in a post-modern world.  By the way, I commend an article written in 1993 by Robert Jenson just reprinted in the most recent edition of First Things.  Again I, as a so called Forde student, commend this wise counsel of an Evangelical Catholic Lutheran.  Jenson speaks to how we lost our story and promise.  It is excellent.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Scott6 on February 22, 2010, 09:43:15 AM
The biggest part of "reconfiguration of North American lutheranism" is not with the proposal for a new denomination. 

I'm confused, Erma.

I just perused the Feb 18 statement and found the following in its summary:

...However, after
hearing the hopes and requests of many of those who plan to leave their current church
bodies, we are now also proposing the formation of a new denominational body for
confessing Lutherans: the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).

And:

The NALC will be a faithful and innovative Lutheran church body that spans national borders.

Now, I do get the sense of what you wrote re: a "free-standing synod" from what is described in the document (though I don't claim to understand what is meant by the term yet), and I understand that the authors of the document are searching for the best way to describe what's in mind and in doing so are using "denomination" and "church body" language.  Problem is, of course, the use of the those terms will make folks think that it's a denomination or church body.

Perhaps a little more consistency on the use of a new term like "free-standing synod" rather than "denomination" or "church body" would be helpful (or make the comparisons to denominations and church bodies explicitly comparisons rather than indicative assertions).
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Michael Slusser on February 22, 2010, 09:43:34 AM
I have hesitated to get involved here but I do want to say something about Lutheran CORE and what it is and is in the process of becoming. 

The biggest part of "reconfiguration of North American lutheranism" is not with the proposal for a new denomination.  (Been there, done that, right Harvey?)  The reconfiguration is Lutheran CORE itself.  Lutheran Coalition for Reform died on the floor of the assembly in August.  What is emerging is the "free-standing synod" (as difficult as that language is to define for folks) or "association" that is pan-Lutheran, not a denomination, not a split from the ELCA or from any other Lutheran denomination.  Lutheran CORE, now about renewal, no longer sees it's reason for existing as reforming the ELCA.  That may very well happen, and if it does I will rejoice, but it is not why CORE exists. 

Notice one thing in the new proposal:  we reaffirm the ordination of women, but we will not be confined by it.  What this means is that Lutheran CORE is open to all Lutherans, whether or not one is ordaining women.  Lutheran CORE will not be ordaining anyone (church bodies, denominations, do that, and L-CORE is not a denomination).  How might this work?  Frankly, I don't know; and when was the last time anyone tried?  The ELCA can't; all of its serious ecumenical alliances are with bodies that allow for women's ordination, because otherwise there can be no exchange of clergy.  Which means that the ELCA cannot make any serious overtures to other more conservative Lutheran bodies, other than through the LWF; any attempt (even before last August) runs aground on the shoals of WO.  Can Lutheran CORE see a way past this?  Possibly, because it isn't a church body, but a pan-Lutheran free-standing synod talking about what we can do together to support traditionalist Lutheran identity within the Church catholic. 

It is an audacious idea.  No wonder most people don't "get it":  heck, it took me about five months, and I'm on the steering committee!  It may not work; it may not fly; but boy, oh boy, if it does won't we have fun!

In short, stay in the ELCA or go;  NALC gets tried and works or it doesn't and is another failed micro-synod; people work in LCMC or LCMS or whatever other alphabet combination one wants:  Lutheran CORE is trying something that transcends denominations, rather than trying to become one.  (Please, spare me that.)

I for one am going to continue to make the argument for "free-standing synod":  it is a concept that has grown on me, and IMNSHO, is one whose time has come.

Erma

Thank you, Erma, that was extremely enlightening.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Erme Wolf on February 22, 2010, 10:05:25 AM
The biggest part of "reconfiguration of North American lutheranism" is not with the proposal for a new denomination. 

I'm confused, Erma.

I just perused the Feb 18 statement and found the following in its summary:

...However, after
hearing the hopes and requests of many of those who plan to leave their current church
bodies, we are now also proposing the formation of a new denominational body for
confessing Lutherans: the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).

And:

The NALC will be a faithful and innovative Lutheran church body that spans national borders.

Now, I do get the sense of what you wrote re: a "free-standing synod" from what is described in the document (though I don't claim to understand what is meant by the term yet), and I understand that the authors of the document are searching for the best way to describe what's in mind and in doing so are using "denomination" and "church body" language.  Problem is, of course, the use of the those terms will make folks think that it's a denomination or church body.

Perhaps a little more consistency on the use of a new term like "free-standing synod" rather than "denomination" or "church body" would be helpful (or make the comparisons to denominations and church bodies explicitly comparisons rather than indicative assertions).

Scott, yes, that is what is being proposed.  The new church body is the "newest" part of the proposal, and what is getting the lion's share of the press coverage and the hoopla.  Including, I am afraid, from the Lutheran CORE steering committee. 

But, you see, I am one of the few people on the steering committee who is not invested in the new denomination proposal.  (And that is all it is right now, a proposal.  It exists on paper, but no where else.  It has no members, no congregations, no clergy.  In that way it is a lot like the Theory of Q; it is a theory only!)  The NALC might be welcomed by others; it might be tried and flourishes; if it helps others and meets a need for the work of the Kingdom of God, then that will be good.  But I am not consumed by any attempt to make it work. 

And what I am really starting to get excited about is what Lutheran CORE is trying to do, apart from any possible new denomination.  A pan-Lutheran, free-standing synod that is independent of any denomination but works with people, groups, congregations (hopefully) in any of them, and maybe, someday, in all of them. 

After all, Lutheran unity doesn't depend on a single, monolithic denominational headquarters, big-tent style.  But a free-standing synod for those who are struggling to maintain and give voice to traditional, confessional, Biblical Lutheran identity within the OHCAC, and who are seeking connections with others who share that struggle, without asking for or requiring anyone to leave their denomination in order to work with one another, is an idea we should be willing to at least entertain. 

(And I realize this is a digression, since this thread is all about churches voting to leave the ELCA.  But it came up here, so I digressed.)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Scott6 on February 22, 2010, 10:29:10 AM
The biggest part of "reconfiguration of North American lutheranism" is not with the proposal for a new denomination. 

I'm confused, Erma.

I just perused the Feb 18 statement and found the following in its summary:

...However, after
hearing the hopes and requests of many of those who plan to leave their current church
bodies, we are now also proposing the formation of a new denominational body for
confessing Lutherans: the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).

And:

The NALC will be a faithful and innovative Lutheran church body that spans national borders.

Now, I do get the sense of what you wrote re: a "free-standing synod" from what is described in the document (though I don't claim to understand what is meant by the term yet), and I understand that the authors of the document are searching for the best way to describe what's in mind and in doing so are using "denomination" and "church body" language.  Problem is, of course, the use of the those terms will make folks think that it's a denomination or church body.

Perhaps a little more consistency on the use of a new term like "free-standing synod" rather than "denomination" or "church body" would be helpful (or make the comparisons to denominations and church bodies explicitly comparisons rather than indicative assertions).

Scott, yes, that is what is being proposed.  The new church body is the "newest" part of the proposal, and what is getting the lion's share of the press coverage and the hoopla.  Including, I am afraid, from the Lutheran CORE steering committee. 

But, you see, I am one of the few people on the steering committee who is not invested in the new denomination proposal.

Oops!  I misread you.  You were speaking of the reconfiguration of Lutheran CORE and not the formation of NALC (where labels like "denomination" and "church body" are appropriate).  So, thanks again for the clarifications!
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 22, 2010, 11:27:51 AM
Here I know George to be right. I have noticed that there is great cooperation between a Tanzanian diocese and the AFLC. That diocese is governed quite differently than the AFLC. However that does not keep the two bodies from cooperating with one another and supporting each other. The governing is not the thing that brings them together or keeps them together. What brings them together and keeps them together is a shared understanding of the nature of Holy Scripture, Creeds, and Confessions. Imagine that. Congregational polity and Episcopal heirarchy working harmoniously hand in hand. It is being done.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

You've hit the nail on the head. The shared understanding of the nature of what is most important keeps them together, but their differences on structure (and a few thousand miles!) keep them separated.

Why are there so many who cannot grasp that when there is no shared understanding of the important things, there can be no true fellowship? Is that such a hard concept to understand?

And what sort of chaos would there be if those who felt that binding congregations together in a peer-to-peer fashion, with no hierarchical structure, was the best method to achieve the proper goals of God's church on earth, and those who believe a hierarchical structure is mandatory for the same purpose were to attempt to coexist within a single, common organization?

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 22, 2010, 11:34:46 AM
I for one am going to continue to make the argument for "free-standing synod":  it is a concept that has grown on me, and IMNSHO, is one whose time has come.

Erma

The idea of a free standing synod (as understood as a non-geographical synod) makes perfect sense. Traditionalist congregations could sign the CORE confession of faith, and join the free-standing synod. Then, when it came time for traditionalist pastors to seek calls, they can seek them through the free-standing synod without fear of the bishop of the geographic synod they are in blackballing them. Congregations can reject candidates for call who do not conform to the original V&E standards without worrying that the bishop of the geographical synod they find themselves in will insist on sending them unsuitable candidates for consideration. The only problem is that such a free-standing synod would probably end up with half of the congregations of the ELCA!

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: vicarbob on February 22, 2010, 11:48:56 AM
OK, I have to bite.
I see little difference between the proposed NALC (which of course competes with the National Assoc. of Letter Carriers, see the irony) and the now 300 strong LCMC. Both are congregationists in its make up. OK, not very Lutheran, but ok.......
So why the two? I really want to understand how having 2 emerging Lutheran bodies added to the already countlless Micro-synods can help in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel with a united voice?
Heard yesterday that a large congregation on LI, or at least its STS pastor, has declared itself out of communion, not with the synod or national, but with the local Conference...NOT verified however....awaiting further news to filter from the local STS gathering today.....no, I wasn't invited as a guest, not since some of my posting on this Forum
But word filtering around is that the Annual Chrism Mass has changed its venue. Granted, a local congregation may host this celebration, but it rightly 'belongs" to the whole Synod, presided over by its Bishop.
Granted I am a bit biased, as the hosting congregation in the past, has great parking, a wonderful luncheon and is close to my home. Traveling into midtown Manhattan off Central Park will present a challenge, to be sure.
Now IF, this particuliar pastor and the congregation were to leave the ELCA, I doubt that either the LCMC or the NALC or even the LCMS would be an option. Relationships with the ILF (International Lutheran Federation) may prove an unsuspected option......BUT, it already has plenty of bishops and lack of congregations, or so it would appear from their web-site.
So again, why is CORE not supporting the LCMC instead of proposing yet another entity, which mirrors one in existence. I just don't get it?????
This has taken me out of "lurking" yet again....darn it!
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Erme Wolf on February 22, 2010, 12:17:33 PM
I for one am going to continue to make the argument for "free-standing synod":  it is a concept that has grown on me, and IMNSHO, is one whose time has come.

Erma

The idea of a free standing synod (as understood as a non-geographical synod) makes perfect sense. Traditionalist congregations could sign the CORE confession of faith, and join the free-standing synod. Then, when it came time for traditionalist pastors to seek calls, they can seek them through the free-standing synod without fear of the bishop of the geographic synod they are in blackballing them. Congregations can reject candidates for call who do not conform to the original V&E standards without worrying that the bishop of the geographical synod they find themselves in will insist on sending them unsuitable candidates for consideration. The only problem is that such a free-standing synod would probably end up with half of the congregations of the ELCA!



The idea of a free standing synod, as understood as a non-geographical synod, may make perfect sense.  However, Lutheran CORE is not a non-geographical synod, and it is not going to become one.  (So does Lutheran CORE not make perfect sense?  Well, it won't be the first time we've been accused of that!  :D)

Lutheran CORE is in, but not of, the ELCA.  It is in, but not of, LCMC.  It is in, but not of, any Lutheran denomination.  It is pan-Lutheran.  It is a free-standing synod, but not a denomination. 

This takes a while to get.  It won't appeal to everybody, for sure.  It won't meet everyone's needs.  It won't answer the question, "Should I stay or should I go?"  But if it develops as I hope it will, it won't be a governmental threat to the ELCA, or to any other denomination, for that matter.  (Although I do think it will be subversive.  But that is another matter altogether.) 

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 22, 2010, 12:39:55 PM
OK, I have to bite.
I see little difference between the proposed NALC (which of course competes with the National Assoc. of Letter Carriers, see the irony) and the now 300 strong LCMC. Both are congregationists in its make up. OK, not very Lutheran, but ok.......

Sorry, but that perception is not consistent with what is being planned for the NALC. As I said earlier, since the NALC is a new start-up, some of the details are not yet in place, and there are some terms in the preliminary proposals that are not what we might be used to, and might be subject to change. At the presentation yesterday, Pastor Heber described the structure of the NALC as being pretty much identical to the ELCA was when it first started. More specifically, what the ELCA would have been had it not had thousands of congregations right from the beginning. As she was explaining the plans for the structure, it sounded more like a "reboot" of the ELCA, going back to square one as it was in 1988, and then growing forward without making the mistakes that the ELCA made along the way.

Ok, they currently plan to call the head honcho bishop "bishop" instead of "presiding bishop", they intend to call the people holding the office of overseer of geographic districts "dean" instead of "bishop". They're waiting to see how many congregations they have, and where they have them, before slicing and dicing the nation into geographical subdivisions. I don't think that they have picked a name to describe the geographical subdivisions yet. There are no shortage of options, "Synod", "Diocese", "District", "Conference", or something else.

What is significant about both the NALC and LCMC is that both bodies will include a requirement for all important decisions made at any national assembly or gathering to be ratified by either a majority or super-majority of congregations. In that regard, they can be called "congregationalist", as the ultimate authority for the administrative actions of the church body will lie with the bound consciences of the members of the national church at the congregational level.

Pastor Sullivan, speaking for the LCMC, pointed out that at the LCMC's national assemblies, all congregations get a minimum of two representatives (which is an important distinction from "voting member"), with an additional representative for each 250 members of each congregation. Representatives can be lay people or ordained, male or female, with no artificial quotas or set asides. I'll wager that the NALC, when they meet and get the details worked out on their plans, will come up with something similar. 

As for not being "Lutheran", no one who supports and defends the recent actions of the ELCA has any moral authority to evaluate how "Lutheran" the actions of any other group of people might be.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: vicarbob on February 22, 2010, 10:36:58 PM



Ok, they currently plan to call the head honcho bishop "bishop" instead of "presiding bishop", they intend to call the people holding the office of overseer of geographic districts "dean" instead of "bishop". I fear that if your understanding, as stated, is shared among those who are prayerfully discerning this new Lutheran body in NA, a major flaw has been exposed. It's not about calling a "head honcho" a bishop, it is the recognization of the charism of that office, indeed order, of the ordained ministry. It's flaw continues with no understanding of the ordained diaconate.

What is significant about both the NALC and LCMC is that both bodies will include a requirement for all important decisions made at any national assembly or gathering to be ratified by either a majority or super-majority of congregations. In that regard, they can be called "congregationalist", as the ultimate authority for the administrative actions of the church body will lie with the bound consciences of the members of the national church at the congregational level. Guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, with the understanding, that as this is of human design, it is subject to error


As for not being "Lutheran", no one who supports and defends the recent actions of the ELCA has any moral authority to evaluate how "Lutheran" the actions of any other group of people might be.
One was not speaking with any sense of "moral authority" but an informed understanding of the make-up of the Church of the Augsburg Confession, dear Brother George. "we" were never congregationists, until that function crept into American Lutheranism, which I submit, as others of far more competance have stated, is at best a mis-understanding and misuse of Reformed polity which does not have its roots with "us"


Be in GOD's grace,
Bob
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Christopher Miller on February 23, 2010, 12:16:56 PM
In "free-standing synod", the synod word is obviously the one causing the confusion. I understand the wish to use a "churchly" word, but because of the ELCA use as a subset of churchwide, it confuses. Many of my people understand the CORE concept better when I describe it as an "umbrella" organization. It's not a part of different denominations, but it "covers" lots of places.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: hillwilliam on February 23, 2010, 01:17:48 PM
In "free-standing synod", the synod word is obviously the one causing the confusion. I understand the wish to use a "churchly" word, but because of the ELCA use as a subset of churchwide, it confuses. Many of my people understand the CORE concept better when I describe it as an "umbrella" organization. It's not a part of different denominations, but it "covers" lots of places.

I think you are probably right and the term "free-standing synod" is doomed to extinction. Synod is maybe too "churchly" ie denominational sounding and doesn't fit CORE's new purpose of being a pan-Lutheran renewal movement.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James B. Bittner on February 23, 2010, 01:32:56 PM
Does anyone have a rough estimate as to the proportions of Lutheran CORE membership/affiliation that is LCMS or WELS?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Bergs on February 23, 2010, 01:50:29 PM
Thought I would report on the first vote of Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, Minnesota, where I am a member.  This congregation has been a member of Word Alone since the beginning.  Both pastors have been leaders in WA and Lutheran CORE.  We spent the fall until now even with that to prepare for a vote we sought to leave us unified.

We had 201 members present and voting this afternoon.  The spirit was good with plenty of time given for questions and answers.  In the end the vote was 178 to 23, 88%, to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  I would be very suprised if we lost members from this.  The process was handled very well and resulted in a high vote.  Those experienced with congregational meetings will recognize this total participation was itself good.  Faith expects to be in the Augustana District of LCMC.  Actually we presently hold dual membership in the ELCA and LCMC.  After a 90 day plus interval we should have a similar second vote.

We trust that this action will not cut us off from the forming Lutheran CORE "denomination."  There is every hope that these two entities will find many ways to work together harmoniously.

Gently nudging this thread back to topic:

The online article in the Hutchinson Leader was short, not very descriptive and did not even mention the CWA August action.  The basic facts are there and a good succinct statement from Rev. Freund.

Anything going on at St. Matthew's in Fernando.  I have a couple of ancestors buried there, likely charter members.

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

http://www.hutchinsonleader.com/news/life/faith-lutheran-begins-process-leave-elca-102
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 23, 2010, 03:18:09 PM
In "free-standing synod", the synod word is obviously the one causing the confusion. I understand the wish to use a "churchly" word, but because of the ELCA use as a subset of churchwide, it confuses. Many of my people understand the CORE concept better when I describe it as an "umbrella" organization. It's not a part of different denominations, but it "covers" lots of places.

Please understand, the concept of "free-standing synod" was a trial balloon floated by CORE, but that was ultimately decided against. Therefore, any discussion of the concept of what a "free-standing synod" might be or how it might work is pure conjecture. Which, I believe, might be something healthy for the ELCA to consider. The ELCA already as one "free-standing synod" in the Slovak-Zion Synod. A possible solution for the ELCA to have their cake and eat it too would be to create another non-geographic (or "free-standing" if you prefer) synod for congregations and pastors whose bound consciences will not allow them to even consider a non-chaste homosexual candidate for call.

If the ELCA truly wants to keep the traditionalists, and to respect the bound consciences of everyone, even if their understandings are 180 degrees apart, then the ELCA is going to have to think outside the box in coming up with solutions. A free-standing/non-geographic synod similar to the Slovak/Zion synod is one possible thing to consider, though certainly not the only thing to consider.

Does anyone have a rough estimate as to the proportions of Lutheran CORE membership/affiliation that is LCMS or WELS?

As Pastor Heber explained it Sunday, CORE has recently decided to change it's emphasis from being a movement within the ELCA to being a pan-Lutheran movement. CORE has reached out to the other Lutheran denominations, but that was a recent development. CORE also accepts the principle of women's ordination, though they do not require it on the part of member congregations. So, congregations of other Lutheran denominations will be welcomed by CORE if they chose to join, as will individual Lutherans, but so far no congregations of LC-MS or WELS have accepted that invitation. In time, who knows? 

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 23, 2010, 04:26:53 PM

The ELCA already as one "free-standing synod" in the Slovak-Zion Synod.

Sigh!  No matter how many times we describe the difference between "free" and "non-geographic," the same people keep equating the two.  Granted, CORE's leadership didn't help by coining "free-standing." 

I accept that the current North American Lutheran mind simply does not want to conceive of "free synod."  Perhaps the ELCA's abuse of "synod" has just poisoned any possible use of the word for this generation.  CORE's proposed Vision statement does a good job of describing it without using the word.  I say, "Just do it."  And if it works, 20 years from now maybe we can call the thing what it is...

Until then, I remain

Steven+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 23, 2010, 04:42:14 PM

The ELCA already as one "free-standing synod" in the Slovak-Zion Synod.

Sigh!  No matter how many times we describe the difference between "free" and "non-geographic," the same people keep equating the two.  Granted, CORE's leadership didn't help by coining "free-standing." 

I accept that the current North American Lutheran mind simply does not want to conceive of "free synod."  Perhaps the ELCA's abuse of "synod" has just poisoned any possible use of the word for this generation.  CORE's proposed Vision statement does a good job of describing it without using the word.  I say, "Just do it."  And if it works, 20 years from now maybe we can call the thing what it is...

Until then, I remain

Steven+

Steven,

First, I never said "free", I said "free-standing". In regular ordinary common garden variety English (which is my native tongue), something that exists (ie. "stands") without constraints such as geography boundaries is "free". Therefore, something that stands without geographic boundaries is "free standing". Does anything I said about the creation of a new subdivision within the ELCA that is similar to the Slovak Zion Synod change in meaning if I were to have used "non-geographic" instead of "free-standing"? Is there some arcane ecclesial jargon meaning to "free-standing" that is significantly different from "non-geographic"?

I apologize if my use of plain English words with their plain, ordinary meanings offended you.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: grabau on February 23, 2010, 06:01:32 PM
The pity of it all is that some who stay will be in a state of "internal exile'.  GRABAU
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Richard Johnson on February 23, 2010, 06:04:17 PM
Unbundle your knickers, George. Steven's point is not what you seem to infer.

For the record, my dictionary defines "free-standing" as "unattached to a supporting unit or background" or "unaffiliated." The Slovak Zion Synod is "non-geographical" but it is not "unattached" or "unaffiliated" but is fully a part of the ELCA. So in that instance, it means something quite different.

But Steven's point, or part of it, is that in usual ecclesiastical jargon, "free" means something rather different from "free-standing," which is partly why you have misunderstood him. "Free-standing" suggests an institutional organization life and structure of some kind. A "free synod" implies something that is minimally organized, open to all, responsible to no one but itself. It is a term used in European Lutheranism more than in U. S. Lutheranism, though we do have a history of "free conferences." There were several of these held in the 1850's in the wake of the confessional crisis provoked by Schmucker's "Definite Synodical Platform."
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 23, 2010, 06:19:22 PM
Unbundle your knickers, George. Steven's point is not what you seem to infer.

For the record, my dictionary defines "free-standing" as "unattached to a supporting unit or background" or "unaffiliated." The Slovak Zion Synod is "non-geographical" but it is not "unattached" or "unaffiliated" but is fully a part of the ELCA. So in that instance, it means something quite different.

But Steven's point, or part of it, is that in usual ecclesiastical jargon, "free" means something rather different from "free-standing," which is partly why you have misunderstood him. "Free-standing" suggests an institutional organization life and structure of some kind. A "free synod" implies something that is minimally organized, open to all, responsible to no one but itself. It is a term used in European Lutheranism more than in U. S. Lutheranism, though we do have a history of "free conferences." There were several of these held in the 1850's in the wake of the confessional crisis provoked by Schmucker's "Definite Synodical Platform."

You keep forgetting. I speak English, not "ecclesiastical jargon".  ???

The use of jargon goes both ways.

In my most job, we had two different sorts of lottery ticket dispensers. There were the "attached" dispensers that were limited to being installed on a retailer's counter and that required a clerk to operate and there were "free-standing" dispensers that could be placed anywhere. The free-standing dispensers were connected via data link, but they weren't restricted by geography.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Richard Johnson on February 23, 2010, 07:22:17 PM

In my most job, we had two different sorts of lottery ticket dispensers. There were the "attached" dispensers that were limited to being installed on a retailer's counter and that required a clerk to operate and there were "free-standing" dispensers that could be placed anywhere. The free-standing dispensers were connected via data link, but they weren't restricted by geography.

A sobering reminder that the chance of any synod, free-standing, free, non-geographic or otherwise, having much success is about as good as the chance of winning the lottery . . .  ;)

Or should I say "about as good as the chance that the ELCA will still be around in another 20 years"?

Speaking of that, you know how, when the ELW was introduced, there was some (accurate) talk about the "life expectancy" of hymnals? Well, we might say there's a life expectancy of Lutheran church bodies. It's not that long. The ELCA has been around 23 years. It's three predecessor bodies averaged 23 years. In the next generation back  the average is around 60 (thanks in part to the longevity of the Augustana Synod). Add another generation or two and it drops to about 47. Maybe, like human life expectancy, it's partly in the genes. But If the ELCA survives another 20 years, it will just be approaching the "average" lifetime of its ancestors.

And, of course, life expectancy is also influenced by bad lifestyle choices . . .  :-\
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 23, 2010, 07:41:26 PM

In my most job, we had two different sorts of lottery ticket dispensers. There were the "attached" dispensers that were limited to being installed on a retailer's counter and that required a clerk to operate and there were "free-standing" dispensers that could be placed anywhere. The free-standing dispensers were connected via data link, but they weren't restricted by geography.

A sobering reminder that the chance of any synod, free-standing, free, non-geographic or otherwise, having much success is about as good as the chance of winning the lottery . . .  ;)

Or should I say "about as good as the chance that the ELCA will still be around in another 20 years"?

Speaking of that, you know how, when the ELW was introduced, there was some (accurate) talk about the "life expectancy" of hymnals? Well, we might say there's a life expectancy of Lutheran church bodies. It's not that long. The ELCA has been around 23 years. It's three predecessor bodies averaged 23 years. In the next generation back  the average is around 60 (thanks in part to the longevity of the Augustana Synod). Add another generation or two and it drops to about 47. Maybe, like human life expectancy, it's partly in the genes. But If the ELCA survives another 20 years, it will just be approaching the "average" lifetime of its ancestors.

And, of course, life expectancy is also influenced by bad lifestyle choices . . .  :-\

Of course, many Lutheran church bodies ceased to exist because they merged into larger church bodies.  That process, I believe, is played out.  Denominational death due to disease, atrophy, or even bad lifestyle choices has not been common.

I suspect that the ELCA will soldier on (excuse the unwarranted use of militaristic language) continue to exist in some form for many years to come. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Scott6 on February 23, 2010, 07:41:53 PM
A sobering reminder that the chance of any synod, free-standing, free, non-geographic or otherwise, having much success is about as good as the chance of winning the lottery . . .  ;)

Or should I say "about as good as the chance that the ELCA will still be around in another 20 years"?

Speaking of that, you know how, when the ELW was introduced, there was some (accurate) talk about the "life expectancy" of hymnals? Well, we might say there's a life expectancy of Lutheran church bodies. It's not that long. The ELCA has been around 23 years. It's three predecessor bodies averaged 23 years. In the next generation back  the average is around 60 (thanks in part to the longevity of the Augustana Synod). Add another generation or two and it drops to about 47. Maybe, like human life expectancy, it's partly in the genes. But If the ELCA survives another 20 years, it will just be approaching the "average" lifetime of its ancestors.

And, of course, life expectancy is also influenced by bad lifestyle choices . . .  :-\

And what would a mention of American Lutheranism be w/o a little LMCS triumphalism?

"Constituted in 1847 and still tickin..."  ;D  ;)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 23, 2010, 08:08:04 PM
Does anyone have a rough estimate as to the proportions of Lutheran CORE membership/affiliation that is LCMS or WELS?

I have no idea, but I would suspect almost nil. Lutheran CORE membership/affiliation wouldn't necessarily appeal to those groups given that CORE still appears too "one issue" oriented for some that I know. There is still the issue of how Scripture is to be understood, exegeted, etc. That means that CORE, although on the traditional side of the fence vis-a-vis the ELCA still seems to be viewed as "ELCA-lite" as one pastor I know put it.

This is not to impunge CORE, but it seems that those who are in LCMS or WELS who might be interested in something "more ecumenical" will probably look elsewhere since they would still be miles away from where many in CORE stand on other issues dealing with the nature of Scripture, Creeds, Etc.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Glenn Ryder on February 23, 2010, 08:45:32 PM
Pastor Rob-
What's 'impunge' mean?

Glenn
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 23, 2010, 09:16:04 PM
Pastor Rob-
What's 'impunge' mean?

Glenn

It means I don't know how to spell sometimes, that what it means! :o I meant impugn. Hope that makes it all better. ;)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on February 23, 2010, 09:21:15 PM
Pastor Rob-
What's 'impunge' mean?

Glenn

It means I don't know how to spell sometimes, that what it means! :o I meant impugn. Hope that makes it all better. ;)

I was going to say it means he needs a spell checker in his browser.   :P

Also an update - a whole bunch of emails came through today announcing more LCMC informational meetings.  I've logged them all in the thread oddly titled LCMC Informational Meetings (http://lcmcfriends.info/index.php?topic=131.0) on the lcmcfriends.info discussion board.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 23, 2010, 09:25:30 PM
Does anyone have a rough estimate as to the proportions of Lutheran CORE membership/affiliation that is LCMS or WELS?

I have no idea, but I would suspect almost nil. Lutheran CORE membership/affiliation wouldn't necessarily appeal to those groups given that CORE still appears too "one issue" oriented for some that I know. There is still the issue of how Scripture is to be understood, exegeted, etc. That means that CORE, although on the traditional side of the fence vis-a-vis the ELCA still seems to be viewed as "ELCA-lite" as one pastor I know put it.

This is not to impunge CORE, but it seems that those who are in LCMS or WELS who might be interested in something "more ecumenical" will probably look elsewhere since they would still be miles away from where many in CORE stand on other issues dealing with the nature of Scripture, Creeds, Etc.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

After hearing the presentation Pastor Heber made, and reading some of the CORE handout literature, as a pan-Lutheran organization dedicated to scriptural renewal, I think all but the most extreme conservatives will find membership in CORE a healthy and rewarding affiliation alongside their denominational affiliation. I'll admit that NALC might be too "centrist" a denomination for many. But, based on the few things nailed in place about NALC, whatever details are worked out in August will no doubt be more faithful to Scripture and the Confessions than the ELCA is now. I doubt that you'll see "social statements" coming out of NALC churchwide meetings. Most important will be the provision that anything passed at a churchwide meeting still needs to be ratified by either a majority or super-majority of congregations.

As I've said many times before, what ultimately will make all the difference is how the individuals involved in the process perceive the Holy Spirit's leadership. I don't think that how the people are organized is nearly as important as who the people are who are organized. The only thing I'd back away from that statement about is that a system for selecting people for positions of leadership can have a strong influence on who gets selected. I think that any system for selecting the people who'll do the voting at churchwide meetings that is open, public, and contested will result in a better representation of the entire membership than the semi-secret system that the ELCA uses.

I suspect that when it came time to come up with a method for picking leaders, the ELCA consulted Douglas Adams about his theories on posting legal notices about highway (and planetary) bypass plans.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Paul L. Knudson on February 23, 2010, 10:47:32 PM
Brian Bergs, thanks for noting my post and your interest in our vote.  I would say that our pastors and leaders have been definitely seeking to broaden the reasons for our decision to leave the ELCA beyond the actions of the CWA in August.  That action polarizes almost inevitably and does not take into account the last ten years of this congregation seeking to hold confessional grounds while seeing the ELCA drift away from that center and foundation.  Our percentage vote would have been higher if we had voted at a time before snow birds headed south.

It is not that we minimize the sexuality component of the crisis, but it has not been the defining issue for us.  We look at the matter as more of how we can be most effective and the best stewards of resources given to mission causes beyond ourselves.  We see that the ELCA is in multiple ways showing its leanings towards liberal protestanism.  It seen in global mission priroities, in its identification with liberal political views (that in part I may personally hold), its lack of primary evangelism, colleges and seminaries, and the like.

We believe that we would be distracted from the mission priorities we hold deeply for years to come if we stayed within the ELCA.  We do, however, respect those staying as their call to bear witness.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 24, 2010, 03:44:10 AM
Does anything I said about the creation of a new subdivision within the ELCA that is similar to the Slovak Zion Synod change in meaning if I were to have used "non-geographic" instead of "free-standing"?


The point, George, is that no one representing Lutheran CORE has ever proposed creating "a new subdivision within the ELCA," most especially since last August. 

Whether it be "free synod" (a term some of us proposed, following the real Lutheran-church-life examples in our mother lands) or the "free-standing synod," a term invented by some Lutheran CORE leaders only last year), the entire point is that it be "free" of all ELCA encumbrances.  A non-geographic synod within the ELCA, by definition, is tied to ELCA encumbrances.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 24, 2010, 03:48:26 AM

I suspect that when it came time to come up with a method for picking leaders, the ELCA consulted Douglas Adams about his theories on posting legal notices about highway (and planetary) bypass plans.

Beware the Leopard.

 ;)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: TravisW on February 24, 2010, 09:51:47 AM
Pastor Rob-
What's 'impunge' mean?

Glenn

I'm hoping that we can use it as an antonym for "expunge". 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Erme Wolf on February 24, 2010, 10:18:05 AM
    I think we worried that "free synod" would mean we couldn't charge a nominal fee to cover the costs of copying the resolutions!   ;D

Erma
vice chair of Lutheran CORE steering committee
a free (standing or sitting) synod/association
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on February 24, 2010, 11:28:39 AM
St. John's, Cumberland MD had a first vote last Sunday, which garnered 60.2% in favor of leaving the ELCA.  Many of those who did vote to leave now will be leaving St. John's, and are planning to start an LCMC (or maybe NALC) congregation.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dschoelles on February 24, 2010, 11:44:52 AM
Mike in Maryland

Do you know Craig Moorman in that synod?


Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on February 24, 2010, 11:52:13 AM
St. John's, Cumberland MD had a first vote last Sunday, which garnered 60.2% in favor of leaving the ELCA.  Many of those who did vote to leave now will be leaving St. John's, and are planning to start an LCMC (or maybe NALC) congregation.

What happened to St. John's is something to keep track of as well. The fact that many congregations have left but didn't get the 2/3rds doesn't mean that everything remains the same. Congregations will fracture and new ones will be formed.

My prayers are with them.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 24, 2010, 12:35:41 PM
Does anything I said about the creation of a new subdivision within the ELCA that is similar to the Slovak Zion Synod change in meaning if I were to have used "non-geographic" instead of "free-standing"?


The point, George, is that no one representing Lutheran CORE has ever proposed creating "a new subdivision within the ELCA," most especially since last August. 

Whether it be "free synod" (a term some of us proposed, following the real Lutheran-church-life examples in our mother lands) or the "free-standing synod," a term invented by some Lutheran CORE leaders only last year), the entire point is that it be "free" of all ELCA encumbrances.  A non-geographic synod within the ELCA, by definition, is tied to ELCA encumbrances.

Pax, Steven+

Maybe if all those involved in the entire process of discussion and debate had stuck to using clear, plain English, pewsitters wouldn't just throw their hands up and walk away from the entire debate. I don't know (and really don't care) what the nuances were details regarding who proposed what and when they proposed it.

I think that the idea of a synod within the ELCA that is not defined by geographic borders, in the manner of the Slovak Zion Synod, would be a really good idea for the ELCA to consider as a means to somehow manage to keep more congregations from leaving completely over "the issue". If congregations and pastors who subscribe to CORE's confession of faith could realign themselves with a synod that isn't defined by geography, and with a bishop who is elected by traditionalists, then the issues of conservative, confessional pastors being blackballed, congregations being forced to interview non-chaste homosexuals for calls even though they have no intention of calling them, etc., could be minimized.

In here and in other places I read about how the ELCA hasn't yet figured out how they're going to implement their grandiose scheme to respect the bound consciences of factions that are 180 degrees opposite in their understandings. There's Hanson's empty rhetoric about "traditionalist voices". There's the actions of jumping the gun about letting those who blatantly violating the existing rules off the hook even before there are new rules and guidelines written. I have yet to see or read a single, solid, reasonably workable starting point for something positive and beneficial that the ELCA could do, other than the creation of a separate synod for the traditionalists.

Given the dearth of any concrete plans on either side as of the typing of this reply, and all the calls to "wait and see" regarding discussions of plans-in-progress, I think it's a little early to start nitpicking over who said what and when they said it. Everything in this regard is, right now, in the embryonic or larval stage. Ideas are being run up flagpoles left and right to see who salutes them.

Do you suppose that maybe instead of nitpicking over picayune details of works-in-progress, we instead might discuss the pros and cons of all of the various ideas floating around? If good ideas are posted in open public forums like this one, with its reputation for having a high visibility among those who can possibly implement ideas that they read in here, maybe the ideas will be repeated, and gain traction, and get implemented.  Or, if there are fatal flaws in ideas that make them unworkable even though they might sound good on the surface, having those flaws illuminated would be a positive and helpful thing.

But I cannot see how publicly nitpicking over who said what and when they said it is the least bit helpful to anything, other than to publicly embarrass the person whose nits are being picked.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Lutheranistic on February 24, 2010, 01:10:16 PM
George...
I think (and perhaps this discussion would be more appropriate over on the CORE/NALC thread) the problem with the picture you're painting may well be that those who self-define as "traditionalist" are already so far removed from the ELCA in practice, theology, morality, politics that there is precious little common ground on which to build. It doesn't make much sense for an organization to say, "Yes, we're an ELCA congregation, but but we're also affiliated with this other group those beliefs are completely the opposite of what the ELCA believes". I can see (without agreeing) that an ELCA congregation could also be an RIC congregation. I can't see how a congregation could be an ELCA congregation and also be self-identified as a member of a group that believes and practices things so completely different than the public image of the ELCA. It sounds a little like a Democratic caucus with the Republican party. There are Log Cabin Republicans....but there aren't Democratic Republicans (that I know of).
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Bergs on February 24, 2010, 01:24:04 PM
Today the Minneapolis StarTribune put this article on their website.  If you want to see some nasty comments, check back on their website tomorrow.  I predict massive vindictiveness.

Lutherans seeing fallout over gay clergy issue

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/faith/85211822.html?elr=KArks:DCiUHc3E7_V_nDaycUiacyKUUr

Lord have mercy
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 24, 2010, 01:42:48 PM
George...
I think (and perhaps this discussion would be more appropriate over on the CORE/NALC thread) the problem with the picture you're painting may well be that those who self-define as "traditionalist" are already so far removed from the ELCA in practice, theology, morality, politics that there is precious little common ground on which to build. It doesn't make much sense for an organization to say, "Yes, we're an ELCA congregation, but but we're also affiliated with this other group those beliefs are completely the opposite of what the ELCA believes". I can see (without agreeing) that an ELCA congregation could also be an RIC congregation. I can't see how a congregation could be an ELCA congregation and also be self-identified as a member of a group that believes and practices things so completely different than the public image of the ELCA. It sounds a little like a Democratic caucus with the Republican party. There are Log Cabin Republicans....but there aren't Democratic Republicans (that I know of).

Actually, this falls under "& all follow up".  ;)

You are correct in your observations that it would be impossible for a congregation in which there was near unanimity of opinion to accept a compromise. However, I've heard of (and talked directly to) people from congregations that are split 50/50 or 60/40 in which the failure to pass a resolution to leave the ELCA results in half the congregation leaving to start a new LCMC mission congregation. So, for those fence-straddling congregations, a compromise of remaining in the ELCA but affiliating with a traditionalist synod that isn't geographically defined could possibly be the kind of compromise that both opposite factions could live with.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on February 24, 2010, 01:46:22 PM
...There are Log Cabin Republicans....but there aren't Democratic Republicans  (that I know of).
FWIW There were until Andrew Jackson....
Kurt
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: racin_jason on February 24, 2010, 02:18:29 PM
Today the Minneapolis StarTribune put this article on their website.  If you want to see some nasty comments, check back on their website tomorrow.  I predict massive vindictiveness.

Lutherans seeing fallout over gay clergy issue

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/faith/85211822.html?elr=KArks:DCiUHc3E7_V_nDaycUiacyKUUr

Lord have mercy
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

I think Bishop Rogness of St. Paul synod is a fine bishop. But in the report he indicates the loss of congregations in the St. Paul Synod would be far less than 5%. Too bad he didn't tell the reporter his estimation of how giving to the synod in 2010 get will shrink, probably double or triple 5%.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on February 24, 2010, 02:21:24 PM
George...
I think (and perhaps this discussion would be more appropriate over on the CORE/NALC thread) the problem with the picture you're painting may well be that those who self-define as "traditionalist" are already so far removed from the ELCA in practice, theology, morality, politics that there is precious little common ground on which to build. It doesn't make much sense for an organization to say, "Yes, we're an ELCA congregation, but but we're also affiliated with this other group those beliefs are completely the opposite of what the ELCA believes". I can see (without agreeing) that an ELCA congregation could also be an RIC congregation. I can't see how a congregation could be an ELCA congregation and also be self-identified as a member of a group that believes and practices things so completely different than the public image of the ELCA. It sounds a little like a Democratic caucus with the Republican party. There are Log Cabin Republicans....but there aren't Democratic Republicans (that I know of).

A key question is whether the ELCA aligns its practices with the words of the CWA resolutions.  Under those resolutions, an ELCA Christian may believe that homosexuality is a sin proscribed in all cases by Scripture.  Alternatively, an ELCA Christian may believe that Scripture is silent regarding PALMS relationships, which therefore may be blessed by the church.  Persons on all sides of the issue are required to respect the "bound consciences" of those on the other sides.  The church council is still working through the structure through which the "bound conscience" standard will be applied.

As I've said many times, I think that the ELCA's version of a "bound conscience" standard is entirely unworkable.  However, if the ELCA follows through with what the CWA has said, it must make space for "traditionalists."  The most viable option might well be a non-geographic synod.  I don't expect that the church council will propose this in the short run.  But I think that the "ecology" task force could.  

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Richard Johnson on February 24, 2010, 02:36:40 PM

"Constituted in 1847 and still tickin..."  ;D  ;)

As in "time bomb"?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 24, 2010, 05:40:41 PM
George...
I think (and perhaps this discussion would be more appropriate over on the CORE/NALC thread) the problem with the picture you're painting may well be that those who self-define as "traditionalist" are already so far removed from the ELCA in practice, theology, morality, politics that there is precious little common ground on which to build. It doesn't make much sense for an organization to say, "Yes, we're an ELCA congregation, but but we're also affiliated with this other group those beliefs are completely the opposite of what the ELCA believes". I can see (without agreeing) that an ELCA congregation could also be an RIC congregation. I can't see how a congregation could be an ELCA congregation and also be self-identified as a member of a group that believes and practices things so completely different than the public image of the ELCA. It sounds a little like a Democratic caucus with the Republican party. There are Log Cabin Republicans....but there aren't Democratic Republicans (that I know of).

A key question is whether the ELCA aligns its practices with the words of the CWA resolutions.  Under those resolutions, an ELCA Christian may believe that homosexuality is a sin proscribed in all cases by Scripture.  Alternatively, an ELCA Christian may believe that Scripture is silent regarding PALMS relationships, which therefore may be blessed by the church.  Persons on all sides of the issue are required to respect the "bound consciences" of those on the other sides.  The church council is still working through the structure through which the "bound conscience" standard will be applied.

As I've said many times, I think that the ELCA's version of a "bound conscience" standard is entirely unworkable.  However, if the ELCA follows through with what the CWA has said, it must make space for "traditionalists."  The most viable option might well be a non-geographic synod.  I don't expect that the church council will propose this in the short run.  But I think that the "ecology" task force could.  



James, I also think that the "bound conscience" standard is entirely unworkable. However, I am not totally pessimistic that it isn't possible for some sort of klduged together compromise that might be slightly less unworkable that what they've got going now. As for what body or structure or group of people meeting are the ones responsible for implementing such an idea, I have to admit that I do not know, and I really do not care. I know that though the ELCA is willing to play fast and loose with matters of faith and belief, it remains steadfast and true to its organization charts. But that's an internal matter for the ELCA leadership to deal with. I'll lay out what I think is a good idea, and if anyone in the ELCA decides to run with it, more power to them. I'm beyond caring, as I cannot afford the emotional investment.

An idea came to me. I passed it along. It will either fall on fertile soil or on rocky ground or among the weeds.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Scott6 on February 24, 2010, 06:51:23 PM

"Constituted in 1847 and still tickin..."  ;D  ;)

As in "time bomb"?

Only if it's renewable (that is, it can go off multiple times -- like at least every triennium...).  ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 25, 2010, 01:21:04 AM

"Constituted in 1847 and still tickin..."  ;D  ;)

As in "time bomb"?

Only if it's renewable (that is, it can go off multiple times -- like at least every triennium...).  ;D

For what it's worth (and it ain't worth much), the ELCA includes among its forbears the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America, which was founded in 1820. And that has roots in the Ministerium of North America, founded in 1748. It seems like almost every time a bunch of Lutheran bodies merged together into a larger body, they adopted a new name.

The LC-MS, on the other hand, simply absorbed a few church bodies but didn't appear to have any major mergers to speak of. The only two I can find that the LC-MS absorbed were the National Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. There may be others I didn't find in my searching. 

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: John_Hannah on February 25, 2010, 06:33:08 AM

"Constituted in 1847 and still tickin..."  ;D  ;)

As in "time bomb"?

Only if it's renewable (that is, it can go off multiple times -- like at least every triennium...).  ;D

For what it's worth (and it ain't worth much), the ELCA includes among its forbears the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America, which was founded in 1820. And that has roots in the Ministerium of North America, founded in 1748. It seems like almost every time a bunch of Lutheran bodies merged together into a larger body, they adopted a new name.

The LC-MS, on the other hand, simply absorbed a few church bodies but didn't appear to have any major mergers to speak of. The only two I can find that the LC-MS absorbed were the National Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. There may be others I didn't find in my searching. 



The English Synod. Now it is the English District of the LCMS.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Scott6 on February 25, 2010, 07:17:00 AM

"Constituted in 1847 and still tickin..."  ;D  ;)

As in "time bomb"?

Only if it's renewable (that is, it can go off multiple times -- like at least every triennium...).  ;D

For what it's worth (and it ain't worth much), the ELCA includes among its forbears the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America, which was founded in 1820. And that has roots in the Ministerium of North America, founded in 1748. It seems like almost every time a bunch of Lutheran bodies merged together into a larger body, they adopted a new name.

The LC-MS, on the other hand, simply absorbed a few church bodies but didn't appear to have any major mergers to speak of. The only two I can find that the LC-MS absorbed were the National Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. There may be others I didn't find in my searching. 



The English Synod. Now it is the English District of the LCMS.

Though it started as the English-speaking part of the LCMS, left when the Teutons weren't interested in introducing this novel English-thingy into their churches, and was re-absorbed later when the Germans finally saw the light.  At least if memory serves...

Germans...  :P

 ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 25, 2010, 10:23:29 AM
Though it started as the English-speaking part of the LCMS, left when the Teutons weren't interested in introducing this novel English-thingy into their churches, and was re-absorbed later when the Germans finally saw the light.  At least if memory serves...

You were there at the time!!

In response to George's comment about name changes: In 1930 the American Lutheran Church (ALC) was formed. In 1960 it merged with others to form TALC -- The American Lutheran Church. I was around at the time and remember the addition of the "T" to the initials, which later seemed to disappear.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 25, 2010, 11:01:00 AM
Though it started as the English-speaking part of the LCMS, left when the Teutons weren't interested in introducing this novel English-thingy into their churches, and was re-absorbed later when the Germans finally saw the light.  At least if memory serves...

You were there at the time!!

In response to George's comment about name changes: In 1930 the American Lutheran Church (ALC) was formed. In 1960 it merged with others to form TALC -- The American Lutheran Church. I was around at the time and remember the addition of the "T" to the initials, which later seemed to disappear.

This is what I said (ephasis added):

"It seems like almost every time a bunch of Lutheran bodies merged together into a larger body, they adopted a new name."

Thank you for confirming that I was correct in the use of the word "almost".


Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 25, 2010, 02:46:57 PM

For what it's worth (and it ain't worth much), the ELCA includes among its forbears the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America, which was founded in 1820. And that has roots in the Ministerium of North America, founded in 1748. It seems like almost every time a bunch of Lutheran bodies merged together into a larger body, they adopted a new name. ...

Actually a disturbing reality as I have found in exploring the current status of the SC Synod, is that ELCA is a little different. It seems to have created itself  ... and then the old bodies simply disbanded and ended. That is not a merger and has significant impact in the current circumstances, to the distress of some in South Carolina with roots back to 16XX times.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 25, 2010, 03:25:20 PM

For what it's worth (and it ain't worth much), the ELCA includes among its forbears the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America, which was founded in 1820. And that has roots in the Ministerium of North America, founded in 1748. It seems like almost every time a bunch of Lutheran bodies merged together into a larger body, they adopted a new name. ...

Actually a disturbing reality as I have found in exploring the current status of the SC Synod, is that ELCA is a little different. It seems to have created itself  ... and then the old bodies simply disbanded and ended. That is not a merger and has significant impact in the current circumstances, to the distress of some in South Carolina with roots back to 16XX times.

TV

I had not considered the mergers in quite that light, but now that you mention it, that is an accurate observation.

Perhaps it would be helpful for those in and outside the ELCA to learn to view the pre-09 CWA ELCA and the post-09 CWA ELCA as just as much a "reboot" into a new denomination as the death of the ALC, LCA, and AELC and the simultaneous new birth of the "old" ELCA was 22 years ago. Those who lament the loss  of the Augustana/ULCA/LCA culture but accept that they no longer exist can also learn to accept that the "new" post-09 CWA ELCA is just as much a new thing that replaced the old thing, and that the "old" pre-09 CWA ELCA is now as dead as the Augustana, ULCA, or LCA bodies.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 25, 2010, 11:59:56 PM
I do not usually report churches by name for first votes, and will only note in the last week more have continued the exit process. One in Colorado voted Sunday 96% to leave, remaining careful and deliberate. Interesting that some who say there is no exodus have pointed to this congregation as "they haven't left yet", and the vote turns out 96% to leave. Nope not yet, You won't see them on any ELCA news counts. I also met Monday with a leader of another church that "isn't leaving," no first vote yet, no rush...

I am concerned about reports of bishop tactics that is only second hand, so will hold off until I can cite a source. Let's just say that apparently it is ugly in the best of cases, it seems. One reason I don't raise flags on churches in the purgatory phase.. but still 96%? That was close.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 26, 2010, 05:52:28 AM
Mr. Erdner writes:
Those who lament the loss  of the Augustana/ULCA/LCA culture but accept that they no longer exist can also learn to accept that the "new" post-09 CWA ELCA is just as much a new thing that replaced the old thing, and that the "old" pre-09 CWA ELCA is now as dead as the Augustana, ULCA, or LCA bodies.

I muse:
Nope. The only thing that "changed" in the ELCA last August was some policies on what we expect of pastors and rostered leaders and the allowing of certain actions - where considered pastorally responsible - concerning same-gender unions. Everything else remained the same.
Of course, if one defines the "culture" of the denomination based solely on the policies concering such things....then I guess the "culture" changed. That, however, is a crimped and warped view of what a denomination is.
BTW, the "old" Augustana, ULCA, LCA, and ALC and AELC bodies are not "dead," they live on in many key aspects of the ELCA. But the culture and policies of any one of those worthy predecessors no longer dominate.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Pilgrim on February 26, 2010, 09:31:39 AM
Charles Austin wrote: Nope. The only thing that "changed" in the ELCA last August was some policies on what we expect of pastors and rostered leaders and the allowing of certain actions - where considered pastorally responsible - concerning same-gender unions. Everything else remained the same.

Pilgrim simply comments: Note bolded. I would hope that upon further thought you might reconsider said phrase. Anyone who makes such a statement is expressing a certain level of naivete ... talk with some theoretical physicists or some behavioral scientists before assuming that just because you did "A", "B" was not somehow impacted or affected.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 26, 2010, 10:21:38 AM

For what it's worth (and it ain't worth much), the ELCA includes among its forbears the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America, which was founded in 1820. And that has roots in the Ministerium of North America, founded in 1748. It seems like almost every time a bunch of Lutheran bodies merged together into a larger body, they adopted a new name. ...

Actually a disturbing reality as I have found in exploring the current status of the SC Synod, is that ELCA is a little different. It seems to have created itself  ... and then the old bodies simply disbanded and ended. That is not a merger and has significant impact in the current circumstances, to the distress of some in South Carolina with roots back to 16XX times.

TV
Good observation, TV.    And I wonder if it's related to the pre-merger mantra repeated ad nauseam that what was needed was "a new church".    (Old Forum Letters would contain some trenchant commentary from Richard John Neuhaus concerning this supposed need.)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: passerby on February 26, 2010, 08:43:57 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
Those who lament the loss  of the Augustana/ULCA/LCA culture but accept that they no longer exist can also learn to accept that the "new" post-09 CWA ELCA is just as much a new thing that replaced the old thing, and that the "old" pre-09 CWA ELCA is now as dead as the Augustana, ULCA, or LCA bodies.

I muse:
Nope. The only thing that "changed" in the ELCA last August was some policies on what we expect of pastors and rostered leaders and the allowing of certain actions - where considered pastorally responsible - concerning same-gender unions. Everything else remained the same.
Of course, if one defines the "culture" of the denomination based solely on the policies concering such things....then I guess the "culture" changed. That, however, is a crimped and warped view of what a denomination is.
BTW, the "old" Augustana, ULCA, LCA, and ALC and AELC bodies are not "dead," they live on in many key aspects of the ELCA. But the culture and policies of any one of those worthy predecessors no longer dominate.

It's how the decision is viewed by outsiders (to the ELCA) as well as insiders that will ultimately shape the church culture. Other mainliners such as the Episcopalians and UCC saw the ELCA more within the orbit while Presbyterians, RCA, U. Methodists tend to view the ELCA in a more liberal light. The same goes for Catholics, evangelicals, etc. who perceive the ELCA differently because of the decision, even if that may not be the case internally (and that is debatable). All these perceptions determine relationships that ultimately shape how the ELCA positions itself in American Christianity.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 26, 2010, 11:10:57 PM
Someone writes:
All these perceptions determine relationships that ultimately shape how the ELCA positions itself in American Christianity.

I muse:
I would hope that the ELCA has no interest in considering how it "positions itself in American Christianity," but that our focus be on mission to those outside American (and global) Christianity. I don't care if someone "out there" sees us as mainline, sideline, baseline liberal, moderate, conservative; aligned with Episcopalians, Presbyterians or Whoeverians. I want those "out there" to see us as a church where they can meet Jesus and experience the best of what the Gospel gives us. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: hillwilliam on February 26, 2010, 11:33:47 PM
Someone writes:
All these perceptions determine relationships that ultimately shape how the ELCA positions itself in American Christianity.

I muse:
I would hope that the ELCA has no interest in considering how it "positions itself in American Christianity," but that our focus be on mission to those outside American (and global) Christianity. I don't care if someone "out there" sees us as mainline, sideline, baseline liberal, moderate, conservative; aligned with Episcopalians, Presbyterians or Whoeverians. I want those "out there" to see us as a church where they can meet Jesus and experience the best of what the Gospel gives us. 

Too bad the CWA didn't think about that prior to making decisions that are extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 27, 2010, 08:47:04 AM
Gary Hinton writes:
Too bad the CWA didn't think about that prior to making decisions that are extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations.

I comment:
Well, to some people in third-world nations. None of us can speak for all of them, can we? Do you think that there are no movements for more acceptance of homosexuality outside the U.S. and Europe?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 27, 2010, 10:07:47 AM
Gary Hinton writes:
Too bad the CWA didn't think about that prior to making decisions that are extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations.

I comment:
Well, to some people in third-world nations. None of us can speak for all of them, can we? Do you think that there are no movements for more acceptance of homosexuality outside the U.S. and Europe?
Gary never said that. He spoke in broad, true terms. There is some movement toward anything and everything wherever you go if you look hard enough. By this standard we can't say anything about any cultural phenonemon or trend.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 27, 2010, 10:26:30 AM
Come now, Peter; surely you understand that it is equally absurd and inaccurate to say without qualification that decisions are "extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations."
BTW, certain principles of democracy, free enterprise and freedom of the press are "offensive" to a lot of people and governments in far parts of the world; but we make no apologies for trying to spread those worthy ideas.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: hillwilliam on February 27, 2010, 10:29:29 AM
Gary Hinton writes:
Too bad the CWA didn't think about that prior to making decisions that are extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations.

I comment:
Well, to some people in third-world nations. None of us can speak for all of them, can we? Do you think that there are no movements for more acceptance of homosexuality outside the U.S. and Europe?
Gary never said that. He spoke in broad, true terms. There is some movement toward anything and everything wherever you go if you look hard enough. By this standard we can't say anything about any cultural phenonemon or trend.

Thank you Peter. I was speaking in generalities and it never occurred to me that someone would jump to the conclusion that any geographic population would be monolithic in their response to same-sex relations. The real question is 'can we generalize about the understanding of same-sex relations in the ELCA?' I would say probably not.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 27, 2010, 10:36:04 AM
Come now, Peter; surely you understand that it is equally absurd and inaccurate to say without qualification that decisions are "extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations."
BTW, certain principles of democracy, free enterprise and freedom of the press are "offensive" to a lot of people and governments in far parts of the world; but we make no apologies for trying to spread those worthy ideas.
I realize that equating "certain principles of democracy" with the so-called "justice issue" of same sex marriage makes sense to you but . . . oh, whatever.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: hillwilliam on February 27, 2010, 10:40:38 AM
Come now, Peter; surely you understand that it is equally absurd and inaccurate to say without qualification that decisions are "extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations."
BTW, certain principles of democracy, free enterprise and freedom of the press are "offensive" to a lot of people and governments in far parts of the world; but we make no apologies for trying to spread those worthy ideas.

Part 1: Sorry Charles but both sides of that question do not have equal standing in the third world. Ergo, your statement is absurd and inaccurate when faced with the facts (homosexuality is still a punishable offense in the bulk of the third world). While my statement is a generality.

Part 2: And how is that working out for us in the predominately Islamic third world? Do you think that the ELCA can buy the loyalty of the third world nations or are you proposing that the ELCA become the first nuclear religion.  :D

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 27, 2010, 11:01:01 AM
Come now, Peter; surely you understand that it is equally absurd and inaccurate to say without qualification that decisions are "extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations."
It is not equally absurd and inaccurate. It is broadly true, like saying men are tallen than women. The thing is, most people when they read that do not immediately leap, as you apparently do, to thinking the speaker claimed that every man is taller than every woman. That is not what he said, what he meant, nor what any rational person heard. By your standard, the statements that men are taller than women and women are taller than men are "equally absurd and innaccurate" because they are both generalizations. In fact, the former is generally true and the latter generally false. To say "Muslim honor-killings of young women among immigrants are extremely offensive to the native Europeans, causing ethnic strife..." would be entirely inaccurate unless it could be demonstrated that no native European approved of honor killings. Since that is not demonstrable, then by your view the statements that honor-killings are offensive to Europeans and honor killings are celebrated by Europeans are "equally absurd and innaccurate." The conservative views on homosexuality in developing countries is a well-documented phenomenon. I notice you didn't take jpetty to task for this very same stereotype when he commented elsewhere that while he appreciated many things about these developing countries, he wouldn't look to them for advice on sexual morality. Why didn't you demand that document his sterotyped view? Why didn't you point out that surely there are some Africans who share his views? Why didn't you pounce on his broad generalization of Africa? Because you understood what he was saying. You also understood what Gary was saying but because you don't like what he said. That is the only difference. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Lutheranistic on February 27, 2010, 11:08:49 AM
Gary Hinton said:
Quote
Do you think that the ELCA can buy the loyalty of the third world nations or are you proposing that the ELCA become the first nuclear religion?

Well, there is the "fallout" to consider. And many of those affected have chosen the "duck & cover" response. But beyond that, probably no applicable analogy. Probably.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 27, 2010, 11:44:33 AM
Whatever. I concede that we are on different planets.

Internationally, I have drawn heat from some when I speak about the democracy and freedom of the press; and on a couple of occasions have been accused of being "too American" in my views and trying to "export" America's policies to other places.
And I always responded, saying that I make no apologies for trying to export "American" ideas that I believe to be good and valuable and beneficial, among them freedom of speech.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 27, 2010, 12:52:19 PM
Gary Hinton writes:
Too bad the CWA didn't think about that prior to making decisions that are extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations.

I comment:
Well, to some people in third-world nations. None of us can speak for all of them, can we? Do you think that there are no movements for more acceptance of homosexuality outside the U.S. and Europe?
Gary never said that. He spoke in broad, true terms. There is some movement toward anything and everything wherever you go if you look hard enough. By this standard we can't say anything about any cultural phenonemon or trend.

Thank you Peter. I was speaking in generalities and it never occurred to me that someone would jump to the conclusion that any geographic population would be monolithic in their response to same-sex relations. The real question is 'can we generalize about the understanding of same-sex relations in the ELCA?' I would say probably not.


Gary, some of us in this forum are allowed to speak in generalities, and are not questioned when we do so. Others of us, if we speak in generalities as you did, can expect swift, nit-picking correction. It appears that you and I (among others) fall into that latter category.

I noticed that one of the moderators used a word to describe an act of sexual perversion that is prohibited by scripture, but that can also be used to describe actions that can be carried out by heterosexuals. No one spoke up to challenge his clear opinion that he was using the word in context to describe what he meant to describe, and no one picked nits over any secondary meanings that word might have. Yet when I used the same word in the same context, there were those who had to bring up the red herring of using that word to describe certain heterosexual activities.

I suspect it might have something to do with the kind of collars that you and I wear.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: hillwilliam on February 27, 2010, 01:10:55 PM
Gary Hinton writes:
Too bad the CWA didn't think about that prior to making decisions that are extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations.

I comment:
Well, to some people in third-world nations. None of us can speak for all of them, can we? Do you think that there are no movements for more acceptance of homosexuality outside the U.S. and Europe?
Gary never said that. He spoke in broad, true terms. There is some movement toward anything and everything wherever you go if you look hard enough. By this standard we can't say anything about any cultural phenonemon or trend.

Thank you Peter. I was speaking in generalities and it never occurred to me that someone would jump to the conclusion that any geographic population would be monolithic in their response to same-sex relations. The real question is 'can we generalize about the understanding of same-sex relations in the ELCA?' I would say probably not.


Gary, some of us in this forum are allowed to speak in generalities, and are not questioned when we do so. Others of us, if we speak in generalities as you did, can expect swift, nit-picking correction. It appears that you and I (among others) fall into that latter category.

I noticed that one of the moderators used a word to describe an act of sexual perversion that is prohibited by scripture, but that can also be used to describe actions that can be carried out by heterosexuals. No one spoke up to challenge his clear opinion that he was using the word in context to describe what he meant to describe, and no one picked nits over any secondary meanings that word might have. Yet when I used the same word in the same context, there were those who had to bring up the red herring of using that word to describe certain heterosexual activities.

I suspect it might have something to do with the kind of collars that you and I wear.


Well George let's face it, we don't have the authority to remove 'someone' from the board and that is the major difference. Besides 'someone' is in the minority on this board and that minority gets smaller every time 'someone' makes unsupportable statements and then drags out his resume to make it seem that his statements are based on his higher understanding of ecclesiastic matters. Bottom line is that all the gnosis in the world is useless without faith in God's incarnate Word. Tentatio is the only experience that counts and it tests everything in light of biblical truth not secular wisdom.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 27, 2010, 08:37:46 PM

I muse:
I would hope that the ELCA has no interest in considering how it "positions itself in American Christianity,"


Too late, Charles.  Apparently you do not recall that "ELCA" is a marketing brand (http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/Our-Brand.aspx) that needs promoting (http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4097) like soap, toothpaste, feminine hygene, and male enhancement (http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/Our-Brand/Brand-Mark.aspx) products.

Not making this up, Steven+
"Hard work has never been more rewarding."
Then again, it's
"God's work.  Our Hands."
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 27, 2010, 10:20:55 PM
What is wrong with the ELCA wanting its name to be known? And using good tools to get that done? If that were all we were doing, your snipe might hit a target; but you know darn well that's not all we are doing.
But then there must be something wrong with the effort: after all it is the ELCA that is doing it. Want to take a look at the LC-MS logo, rules for its usage and its efforts to "protect" it? Take a few potshots at that?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 27, 2010, 10:27:46 PM
Perhaps someone needs to learn to discern the difference between disagreeing with what a denomination is attempting to accomplish and how the denomination is going about accomplishing it. They are not the same thing. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jeric on February 27, 2010, 10:59:55 PM
Dear Peter:

You mention:  Quote from: Charles_Austin on Today at 10:26:30 AM
Come now, Peter; surely you understand that it is equally absurd and inaccurate to say without qualification that decisions are "extremely offensive to the peoples of the third world nations."
It is not equally absurd and inaccurate. It is broadly true, like saying men are tallen than women. The thing is, most people when they read that do not immediately leap, as you apparently do, to thinking the speaker claimed that every man is taller than every woman. That is not what he said, what he meant, nor what any rational person heard....."

May I suggest something I've been musing about?  Why do you respond to Charles?  Why not take a clue from him instead?  He's promised many times to "not respond" to ...... well, whatever.  Maybe that would be a very positive course.  Of course,  we'll never know, will we?  However, unless he includes something of substance there's no need for others to respond to him.

John Ericksen
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 27, 2010, 11:28:59 PM
Whatever. I concede that we are on different planets.

Internationally, I have drawn heat from some when I speak about the democracy and freedom of the press; and on a couple of occasions have been accused of being "too American" in my views and trying to "export" America's policies to other places.
And I always responded, saying that I make no apologies for trying to export "American" ideas that I believe to be good and valuable and beneficial, among them freedom of speech.
And I, for one, believe you are at least implying that same-sex marriage is of similar value and benefit as democracy and freedom of speech.   So, yes, we are on different planets.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on February 28, 2010, 01:07:38 PM
I was asked to visit a local ELCA congregation this week at their mid-week Lenten program and talk about the ministry at our congregation, give a little of my background, and talk about LCMC.  They have already had their first vote and had a percentage in the 80's to leave - and voted to affiliate with LCMC.

The other thing that is happening that I expected - several new mission starts around the country are announcing their formation in areas where first votes at ELCA congregations came up short of the 2/3 needed to leave.  One I'm personally aware of in Easley SC, others in GA (from the less than 2/3 of several congregations in a metro area), MN, and WI.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 28, 2010, 05:18:10 PM
Mark Schimmel writes:
The other thing that is happening that I expected - several new mission starts around the country are announcing their formation in areas where first votes at ELCA congregations came up short of the 2/3 needed to leave.

I muse:
Do we have some quirky terminology arising here? If 100 people from a congregation of 500 people leave because they lost the vote; is whatever they go to a "mission" or is it a "schism" or just another congregation?
Normally, "new missions" mean new churches and new people, rather than a rearrangement of people who are already Christian or Lutheran.
The same concern arises about the terminology sometimes used by those weeping crocodile tears about what they think will be the decline in ELCA membership. If folks leave the ELCA due to the current controversy, are they lost to the kingdom of God or even to Lutheranism? I don't think so.
So... the only "hit" is to the institution that is the ELCA; and I'm not sure those leaving are losing any sleep over that or that they should. It's those of us who stay who will have to work harder and increase our mission support. We can do that.


Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on February 28, 2010, 06:00:33 PM
Once again, pastor, you use terminology from the last century.

It USED  to be that new missions in the ELCA, and LCA and ALC, were unchurched "new people". I started one in 1988 in VA and knocked on 8,000 doors.

Today, many times the ELCA is encouraging larger churches to do "plants" of members to start new churches, be they satellite churches or new starts. But reality is that the "old" model from the Division for Mission and DO is only one of many models used.

And, I see no problem in the many places across the country where substantial numbers of ELCA folks are just walking that they start a  new "mission" church.  Could be  NALC , could be LCMC, could be non-affiliated and Lutheran. At least maybe they can focus on mission and not social issues, the Great Commission and not debating human sexuality. In those cases, maybe the term is even more accurate.

Sadly, many are probably just walking down the road to the non-denominational or other Christian churches. I would actually prefer to keep some in the Lutheran fold, even if they no longer march to the party drumbeat of the left leaning ELCA leadership.

In twenty years, we are going to have a congregational based polity made up of MANY former ELCA church members. And about ten years after that the ELCA will turn out the lights . God is always up to new things.



Mark Schimmel writes:
The other thing that is happening that I expected - several new mission starts around the country are announcing their formation in areas where first votes at ELCA congregations came up short of the 2/3 needed to leave.

I muse:
Do we have some quirky terminology arising here? If 100 people from a congregation of 500 people leave because they lost the vote; is whatever they go to a "mission" or is it a "schism" or just another congregation?
Normally, "new missions" mean new churches and new people, rather than a rearrangement of people who are already Christian or Lutheran.
The same concern arises about the terminology sometimes used by those weeping crocodile tears about what they think will be the decline in ELCA membership. If folks leave the ELCA due to the current controversy, are they lost to the kingdom of God or even to Lutheranism? I don't think so.
So... the only "hit" is to the institution that is the ELCA; and I'm not sure those leaving are losing any sleep over that or that they should. It's those of us who stay who will have to work harder and increase our mission support. We can do that.



Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on February 28, 2010, 06:04:21 PM
Do we have some quirky terminology arising here? If 100 people from a congregation of 500 people leave because they lost the vote; is whatever they go to a "mission" or is it a "schism" or just another congregation?



Actually, it's more like pedantic, semantic nitpicking. From the perspective of the new congregation, they see themselves as a "mission", in the sense that "mission" is commonly regarded as a synonym for "start-up" when discussing a brand new congregation. And, in at least two of the new LCMC "mission" start-up congregations founded by the losing side in an ELCA congregation's 2/3rds requirement vote, the numbers were more like a little over 100 out of 200, not 100 out of 500.

In the case of the two new LCMC start-ups that I am familiar with started by refugees from the losing side of a 55%/45% "losing vote", the side of the vote that left included all members of the church council, most of the volunteer staff of the Sunday Schools and other ministries, at least half of the choir, and most of those who served as ushers, lectors, and other such volunteer positions. Those who stayed were mostly the CEOs who, when they showed up for the meeting to hold the vote, had seldom been in the church since Christmas.  

Now, that's only two, new LCMC start-ups created by ELCA refugees who were on the losing majority side. (Losing majority, what a concept!) Others might be different. But I'll wager that the two congregations that I have first hand knowledge of are two more than the number of such new LCMC start-ups that you have direct personal knowledge of. Is that an accurate observation?  
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 28, 2010, 06:11:44 PM
Actually, it's more like pedantic, semantic nitpicking. From the perspective of the new congregation, they see themselves as a "mission", in the sense that "mission" is commonly regarded as a synonym for "start-up" when discussing a brand new congregation.

Usually "mission congregation" implies two things -- they are receiving support from the denomination and they are seeking to bring new people into the faith and a church fellowship.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 28, 2010, 06:16:09 PM
Do we have some quirky terminology arising here? ...

.... created by ELCA refugees who were on the losing majority side. (Losing majority, what a concept!) ...

Actually the losing majority concept is more than a quirky terminology. It can be a nightmare for a pastor. If more than 50% of your people, all the people who actually were there for the call vote that called you. 80% of the people you see weekly, and near 100% of your congregation's leadership separate, where is your call? Is it/was it still with them? or is it to the 40% vote 20% strangers who will be there next week, at a building with a state corporation label? I do not envy such pastors. :( I certainly would not fault them for walking out to join those who left. They wouldn't be leaving at all, but following their call.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 28, 2010, 06:18:46 PM
But supposing that pastor does not oppose the August decisions? Is the focus of the call the congregation which signed a temporary piece of paper or is the focus of the call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament within the paramenters of a church body.
To say that one's call is to a specific group of people seems strange to me.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: efretheim on February 28, 2010, 06:24:49 PM
It's those of us who stay who will have to work harder and increase our mission support. We can do that.


That's an interesting placement of the term "mission support".  Just after wondering whether "mission" applies to 100 people in a new congregation start-up, since they are already christian, we have "mission support" where it means spending money on existing staff salaries, spending on political lobbying, and, oh yeah, a little bit of spending on starting new congregations.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 28, 2010, 07:05:09 PM
But supposing that pastor does not oppose the August decisions? Is the focus of the call the congregation which signed a temporary piece of paper or is the focus of the call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament within the paramenters of a church body.
To say that one's call is to a specific group of people seems strange to me.

You should check out the "Serving without a Call" thread. That will no doubt seem very strange to you indeed.

But in my never ending attempt to help distinguish the New ELCA, help me out. In the New ELCA pastors ar not called to serve people in a specific congregation? Interesting concept. Is that Orthodox Confessional and Lutheran also? I lose track.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on February 28, 2010, 07:29:48 PM
No, not at all, pastor. Have you have served as a mission developer? That is a  poor definition ,and again,  like Pastor Austin's definition, a way of understanding from 20-50 years ago.

The new people part is fine, but many missions organize self supporting ,and some are sponsored by parishes, not the denomination.

In fact, part of the major problem the ELCA has had in starting fewer and fewer new churches every year since it's founding is that it adopted a style of mission support for new parishes that often mimicked a welfare mentality. Some churches received money for five or ten years before they were shut down.

Unless you were going into an inner city area or rural area that the denomination knew would always need support, the rule of thumb that most of us as pastor/developers had was that if you didn't have 80-120 attending the first year or 18 months you would never fly. I think missions should have two years to fly, and if not, then gratefullly disperse the saints.

Of course, in the denominational executives eyes, that meant failure, so the numbers always had to be pumped up. Sadly, in a number of cases they would just disband.  We had four do that in metro Phoenix in 10 years from 1990-2000,  in some areas that were very fast growth areas and the churches should have thrived (and let's be honest, it was usually the pastoral leadership that didn't cut it in those cases) . 

Most congregations that have grown as newer parishes were self supporting within a year or less.

And today, the model is totally different. The denomination has fewer funds, so it turns to churches to fund missions, as we have done with La Sagrada.      



Actually, it's more like pedantic, semantic nitpicking. From the perspective of the new congregation, they see themselves as a "mission", in the sense that "mission" is commonly regarded as a synonym for "start-up" when discussing a brand new congregation.

Usually "mission congregation" implies two things -- they are receiving support from the denomination and they are seeking to bring new people into the faith and a church fellowship.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kevin C. on February 28, 2010, 07:41:08 PM
jrubyaz wrote:

Quote
Sadly, many are probably just walking down the road to the non-denominational or other Christian churches. I would actually prefer to keep some in the Lutheran fold, even if they no longer march to the party drumbeat of the left leaning ELCA leadership.

In twenty years, we are going to have a congregational based polity made up of MANY former ELCA church members. And about ten years after that the ELCA will turn out the lights . God is always up to new things.

I've heard this stated a few times, that the ELCA will end, that we will turn out the lights.  I'm not sure I understand why people think this.

Yesterday I went to an informational meeting featuring Mark Chavez, Bill Sullivan, and Jaynan Clark. It was definitely a partisan crowd.  I know of 3 people there that are supporting the ELCA.  They did not speak.  The overall feeling was definitely anti ELCA. Everyone else praised the LCMC and CORE.

But then today, I went to a synod meeting.  About the same number of people attending this meeting as yesterday's meeting.  There were 3 people I knew of that were not supporting the ELCA.  They spoke.  But I did not get the impression that there was an anti CORE, LCMC feeling except for one or two people.  Everyone else praised the ELCA.

So there is definitely a very wide division in the ELCA.  But I don't know why the ELCA won't exist.  There are a lot of people that still support it.  

I guess it's like the political divide in our country.  People on one side can't imagine how people on the other side feel the way they do.

But there is a lot of talk about post denominational times if that's what you mean.

A long time ago Ken Kimball said that there comes a time when we have to have an amicalble divorce in the ELCA.

I think he is right.

Kevin
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: DCharlton on February 28, 2010, 08:18:48 PM
No, not at all, pastor. Have you have served as a mission developer? That is a  poor definition ,and again,  like Pastor Austin's definition, a way of understanding from 20-50 years ago.

The new people part is fine, but many missions organize self supporting ,and some are sponsored by parishes, not the denomination.

In fact, part of the major problem the ELCA has had in starting fewer and fewer new churches every year since it's founding is that it adopted a style of mission support for new parishes that often mimicked a welfare mentality. Some churches received money for five or ten years before they were shut down.

Unless you were going into an inner city area or rural area that the denomination knew would always need support, the rule of thumb that most of us as pastor/developers had was that if you didn't have 80-120 attending the first year or 18 months you would never fly. I think missions should have two years to fly, and if not, then gratefullly disperse the saints.

Of course, in the denominational executives eyes, that meant failure, so the numbers always had to be pumped up. Sadly, in a number of cases they would just disband.  We had four do that in metro Phoenix in 10 years from 1990-2000,  in some areas that were very fast growth areas and the churches should have thrived (and let's be honest, it was usually the pastoral leadership that didn't cut it in those cases) . 

Most congregations that have grown as newer parishes were self supporting within a year or less.

And today, the model is totally different. The denomination has fewer funds, so it turns to churches to fund missions, as we have done with La Sagrada.      



Actually, it's more like pedantic, semantic nitpicking. From the perspective of the new congregation, they see themselves as a "mission", in the sense that "mission" is commonly regarded as a synonym for "start-up" when discussing a brand new congregation.

Usually "mission congregation" implies two things -- they are receiving support from the denomination and they are seeking to bring new people into the faith and a church fellowship.
Too many times, I have seen things touted as mission starts when they were not.  They were existing congregations or older mission starts that were given a new pastor and a new infusion of funds.  It looked great at synod assembly to trot these congregations out, but they were not new starts.

Concerning new starts being funded at the local and synodical level, all I can say is hurray.  As a mission developer, I lost three opportunities to buy property because the DO and MIF moved at a snails pace.  They seemed to think that buying land in south Florida was the same as buying a corn field in the midwest.  Local decision making would certainly have helped.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 28, 2010, 08:29:55 PM
Kevin Cook writes:
A long time ago Ken Kimball said that there comes a time when we have to have an amicalble divorce in the ELCA.

I comment:
There are more than two parties. But that doesn't matter. "Amicable" separations are readily accessible.
Individuals who don't believe they can remain in the ELCA can quite simply walk away. Their congregations can either take them off the rolls or give them a transfer somewhere else.
Congregations where enough people don't believe they can remain in the ELCA can - through proper procedures - withdraw from the ELCA. It is all clearly spelled out in congregational constitutions.
It seems clear that a number of people and congregations are doing these things. But the thought that the departures spell the end of the ELCA is absurd.
I noted far upstream that in the early 1970s, more than 100,000 people and hundreds of congregations left the LC-MS. The LC-MS is still here. And strong.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kevin C. on February 28, 2010, 08:42:30 PM
Charles Austin wrote:

Quote
I comment:
There are more than two parties. But that doesn't matter. "Amicable" separations are readily accessible.
Individuals who don't believe they can remain in the ELCA can quite simply walk away. Their congregations can either take them off the rolls or give them a transfer somewhere else.
Congregations where enough people don't believe they can remain in the ELCA can - through proper procedures - withdraw from the ELCA. It is all clearly spelled out in congregational constitutions.
It seems clear that a number of people and congregations are doing these things. But the thought that the departures spell the end of the ELCA is absurd.
I noted far upstream that in the early 1970s, more than 100,000 people and hundreds of congregations left the LC-MS. The LC-MS is still here. And strong.

I agree Charles, regarding more than 2 political parties and about an amicable way to leave the ELCA. 

However, I don't sense that everyone wants to be amicable.  I give those who are leaving the benefit of the doubt because I understand the frustration, hurt, anger, etc. to the ELCA.  But
it almost seems to me that some of those who are leaving really hope that the ELCA fails. 

The ELCA may lose members and be smaller for a while.  But it may grow again.  We've had people leave our congregation because of the CWA and the direction of the ELCA, but we've had some new families join because of the CWA and the direction of the ELCA.

BTW, aren't cats great.  I've got one sitting on my lap as I type this.

Kevin
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 28, 2010, 09:30:06 PM
  We've had people leave our congregation because of the CWA and the direction of the ELCA, but we've had some new families join because of the CWA and the direction of the ELCA.

Kevin, did the people who joined your church because of the CWA actions say they joined because it is the same in every way except in one small area of sexual ethics, or did they see the decision as something touching far closer to the nature of the Gospel and the Church? The reason I ask is that many people who have left the ELCA because of the CWA say they have done so because a whole lot of fundamental theology was officially changed. Their reasoning generally gets met with something like, "No, nothing at all changed except a specific policy related to sexual ethics." But when people explain why they are so elated with the changes they never say anything like, "At last! A minor modification to the policy manual!" Rather, they use terms like the triumph of the Gospel or the grace over legalism or inclusion over narrow-mindedness, or something far more momentous and closer to the center of the Gospel. In other words, those who were overjoyed with the decision point out that the decision changed everything, but when those who couldn't abide the decision leave because the decision changed everything, then they're told that the decision really changed nothing particularly important.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on February 28, 2010, 10:17:52 PM
Kevin Cook writes:
A long time ago Ken Kimball said that there comes a time when we have to have an amicalble divorce in the ELCA.

I comment:
There are more than two parties. But that doesn't matter. "Amicable" separations are readily accessible.
Individuals who don't believe they can remain in the ELCA can quite simply walk away. Their congregations can either take them off the rolls or give them a transfer somewhere else.
Congregations where enough people don't believe they can remain in the ELCA can - through proper procedures - withdraw from the ELCA. It is all clearly spelled out in congregational constitutions.
It seems clear that a number of people and congregations are doing these things. But the thought that the departures spell the end of the ELCA is absurd.
I noted far upstream that in the early 1970s, more than 100,000 people and hundreds of congregations left the LC-MS. The LC-MS is still here. And strong.
Congregations where enough people don't believe they can remain in the ELCA can - through proper procedures - withdraw from the ELCA.

That is a truly fascinating way of defining such a possibility.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Ken Kimball on February 28, 2010, 10:24:20 PM
  A long time ago Ken Kimball said that there comes a time when we have to have an amicalble divorce in the ELCA.

I think he is right.

Kevin


A wise man!    ;D
Ken
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 28, 2010, 10:30:36 PM
Kevin Cook writes:
The ELCA may lose members and be smaller for a while.  But it may grow again.  We've had people leave our congregation because of the CWA and the direction of the ELCA, but we've had some new families join because of the CWA and the direction of the ELCA.
I comment:
Amen. And don't get drawn into the baiting and specifics about why people join. Many do indeed like the "general direction" of the ELCA and the "general stance" of the ELCA as a church body.

Kevin writes:
BTW, aren't cats great.  I've got one sitting on my lap as I type this.
I comment:
Amen again. Sally sometimes drapes around my neck, head on right shoulder, hind legs and tail on left shoulder, as I type. I'm teaching her French.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on February 28, 2010, 10:33:30 PM
My comments about the ELCA no longer existing have little to do with CWA.  CWA hastens it, but at the current rate of decline, without the CWA impact, the lights will go out in 2046. We are moving into a post denominational era. Most denominations will cease to exist as viable entities twenty years from now. That may well include the LCMS.

Do the math. I started a thread that was buried on here the other day with all the silliness about still debating sexuality when the issue is decided ......folks under 25 aren't coming to church. Unless things change dramatically, there will be many fewer denominations.

As a business model, the church is following GM and Chrysler. We are getting smacked in the head by others who have figured it out. Our attendees are dying out. Who will replace them? Even the boomer model, who left the church for awhile, isn't present with the millenials.

However, I have great hope the Holy Spirit will reform the church, in ways we cannot imagine, for future growth. It just won't come in old models.

jrubyaz wrote:

Quote
Sadly, many are probably just walking down the road to the non-denominational or other Christian churches. I would actually prefer to keep some in the Lutheran fold, even if they no longer march to the party drumbeat of the left leaning ELCA leadership.

In twenty years, we are going to have a congregational based polity made up of MANY former ELCA church members. And about ten years after that the ELCA will turn out the lights . God is always up to new things.

I've heard this stated a few times, that the ELCA will end, that we will turn out the lights.  I'm not sure I understand why people think this.

Yesterday I went to an informational meeting featuring Mark Chavez, Bill Sullivan, and Jaynan Clark. It was definitely a partisan crowd.  I know of 3 people there that are supporting the ELCA.  They did not speak.  The overall feeling was definitely anti ELCA. Everyone else praised the LCMC and CORE.

But then today, I went to a synod meeting.  About the same number of people attending this meeting as yesterday's meeting.  There were 3 people I knew of that were not supporting the ELCA.  They spoke.  But I did not get the impression that there was an anti CORE, LCMC feeling except for one or two people.  Everyone else praised the ELCA.

So there is definitely a very wide division in the ELCA.  But I don't know why the ELCA won't exist.  There are a lot of people that still support it.  

I guess it's like the political divide in our country.  People on one side can't imagine how people on the other side feel the way they do.

But there is a lot of talk about post denominational times if that's what you mean.

A long time ago Ken Kimball said that there comes a time when we have to have an amicalble divorce in the ELCA.

I think he is right.

Kevin

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Tom Senge on February 28, 2010, 11:07:11 PM
I don't post much, but here is how I see things.  Our congregation will likely sever ties with the ELCA soon.  Our first vote passed by about 84.5%.  I wish it had never come to this...but it has.  I was at the same meeting as Kevin, and we met face to face (HI Kevin!).  I saw things perhaps a bit differently, though.  I saw a some people who were frustrated....maybe angry because their pastors refused to discuss matters.  Granted, that is one side of the story, but if true I see that as poor pastoral leadership and response.  For me, the meeting was "good medicine".  And yes, it was a one sided gathering...I would expect no less, for that's why most people would come.

Face it, there is enough venom on all sides...and that is lamentable.  Perhaps some strike out because they are battered and bruised.  Even with a significant majority, I feel very tired and often spiritually drained.  I cannot imagine how it is in severely conflicted congregations.  Through it all I have tried to maintain an even keel, treating all with respect.  I must say that with most of my peers, and with Bishop Schleicher, there has been much care and concern.  For that I have been blessed and am very grateful.  I have no enemies in this.  I (We) continue to hold the ELCA in our Prayers of the Church

As far as the ELCA surviving.  It will.  In what form, no one really knows, but I believe that through it all the Holy Spirit is moving and God's will can be done through the ELCA, LCMC, LC-MS, AALC, AFLC, QRSTUVW or whatever.

For now I must look towards the ministry that God is calling us to, and the vision of how that will take shape  in Jesus' name.

Peace to all, and let's pull the claws back in.

Tom
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 28, 2010, 11:33:01 PM
....

Peace to all, and let's pull the claws back in.

Tom

You are right of course, and I apologize for my part. I do pray for your spiritual exhaustion, and continue to pray for those more conflicted, and the ELCA at large. There will be a great deal of prayer needed.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 28, 2010, 11:49:01 PM
No, not at all, pastor. Have you have served as a mission developer? That is a  poor definition ,and again,  like Pastor Austin's definition, a way of understanding from 20-50 years ago.

The new people part is fine, but many missions organize self supporting ,and some are sponsored by parishes, not the denomination.

Did you not see the word "usually" at the beginning of my statement?

I have not started a mission. I interned with the pastor who was the mission developer of that congregation and there was a new mission start just north of us. My first call was as an associate to the mission developer of that congregation. I was the first pastor an organized congregation called for itself. (The first mission developer was removed from the clergy roster. I was called after the second one assigned to the congregation took another call.) 100 miles down the road from that congregation was my closest neighbor -- and it was a "mission congregation" that started without any denominational help under the leadership of an ex-LCMS minister. After ten years of meeting, they voted to become part of the ELCA -- with their minister colloquying into the ELCA.

I know that there are different models. I've also been critical that many of those "mission" congregations were really branch offices, rather than mission congregations. Actually, I know the man who was the mission developer at the congregation I'm at. It was clearly set up as a branch office. It was created to meet the needs of the Lutherans who had moved to Yuma back in the 50's. He knocked on doors to find the Lutherans.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 28, 2010, 11:51:13 PM
But supposing that pastor does not oppose the August decisions? Is the focus of the call the congregation which signed a temporary piece of paper or is the focus of the call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament within the paramenters of a church body.
To say that one's call is to a specific group of people seems strange to me.

Two clergy friends are in congregations who have taken a vote to leave the ELCA -- and they want to stay in the ELCA. They agree with the August votes. In one case, the vote did not receive the 2/3 majority. They other case it did. The pastor is looking for another call.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on February 28, 2010, 11:59:36 PM

And that man, I believe a former Bishop, grew up in the same congregation in Phoenix I did and received his call to ministry there, albeit it many years earlier .



No, not at all, pastor. Have you have served as a mission developer? That is a  poor definition ,and again,  like Pastor Austin's definition, a way of understanding from 20-50 years ago.

The new people part is fine, but many missions organize self supporting ,and some are sponsored by parishes, not the denomination.

Did you not see the word "usually" at the beginning of my statement?

I have not started a mission. I interned with the pastor who was the mission developer of that congregation and there was a new mission start just north of us. My first call was as an associate to the mission developer of that congregation. I was the first pastor an organized congregation called for itself. (The first mission developer was removed from the clergy roster. I was called after the second one assigned to the congregation took another call.) 100 miles down the road from that congregation was my closest neighbor -- and it was a "mission congregation" that started without any denominational help under the leadership of an ex-LCMS minister. After ten years of meeting, they voted to become part of the ELCA -- with their minister colloquying into the ELCA.

I know that there are different models. I've also been critical that many of those "mission" congregations were really branch offices, rather than mission congregations. Actually, I know the man who was the mission developer at the congregation I'm at. It was clearly set up as a branch office. It was created to meet the needs of the Lutherans who had moved to Yuma back in the 50's. He knocked on doors to find the Lutherans.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 01, 2010, 12:10:38 AM

And that man, I believe a former Bishop, grew up in the same congregation in Phoenix I did and received his call to ministry there, albeit it many years earlier.
And he retired within the conference area where I last served. I had him preach at my installation in CA.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Paul L. Knudson on March 01, 2010, 02:22:31 PM
jrubyaz, I believe it would be wise not to make too certain predictions of the future shape of the church.  I'll never forget Lyle Schaller some years back making predictions that simply did not materialize.  You may indeed be right, but people fool us who have too clear a crystal ball.

A banker friend is certain the sky is falling on the economy.  He may also be right, but this country has been resilient, and denominations may find a second wind also.  Reconfigurations may or may not develop as we envision.  That's my take on it for the day.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kevin C. on March 01, 2010, 04:27:08 PM
Peter Speckhard wrote:

Quote
Kevin, did the people who joined your church because of the CWA actions say they joined because it is the same in every way except in one small area of sexual ethics, or did they see the decision as something touching far closer to the nature of the Gospel and the Church? The reason I ask is that many people who have left the ELCA because of the CWA say they have done so because a whole lot of fundamental theology was officially changed. Their reasoning generally gets met with something like, "No, nothing at all changed except a specific policy related to sexual ethics." But when people explain why they are so elated with the changes they never say anything like, "At last! A minor modification to the policy manual!" Rather, they use terms like the triumph of the Gospel or the grace over legalism or inclusion over narrow-mindedness, or something far more momentous and closer to the center of the Gospel. In other words, those who were overjoyed with the decision point out that the decision changed everything, but when those who couldn't abide the decision leave because the decision changed everything, then they're told that the decision really changed nothing particularly important.

Peter, the people that have joined our congregation have said that they like a more liberal church.  Plain and simple.  They did not say that nothing has changed except one little minor policy.  

Now to those who are leaving.  I have said all along that the only way that this bound conscience will work is if the new policy is not that important to someone.  I have heard people in my congregation say they didn't like it, but overall it just isn't that important.  One friend of mine told me her mother, her aunt, and her cousin are all in 3 dfferent ELCA churches in different states and they are amazed that our congregation is that upset over the changes.  It is just not that important to their congregations.

George, I know you and others, but you have stated it again and again, that the sexual act in homosexuality is wrong.  It is a sin.  There are many who do not agree.  You will say it doesn't matter, that it is still wrong.  They will say that you are wrong.

There are two diametrically opposed sides to this issue.  George, when you asked why lay people wouldn't go to a more orthodox and confessional church, it is because many lay people and pastors believe in the direction of the ELCA.

I heard both pastors and lay people yesterday say regarding the changes,  "we're so happy, these changes are long overdue."

I just cannot see either side changing the opinion of the other side.

So we all have to decide if this is the straw that broke the camel's back.  

jrubyaz, thank you for your response regarding post denominational futures.

tomsenge It was great meeting you.  I will stop at your church if I am in the area on some Sunday.  However, I do get up around the area during the summer when I am not teaching so maybe we can have lunch or coffee.

Tom, I agree, given the purpose of the LCMC/CORE meeting on Saturday, most people there are not happy with the ELCA.  From some people that I talked to and the speakers that presented, there definitely seemed a very anti ELCA sentiment which I understand due to the frustration and anger.  However, I don't believe that remaining in the ELCA means that someone is no longer a Christian or cannot get to Heaven as I was told by some people.

As to many people's comments that when they say they are Lutheran, they have to explain that they are not the ELCA or liberal Lutherans.  

I understand that, but when I tell people I am Lutheran, I have to explain that I am not the conservative branch.  Many of us are in the ELCA as opposed to other Lutheran bodies because we like the more liberal church regarding women's ordination, open communion, ecumenical agreements, etc.  And many like the new policy changes and the social statements, not just the human sexuality one but others, too.

I have told people that we are the most liberal Lutheran body.  I also tell them about the Missouri church and WELS church near us as well as non Lutheran churches.  But I tell them why I belong to our particular Lutheran church.  Some have continued to come to our church and have joined and others have thanked me and have not returned.

Kevin





Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 01, 2010, 05:09:17 PM
George, I know you and others, but you have stated it again and again, that the sexual act in homosexuality is wrong.  It is a sin.  There are many who do not agree.  You will say it doesn't matter, that it is still wrong.  They will say that you are wrong.

There are two diametrically opposed sides to this issue.  George, when you asked why lay people wouldn't go to a more orthodox and confessional church, it is because many lay people and pastors believe in the direction of the ELCA.

I heard both pastors and lay people yesterday say regarding the changes,  "we're so happy, these changes are long overdue."

I just cannot see either side changing the opinion of the other side.

So we all have to decide if this is the straw that broke the camel's back.  


Actually, I asked why any lay person who believes that the direction of the ELCA is wrong should stay, and you've answered it. They shouldn't.

You're right, the positions are diametrically opposed, it is the straw that broke the camel's back, those who revel in the the change will stay, and those lay people who disagree should leave. If the clergy who disagree want to remain to fight the good fight, more power to them. But they shouldn't expect the laity to stay and support them. That's just not realistic. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Tom Senge on March 01, 2010, 06:15:50 PM
From Kevin,
 I don't believe that remaining in the ELCA means that someone is no longer a Christian or cannot get to Heaven as I was told by some people.

Yeah, Kevin, I'm pretty sure that there will be a few ELCA people in heaven! ;)  I just hope and pray that I make it to see for myself :D :D :D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 01, 2010, 06:23:11 PM
From Kevin,
 I don't believe that remaining in the ELCA means that someone is no longer a Christian or cannot get to Heaven as I was told by some people.

Yeah, Kevin, I'm pretty sure that there will be a few ELCA people in heaven! ;)  I just hope and pray that I make it to see for myself :D :D :D

I'm quite sure that nobody in Lutheran CORE leadership would argue that "remaining in the ELCA means that someone is no longer a Christian or cannot get to Heaven."  After all, part of its leadership intends to stay in the ELCA.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on March 01, 2010, 07:11:00 PM
Actually, it's more like pedantic, semantic nitpicking. From the perspective of the new congregation, they see themselves as a "mission", in the sense that "mission" is commonly regarded as a synonym for "start-up" when discussing a brand new congregation.

Usually "mission congregation" implies two things -- they are receiving support from the denomination and they are seeking to bring new people into the faith and a church fellowship.

In the ELCA it carries that baggage, and an abysmal failure rate.  Life support from HQ is not the gift some imagine, but more like a noose.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: grabau on March 01, 2010, 10:02:56 PM
One person who had visited a liberal, liturgical church remarked: Unitarianism with vestments.  If the shoe fits? grabau
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 01, 2010, 10:19:42 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
You're right, the positions are diametrically opposed, it is the straw that broke the camel's back, those who revel in the the change will stay, and those lay people who disagree should leave.
I ask:
So what, Mr. Erdner, are you going to do? You obviously disagree. A lot.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 01, 2010, 10:34:31 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
You're right, the positions are diametrically opposed, it is the straw that broke the camel's back, those who revel in the the change will stay, and those lay people who disagree should leave.
I ask:
So what, Mr. Erdner, are you going to do? You obviously disagree. A lot.

As I've said more than a few times, at the congregation where I am a member, the Gospel is rightly preached and the sacraments are properly administered. I am prayerfully considering my options. If I remain living where I live, my options are limited to other ELCA congregations, going to the LC-MS, or worshipping at Baptist, Methodist, or non-denominational church. After the NALC is officially started in August, if I haven't found work elsewhere, I can work towards persuading the rest of my current congregation to change affiliation from the ELCA to NALC. Though I would be happy in the LCMC, I believe that my current congregation would be more likely to re-affiliate with the NALC than with a church body with a congregationalist polity like the LCMC. While I will not remain in the ELCA long term, I see no pressing need for hasty action, especially with no viable options apparent at the moment. If I am still living here a year from now when my term on the church council expires, I will not stand for re-election, and will formally resign my membership, though I will continue to worship at my present church, and to support it to the best of my ability.

However, as I am seeking employment anywhere in the country where I can find it, if I do find employment in another part of the country, I pray that there will be a Lutheran congregation I can join that is part of the LCMC or some other Lutheran denomination. In any case, I pray for guidance.

Meanwhile, I believe it is appropriate to be a voice in the ELCA's ongoing conversation calling for the ELCA to repent and return to faithfulness to Scripture, as understood in the Lutheran Confessions.   
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peterm on March 02, 2010, 10:40:04 AM
voicing your discontent is fine George, but there are times when you seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth.  On the one hand you say you are staying in your congregation for now because it is a place where by your own admission the Gospel is rightly preached, and the Sacraments rightly administered; On the other hand many of your posts to those of us who are also staying put, and continuing to discern seem to castigate us for being wishy washy.  I find many of your posts interesting and informative, but sometimes that apparent contradiction is hard to wrap my head around and you come off being angry and strident.  If you're looking for an example...I tried to engage you in a discussion of what makes some shifts in understanding ok and others not and you quite stridently told me I was wrong, wrong, wrong and there could be no middle ground for discussion.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 02, 2010, 11:02:29 AM
voicing your discontent is fine George, but there are times when you seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth.  On the one hand you say you are staying in your congregation for now because it is a place where by your own admission the Gospel is rightly preached, and the Sacraments rightly administered; On the other hand many of your posts to those of us who are also staying put, and continuing to discern seem to castigate us for being wishy washy.  I find many of your posts interesting and informative, but sometimes that apparent contradiction is hard to wrap my head around and you come off being angry and strident.  If you're looking for an example...I tried to engage you in a discussion of what makes some shifts in understanding ok and others not and you quite stridently told me I was wrong, wrong, wrong and there could be no middle ground for discussion.

I gave three reasons why I am staying where I am for the time being. My congregation is, for now, a place where the Gospel is rightly preached, and the Sacraments rightly administered. Those are two reasons. The third reason is that at this point in my life, I have no other place to go! You seemed to have not read this sentence, "If I remain living where I live, my options are limited to other ELCA congregations, going to the LC-MS, or worshipping at Baptist, Methodist, or non-denominational church".

If you go back over my posts, I have been consistent in saying that everyone needs to take a stand, but that there is no requirement for taking hasty action. Once one has taken a stand, one still needs to carefully and prayerfully consider what actions one should take based on one's stand. For one thing, until recently it wasn't known that there would be a new church body, the NALC, as an alternative for congregations who rejected the social statements but who couldn't accept the LCMC's mode of governance.

As for there being "no middle ground", there are issues where there is room for a mid-point compromise, but there are issues where there are not. There is no middle ground in between these two positions:

On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are convinced that same-gender sexual behavior is sinful, contrary to biblical teaching and their understanding of natural law. They believe same-gender sexual behavior carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. They therefore conclude that the neighbor and the community are best served by calling people in same-gender sexual relationships to repentance for that behavior and to a celibate lifestyle. Such decisions are intended to be accompanied by pastoral response and community support.

and

On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are convinced that the scriptural witness does not address the context of sexual orientation and committed relationships that we experience today. They believe that the neighbor and community are best served when same-gender relationships are lived out with lifelong and monogamous commitments that are held to the same rigorous standards, sexual ethics, and status as heterosexual marriage. They surround such couples and their lifelong commitments with prayer to live in ways that glorify God, find strength for the challenges that will be faced, and serve others. They believe same-gender couples should avail themselves of social and legal support for themselves, their children, and other dependents and seek the highest legal accountability available for their relationships.

There is a middle ground between positions on other issues, and so there can be discussion on finding some sort of compromise. If you want a wall painted red and I want it painted blue, then purple is a compromise. But if I want a wall and you want no wall, then building half a wall is silly. That would neither satisfy the requirement for security that a wall provides, nor the openness that no wall at all provides.

For a more concrete example, though I do not see how there can be unity between the two opposing factions that are defined in the ELCA's social statement, I do see how there can be good, solid cooperation between the LCMC and NALC despite their differences in ecclesial polity. If I were to re-locate to another city and there was an LCMC and an NALC congregation in similar proximity to my new home, choosing between them would be no more difficult than choosing between an LCA or ALC congregation in a similar situation would have been for me in 1970. I personally favor the congregational approach to governance of the LCMC, but not to such a degree that I regard the NALC's proposed structure as wrong or something I could not live with over the long term.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: SmithL on March 02, 2010, 11:09:26 AM
Please excuse my ignorance, but how are pensions administered for ELCA pastors?  And if a pastor leaves the ELCA, what happens to the pension?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peterm on March 02, 2010, 11:30:30 AM
it goes with them, though they cannot make individual contributions to it if the institution or agency they go to does not
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peterm on March 02, 2010, 11:42:16 AM
George.  I am not quibbling with your reasons, they are good and solid reasons that work for you.  What I AM quibbling with is your insistance in some cases that the reasons of others are not good enough.  My point is that we seem to have been able ,at times in the past, to find area for discussion around some other "clear words of scripture" but not this particular one.  I simply wonder why that is and have staked my "middle ground" if you will around that question.  You have reached a place that works for you, that to me seems to be something of a middle ground as well.  We may be straddling different fences, but we are straddling fence at the moment.  It gets wearysome sometimes to hear from both ends that there is no middle because from where I sit there is, and there are a lot of us there.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peterm on March 02, 2010, 11:43:04 AM
sorry for the excessive underlining that was not my intent.  I have a goofy computer today
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 02, 2010, 12:07:26 PM
George.  I am not quibbling with your reasons, they are good and solid reasons that work for you.  What I AM quibbling with is your insistance in some cases that the reasons of others are not good enough.  My point is that we seem to have been able ,at times in the past, to find area for discussion around some other "clear words of scripture" but not this particular one.  I simply wonder why that is and have staked my "middle ground" if you will around that question.  You have reached a place that works for you, that to me seems to be something of a middle ground as well.  We may be straddling different fences, but we are straddling fence at the moment.  It gets wearysome sometimes to hear from both ends that there is no middle because from where I sit there is, and there are a lot of us there.

What is the "middle ground" between "no ordination of non-chaste homosexuals" and "ordaining non-chaste homosexuals"? That's an either/or. What is the middle ground compromise? Ordaining non-chaste homosexuals, but only if they promise to limit homosexual sodomy to once a week? That would be ridiculous! Homosexual sodomy is either an act of sin, or it isn't. More specifically, it is first determining if an act that can be "de-sinned" if the homosexual sodomites limit their activity to only each other or it cannot be "de-sinned" no matter what the relationship is between the homosexual sodomites. Then, if one accepts the former, then those who regularly engage in homosexual sodomy are not unrepentant, and are therefore suitable for ordination or, if one accepts the latter, then those who regularly engage in homosexual sodomy are unrepentant, and are therefore unsuitable for ordination.

If you claim to sit "in the middle", then what is that middle position? I'd love to hear what it is, as I have yet to hear anyone articulate what the middle is, aside from vague, meaningless platitudes about "agreeing to disagree" or "respecting each others' bound conscience".

Please understand, I come at this from two angles. One is whether or not there is a compromise middle ground between to extremes that both sides can live with. The other is whether the issue is important enough to really matter. No one has convinced me that there is a middle ground. The argument of agreeing to disagree for the sake of unity holds no water.

As for whether this issue is important enough to matter, no one has convinced me that the standards of behaviour required to be a candidate for ordination are trivial enough to ignore. For too many years I have been taught that God equips those He calls. If God didn't give someone the gifts needed to serve as an ordained minister, that's all the evidence needed to demonstrate that whatever call to service God gave the ungifted person, it was for some other aspect of ministry service. And, it should be noted that there is no shortage of need for service to God in vocations other than just the ordained ministry.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 02, 2010, 12:17:41 PM


Try reading this thread on the topic.

http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=2622.0

Please excuse my ignorance, but how are pensions administered for ELCA pastors?  And if a pastor leaves the ELCA, what happens to the pension?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: SmithL on March 02, 2010, 01:09:43 PM
Thank you peterm and jrubyaz.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peterm on March 03, 2010, 10:12:27 AM
George.  I am not quibbling with your reasons, they are good and solid reasons that work for you.  What I AM quibbling with is your insistance in some cases that the reasons of others are not good enough.  My point is that we seem to have been able ,at times in the past, to find area for discussion around some other "clear words of scripture" but not this particular one.  I simply wonder why that is and have staked my "middle ground" if you will around that question.  You have reached a place that works for you, that to me seems to be something of a middle ground as well.  We may be straddling different fences, but we are straddling fence at the moment.  It gets wearysome sometimes to hear from both ends that there is no middle because from where I sit there is, and there are a lot of us there.

What is the "middle ground" between "no ordination of non-chaste homosexuals" and "ordaining non-chaste homosexuals"? That's an either/or. What is the middle ground compromise? Ordaining non-chaste homosexuals, but only if they promise to limit homosexual sodomy to once a week? That would be ridiculous! Homosexual sodomy is either an act of sin, or it isn't. More specifically, it is first determining if an act that can be "de-sinned" if the homosexual sodomites limit their activity to only each other or it cannot be "de-sinned" no matter what the relationship is between the homosexual sodomites. Then, if one accepts the former, then those who regularly engage in homosexual sodomy are not unrepentant, and are therefore suitable for ordination or, if one accepts the latter, then those who regularly engage in homosexual sodomy are unrepentant, and are therefore unsuitable for ordination.

If you claim to sit "in the middle", then what is that middle position? I'd love to hear what it is, as I have yet to hear anyone articulate what the middle is, aside from vague, meaningless platitudes about "agreeing to disagree" or "respecting each others' bound conscience".

Please understand, I come at this from two angles. One is whether or not there is a compromise middle ground between to extremes that both sides can live with. The other is whether the issue is important enough to really matter. No one has convinced me that there is a middle ground. The argument of agreeing to disagree for the sake of unity holds no water.

As for whether this issue is important enough to matter, no one has convinced me that the standards of behaviour required to be a candidate for ordination are trivial enough to ignore. For too many years I have been taught that God equips those He calls. If God didn't give someone the gifts needed to serve as an ordained minister, that's all the evidence needed to demonstrate that whatever call to service God gave the ungifted person, it was for some other aspect of ministry service. And, it should be noted that there is no shortage of need for service to God in vocations other than just the ordained ministry.

  George, for me the middle ground is not necessarily with this particular issue itself, but revolves around the question I have articulated before:  Why is it ok to shift our understanding of sin in some areas, like divorce, disability, or womens ordination; and not in this one?  This to me is a question that is larger than the specifics of the issue at hand.  What you have said about the ordination issue could just as easily be said of any other issue, and yet is not.  I was also simply pointing out that to my mind you also are occupying a middle position if you will because you still have one foot on each side of the fence.  I understand why you do, but for you to say you are staying in your ELCA congregation for the moment, while at the same time saying it's time for folks to take a stand and it is an either or proposition is a little like our illustrious republican gov here who blasts the federal stimulous program while at the same time counting on that very same money to bridge a gap in the state budget.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: hillwilliam on March 03, 2010, 11:07:17 AM
...Why is it ok to shift our understanding of sin in some areas, like divorce, disability, or womens ordination; and not in this one?  This to me is a question that is larger than the specifics of the issue at hand.  What you have said about the ordination issue could just as easily be said of any other issue, and yet is not...

Jesus has spoken about divorce so we know that it is a sin in all but a few instances. So when did you hear George promoting divorce? We shift our understanding of this area because we are fallen humanity not because we lack proper instruction.

Jesus has spoken about disability and told us that it is not the result of sin. So why should we believe disability was a mark of sinfulness? When did you hear George attacking the disabled?

Jesus included women within his circle of disciples and they were named among the Prophets and Judges of Israel. Yet George has not voiced strong support for the Ordination of women even though there is no direct reference to ordination in the scriptures.

There was a direct reference to what defiles a person made by Jesus. He said in Mark 7 “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. 21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Do you see George promoting any of those sinful behaviors? BTW, sodomy is included in fornication and licentiousness and can be adultery. Trifecta?

Your comments remind me of something I heard Matt Lauer say on the today show. He was railing against some religious figure and said the anyone who wanted to instruct him on proper behavior had better be perfect. Two problems with that statement. First, we know that we are all imperfect so he doesn't have to listen to any of us, just what comes from within. Second, Jesus is perfect and He fulfills even Matt Lauer's standards for authority so when God's word is proclaimed Mrs. Lauer's little boy ought to listen carefully. So should we all.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peterm on March 03, 2010, 11:31:22 AM
ok...I know George didn't say any of those things directly.  George asked me to define my middle ground, which I did.  I was not attacking him in any way, I'm sorry if it seemed like I was.  I still think the larger question applies.  At one time based on the "clear word of scripture" all the things I mentioned were seen as barriers to ordination, now some of them no longer are.  I would also be careful using the Jesus said argument, I have seen that backfire many times.  The things that he says apply to ALL of us, so if you are going to take that stance than perhaps NONE of us is worthy of ordination except by the grace of God.  I am very grateful that Jesus spoke the way he did about disability, but he never directly said anything about womens' ordination, or to be truthful homosexuality either.  Paul, Timothy and others had plenty to say which may apply, but Jesus himself doesn't deal directly with those particular issues.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 03, 2010, 12:22:14 PM
ok...I know George didn't say any of those things directly.  George asked me to define my middle ground, which I did.  I was not attacking him in any way, I'm sorry if it seemed like I was.  I still think the larger question applies.  At one time based on the "clear word of scripture" all the things I mentioned were seen as barriers to ordination, now some of them no longer are.  I would also be careful using the Jesus said argument, I have seen that backfire many times.  The things that he says apply to ALL of us, so if you are going to take that stance than perhaps NONE of us is worthy of ordination except by the grace of God.  I am very grateful that Jesus spoke the way he did about disability, but he never directly said anything about womens' ordination, or to be truthful homosexuality either.  Paul, Timothy and others had plenty to say which may apply, but Jesus himself doesn't deal directly with those particular issues.

On those three issues, those who made the determination to change our understanding took a stand. The fact that even those who advocate ordaining non-chaste homosexuals are so wishy-washy, so ambivalent about the issue that they throw in the "bound conscience" and "agree to disagree" disclaimer is evidence that they don't have faith that their decision is correct. I have seen scriptural support to back up the three other changes in understanding. I'm still waiting to see some real scriptural evidence (aside from the exercises in Greek that have been posted that others far better educated than I shot down in flames) that homosexual sodomy, or any other act of sin that is an intrinsically sinful act in and of itself, can be de-sinned because of the emotional attachment of the participants.

And, to touch on another point you raised, you said "What I AM quibbling with is your insistence in some cases that the reasons of others are not good enough." All I have said is that they aren't good enough to convince me. Everyone must decide whether or not the reasons of others are enough to convince them. I make no evaluation of the reasons of others in absolute terms. I only evaluate whether or not they convince me.

And I do say that all of us are unworthy of ordination, except by the grace of God. I do not believe anyone makes themselves worthy through their own efforts. I believe that God gives us the gifts needed for the work He calls us to. That's why the process of determining whether or not a candidate for ordination is called "discernment". Those called to positions of responsibility for discerning whether or not someone's perception that they are called to the ordained ministry should be evaluating the candidate's gifts to determine whether or not God gave the candidate the package of gifts indicative of a bona-fide call.

Discernment committees can err. One of the best pastors I ever knew ended up not being given the gift of being able to resist the temptation to heterosexual adultery. Based on how well he carried out the vocation of serving as a pastor, I'd have to say that he was truly an outstanding pastor. But, his action revealed something that the discernment committee missed. So, just because a non-chaste homosexual gives the appearance of being good at carrying out the vocational duties of a pastor is no evidence that being an ordained pastor was what he was called to be.

If the ELCA was being faithful to scripture, the argument wouldn't be over whether or not to ordain homosexuals who weren't given the gifts to lead a chaste life. The debate would be to determine what other vocations of service should be established where those called to serve in a manner other than as an ordained pastor can still serve.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: hillwilliam on March 03, 2010, 01:44:15 PM
ok...I know George didn't say any of those things directly.  George asked me to define my middle ground, which I did.  I was not attacking him in any way, I'm sorry if it seemed like I was.  I still think the larger question applies.  At one time based on the "clear word of scripture" all the things I mentioned were seen as barriers to ordination, now some of them no longer are.  I would also be careful using the Jesus said argument, I have seen that backfire many times.  The things that he says apply to ALL of us, so if you are going to take that stance than perhaps NONE of us is worthy of ordination except by the grace of God.  I am very grateful that Jesus spoke the way he did about disability, but he never directly said anything about womens' ordination, or to be truthful homosexuality either.  Paul, Timothy and others had plenty to say which may apply, but Jesus himself doesn't deal directly with those particular issues.

I try to be careful using what Jesus said in an argument, although I don't see this as an argument. I find it hard to accept that the imperfect teaching of man trumps God Word incarnate when man's brokenness is so obvious. So using what Jesus didn't say should be used even more carefully. Maybe I wouldn't see it that way if my trust, my faith, wasn't in Jesus Christ.

The words of Jesus do indeed apply to ALL of us. We all sin and need the forgiveness of our Lord and Savior. So through repentance and absolution we are returned to our rightful relationship to God. ( That is Church dogma isn't it?) Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, we become worthy of ordination to the office of teaching and proclamation. But we are still both saint and sinner and can return to our sins. Even becoming defiant in our sinfulness. Are we still worthy of ordination? That is the question. Are unrepentant sinners pleasing to God? Not, are we sinners but do we recognize that we are, accept God's judgment, and confess it to God and the Church?

When God creates in us a clean heart it will cause us to repent of our selfish worldly sins. However the brokenness of the world is still staring us square in the face on a daily basis. Going along with the spirit of the times is what backfires on us and results in more brokenness.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 03, 2010, 06:06:34 PM
but he never directly said anything about womens' ordination, or to be truthful homosexuality either.  Paul, Timothy and others had plenty to say which may apply, but Jesus himself doesn't deal directly with those particular issues.

If the Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God, then distinguishing between the canonical texts of Paul, the Torah, etc. and things Jesus -- the Word of God -- did or did not say is, uh, problematic, no?  Isn't the Bible actually all Jesus' words, regardless of the color of the type (red or black)?

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peterm on March 04, 2010, 12:15:49 PM
that was my point to Gary
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 04, 2010, 04:24:35 PM
but he never directly said anything about womens' ordination, or to be truthful homosexuality either.  Paul, Timothy and others had plenty to say which may apply, but Jesus himself doesn't deal directly with those particular issues.

If the Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God, then distinguishing between the canonical texts of Paul, the Torah, etc. and things Jesus -- the Word of God -- did or did not say is, uh, problematic, no?  Isn't the Bible actually all Jesus' words, regardless of the color of the type (red or black)?

I normally use "Jesus" as the name of the second person of the Trinity, who is to be distinguished from the other two persons. Thus, the words in red, can be called the words of Jesus or the words of God, but I would distinguish them from other words of God that came through inspiration of the Holy Spirit -- another distinct person. I've also argued that the direct words from the person of the Father, e.g., at Jesus' baptism and transfiguration, should have their own separate color.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 04, 2010, 06:51:03 PM

I normally use "Jesus" as the name of the second person of the Trinity, who is to be distinguished from the other two persons.... Thus, the words in red, can be called the words of Jesus or the words of God, but I would distinguish them from other words of God that came through inspiration of the Holy Spirit -- another distinct person. I've also argued that the direct words from the person of the Father, e.g., at Jesus' baptism and transfiguration, should have their own separate color.

Well, Brian, as I've noted several times, you will argue anything, including things you clearly do not actually believe -- so that diversion doesn't really respond to what I wrote nor is it very helpful.

Back to my point, the ways God -- or any of the persons of the Trinity -- is quoted in the canonical Letter to the Hebrews suggests to me that the distinguishing the speakers of words that you do is not at all the same sort of thing as distinguishing the persons of the one God themselves.  The Church Fathers, at least from my reading, seem to follow the practice found in Hebrews, rather than that of modern (or even post-modern) critical scholars and their students.  David, Moses, etc., speak the word of God, right?

spt+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 04, 2010, 07:43:01 PM
David, Moses, etc., speak the word of God, right?

Right. I wouldn't say that they spoke the words of Jesus.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on March 04, 2010, 08:55:38 PM
David, Moses, etc., speak the word of God, right?

Right. I wouldn't say that they spoke the words of Jesus.

"In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) and the Word was with God and the Word was God...and that Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." The Word of Jesus is the Word of God spoken through David, Moses, the Prophets, etc. The distinction you make is not reality.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 04, 2010, 09:54:04 PM
David, Moses, etc., speak the word of God, right?

Right. I wouldn't say that they spoke the words of Jesus.

"In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) and the Word was with God and the Word was God...and that Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." The Word of Jesus is the Word of God spoken through David, Moses, the Prophets, etc. The distinction you make is not reality.

John did not write: "In the beginning was Jesus and Jesus was with God and Jesus was God...." While we might see evidences of the Second Person of the Trinity in Israel's history, he was not called Jesus prior to the incarnation. The eternal Logos was not given the name Jesus until after the birth. The Second Person of the Trinity had a definite beginning as the human Jesus.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on March 04, 2010, 10:30:37 PM
David, Moses, etc., speak the word of God, right?

Right. I wouldn't say that they spoke the words of Jesus.

"In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) and the Word was with God and the Word was God...and that Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." The Word of Jesus is the Word of God spoken through David, Moses, the Prophets, etc. The distinction you make is not reality.

John did not write: "In the beginning was Jesus and Jesus was with God and Jesus was God...." While we might see evidences of the Second Person of the Trinity in Israel's history, he was not called Jesus prior to the incarnation. The eternal Logos was not given the name Jesus until after the birth. The Second Person of the Trinity had a definite beginning as the human Jesus.

Is your name Arius? ::) :P

The Second Person of the Trinity is co-eternal with the Father. You are making divisions of the Trinity that are not to be made, but then again that goes along with how you treat Scripture. You seem to be viewing the Trinity almost in a Mormon sense, which makes Jesus a demi-god instead of fully God.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 05, 2010, 12:57:58 AM
I normally use "Jesus" as the name of the second person of the Trinity, who is to be distinguished from the other two persons.

While we might see evidences of the Second Person of the Trinity in Israel's history, he was not called Jesus prior to the incarnation. The eternal Logos was not given the name Jesus until after the birth. The Second Person of the Trinity had a definite beginning as the human Jesus.

May I respectfully suggest you back away from trying to engage in any discussion that concerns the Holy Trinity?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 05, 2010, 03:17:31 AM
I normally use "Jesus" as the name of the second person of the Trinity, who is to be distinguished from the other two persons.

While we might see evidences of the Second Person of the Trinity in Israel's history, he was not called Jesus prior to the incarnation. The eternal Logos was not given the name Jesus until after the birth. The Second Person of the Trinity had a definite beginning as the human Jesus.

May I respectfully suggest you back away from trying to engage in any discussion that concerns the Holy Trinity?

What about discussions that concern Jesus of Nazareth?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: GalRev83 on March 05, 2010, 07:34:06 AM
Do any threads stay anywhere near their stated topic on this board????  ???

I ask this as a relative newbie -- I am astounded that more threads aren't locked when they stray so incredibly far from where they began.

I keep coming to this thread looking for info on the latest congregational votes on leaving the ELCA, but no such luck. Back to Captain Thin's blog for that, I guess....! :-X
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: vicarbob on March 05, 2010, 08:52:18 AM
I hear ya Sister!
I came across another blog which was engaged in this topic (who isn't?) and thought that the LCNA and the LCMC were two trains running on the same track, each attempting to gather from the same, small flock.
I was reminded of today's daily Scripture reading (from the ELCA) Revelation, "let the churches who have ears listen".
We aren't good at listening or evangelizing hence our ability to go off topic........"we" have lost focus, direction.......why?...........we are a sinful people, attempting to build a church, imaged upon our own likeness.
Pax
Bob
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 05, 2010, 09:51:36 AM
Do any threads stay anywhere near their stated topic on this board????  ???

I ask this as a relative newbie -- I am astounded that more threads aren't locked when they stray so incredibly far from where they began.

I keep coming to this thread looking for info on the latest congregational votes on leaving the ELCA, but no such luck. Back to Captain Thin's blog for that, I guess....! :-X

Threads do tend to wander. Threads on all discussion forums tend to wander. It has been ever such, since the days of RIME and Fido. This one has wandered often. The way it is drawn back on topic is if someone goes to Captain Thin's blog, finds new information, and posts in here.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 10, 2010, 12:18:17 PM

Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
   
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.     
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on March 10, 2010, 12:21:16 PM
This was just posted to another list:

Quote
Sunday, St John's Lutheran in Boerne, a community just north of San Antonio voted on its second vote to leave the ELCA, with 90.7% in favor.
The significance of this church leaving, for our area at least, is the senior pastor is Henry Schulte, a former bishop of the Southwestern Texas Synod. They voted to join LCMC. They were one of the largest churches in the synod.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 10, 2010, 01:08:38 PM

Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
   
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.     

I offer my prayers to you and your congregation.

Does the decision to remain unaffiliated raise any concerns regarding title to property?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 10, 2010, 01:11:36 PM

James,

the documents going on our website tomorrow afternoon will answer that, but short answer is no. Our bishop is not fighting us, and being unaffiliated is an option., contrary to what many think. 


Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
   
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.     

I offer my prayers to you and your congregation.

Does the decision to remain unaffiliated raise any concerns regarding title to property?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 10, 2010, 01:16:11 PM

James,

the documents going on our website tomorrow afternoon will answer that, but short answer is no. Our bishop is not fighting us, and being unaffiliated is an option., contrary to what many think. 


Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
   
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.     

I offer my prayers to you and your congregation.

Does the decision to remain unaffiliated raise any concerns regarding title to property?

Thanks.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: SmithL on March 10, 2010, 01:26:50 PM
the documents going on our website tomorrow afternoon will answer that, but short answer is no. Our bishop is not fighting us, and being unaffiliated is an option., contrary to what many think. 

I'm glad that you won't need to fight that battle.  I have read some constitutions that actually required joining another Lutheran body in order for the congregation to keep their property.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on March 10, 2010, 01:32:35 PM
That's good news Jeff.  Blessings to you and the saints there on the rest of the process.

Mark
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on March 10, 2010, 01:36:08 PM

Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
   
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.     

Being unaffiliated is an interestingly different stance. I haven't seen this before. Keep us informed about how that turns out in the future. You and yours are in our prayers.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jpetty on March 10, 2010, 01:39:26 PM

Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
   
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.     

Redefinition of the trinity?  What's that about?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 10, 2010, 02:04:09 PM

Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
   
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.     

Being unaffiliated is an interestingly different stance. I haven't seen this before. Keep us informed about how that turns out in the future. You and yours are in our prayers.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

I'll be interested to read what goes on the web site.

Section 9.71 of the ELCA constitution says the following:

"d.   Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate
its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. to relate to another Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation.

e.   Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation only with the consent of the Synod Council. The Synod Council, after consultation with the congregation by an established synodical process, may give approval to the request to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body, in which case title shall remain with the majority of the congregation. If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of this church."

I gather that Pr. Ruby and his congregation, perhaps with the agreement of the synod bishop and synod council, are interpreting "unaffiliated" to mean something other than "independent" as that term is used in the ELCA constitution.  Maybe they argue that an unaffiliated Lutheran congregation is a Lutheran church body of one. 

I suspect that the congregation has been very careful, given the stakes.  However, absent some kind of action from the synod council, I'd be a bit nervous.  The risk, of course, is that absent synod council action, a remnant of the congregation wishing to remain in the ELCA could try to claim title to the congregation's property.  The remnant could argue that in the absence of synod council action, they have an absolute right to the property. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 10, 2010, 03:21:18 PM

Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
   
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.     

Being unaffiliated is an interestingly different stance. I haven't seen this before. Keep us informed about how that turns out in the future. You and yours are in our prayers.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

I'll be interested to read what goes on the web site.

Section 9.71 of the ELCA constitution says the following:

"d.   Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate
its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. to relate to another Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation.

e.   Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation only with the consent of the Synod Council. The Synod Council, after consultation with the congregation by an established synodical process, may give approval to the request to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body, in which case title shall remain with the majority of the congregation. If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of this church."

I gather that Pr. Ruby and his congregation, perhaps with the agreement of the synod bishop and synod council, are interpreting "unaffiliated" to mean something other than "independent" as that term is used in the ELCA constitution.  Maybe they argue that an unaffiliated Lutheran congregation is a Lutheran church body of one. 

I suspect that the congregation has been very careful, given the stakes.  However, absent some kind of action from the synod council, I'd be a bit nervous.  The risk, of course, is that absent synod council action, a remnant of the congregation wishing to remain in the ELCA could try to claim title to the congregation's property.  The remnant could argue that in the absence of synod council action, they have an absolute right to the property. 

This is just a bit of a guess, but I would imagine that given the snail's pace at which the wheels of legal proceedings turn, if the ELCA synod were to file a lawsuit to retain the property under the provisions of the Constitution regarding a congregation becoming "independent", before the ink was dry on anyone's signature, the congregation in question could join almost any Lutheran microsynod or body to stop the suit. From what Pastor Sullivan said at the LCMC presentation I went to, he said that any congregation that was holding off until the NALC is started would be welcome to "park" their affiliation with the LCMC in the meantime just to maintain an affiliation of record, and that when the time came for them to move from the LCMC to NALC, the LCMC would be happy to have served.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 10, 2010, 03:22:55 PM
We have had conversations with the Bishop. They won't fight us. THey would lose anyway. WE could open up shop at a local HS with 99% of our membership and they would have a campus with a large debt and no way to pay it. They are already suffering economically.

  We have a great relationship, and would need synod council approval anyway as a former LCA congregation.   And I doubt there will be a remnant, we have had no division on this issue, and expect none.   




Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
  
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.      

Being unaffiliated is an interestingly different stance. I haven't seen this before. Keep us informed about how that turns out in the future. You and yours are in our prayers.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

I'll be interested to read what goes on the web site.

Section 9.71 of the ELCA constitution says the following:

"d.   Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate
its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. to relate to another Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation.

e.   Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation only with the consent of the Synod Council. The Synod Council, after consultation with the congregation by an established synodical process, may give approval to the request to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body, in which case title shall remain with the majority of the congregation. If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of this church."

I gather that Pr. Ruby and his congregation, perhaps with the agreement of the synod bishop and synod council, are interpreting "unaffiliated" to mean something other than "independent" as that term is used in the ELCA constitution.  Maybe they argue that an unaffiliated Lutheran congregation is a Lutheran church body of one.  

I suspect that the congregation has been very careful, given the stakes.  However, absent some kind of action from the synod council, I'd be a bit nervous.  The risk, of course, is that absent synod council action, a remnant of the congregation wishing to remain in the ELCA could try to claim title to the congregation's property.  The remnant could argue that in the absence of synod council action, they have an absolute right to the property.  
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 10, 2010, 03:51:26 PM
We have had conversations with the Bishop. They won't fight us. THey would lose anyway. WE could open up shop at a local HS with 99% of our membership and they would have a campus with a large debt and no way to pay it. They are already suffering economically.

  We have a great relationship, and would need synod council approval anyway as a former LCA congregation.   And I doubt there will be a remnant, we have had no division on this issue, and expect none.   




Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
  
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.      

Being unaffiliated is an interestingly different stance. I haven't seen this before. Keep us informed about how that turns out in the future. You and yours are in our prayers.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

I'll be interested to read what goes on the web site.

Section 9.71 of the ELCA constitution says the following:

"d.   Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate
its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. to relate to another Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation.

e.   Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate its relationship with this church by the provisions of 9.62. to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation only with the consent of the Synod Council. The Synod Council, after consultation with the congregation by an established synodical process, may give approval to the request to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body, in which case title shall remain with the majority of the congregation. If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of this church."

I gather that Pr. Ruby and his congregation, perhaps with the agreement of the synod bishop and synod council, are interpreting "unaffiliated" to mean something other than "independent" as that term is used in the ELCA constitution.  Maybe they argue that an unaffiliated Lutheran congregation is a Lutheran church body of one.  

I suspect that the congregation has been very careful, given the stakes.  However, absent some kind of action from the synod council, I'd be a bit nervous.  The risk, of course, is that absent synod council action, a remnant of the congregation wishing to remain in the ELCA could try to claim title to the congregation's property.  The remnant could argue that in the absence of synod council action, they have an absolute right to the property.  

That's good news and about what I expected, given what you've told us here over time.

Other congregations considering whether to leave obviously should follow your lead by exploring their options prayerfully and with great care. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 10, 2010, 04:04:13 PM

Dear friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. This morning our board voted unanimously to receive the task force report from our laity .  In the first resolution, the task force unanimously recommending calling a congregational meeting to begin the process of leaving the ELCA.  In the second resolution, no affilation was chosen. Once the votes pass, La Casa   will be an unaffiliated  Lutheran church until such time as the Spirit calls us into a larger Lutheran body. The word "unaffiliated" rather than independent was chosen , to indicate our preference to join a larger body as the dust settles from the schism. To our knowledge, we are one of the few chosing this route. Our Bishop has been notified and will not fight us.  In fact, we are both being charitable and continuing to see  each others as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite what some on this forum have inferred, we are not being hateful toward the ELCA, while making clear our differences in humility.
   
The board has called the first meeting for April 25, 2010.  I will post our documents here tomorrow, and they will also be on our website . The task force focused on four areas where the ELCA has changed: 1)redefinition of the Holy Trinity 2) a trend towards universalism, exhibited by the ELCA study bible 3) redefinition of marriage as understood in Genesis and Matthew 4) Changing standards for clergy.

I am excited about the future.     
It is particularly good that you make perfectly clear that the issue is not simply the ELCA's stance on homosexuality.   May the Lord continue to bless you and your congregation in the days ahead!
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 10, 2010, 04:16:55 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
From what Pastor Sullivan said at the LCMC presentation I went to, he said that any congregation that was holding off until the NALC is started would be welcome to "park" their affiliation with the LCMC in the meantime just to maintain an affiliation of record, and that when the time came for them to move from the LCMC to NALC, the LCMC would be happy to have served.

I comment:
I'd like to hear from the CORE or LCMC people on this tactic, which sounds like a sneaky way to get something done.
 "You need to join a 'Lutheran' body? O.k., join us, even if you don't want to. It will let you keep your building, which if you left the ELCA without having a place to 'belong' would revert to the synod. Then when the time comes, you can leave us and - whizbang! - you're out of the ELCA with your property."
Anybody else see something a little unsavory about that? Sounds sort of like moving your questionably "invested" accounts to the Cayman Islands.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 10, 2010, 04:20:50 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
From what Pastor Sullivan said at the LCMC presentation I went to, he said that any congregation that was holding off until the NALC is started would be welcome to "park" their affiliation with the LCMC in the meantime just to maintain an affiliation of record, and that when the time came for them to move from the LCMC to NALC, the LCMC would be happy to have served.

I comment:
I'd like to hear from the CORE or LCMC people on this tactic, which sounds like a sneaky way to get something done.
 "You need to join a 'Lutheran' body? O.k., join us, even if you don't want to. It will let you keep your building, which if you left the ELCA without having a place to 'belong' would revert to the synod. Then when the time comes, you can leave us and - whizbang! - you're out of the ELCA with your property."
Anybody else see something a little unsavory about that? Sounds sort of like moving you questionably "invested" accounts to the Cayman Islands.

By all means, Charles, seek out someone else for confirmation. You'll get the same reaction you got the last time you implied that I didn't know what I was talking about regading CORE or LCMC.

As for being "sneaky", it's no sneakier than spending a quarter of a million dollars to stack the deck at the CWA to assure a victory for the pro-sodomy faction. It's no "sneakier" than accepting "dual rostering" when it's RIC but not when it's CORE.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on March 10, 2010, 04:21:42 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
From what Pastor Sullivan said at the LCMC presentation I went to, he said that any congregation that was holding off until the NALC is started would be welcome to "park" their affiliation with the LCMC in the meantime just to maintain an affiliation of record, and that when the time came for them to move from the LCMC to NALC, the LCMC would be happy to have served.

I comment:
I'd like to hear from the CORE or LCMC people on this tactic, which sounds like a sneaky way to get something done.
 "You need to join a 'Lutheran' body? O.k., join us, even if you don't want to. It will let you keep your building, which if you left the ELCA without having a place to 'belong' would revert to the synod. Then when the time comes, you can leave us and - whizbang! - you're out of the ELCA with your property."
Anybody else see something a little unsavory about that? Sounds sort of like moving you questionably "invested" accounts to the Cayman Is

No. What is unsavory is what the CWA did to create the need to get out by jettisoning Scripture for the world. It is perfectly legal, right, and good to park for a while in a safe place while the driver and passengers of the car decide what road they need to take for their journey in Christ. If the congregation decides to take more time, but they don't want to stay in the ELCA at all while they decide where to finally put down their roots, then this is a fine way to do it. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, unfaithful about what they are doing.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Cnehring on March 10, 2010, 04:22:35 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
From what Pastor Sullivan said at the LCMC presentation I went to, he said that any congregation that was holding off until the NALC is started would be welcome to "park" their affiliation with the LCMC in the meantime just to maintain an affiliation of record, and that when the time came for them to move from the LCMC to NALC, the LCMC would be happy to have served.

I comment:
I'd like to hear from the CORE or LCMC people on this tactic, which sounds like a sneaky way to get something done.
 "You need to join a 'Lutheran' body? O.k., join us, even if you don't want to. It will let you keep your building, which if you left the ELCA without having a place to 'belong' would revert to the synod. Then when the time comes, you can leave us and - whizbang! - you're out of the ELCA with your property."
Anybody else see something a little unsavory about that? Sounds sort of like moving your questionably "invested" accounts to the Cayman Islands.

Or one can see it as being interested and concerned that congregations live and serve the Gospel faithfully, without having to worry about losing their property to a bureaucracy.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 10, 2010, 04:24:26 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
It's no "sneakier" than accepting "dual rostering" when it's RIC but not when it's CORE.

I say, before trying to back off again:
No "dual rostering" was involved in the RIC congregations. None at all.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on March 10, 2010, 04:26:31 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
It's no "sneakier" than accepting "dual rostering" when it's RIC but not when it's CORE.

I say, before trying to back off again:
No "dual rostering" was involved in the RIC congregations. None at all.


And none is involved with CORE.  None at all.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on March 10, 2010, 04:28:37 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
It's no "sneakier" than accepting "dual rostering" when it's RIC but not when it's CORE.

I say, before trying to back off again:
No "dual rostering" was involved in the RIC congregations. None at all.


Depends upon what you mean by "dual rostering." There certainly were pastors serving RIC churches who were rostered to ELM or some other group and serving an ELCA congregation. They were not rostered to an official church body that is true, but they were still rostered in ways that were contrary to the written standards (not that this mattered did it, unless someone was orthodox, then the bishop comes in to say "no dual rostering..." Yes, I've seen this happen).

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 10, 2010, 04:31:41 PM
Pastor Buechler, you continue to refuse to grasp our system (which you have a right to oppose, even though it doesn't affect you.)
Those irregularly ordained people were not "rostered" at all in the ELCA; and in the ELCA that word - roster - is a specific term of art related to our governing documents and policies. You can't say, especially from your distance, "well, 'rostering' really means...."
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 10, 2010, 04:39:43 PM

I say, before trying to back off again:
No "dual rostering" was involved in the RIC congregations. None at all.


Perhaps.  But some RIC congregations did call pastors not rostered by any church body.  Some of these congregations ordained pastors on their own without the approval of their synods or the ELCA, or of any other church body.  Some chose to permit pastors to serve in open violation of V&E.  In other words, RIC congregations may have violated the rules differently, but many did violate the rules.

I do believe that the ELCA and its synods do have a bit of a dilemma on their hands at this point because of past practices.  Rather than enforcing the ELCA's rules, synods in many cases up till now have reacted to rules violations by turning a blind eye, handing down only token discipline, or even applauding and handing down no discipline.  To decide now to strictly enforce the rules against others will give rise to understandable charges of hypocrisy.  Synods that seek to enforce policies such as the one advocated by the conference in NE Iowa will appear to be conducting a purge in contravention both of past practices and of the CWA's bound-conscience standard.

You and I may disagree on how all this should play out.  But surely you see the issue and the problem.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 10, 2010, 04:50:43 PM

I'd like to hear from the CORE or LCMC people on this tactic, which sounds like a sneaky way to get something done.
 "You need to join a 'Lutheran' body? O.k., join us, even if you don't want to. It will let you keep your building, which if you left the ELCA without having a place to 'belong' would revert to the synod. Then when the time comes, you can leave us and - whizbang! - you're out of the ELCA with your property."
Anybody else see something a little unsavory about that? Sounds sort of like moving your questionably "invested" accounts to the Cayman Islands.


Ideally, congregations, synod bishops, and synod councils can deal with one another in Christian love, making this kind of action unnecessary.  I gather that that has happened in Arizona with Pr. Ruby's congregation.  We should all be thankful.

In other circumstances, a synod council might be less charitable.  In those circumstances, I would have a hard time criticizing a congregation for doing what is necessary under the ELCA constitution to keep its property.  In some of these circumstances, people on various sides could well be guilty of acting in an unsavory manner.  But I would not cast blanket aspersions in the way you suggest.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 10, 2010, 05:10:19 PM
I have no one upon whom to toss an aspersion. My criticism was of the suggested process, which seems to me to be a way to sneak your property out of the ELCA by "parking" it in LCMC until you decide what you really want to do. Now if a congregation voted 95 percent to leave the ELCA, if I were a member of the Synod Council, I would probably try to find a way to make sure that they took their property, provided that there was no protest from the other 5 percent. But if a congregation voted 67 percent to leave and the 33 percent said "we're staying and we need this building," that is another matter.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on March 10, 2010, 05:18:51 PM
Pastor Buechler, you continue to refuse to grasp our system (which you have a right to oppose, even though it doesn't affect you.)
Those irregularly ordained people were not "rostered" at all in the ELCA; and in the ELCA that word - roster - is a specific term of art related to our governing documents and policies. You can't say, especially from your distance, "well, 'rostering' really means...."

Uh huh. :P ::)

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 10, 2010, 05:20:24 PM
I have no one upon whom to toss an aspersion. My criticism was of the suggested process, which seems to me to be a way to sneak your property out of the ELCA by "parking" it in LCMC until you decide what you really want to do. Now if a congregation voted 95 percent to leave the ELCA, if I were a member of the Synod Council, I would probably try to find a way to make sure that they took their property, provided that there was no protest from the other 5 percent. But if a congregation voted 67 percent to leave and the 33 percent said "we're staying and we need this building," that is another matter.

Charles, the NALC won't be brought into formal existence until August, 2010. There are plenty of congregations in the ELCA that are not the least bit uncertain about wanting to join the NALC but who can't bear the thought of remaining in the ELCA one day longer than is absolutely necessary. Frankly, it's not at all difficult to understand how a congregation would want to leave the ELCA as soon as humanly possible, but who are still uncertain about what church body to affiliate with. The noble sounding talk of "respecting bound consciences" is proving to be a bitter, cruel hoax. The more people I talk to about this issue, the more I encounter those who wanted to stay and remain "part of the conversation" as Hanson said at first town meeting who are coming to realize that his words were as empty as the arguments in favor of remaining in the ELCA.



Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 10, 2010, 06:28:50 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
It's no "sneakier" than accepting "dual rostering" when it's RIC but not when it's CORE.

I say, before trying to back off again:
No "dual rostering" was involved in the RIC congregations. None at all.

Charles, I regret to say that you have exposed yourself when you say "I say, before trying to back off again . . ."    Too often your posts are like the basketball player who elbows another player and then when that player pushes back the first player throws up his hands, seeking a foul.   Its no wonder that many are exasperated with this technique.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 10, 2010, 06:52:56 PM
I do believe that the ELCA and its synods do have a bit of a dilemma on their hands at this point because of past practices.  Rather than enforcing the ELCA's rules, synods in many cases up till now have reacted to rules violations by turning a blind eye, handing down only token discipline, or even applauding and handing down no discipline.  To decide now to strictly enforce the rules against others will give rise to understandable charges of hypocrisy.  Synods that seek to enforce policies such as the one advocated by the conference in NE Iowa will appear to be conducting a purge in contravention both of past practices and of the CWA's bound-conscience standard.

Generally, past practice was for the bishop to give admonition and censure to the congregation. That is a disciplinary action at the bishop's disposal and I know that it was given to a number of congregations who had called non-rostered clergy. Two congregations were removed -- originally disciplined in 1990 and removed in 1995. It accomplished little. They are both now served by ELCA rostered clergy.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Revbert on March 10, 2010, 09:40:19 PM
I have no one upon whom to toss an aspersion. My criticism was of the suggested process, which seems to me to be a way to sneak your property out of the ELCA by "parking" it in LCMC until you decide what you really want to do. Now if a congregation voted 95 percent to leave the ELCA, if I were a member of the Synod Council, I would probably try to find a way to make sure that they took their property, provided that there was no protest from the other 5 percent. But if a congregation voted 67 percent to leave and the 33 percent said "we're staying and we need this building," that is another matter.

Charles,

Let me get this straight...

In a constitutional system, where the rules for operating are, in so many cases, a super-majority in regards to property and such, you would support the rights of the minority, even though the vast majority have spoken?

Yet, in the actions of the CWA, where that same supermajority acted explicitly in direct opposition to the understanding of Scripture and the Confessions, the minority is supposed to be quiet and not object, because the majority has spoken.

Sir, I still do not understand you.

Art
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 10, 2010, 10:45:15 PM
Art Hebbeler writes (to me):
In a constitutional system, where the rules for operating are, in so many cases, a super-majority in regards to property and such, you would support the rights of the minority, even though the vast majority have spoken?
I comment:
We cannot speak in general; we have to speak to specific situations and specific constitutional provisions.
In many of our constitutions, the rules by which we have agreed to be governed, yes; the minority of people in a congregation who choose to stay with the ELCA have a right to the property. That's the law. Period. The majority who decides to abandon the ELCA may not deprive those who stay with the ELCA of the church property, simply by majority vote.

Art Hebbeler writes:
Yet, in the actions of the CWA, where that same supermajority acted explicitly in direct opposition to the understanding of Scripture and the Confessions, the minority is supposed to be quiet and not object, because the majority has spoken.
Sir, I still do not understand you.
I comment:
That is your interpretation of what was done and I (along with many many others) reject that interpretation.
Furthermore, where is it said that the minority is "supposed to be quiet and not object"? As a matter of fact, the August actions specifically said that those in the majority were supposed to respect the views of those in the minority and we are trying to find ways to work that out. Nowhere is it said that the minority is supposed to be quiet. Why do some people persist in saying that? I think I know, but it would be unkind to speculate in public.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 10, 2010, 11:01:19 PM

The letter to the congregation and Q and A are now online at www.lacasadecristo.com
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 11, 2010, 01:02:44 AM

The letter to the congregation and Q and A are now online at www.lacasadecristo.com

More specifically: http://www.lacasadecristo.com/resources/congregational-meeting
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 11, 2010, 03:28:30 AM
I note that the Q&A says
The scriptural issues of significance include, but are not limited to:
    * the redefinition of the Holy Trinity, away from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
    * the redefinition of marriage as it is understood in the books of Genesis and Matthew
    * a trend toward universal salvation (salvation is not found in Jesus Christ alone)
    * the redefining of standards for ordained clergy

But neither the Q&A, nor the letter gives specifics or examples or evidence to support these statements.
There is a reference to "these issues" in question five, but the phrase "these issues" has no antecedent, that is, up to that point no " issues" have been mentioned.
The question asks: Do the pastors agree with this decision? and the answer is:  Yes, the pastors accept the decision of the task force and the Board of Trustees.
One might say that "accepting" a decision is not necessarily the same as "agreeing" with it or that accepting the decision is not the same as agreeing with the reasons for the decision. 
But Pastor Ruby has said that everything in his parish was done properly, and I believe we must take him at his word.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Bergs on March 11, 2010, 07:01:45 AM
From the Great Falls Tribune:

Quote
The national controversy over allowing gay clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is deeply dividing churches here in Montana, with a few congregations already voting to split from the national church and others considering taking the step.

As of two weeks ago, members of Pondera Valley and Golden West Lutheran churches in and near Conrad split with the ELCA.
http://www.greatfallstribune.com/print/article/20100214/NEWS01/2140301/Special-Report-Gay-clergy-issue-splits-Montana-Lutherans

My personal tie to this article is that Pondera Valley Lutheran is where my father-in-law, a distinguished ELCA pastor now retired, was baptized.  This is all so very sad.

Lord have mercy on us all,
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 11, 2010, 08:34:41 AM
From the Great Falls Tribune:

Quote
The national controversy over allowing gay clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is deeply dividing churches here in Montana, with a few congregations already voting to split from the national church and others considering taking the step.

As of two weeks ago, members of Pondera Valley and Golden West Lutheran churches in and near Conrad split with the ELCA.
http://www.greatfallstribune.com/print/article/20100214/NEWS01/2140301/Special-Report-Gay-clergy-issue-splits-Montana-Lutherans

My personal tie to this article is that Pondera Valley Lutheran is where my father-in-law, a distinguished ELCA pastor now retired, was baptized.  This is all so very sad.

Lord have mercy on us all,
Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

One of the pastors quoted in the article said that "allowing gay clergy into the church doesn’t have to break the church because churches in the ELCA are allowed to call their own pastors, rather than have them appointed. So if a congregation doesn’t want a gay pastor serving its church, it doesn’t have to have one."

I have heard this from a number of other church leaders, and I find it very frustrating because it misses the point entirely, and in a very unhelpful way.  The issue is not the sexual orientation of a pastor.  So far as I know, within Lutheran circles at least, it never has been.  Instead, the issue is commitment to teaching and living according to the clear meaning of Scripture.  Sexual orientation is irrelevant.

Perhaps the worst part of this articulation of the issue is that it feeds the false narrative that traditionalists are bigoted, seeking to exclude a class of people based on something they can't help, sexual orientation.  Of course, I guess that we should all feel better that the purveyors of this narrative almost invariably tell us that they are "conscience bound" to respect the convictions of "those who believe we must continue to deny full rights to gay and lesbian persons who live by the same high standards we expect of straight Christians. This is part of our churchmanship -- part of my personal churchmanship."  These, of course, are the words of Bp. Chilstrom (http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx#&&SearchCriteria=chilstrom&a=4472), who most assuredly should know better.  
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Dan Fienen on March 11, 2010, 09:12:50 AM
Does patting oneself on the back for being such a good churchman by respecting the bound consciences of those who are so obviously prejudiced, wrong, and insist on denying a group of people their God given rights count as respecting their bound consciences?

Dan
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Michael Slusser on March 11, 2010, 09:20:42 AM
From the Great Falls Tribune:

Quote
The national controversy over allowing gay clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is deeply dividing churches here in Montana, with a few congregations already voting to split from the national church and others considering taking the step.

As of two weeks ago, members of Pondera Valley and Golden West Lutheran churches in and near Conrad split with the ELCA.

Another quote that give further numbers:
Quote
There are 145 congregations in the Montana Synod of the ELCA, which spreads through Montana and northern Wyoming.

According to Associate Bishop John Allen of the Montana Synod, two parishes, each with two congregations, and one individual congregation in the Montana Synod have completed the process of disaffiliation. About 10 other congregations have taken formal action to consider doing so.

“About 8 percent are seriously considering disaffiliation as we speak,” Allen said. “I don’t think anyone would deny that this is a difficult and heartbreaking time for our church.”

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on March 11, 2010, 09:38:28 AM
I learned this morning that a family of 6 that was considering joining our congregation has decided not to, after finding out what the ELCA did at the CWA last summer.  The fact that I and this congregation disagree with those actions did not matter.

Another sad loss and unfortunate fallout from last August.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 11, 2010, 09:49:50 AM
Pastor ,

It might be enough to simply wish our congregation well as so many others have. I detect no empathy from last August to this day for any church or pastors considering leaving. You can critique the process all you want, but the facts are well documented. A simple Google will find baptisms being done at our seminary in Chicago in the name of "parent, child, spirit", and the ELCA study bible fiasco is well documented which  promotes universalism. Of course, the second edition is now revised, not before 37,000 youth in New Orleans got a bible that says Jesus Christ is not unique, and also stated that evangelism  is not mandated by Matthew 28 because all religions are the same.

I won't get into another downward thread spiral with you on these matters. Our people have spoken ,the job is solid, the pastors not only accept but agree. There is no division in the congregation or staff. We have core values, those have been known for years, and has allowed us to move through this process without one family leaving the church over the issues. I fully expect a vote in the 98-100% range to move to leave.

You can disagree all you want. That is fine. But rather than picking nits, maybe your time is better spent praying for the many congregations and pastors who are finding it necessary to leave, and asking yourself why that is happening. Maybe then you can  then send a special offering into Higgins Road to make up the mounting deficits. In the meantime, this post will be my last on the subject. The ten laypeople did an outstanding job. Leaders lead.  
 

                              
 

                              









I note that the Q&A says
The scriptural issues of significance include, but are not limited to:
    * the redefinition of the Holy Trinity, away from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
    * the redefinition of marriage as it is understood in the books of Genesis and Matthew
    * a trend toward universal salvation (salvation is not found in Jesus Christ alone)
    * the redefining of standards for ordained clergy

But neither the Q&A, nor the letter gives specifics or examples or evidence to support these statements.
There is a reference to "these issues" in question five, but the phrase "these issues" has no antecedent, that is, up to that point no " issues" have been mentioned.
The question asks: Do the pastors agree with this decision? and the answer is:  Yes, the pastors accept the decision of the task force and the Board of Trustees.
One might say that "accepting" a decision is not necessarily the same as "agreeing" with it or that accepting the decision is not the same as agreeing with the reasons for the decision.  
But Pastor Ruby has said that everything in his parish was done properly, and I believe we must take him at his word.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: northchurch on March 11, 2010, 09:54:30 AM
Congratulations on your work and on the courage and discernment of your congregation. Great work done. Really.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 11, 2010, 10:55:19 AM
Pastor Ruby writes:
I won't get into another downward thread spiral with you on these matters. Our people have spoken ,the job is solid, the pastors not only accept but agree. There is no division in the congregation or staff. We have core values, those have been known for years, and has allowed us to move through this process without one family leaving the church over the issues. I fully expect a vote in the 98-100% range to move to leave.
I respond:
You have a hard time taking a compliment, don't you? I said that it appeared as if you did things properly, even though I disagree with the result and am sad to see a congregation leave the ELCA. And I hope that when there are people in your congregation accepting of same sex unions or gay or lesbian clergy, they will not feel like such a minority that they have to leave.
Don't take it badly if I wince a bit at the predicted 100% vote to leave. Ed Koch, one of New York's finest mayors, always said "if you agree with me 51 percent, vote for me. If you agree with me 100 percent, have your head examined."  ;D

Pastor Ruby writes:
But rather than picking nits, maybe your time is better spent praying for the many congregations and pastors who are finding it necessary to leave, and asking yourself why that is happening.
I comment:
This is being done; and I know why it is happening. I even accept some of the reasons that are distasteful to you.

Pastor Ruby writes:
Maybe then you can  then send a special offering into Higgins Road to make up the mounting deficits.
I respond (since you raised the subject):
My wife and I have already increased our pledge to two congregations, despite the 9 percent cut in my ELCA pension. We do not do this to "make up the mounting deficits," but because we believe those congregations, our synod and the ELCA are worthy of increased support.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on March 11, 2010, 11:01:03 AM
 Of course, I guess that we should all feel better that the purveyors of this narrative almost invariably tell us that they are "conscience bound" to respect the convictions of "those who believe we must continue to deny full rights to gay and lesbian persons who live by the same high standards we expect of straight Christians. This is part of our churchmanship -- part of my personal churchmanship."  These, of course, are the words of Bp. Chilstrom (http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx#&&SearchCriteria=chilstrom&a=4472), who most assuredly should know better.  

He should know better, but the evidence of his pronouncements, open letters, and videos from the last 5 years shows that he does not.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on March 11, 2010, 11:09:27 AM

Don't take it badly if I wince a bit at the predicted 100% vote to leave. Ed Koch, one of New York's finest mayors, always said "if you agree with me 51 percent, vote for me. If you agree with me 100 percent, have your head examined."  ;D

As a former mathematician, I wince when statistics are wrongly applied.  Mayer Koch's statement concerns having 100% agreement with a person on every conceivable issue.  Pastor Ruby is describing a possible 100% agreement in a congregation on one single issue - indeed, on one particular question related to this issue, i.e., further affiliation with the ELCA.  And this, after a lengthy process of discussion and discernment about the options available.  Perhaps something to raise an eyebrow or two, but it is a different kind of unanimity from the one mentioned by Mayor Koch.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 11, 2010, 11:34:13 AM
Leaders lead.

And it can be said that the voting members of CWA09 were leading the ELCA. Just because leaders lead doesn't mean that all followers will follow.

I am leading my congregation to stay in the ELCA, and have repeatedly preached about the necessity of being one body in Christ. I don't know of a single member who has left since the August vote. However, we are picking up some from the other ELCA congregation whose pastor has taken a different approach.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 11, 2010, 01:34:38 PM
And I have led a congregation through the sexuality study before the August Assembly. Since I left that parish - I was an interim - three people have left because of the August decisions and two people in the congregation have made it clear they disagree with the decisions.
They have since called a pastor who has openly supported the Assembly decisions. And no one has left the congregation since that pastor arrived.
Personally, I would always make it clear to any congregation considering my ministry - whether a regular call or an interim - that I strongly support staying in the ELCA and increasing parish participation in synod and church-wide activities.
That, too, is leadership; and it is the type mandated by our governing documents.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: DCharlton on March 11, 2010, 01:41:09 PM
I spoke to a friend today whose congregation completed both votes to leave the ELCA.  The synod council did not give its approval.  According to my friend, the reason given was that there were no other ELCA churches in the area.  (I realize that there are two sides to the story and I have only one.)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 11, 2010, 01:56:31 PM
I spoke to a friend today whose congregation completed both votes to leave the ELCA.  The synod council did not give it's approval.  According to my friend, the reason given was that there were no other ELCA churches in the area.  (I realize that there are two sides to the story and I have only one.)

It's worse than that. Your referenced congregation was fortunate to be able to get the second vote off. Bishop's schedules being so full these days it seems...

But look at it this way, despite the vote, the next monthly report will show that "they didn't leave," whatever the logic and reasons. See! there is no hemorage!  Look these guys haven't even had their second vote, and those guys didn't even leave. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I do not understand the seeming obstructionism to people expressing their clear desire. It is almost like the Obama Administration explanation of Health Care. "You stupid people just don't understand, we need to explain it better. Listen up." No we heard you, we understand perfectly, and we said "No!"

They heard you, they understood, they said no. What rationale can there possibly be for the obstructionism being seen? Will we see a Budget Reconciliation process or Slaughter solution next?

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: DCharlton on March 11, 2010, 02:01:21 PM
Since I'm reporting more than my opinion, I have to caution that I have heard only one side of the story.  It does cause me concern, however.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 11, 2010, 02:06:35 PM
Since I'm reporting more than my opinion, I have to caution that I have heard only one side of the story.  It does cause me concern, however.

I certainly would not ask you to betray any confidences.  But having read your report, I couldn't help but wonder whether the identity of the congregation is secret.  And whether the synod council considered the matter in secrecy?  It strikes me that it would be helpful for all involved for synod councils making these decisions to publicize them so that we all can understand the standard being applied.  Moreover, to the extent that a synod council bases its decision on identifiable factors, synod councils should publicize those as well. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 11, 2010, 02:11:54 PM
Since I'm reporting more than my opinion, I have to caution that I have heard only one side of the story.  It does cause me concern, however.

I certainly would not ask you to betray any confidences.  But having read your report, I couldn't help but wonder whether the identity of the congregation is secret.  And whether the synod council considered the matter in secrecy?  It strikes me that it would be helpful for all involved for synod councils making these decisions to publicize them so that we all can understand the standard being applied.  Moreover, to the extent that a synod council bases its decision on identifiable factors, synod councils should publicize those as well. 

And, if the details of that story are true, then the Synod Council will be responsible for the ELCA having yet another congregation that will send no money to the ELCA, that will disregard the Bishop regarding pastoral calls or other matters, and that will no doubt go ahead and sign up with LCMC, NALC, or some other Lutheran body anyway and invite the Synod to do whatever sort if discipline it chooses.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: DCharlton on March 11, 2010, 02:19:14 PM
The name of the congregation is St. Peter Lutheran Church, Ft. Pierce, Florida.  The pastor is Rev. Ted Rice.  
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 11, 2010, 02:22:44 PM
Once again, for the fourth or fifth time, I wonder what value can be gained from idle speculation, based on partial information, from afar and reported incompletely about any congregation action or synodical response.
Would it not be better to let these congregations make their decisions and report out themselves rather than to flail about here trying to draw conclusions from what sketchy information is available to those on this board?

Clyde Awtry writes (emphasis added):
It's worse than that. Your referenced congregation was fortunate to be able to get the second vote off. Bishop's schedules being so full these days it seems...
But look at it this way, despite the vote, the next monthly report will show that "they didn't leave," whatever the logic and reasons. See! there is no hemorage! (sic) Look these guys haven't even had their second vote, and those guys didn't even leave. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
I note:
And when incomplete and possibly incorrect information fuels such judgmental comments....yuck!

Clyde Awtry writes:
I do not understand the seeming obstructionism to people expressing their clear desire.
I comment:
I do not understand Mr. Awtry's suggestion that synod councils simply let every congregation that takes a vote walk away. That would be a violation of their own oath of office, a possible violation of their fiduciary responsibility to the synod and almost certainly an act of abandonment against the members of a congregation that wish to remain in the ELCA.

Those outside the ELCA: Please let us work through these difficult times. We can't stop you from lurking around the edges and beckoning to those you consider "refugees," but I'm willing to say I think that is lousy churchmanship. And do not presume to offer us advice on how to do things unless you at least take the pains to understand those things which govern us.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: DCharlton on March 11, 2010, 02:38:03 PM
Once again, for the fourth or fifth time, I wonder what value can be gained from idle speculation, based on partial information, from afar and reported incompletely about any congregation action or synodical response.
Would it not be better to let these congregations make their decisions and report out themselves rather than to flail about here trying to draw conclusions from what sketchy information is available to those on this board?

Clyde Awtry writes (emphasis added):
It's worse than that. Your referenced congregation was fortunate to be able to get the second vote off. Bishop's schedules being so full these days it seems...
But look at it this way, despite the vote, the next monthly report will show that "they didn't leave," whatever the logic and reasons. See! there is no hemorage! (sic) Look these guys haven't even had their second vote, and those guys didn't even leave. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
I note:
And when incomplete and possibly incorrect information fuels such judgmental comments....yuck!

Clyde Awtry writes:
I do not understand the seeming obstructionism to people expressing their clear desire.
I comment:
I do not understand Mr. Awtry's suggestion that synod councils simply let every congregation that takes a vote walk away. That would be a violation of their own oath of office, a possible violation of their fiduciary responsibility to the synod and almost certainly an act of abandonment against the members of a congregation that wish to remain in the ELCA.

Those outside the ELCA: Please let us work through these difficult times. We can't stop you from lurking around the edges and beckoning to those you consider "refugees," but I'm willing to say I think that is lousy churchmanship. And do not presume to offer us advice on how to do things unless you at least take the pains to understand those things which govern us.


Charles,

A clarification.  This report comes directly from the pastor of the congregation through a phone conversation.  His congregation is just down the road.  Perhaps I should have waited to see the minutes of the synod council meeting.   I offer it as information.  Breaking news you might say.  I agree that it is too soon to speculate about the motives of the synod council without at least getting their version of events.

David Charlton
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 11, 2010, 02:40:24 PM
Once again, for the fourth or fifth time, I wonder what value can be gained from idle speculation, based on partial information, from afar and reported incompletely about any congregation action or synodical response.
Would it not be better to let these congregations make their decisions and report out themselves rather than to flail about here trying to draw conclusions from what sketchy information is available to those on this board?

As has been said many, many times before in reply to your persistent question, the answer is "No, it is not better to wait until it is too late to discuss actions and possible reactions." There is nothing to be gained by refusing to discuss and speculate about hypothetical scenarios, especially since there are so many in here who will sooner or later find themselves in a similar situation, and who would greatly benefit from reading considerations of possible actions and outcomes. Experience is a good teacher, but the better students are those who can learn by observing the experiences of others.

Every pastor who is located in an ELCA congregation that is not in close geographic proximity to other ELCA congregations needs to be aware of what could happen if he leads his congregation away from the ELCA to a Lutheran body that is more orthodox and faithful to the Lutheran tradition. It would benefit him greatly to know of all the ramifications, and to read well-reasoned conjectures to give himself more food for thought.

The only people who would benefit from a moratorium on discussion of such issues are the ELCA cheerleaders and partisans who will grasp at any straw to keep the ELCA together, or who want to bury their heads in the sand and to pretend that the ELCA hasn't (metaphorically speaking) shot itself in the foot.

I'm curious about why, after asking that same question four or five times and always getting the same answer that you keep asking it. It's not like you asked a bona-fide question that no one was willing to attempt to answer. Every time you ask that question, it is answered, and usually with the same answer. What part of the answer do you not understand? Perhaps if you explained what it was that you didn't understand, it could be explained to you more clearly.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 11, 2010, 02:46:50 PM
Mr. Erdner writes:
There is nothing to be gained by refusing to discuss and speculate about hypothetical scenarios, especially since there are so many in here who will sooner or later find themselves in a similar situation, and who would greatly benefit from reading considerations of possible actions and outcomes.

I point out:
This is not a "hypothetical scenario," but a real situation, presumably with real people of varying views, people who are troubled, hurt, sad or glad about what is happening. This is about a synod council faced with a problem, and to rumble on about what they ought to do or what it means when they do something or do not do something is just stupid and unhelpful.

Furthermore, we are sixty-five synods - from Florida to Oregon, Maine to California - and what one synod does is in no way a precedent for or a predictor of what another synod will do. People who understand our polity and know our synods understand this.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 11, 2010, 02:50:49 PM
....
Those outside the ELCA: Please let us work through these difficult times. We can't stop you from lurking around the edges and beckoning to those you consider "refugees," but I'm willing to say I think that is lousy churchmanship. And do not presume to offer us advice on how to do things unless you at least take the pains to understand those things which govern us.


It's a conversation Charles. And much is not "speculation,"  but discretionary phrasing to allow those in the process to continue with minimum confusion.

I infer your words "lousey churchmanship" to mean some sort of outside interference, If so, that is flat wrong! We don't insert ourselves, but respond to impacts outside the process. I have a meeting in two weeks that among other things will be trying to salvage ministry with those who will be staying in the ELCA. The subject will NOT be "why don't you guys leave?!" They know where we stand. That is enough. It will be "What can we do together, and how will we be able to do it?"

It is similar, when those in the process, are about their due diligent research for options related to their decisions. Understand one thing clearly, unlike other destinations, like LCMC and NALC, etc. - LC-MS and The AALC do not allow a duel half in, half out. Congregations must have severed their previous affiliation before they can formally apply. It is the ELCA that created the confusion of - you have to be going somewhere before we let you leave. - That's the lousey churchmanship that is cluttering the conversation.

Whether the little "poor churchmanship" barbs are insulting, or not, is inconsequential. They are wrong, and if you know it, as you should now, they are lies.

I personally think that congregations should simply viote and state that they intend to join another unspecified "Lutheran body" after leaving, and see if that would meet the legal challenge. Then they could focus as they should on the tasks at hand. I doubt any will try this, but it would be interesting to see, if it met legal challenge. It would certainly be edifying and best practice for those in discernment.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 11, 2010, 03:12:05 PM
Some facts about the situation:

From the ELCA website, Find a Congregation:

http://www.elca.org/ELCA/Search/Find-a-Congregation.aspx#&&miles=15&zip=34981 (http://www.elca.org/ELCA/Search/Find-a-Congregation.aspx#&&miles=15&zip=34981)

There are three churches within 15 miles of St Peter:

St Andrew Lutheran Church and affiliated schools  295 NW Prima Vista Blvd Port St Lucie , FL  8.6 miles, 287 attendance
Hope Lutheran Church  1750 SE Lennard Rd, Port St Lucie , FL  9.0 miles, 174 attendance
Living Waters Lutheran Church and School  2007 SW Newport Isles Blvd Port St Lucie , FL  14.2 miles, none reported 

Mileage derived from MapQuest driving directions between the St Peters and the other three churches. Attendance figures from the ELCA website.
St Peter Lutheran Church joined the LCMC on 2/14/2010. Source, the LCMC website:

http://lcmc.net/memberdirectory.html (http://lcmc.net/memberdirectory.html)

If the Synod Council denied St Peter's decision to leave the ELCA because there weren't other congregations near enough, then the truth was not in their reasoning.

Also, Living Waters has no data in their reports. According to the church website, they are a new, mission congregation. Apparently, the ELCA sees no problem in supporting a new mission start-up in Port St Lucie only 6 miles from another ELCA congregation, but won't let an existing congregation leave based on the nearest ELCA congregation being a whopping 8.6 miles away.

This is not a "hypothetical scenario," but a real situation, presumably with real people of varying views, people who are troubled, hurt, sad or glad about what is happening.

Please. Just stop. Trying to play the sympathy card with violins and crocodile tears is a cheap rhetorical stunt. Unless some of those people are participants or lurkers here in ALPB, what is said here doesn't make the troubled people more troubled. It doesn't make the hurt people hurt worse. It doesn't make the sad people sadder. It doesn't make the glad people gladder. More importantly, trying to falsely make this into some sort of emotional trauma situation by the implication that our comments would make the poor, unfortunate people caught in this mess that the ELCA created worse is not the least bit helpful.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Scotty8284 on March 11, 2010, 03:22:11 PM
My understanding is that a Synod Assembly has to approve the departure of former LCA congregations, NOT the Synod Council.  Is there a variation in the procedure between Synods?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 11, 2010, 03:52:49 PM
... but I'm willing to say I think that is lousy churchmanship. ...

Let's examine that. I am willing to listen to counsel on how you think I should improve my engagement with the situation.

Bob and Virginia (real names) show up at my church.
1. On introduction I ask, " where are you folks from?" They reply, "we're from XYZ Luth Church a mile away, and we are looking for a new church home." my first action is to welcome them to worship, and offer to chat with them.

2. If I know the pastor there, and I almost always do, and often I already have his phone number in my cell phone, for other activities, I call their pastor, and note, "Bob and Virginia were here last Sunday, how are you doing brother? How are things going?" He will in this case, say, "not so good, yeah I figured they were leaving us, can you take care of them?" I reply, " I will and we'll stay in touch."

3. When I ask, "how are things going?" I will often end up just listening for as much as an hour, saying maybe 5 words the entire time myself. I'll close in prayer, usually for the peace and well being for the pastor I speak with.

4. If it gets to the "discernment" of options, and I am specifically asked, I reply, "I am always willing to chat with you, you can come by my office any time, and ask any question. The AALC web page has info on us." He then comes to my church and my office to talk. I had a Diaconate minister in my offce two and a half weeks ago. We talked, and prayed. He and his church are planning on staying in the ELCA right now. Even though he came to me, virtually begging for help deciding, I did not do a hard sell, but simply helped him process his own thoughts and prayed for his health.

5. If asked specifically for a representative to visit his church for an informational meeting, I arrange it.

Meanwhile Bob and Virginia have joined my congregation. I still have their old pastor's number in my cell phone, and we might talk, at a unrelated meeting, about their spiritual welfare over the next few months. We both care for them, although I guess now they are my sheep. Nah, I think they are God's sheep, and the two of us each have a responsibility in troubled times. We have no problem knowing that truth.

Ok wise one, master of churchmanship, let me know where I have gone wrong, and what I should do?

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 11, 2010, 03:56:36 PM
My understanding is that a Synod Assembly has to approve the departure of former LCA congregations, NOT the Synod Council.  Is there a variation in the procedure between Synods?

Good question.  Under Section 9.62(g) of the ELCA constitution, a former LCA congregation seeking to depart the ELCA needs "synodical approval."  This is importantly different from the language used in Section 9.71(e), under which a departing ELCA congregation seeking to become independent or to join a non-Lutheran church body must get approval from the "Synod Council" to keep its property.  This shows that the drafters of the ELCA constitution knew how to be specific when they wanted to be.  In the case of requests by LCA synods to leave the ELCA, they chose not to be.

This means that either a synod council or a synod assembly could be asked to decide whether to permit a former LCA congregation to leave.  A synod's governing documents may set out a specific process to be followed.  If so, that process must be followed.  Otherwise, I suspect that a synod council would decide whether to handle a request to leave or instead to refer the request to the synod assembly.  

There very likely will be variations in process from one synod to another.  And indeed, a synod may use a different process from one case to the next.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Scotty8284 on March 11, 2010, 04:54:29 PM
My understanding is that a Synod Assembly has to approve the departure of former LCA congregations, NOT the Synod Council.  Is there a variation in the procedure between Synods?

Good question.  Under Section 9.62(g) of the ELCA constitution, a former LCA congregation seeking to depart the ELCA needs "synodical approval."  This is importantly different from the language used in Section 9.71(e), under which a departing ELCA congregation seeking to become independent or to join a non-Lutheran church body must get approval from the "Synod Council" to keep its property.  

Well, since the congregation in question is not seeking to be independent or non-Lutheran, the sole decision of the Synod Council to deny their request should not be binding.  If they wanted to pursue it further, they should notify the Synod Council they need to place it on the Synod Assembly agenda.  Or, then again, they can just ignore the synod, refuse to submit statistical information, remove "ELCA" from their sign and stationery, and focus their affiliation solely with LCMC.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 11, 2010, 05:03:27 PM
My understanding is that a Synod Assembly has to approve the departure of former LCA congregations, NOT the Synod Council.  Is there a variation in the procedure between Synods?

Good question.  Under Section 9.62(g) of the ELCA constitution, a former LCA congregation seeking to depart the ELCA needs "synodical approval."  This is importantly different from the language used in Section 9.71(e), under which a departing ELCA congregation seeking to become independent or to join a non-Lutheran church body must get approval from the "Synod Council" to keep its property.  

Well, since the congregation in question is not seeking to be independent or non-Lutheran, the sole decision of the Synod Council to deny their request should not be binding.  If they wanted to pursue it further, they should notify the Synod Council they need to place it on the Synod Assembly agenda.  Or, then again, they can just ignore the synod, refuse to submit statistical information, remove "ELCA" from their sign and stationery, and focus their affiliation solely with LCMC.

I'm not sure that the congregation could demand that this be placed on the synod assembly agenda, but it could try.

And as you point out, another option is simply to ignore the ELCA. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Revbert on March 11, 2010, 05:53:26 PM
I would think that about any action of the Synod Council taken when the Assembly is not in session can be appealed to the full assembly.  A memorial would probably do the trick.

Isn't the church wonderful...let's force people to stay even when they vote to leave. Good churchmanship indeed.

Art
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 11, 2010, 05:59:36 PM
I have a question for Mr. Gale.

If a congregation duly votes to leave, and the vote is proper, but not honored by a council or assembly, what is to prevent that congregation from simply filing for a 501C3 by vote of their council and board? The ELCA can't force  them  to do anything, and it seems if the courts will side with the congegational polity of the ELCA, then there is not a lot the synod can do.

That being said, there are bishops and synods being very gracious with congregations voting to leave, mine  is one of them.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 11, 2010, 06:37:49 PM
I have a question for Mr. Gale.

If a congregation duly votes to leave, and the vote is proper, but not honored by a council or assembly, what is to prevent that congregation from simply filing for a 501C3 by vote of their council and board? The ELCA can't force  them  to do anything, and it seems if the courts will side with the congegational polity of the ELCA, then there is not a lot the synod can do.

That being said, there are bishops and synods being very gracious with congregations voting to leave, mine  is one of them.

You're right.  In my view, if a former LCA congregation votes twice to leave, complying fully with the ELCA constitution, and if the synod refuses to approve, the congregation could simply stop participating in the ELCA.  That congregation might or might not join another church body.  The congregation's synod might or might not discipline the congregation.  But the supreme sanction is expulsion.  The congregation probably would not mind being expelled, and might even welcome it.  Under the ELCA constitution, an expelled congregation keeps its property, so that would not be a problem.  Lesser sanctions, such as admonishment or a bar on participating in synod work, also would not bother such a congregation.

Congregations that are very small and barely viable face an additional risk.  If a synod determines that the members of a congregation have become "so scattered or
diminished in numbers as to make it impracticable for such congregation to fulfill the purposes for which it was organized," the synod may take the congregation's property. 

Filing to become a 501(c)(3) entity probably is not relevant to whether a congregation can leave, unless I'm missing something.  A congregation leaving the ELCA may well be advised to file in order to protect its tax-free status, but that's another issue.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 11, 2010, 06:44:27 PM
I would think that about any action of the Synod Council taken when the Assembly is not in session can be appealed to the full assembly.  A memorial would probably do the trick.

Isn't the church wonderful...let's force people to stay even when they vote to leave. Good churchmanship indeed.

Art

And as many of us have noted before, while a synod can force some congregations to remain on the ELCA roster, it cannot force them to participate in any way in the life of the ELCA.  So what's the point?

In my view, the greatest tragedy is playing out a bit under the national radar in the congregations that are deeply divided.  Some congregations are very united and are leaving.  Some are very united and are staying.  These united congregations will be fine in whatever church body they end up.  The divided congregations, however, may well suffer greatly for many years to come whether they stay or go.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kurt Strause on March 11, 2010, 07:34:46 PM
Has there been a case yet in which a bishop, synod council or synod assembly refused to permit a congregation which has taken the proper votes to leave to do so? Even for former LCA congregations who vote to leave I think all synods are allowing that to happen. We do not, anymore, have an understanding where the portion of the congregation loyal to the synod or national church body is recognized as the "legitimate" congregation. The congregation, as it is currently comprised, is understood to be the validly constituted congregation. The former (LCA) polity recognized the "communion of saints" who preceded the present congregation and gave them standing in the constitution. Their voices have been silenced.

Of course, one can argue, legitimately in my opinion, that this has been the hallmark of the ELCA in general.

Kurt Strause
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 11, 2010, 08:00:35 PM
Has there been a case yet in which a bishop, synod council or synod assembly refused to permit a congregation which has taken the proper votes to leave to do so? Even for former LCA congregations who vote to leave I think all synods are allowing that to happen. We do not, anymore, have an understanding where the portion of the congregation loyal to the synod or national church body is recognized as the "legitimate" congregation. The congregation, as it is currently comprised, is understood to be the validly constituted congregation. The former (LCA) polity recognized the "communion of saints" who preceded the present congregation and gave them standing in the constitution. Their voices have been silenced.

Of course, one can argue, legitimately in my opinion, that this has been the hallmark of the ELCA in general.

Kurt Strause

Look at the top of the previous page of this thread.  It seems that the Florida Bahamas Synod rejected an attempt of a former LCA congregation to leave.

I'm not at all sure that the ELCA leadership would agree with the rest of what you say and might well be inclined at times to try to hold on to congregations.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kurt Strause on March 11, 2010, 08:16:23 PM
Yes, I saw that note and since I don't have all the information I can't make a call on that particular situation. I think these scenarios are colored in my mind by what we've seen happen in The Episcopal Church which has shown itself willing to bring lawsuits against congregations voting to leave. Maybe I'm naive, but I have a difficult time seeing that happening in the ELCA. I believe ELCA lawyers would strongly advise against it.

Kurt Strause
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 11, 2010, 08:48:03 PM
Yes, I saw that note and since I don't have all the information I can't make a call on that particular situation. I think these scenarios are colored in my mind by what we've seen happen in The Episcopal Church which has shown itself willing to bring lawsuits against congregations voting to leave. Maybe I'm naive, but I have a difficult time seeing that happening in the ELCA. I believe ELCA lawyers would strongly advise against it.

Kurt Strause

I agree with you about the unlikelihood of lawsuits by the ELCA or its synods against congregations seeking to leave.  Given the ELCA's governance structure, most lawsuits by the ELCA or a synod likely would fail. 

The structure of the Episcopal Church is markedly different.  Episcopal dioceses generally have substantially more authority of parishes than ELCA synods have over congregations.

If we see any litigation in the ELCA, it likely would stem from a dispute between two factions within a congregation, each seeking title to the property.  That scenario, like an ugly divorce, would be ugly for all involved.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 11, 2010, 10:48:19 PM
Has there been a case yet in which a bishop, synod council or synod assembly refused to permit a congregation which has taken the proper votes to leave to do so? Even for former LCA congregations who vote to leave I think all synods are allowing that to happen. We do not, anymore, have an understanding where the portion of the congregation loyal to the synod or national church body is recognized as the "legitimate" congregation. The congregation, as it is currently comprised, is understood to be the validly constituted congregation. The former (LCA) polity recognized the "communion of saints" who preceded the present congregation and gave them standing in the constitution. Their voices have been silenced.

Of course, one can argue, legitimately in my opinion, that this has been the hallmark of the ELCA in general.

Kurt Strause
Some years ago there was an LCA congregation in New Jersey (served by Peter Amerman) which was not allowed to leave with their property.   I can't recall if this was in the final days of the LCA or the early days of ELCA.    As I remember the media accounts the congregation was forced to leave behind even the hymnals and asked to rent space from a nearby Wesleyan or Free Methodist congregation.   They were told that they could NOT rent--they would be allowed the use of the building rent free and could even erect a sign out front.   Within a year or so the congregation purchased the building of a disbanded mainline congregation (PCUSA, I believe).
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Revbert on March 12, 2010, 09:50:59 AM
I would think that about any action of the Synod Council taken when the Assembly is not in session can be appealed to the full assembly.  A memorial would probably do the trick.

Isn't the church wonderful...let's force people to stay even when they vote to leave. Good churchmanship indeed.

Art

And as many of us have noted before, while a synod can force some congregations to remain on the ELCA roster, it cannot force them to participate in any way in the life of the ELCA.  So what's the point?

In my view, the greatest tragedy is playing out a bit under the national radar in the congregations that are deeply divided.  Some congregations are very united and are leaving.  Some are very united and are staying.  These united congregations will be fine in whatever church body they end up.  The divided congregations, however, may well suffer greatly for many years to come whether they stay or go.

Indeed, this is the most troubling of all. My sister's congregation (Cross & Crown, Indianapolis) has been shattered by a vote that failed. Most of the council, the pastor, the youth ministry head all resigned. An LCMC mission congregation has already been formed, and the resigned pastor is leading that congregation now, as I understand it. The congregation, of which my sister and I and our parents were members in the 70s, has eliminated at least 2 services already in light of this.

Only one of many congregations in pain right now. Lord, have mercy on us all.

Art
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 12, 2010, 10:16:18 AM
I would think that about any action of the Synod Council taken when the Assembly is not in session can be appealed to the full assembly.  A memorial would probably do the trick.

Isn't the church wonderful...let's force people to stay even when they vote to leave. Good churchmanship indeed.

Art

And as many of us have noted before, while a synod can force some congregations to remain on the ELCA roster, it cannot force them to participate in any way in the life of the ELCA.  So what's the point?

In my view, the greatest tragedy is playing out a bit under the national radar in the congregations that are deeply divided.  Some congregations are very united and are leaving.  Some are very united and are staying.  These united congregations will be fine in whatever church body they end up.  The divided congregations, however, may well suffer greatly for many years to come whether they stay or go.

Indeed, this is the most troubling of all. My sister's congregation (Cross & Crown, Indianapolis) has been shattered by a vote that failed. Most of the council, the pastor, the youth ministry head all resigned. An LCMC mission congregation has already been formed, and the resigned pastor is leading that congregation now, as I understand it. The congregation, of which my sister and I and our parents were members in the 70s, has eliminated at least 2 services already in light of this.

Only one of many congregations in pain right now. Lord, have mercy on us all.

Art

There are more than a few new mission start congregations in the LCMC and other Lutheran bodies whose members are the "losing majorities" in the 2/3rds votes in ELCA congregations. I was on the phone last night for half an hour with one of the congregational leaders of such a new start-up in New York State. His story was very similar to what you describe regarding which people left the ELCA church and which stayed, though in their case the pastor stayed with the ELCA.

The problems for the ELCA congregations whose "winning minority" attempts to soldier on are often much worse than just dropping a service or two. Ask yourself what any church of any denomination would do if most of the involved, committed, and faithful-to-scripture members left suddenly, leaving behind mostly those whose participation in the congregation's like and ministry was to show up some Sundays, at least Christmas and Easter.

We've read anecdotes about ELCA loyalists making sure that college students came back home for the votes, and who made sure that all of the CEO's were specially invited and even given rides to church for the meeting. I have to wonder what plans the ELCA leadership has in place for helping such congregations recover when most of their dedicated members have moved elsewhere. How does the ELCA expect to build memberships back up at congregations who lost half of their membership to LCMC or other Lutheran body start-ups when it was mostly the people who left who did most of the recruitment/evangelism.

And, if it's bad now, imagine how it will be when the NALC is formally brought into existence next August. One of the bigger obstacles to congregations splitting off to form new congregations is that there are some people who aren't comfortable with the LCMC's peer-to-peer organizational polity. Once there is an alternative body that has a little more familiar structure, with a bishop leading the denomination yet with all national decisions requiring ratification by a super-majority of congregations, we could see an increase to the pace of congregations who vote to stay in the ELCA losing major segments of their membership to new start-up congregations.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 12, 2010, 12:54:02 PM

I comment:
I'd like to hear from the CORE or LCMC people on this tactic, which sounds like a sneaky way to get something done.


First, Charles, I remind you that I am not leaving, but staying and encouraging people to stay. 

I also recognize that some people need to leave as quickly as possible.  For those who have asked, I've have no problem telling them that I find LCMC to be no solution to their issues with the ELCA.  The chief defect of the ELCA is that it is so capricious about applying its own standards and practices that its officials have lost the trust that I truly believe I owe them.  Nevertheless, there the problem is the people we have chosen to lead the church, and not so much the ELCA's structure.   If we chose faithful people to lead, the means to restore the ELCA's faithfulness is already there.  LCMC's fatal flaw is that it believes the problem is structure, and that you can trust its leaders not to abuse the wee bit of influence they have.

What LCMC is is honest about its lack of structure, its sense that it is really a voluntary organization that one can join or leave at whim.  I don't understand how anyone can read the Lutheran Confessions and the Reformers and imagine such an association as "church," but clearly some do.  And if a capricious, untrustworthy ELCA synod is going to apply the letter of the law to it dissident congregations and/or pastors, LCMC solves that immediate problem for those determine to flee right now. 

That's all they promise, and that's sufficient for those for whom ecclesiology is an indifferent thing.  For those who understand a church to be more than a voluntary association of congregations, CORE is forming the NALC because the other micro-synods that have tried to create a "middle-of-the-road" Lutheran church just haven't succeeded at that. 

Having listened to our Presiding Bishop's latest Town Hall again, and reading the News Releases of the last few weeks, while I join you in being a churchman pained by LCMC's slivers, I'm disappointed that you refuse to notice the ELCA's beam.

spt+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 12, 2010, 01:00:14 PM

It's no "sneakier" than accepting "dual rostering" when it's RIC but not when it's CORE.

Ecclesiologically, RIC (http://www.lcna.org/ric) is no problem.  It's ELM (http://www.elm.org).  And I look forward to the day our repeated correction sinks in.

spt+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 12, 2010, 01:10:43 PM

It's no "sneakier" than accepting "dual rostering" when it's RIC but not when it's CORE.

Ecclesiologically, RIC (http://www.lcna.org/ric) is no problem.  It's ELM (http://www.elm.org).  And I look forward to the day our repeated correction sinks in.

spt+

You are correct that ELM is a problem while RIC is not. My point was that RIC and CORE are nearly identical in terms of being voluntary associations within the Lutheran tradition that are not church bodies/denominations. For a congregation to vote to become affiliated with RIC, they are not "rostering" with another body/denomination. Likewise, when a congregation votes to become affiliated with CORE they are not "rostering" with another body/denomination.

I used the term "dual rostering" ironically. That's why it is in quotation marks. I was not saying that signing up with RIC was dual rostering, but rather that signing up with CORE was neither more nor less an example of "dual rostering" than signing up with RIC. Official representatives of the ELCA, include one I heard speak with my own ears, said that it was forbidden for an ELCA congregation to sign up with CORE, even though the statement was made several weeks before CORE announced that NALC was going to be started.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 12, 2010, 01:11:57 PM

Generally, past practice was for the bishop to give admonition and censure to the congregation. That is a disciplinary action at the bishop's disposal and I know that it was given to a number of congregations who had called non-rostered clergy.

Actually, except for 2-3 public censures and a couple that you say you know about because a Bishop told you, we have no way of knowing whether that has been past practice.  In fact, there were at one time threads on this Forum where I complained about the lack of any admonition or censure, and each timeyou challenged my "lack of discipline" complaint on the grounds that "private admonition" was a proper form of discipline of the Bishop.

spt+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 12, 2010, 02:28:09 PM

Generally, past practice was for the bishop to give admonition and censure to the congregation. That is a disciplinary action at the bishop's disposal and I know that it was given to a number of congregations who had called non-rostered clergy.

Actually, except for 2-3 public censures and a couple that you say you know about because a Bishop told you, we have no way of knowing whether that has been past practice.  In fact, there were at one time threads on this Forum where I complained about the lack of any admonition or censure, and each timeyou challenged my "lack of discipline" complaint on the grounds that "private admonition" was a proper form of discipline of the Bishop.

Did you know that Abiding Peace in Kansas City, MO, had been admonished and censured before we were informed it was lifted? I didn't -- and I've been to that congregation (back in ALC days). Even when there has been this public act of discipline by a bishop, that doesn't mean that it was public throughout the ELCA.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on March 12, 2010, 03:12:53 PM

I comment:
I'd like to hear from the CORE or LCMC people on this tactic, which sounds like a sneaky way to get something done.


First, Charles, I remind you that I am not leaving, but staying and encouraging people to stay. 

I also recognize that some people need to leave as quickly as possible.  For those who have asked, I've have no problem telling them that I find LCMC to be no solution to their issues with the ELCA.  The chief defect of the ELCA is that it is so capricious about applying its own standards and practices that its officials have lost the trust that I truly believe I owe them.  Nevertheless, there the problem is the people we have chosen to lead the church, and not so much the ELCA's structure.   If we chose faithful people to lead, the means to restore the ELCA's faithfulness is already there.  LCMC's fatal flaw is that it believes the problem is structure, and that you can trust its leaders not to abuse the wee bit of influence they have.

What LCMC is is honest about its lack of structure, its sense that it is really a voluntary organization that one can join or leave at whim.  I don't understand how anyone can read the Lutheran Confessions and the Reformers and imagine such an association as "church," but clearly some do.  And if a capricious, untrustworthy ELCA synod is going to apply the letter of the law to it dissident congregations and/or pastors, LCMC solves that immediate problem for those determine to flee right now. 

That's all they promise, and that's sufficient for those for whom ecclesiology is an indifferent thing.  For those who understand a church to be more than a voluntary association of congregations, CORE is forming the NALC because the other micro-synods that have tried to create a "middle-of-the-road" Lutheran church just haven't succeeded at that. 

Having listened to our Presiding Bishop's latest Town Hall again, and reading the News Releases of the last few weeks, while I join you in being a churchman pained by LCMC's slivers, I'm disappointed that you refuse to notice the ELCA's beam.

spt+

The question is do the leaders beget the structure or does the structure beget the leaders?  We have a structure with a quota system that can be used to exclude as well as include, where the conference of bishops has only advisory capacity, and where just about any special interest group can achieve their agenda if they can get the right people elected to the CWA. I fear it is a system designed to frustrate anyone who challenges its dysfunction.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 12, 2010, 04:27:30 PM

Did you know that Abiding Peace in Kansas City, MO, had been admonished and censured before we were informed it was lifted? I didn't -- and I've been to that congregation (back in ALC days). Even when there has been this public act of discipline by a bishop, that doesn't mean that it was public throughout the ELCA.


No, I didn't know.  That you had been there before 1988 is hardly relevant.  That the lifting of discipline was public does not mean the discipline was public.  And since such things are not public knowledge, you have no basis to describe something as "generally, past practice" -- unless you have some secret knowledge that you aren't sharing.

spt+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kevin C. on March 12, 2010, 04:30:58 PM
George wrote:

Quote
The problems for the ELCA congregations whose "winning minority" attempts to soldier on are often much worse than just dropping a service or two. Ask yourself what any church of any denomination would do if most of the involved, committed, and faithful-to-scripture members left suddenly, leaving behind mostly those whose participation in the congregation's like and ministry was to show up some Sundays, at least Christmas and Easter.

We've read anecdotes about ELCA loyalists making sure that college students came back home for the votes, and who made sure that all of the CEO's were specially invited and even given rides to church for the meeting. I have to wonder what plans the ELCA leadership has in place for helping such congregations recover when most of their dedicated members have moved elsewhere. How does the ELCA expect to build memberships back up at congregations who lost half of their membership to LCMC or other Lutheran body start-ups when it was mostly the people who left who did most of the recruitment/evangelism.

The opposite situation is happening in my congregation.  Last fall, above my objections, a call for a vote to leave the ELCA was taken.  It was approximately 52% to leave and 48% to stay.  Many people said it happened too soon.  They did not know all the issues and were not prepared.  A few that wanted to leave the most were very upset and so they left the congregation.

We formed a task force to discern our future in staying or leaving the ELCA.  It is a very good group of dedicated Christians from both sides.  We will have our vote in the middle of May.

Here's the problem.  We are so split that if the side that wants to leave doesn't get the required 2/3 vote, most of them will leave the congregation.

However, if they do get the 2/3 vote, they will leave but they will have to step up to the plate because all of the officers on council are staying.  And the other committees are about 50/50 or a majority that wants to stay.

So the leaving side may get the building, but how are they going to pay the bills?

The same holds true if they lose and we keep the building.  How are we going to pay the bills?

But George, where this is opposite is that in my congregation the people who are there on committees, council, choir, etc. are the ones who want to stay.  

It's the C and E and others that only come on Sundays that want to leave.   And it's that group that is trying to rally the troops to vote to leave.  Not the synod calling college kids.

So it's not always the dedicated people that are leaving.  In our congregation the dedicated want to stay.

Kevin
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 12, 2010, 04:55:51 PM
George wrote:

Quote
The problems for the ELCA congregations whose "winning minority" attempts to soldier on are often much worse than just dropping a service or two. Ask yourself what any church of any denomination would do if most of the involved, committed, and faithful-to-scripture members left suddenly, leaving behind mostly those whose participation in the congregation's like and ministry was to show up some Sundays, at least Christmas and Easter.

We've read anecdotes about ELCA loyalists making sure that college students came back home for the votes, and who made sure that all of the CEO's were specially invited and even given rides to church for the meeting. I have to wonder what plans the ELCA leadership has in place for helping such congregations recover when most of their dedicated members have moved elsewhere. How does the ELCA expect to build memberships back up at congregations who lost half of their membership to LCMC or other Lutheran body start-ups when it was mostly the people who left who did most of the recruitment/evangelism.

The opposite situation is happening in my congregation.  Last fall, above my objections, a call for a vote to leave the ELCA was taken.  It was approximately 52% to leave and 48% to stay.  Many people said it happened too soon.  They did not know all the issues and were not prepared.  A few that wanted to leave the most were very upset and so they left the congregation.

We formed a task force to discern our future in staying or leaving the ELCA.  It is a very good group of dedicated Christians from both sides.  We will have our vote in the middle of May.

Here's the problem.  We are so split that if the side that wants to leave doesn't get the required 2/3 vote, most of them will leave the congregation.

However, if they do get the 2/3 vote, they will leave but they will have to step up to the plate because all of the officers on council are staying.  And the other committees are about 50/50 or a majority that wants to stay.

So the leaving side may get the building, but how are they going to pay the bills?

The same holds true if they lose and we keep the building.  How are we going to pay the bills?

But George, where this is opposite is that in my congregation the people who are there on committees, council, choir, etc. are the ones who want to stay.  

It's the C and E and others that only come on Sundays that want to leave.   And it's that group that is trying to rally the troops to vote to leave.  Not the synod calling college kids.

So it's not always the dedicated people that are leaving.  In our congregation the dedicated want to stay.

Kevin

I apologize that my recounting of only the situations in congregations that I was personally familiar with didn't include enough disclaimers that it was only about the congregations I was familiar with to avoid being construed as if those congregations I was personally familiar with were typical of every ELCA congregation.

I have posted, in this thread and in others on this same topic, some serious recommendations for actions that how ELCA congregations might take to minimize the damages, especially with regards to nearby ELCA congregations working together. I won't bore everyone by repeating them. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 12, 2010, 05:32:33 PM
George wrote:

Quote
The problems for the ELCA congregations whose "winning minority" attempts to soldier on are often much worse than just dropping a service or two. Ask yourself what any church of any denomination would do if most of the involved, committed, and faithful-to-scripture members left suddenly, leaving behind mostly those whose participation in the congregation's like and ministry was to show up some Sundays, at least Christmas and Easter.

We've read anecdotes about ELCA loyalists making sure that college students came back home for the votes, and who made sure that all of the CEO's were specially invited and even given rides to church for the meeting. I have to wonder what plans the ELCA leadership has in place for helping such congregations recover when most of their dedicated members have moved elsewhere. How does the ELCA expect to build memberships back up at congregations who lost half of their membership to LCMC or other Lutheran body start-ups when it was mostly the people who left who did most of the recruitment/evangelism.

The opposite situation is happening in my congregation.  Last fall, above my objections, a call for a vote to leave the ELCA was taken.  It was approximately 52% to leave and 48% to stay.  Many people said it happened too soon.  They did not know all the issues and were not prepared.  A few that wanted to leave the most were very upset and so they left the congregation.

We formed a task force to discern our future in staying or leaving the ELCA.  It is a very good group of dedicated Christians from both sides.  We will have our vote in the middle of May.

Here's the problem.  We are so split that if the side that wants to leave doesn't get the required 2/3 vote, most of them will leave the congregation.

However, if they do get the 2/3 vote, they will leave but they will have to step up to the plate because all of the officers on council are staying.  And the other committees are about 50/50 or a majority that wants to stay.

So the leaving side may get the building, but how are they going to pay the bills?

The same holds true if they lose and we keep the building.  How are we going to pay the bills?

But George, where this is opposite is that in my congregation the people who are there on committees, council, choir, etc. are the ones who want to stay.  

It's the C and E and others that only come on Sundays that want to leave.   And it's that group that is trying to rally the troops to vote to leave.  Not the synod calling college kids.

So it's not always the dedicated people that are leaving.  In our congregation the dedicated want to stay.

Kevin

If this is truly the case, Kevin, how much will your congregation be losing in actual support if they leave?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 12, 2010, 05:35:44 PM
And another thing. My references to congregations losing their core congregational workers was mentioned in the context of, "I have to wonder what plans the ELCA leadership has in place for helping such congregations recover when most of their dedicated members have moved elsewhere." I doubt that the ELCA leadership needs to have plans in place for helping congregations who have retained their most dedicated members. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kevin C. on March 12, 2010, 05:38:52 PM
George wrote:

Quote
I apologize that my recounting of only the situations in congregations that I was personally familiar with didn't include enough disclaimers that it was only about the congregations I was familiar with to avoid being construed as if those congregations I was personally familiar with were typical of every ELCA congregation.

I have posted, in this thread and in others on this same topic, some serious recommendations for actions that how ELCA congregations might take to minimize the damages, especially with regards to nearby ELCA congregations working together. I won't bore everyone by repeating them.  

Two things.  First, sorry, I did not mean to be snippy but just pointing out how on either side of this conflict congregations are going to be in trouble.

Second, I liked some of your ideas about congregations coming together and having a traditional group and a revisionist group.  I think that the reason they weren't commented on or explored more is because for some, maybe many, the only way out of this mess is to cut their ties with the ELCA.

It is truly painful on both sides.  I just got a call about a new supplier for plants for our community garden for this year.  I don't know what we are going to do.  I don't if we'll be there to have a garden.  

Kevin
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kevin C. on March 12, 2010, 05:49:36 PM
Chuck Sampson asked:

Quote
If this is truly the case, Kevin, how much will your congregation be losing in actual support if they leave?

Actually quite a lot.  We are not a large congregation.  We have quite a few older, retired members who did quite well.  They may not attend regularly or just come on Sundays but not really get involved in other things, but they do consistently contribute.  Whereas some of our younger members who are involved more are struggling in their jobs, pay cuts, layoffs, etc.

The thing is we are divided almost 50/50 and even if it turns out that the 2/3 vote carries, I've run the numbers and I don't see how either group will survive.

George wrote:

Quote
I doubt that the ELCA leadership needs to have plans in place for helping congregations who have retained their most dedicated members. 

Well, most of our churches around here are small.  The reason is that when the ELCA started all the churches wanted to keep their church, so we have 1 ELCA church in our town, but 6 ELCA churches in the next town.  They won't merge.  It's been tried. 

So if we lose even 30% of our members we will be in financial trouble.  Even with all the dedicated members that want to stay.  And from talking to others in our congregation I think we could lose at least 30% if the vote doesn't get 2/3. 

And if it does get 2/3 then what are they going to do with our building and running everything.

It's a sad mess.

Kevin


Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 12, 2010, 06:04:04 PM
George wrote:

Quote
I apologize that my recounting of only the situations in congregations that I was personally familiar with didn't include enough disclaimers that it was only about the congregations I was familiar with to avoid being construed as if those congregations I was personally familiar with were typical of every ELCA congregation.

I have posted, in this thread and in others on this same topic, some serious recommendations for actions that how ELCA congregations might take to minimize the damages, especially with regards to nearby ELCA congregations working together. I won't bore everyone by repeating them.  

Two things.  First, sorry, I did not mean to be snippy but just pointing out how on either side of this conflict congregations are going to be in trouble.

Second, I liked some of your ideas about congregations coming together and having a traditional group and a revisionist group.  I think that the reason they weren't commented on or explored more is because for some, maybe many, the only way out of this mess is to cut their ties with the ELCA.

It is truly painful on both sides.  I just got a call about a new supplier for plants for our community garden for this year.  I don't know what we are going to do.  I don't if we'll be there to have a garden.  

Kevin

I too must apologize in that I read what you wrote, but not which snippet of what I had written that you were referring to. My subsequent "And another thing" addendum was a more appropriate response.

I just spent three days driving to and from the twin cities of Rock Falls and Sterling Illinois to talk to the people who had just left one of the area's two ELCA churches. I met with them on Monday. The first church in town had the leave/stay vote which didn't get 2/3rds, so the majority started a new LCMC congregation the next Sunday. The day before my meeting with them, the vote at the second ELCA congregation came about 5 votes short of 2/3rds. The people at the LCMC congregation are hopeful that the refugees from the second ELCA church will join them. So, there are now two ELCA congregations in the area that are half the size that they used to be, and a new LCMC congregation that already has a very nice facility and that averaged over 100 people at worship every Sunday before the second congregation took their vote. With some leadership from somewhere, that area could have been lead to have one ELCA congregation with over around 150 a week attendance and one LCMC congregation with around 150 a week attendance.

Well, most of our churches around here are small.  The reason is that when the ELCA started all the churches wanted to keep their church, so we have 1 ELCA church in our town, but 6 ELCA churches in the next town.  They won't merge.  It's been tried. 

So if we lose even 30% of our members we will be in financial trouble.  Even with all the dedicated members that want to stay.  And from talking to others in our congregation I think we could lose at least 30% if the vote doesn't get 2/3. 

And if it does get 2/3 then what are they going to do with our building and running everything.

It's a sad mess.

Kevin




I've been an peripheral participant in that situation myself. Getting small congregations to merge is difficult, but it is not impossible. It's one thing when the people in the small congregations are simply stubborn, and believe that they can continue to make it on their own. It's quite another when someone from the synod forces them to take a long, hard look at reality.

You are right about it being a mess. Sometimes, when confronted with a big enough mess, it's time to put away the brooms and dustpans and bring in a bulldozer. Sometimes it isn't. The thing is, the cliches that apply in situations like this became cliches because they are true. Standing still is not an option. Hoping the problems will just go away won't help. Wishing that everyone could just change the subject and talk about something else is foolhardy. I have no idea what to recommend as a specific course of action, but I am positive that whatever you do that ends up working will be something that's a little out of the box, and not some pat solution written in any guidebook. Naturally, you're going to pray for guidance. Don't be surprised if the answer sent to you is surprising.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Kevin C. on March 12, 2010, 06:14:01 PM
George wrote:

Quote
You are right about it being a mess. Sometimes, when confronted with a big enough mess, it's time to put away the brooms and dustpans and bring in a bulldozer. Sometimes it isn't. The thing is, the cliches that apply in situations like this became cliches because they are true. Standing still is not an option. Hoping the problems will just go away won't help. Wishing that everyone could just change the subject and talk about something else is foolhardy. I have no idea what to recommend as a specific course of action, but I am positive that whatever you do that ends up working will be something that's a little out of the box, and not some pat solution written in any guidebook. Naturally, you're going to pray for guidance. Don't be surprised if the answer sent to you is surprising.

I agree we can't stand still.  And we've got to think out of the box.  Our council met with synod last night to discuss some possible options and we are going to explore them with another ELCA church that is interested in some joint ministry. 

Well, that's what makes it interesting.  God is full of suprises but always good.

Kevin
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 12, 2010, 07:25:33 PM
George wrote:

Quote
I apologize that my recounting of only the situations in congregations that I was personally familiar with didn't include enough disclaimers that it was only about the congregations I was familiar with to avoid being construed as if those congregations I was personally familiar with were typical of every ELCA congregation.

I have posted, in this thread and in others on this same topic, some serious recommendations for actions that how ELCA congregations might take to minimize the damages, especially with regards to nearby ELCA congregations working together. I won't bore everyone by repeating them.  

Two things.  First, sorry, I did not mean to be snippy but just pointing out how on either side of this conflict congregations are going to be in trouble.

Second, I liked some of your ideas about congregations coming together and having a traditional group and a revisionist group.  I think that the reason they weren't commented on or explored more is because for some, maybe many, the only way out of this mess is to cut their ties with the ELCA.

It is truly painful on both sides.  I just got a call about a new supplier for plants for our community garden for this year.  I don't know what we are going to do.  I don't if we'll be there to have a garden.  

Kevin

I too must apologize in that I read what you wrote, but not which snippet of what I had written that you were referring to. My subsequent "And another thing" addendum was a more appropriate response.

I just spent three days driving to and from the twin cities of Rock Falls and Sterling Illinois to talk to the people who had just left one of the area's two ELCA churches. I met with them on Monday. The first church in town had the leave/stay vote which didn't get 2/3rds, so the majority started a new LCMC congregation the next Sunday. The day before my meeting with them, the vote at the second ELCA congregation came about 5 votes short of 2/3rds. The people at the LCMC congregation are hopeful that the refugees from the second ELCA church will join them. So, there are now two ELCA congregations in the area that are half the size that they used to be, and a new LCMC congregation that already has a very nice facility and that averaged over 100 people at worship every Sunday before the second congregation took their vote. With some leadership from somewhere, that area could have been lead to have one ELCA congregation with over around 150 a week attendance and one LCMC congregation with around 150 a week attendance.

Well, most of our churches around here are small.  The reason is that when the ELCA started all the churches wanted to keep their church, so we have 1 ELCA church in our town, but 6 ELCA churches in the next town.  They won't merge.  It's been tried. 

So if we lose even 30% of our members we will be in financial trouble.  Even with all the dedicated members that want to stay.  And from talking to others in our congregation I think we could lose at least 30% if the vote doesn't get 2/3. 

And if it does get 2/3 then what are they going to do with our building and running everything.

It's a sad mess.

Kevin




I've been an peripheral participant in that situation myself. Getting small congregations to merge is difficult, but it is not impossible. It's one thing when the people in the small congregations are simply stubborn, and believe that they can continue to make it on their own. It's quite another when someone from the synod forces them to take a long, hard look at reality.

You are right about it being a mess. Sometimes, when confronted with a big enough mess, it's time to put away the brooms and dustpans and bring in a bulldozer. Sometimes it isn't. The thing is, the cliches that apply in situations like this became cliches because they are true. Standing still is not an option. Hoping the problems will just go away won't help. Wishing that everyone could just change the subject and talk about something else is foolhardy. I have no idea what to recommend as a specific course of action, but I am positive that whatever you do that ends up working will be something that's a little out of the box, and not some pat solution written in any guidebook. Naturally, you're going to pray for guidance. Don't be surprised if the answer sent to you is surprising.
George, you should have stopped by Newark (cathedral of the AFLC's Illinois District  ;D)--I'm only 45 miles east of Sterling.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 12, 2010, 08:20:14 PM
George, you should have stopped by Newark (cathedral of the AFLC's Illinois District  ;D)--I'm only 45 miles east of Sterling.

If what God wants for me is the same as what I want for me, then I'll be spending a great deal of time in Sterling.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MaddogLutheran on March 12, 2010, 08:56:48 PM
George, you should have stopped by Newark (cathedral of the AFLC's Illinois District  ;D)--I'm only 45 miles east of Sterling.
No, you're not!    ;);D

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 12, 2010, 10:02:41 PM
How far IS it?   55 miles? ???
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MaddogLutheran on March 12, 2010, 10:08:19 PM
How far IS it?   55 miles? ???
Alot farther..I (Sterling) live in Pennsylvania!   ;)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 12, 2010, 10:37:25 PM
How far IS it?   55 miles? ???
Alot farther..I (Sterling) live in Pennsylvania!   ;)
;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: BHughes on March 12, 2010, 11:48:35 PM

 I fear it is a system designed to frustrate anyone who challenges its dysfunction.

  A week ago the congregation voted overwhelmingly to give the council authority to redirect budgeted benevolence.  The congregation is *very* divided over CWA action, but strongly united in its commitment to mission.  The incoherence of the ELCA's vision of reaching the Lost for Christ (or as the first run of the Lutheran Study Bible demonstrated a lack of even understanding the importance) has brought us to an interesting place.  There's not so much pressure/sense of urgency to exit the ELCA as there is a feeling the denomination is irrelevant to the congregation - based on the congregation's current focus - and so folks on all sides of the "issue" are wondering what's the point in paying an ELCA franchise fee?

 Add in the extreme level of dysfunction in the larger church and I suspect we're more likely to drift than march away.  I like what Jeff's congregation is thinking about...
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 13, 2010, 12:37:44 AM
It's one thing when the people in the small congregations are simply stubborn, and believe that they can continue to make it on their own. It's quite another when someone from the synod forces them to take a long, hard look at reality.


Alas, George, I have too much first- and second-hand experience in a broad range of settings to conclude anything other than that you are overly optimistic about this.   I'm not saying it's impossible, but Lutherans' attachment to "my church" is amazingly strong.

Pax, Steven+
about 85 miles south of Sterling and Rock Falls
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 13, 2010, 12:56:19 AM
It's one thing when the people in the small congregations are simply stubborn, and believe that they can continue to make it on their own. It's quite another when someone from the synod forces them to take a long, hard look at reality.


Alas, George, I have too much first- and second-hand experience in a broad range of settings to conclude anything other than that you are overly optimistic about this.   I'm not saying it's impossible, but Lutherans' attachment to "my church" is amazingly strong.

Pax, Steven+
about 85 miles south of Sterling and Rock Falls


In the portion of the post of mine you did not include in the quoted material was this statement: "Getting small congregations to merge is difficult, but it is not impossible." I believe that is pretty much what you just said.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on March 13, 2010, 08:16:52 AM

 I fear it is a system designed to frustrate anyone who challenges its dysfunction.

  A week ago the congregation voted overwhelmingly to give the council authority to redirect budgeted benevolence.  The congregation is *very* divided over CWA action, but strongly united in its commitment to mission.  The incoherence of the ELCA's vision of reaching the Lost for Christ (or as the first run of the Lutheran Study Bible demonstrated a lack of even understanding the importance) has brought us to an interesting place.  There's not so much pressure/sense of urgency to exit the ELCA as there is a feeling the denomination is irrelevant to the congregation - based on the congregation's current focus - and so folks on all sides of the "issue" are wondering what's the point in paying an ELCA franchise fee?

 Add in the extreme level of dysfunction in the larger church and I suspect we're more likely to drift than march away.  I like what Jeff's congregation is thinking about...

Like a moth to a flame - welcome back Brian.

I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples.  I found this quote from the news release on Genetics to be prophetic:

"In discussion among the bishops, some expressed concern that this social statement, with its potentially controversial topics, will be challenging given the current controversy in the ELCA about the social statement on human sexuality"

Well Duh!
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on March 13, 2010, 08:40:08 AM
I spoke to a friend today whose congregation completed both votes to leave the ELCA.  The synod council did not give its approval.  According to my friend, the reason given was that there were no other ELCA churches in the area.  (I realize that there are two sides to the story and I have only one.)

The Lutheran CORE news and discussion blog has some more info on this:

http://commonconfession.blogspot.com/2010/03/synod-wont-let-florida-congregation.html
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: BHughes on March 13, 2010, 08:40:54 AM

I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples.  I found this quote from the news release on Genetics to be prophetic:

"In discussion among the bishops, some expressed concern that this social statement, with its potentially controversial topics, will be challenging given the current controversy in the ELCA about the social statement on human sexuality"

Well Duh!

   Well, I'm thinking "concern" is putting it mildly.  They warned the ELCA Council about the potential fallout from the vote last summer, asking for a 2/3 vote on the changes.  I'm sure they will have equal leverage this go around.  You nailed it earlier; dysfunction.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 13, 2010, 10:18:48 AM
I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples. 

What do you expect of the disciples after they are "made"? Is there no social aspect to living their lives as believers vs. as non-believers?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 13, 2010, 10:21:11 AM
Well, I'm thinking "concern" is putting it mildly.  They warned the ELCA Council about the potential fallout from the vote last summer, asking for a 2/3 vote on the changes.  I'm sure they will have equal leverage this go around.  You nailed it earlier; dysfunction.

All Social Statements, past, present, and future, require 2/3 majority. The Social Statement on Sexuality required it and so will a Social Statement on Genetics or one on Apple Pie.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 13, 2010, 10:38:42 AM
I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples. 

What do you expect of the disciples after they are "made"? Is there no social aspect to living their lives as believers vs. as non-believers?

Once a person becomes a true disciple, he won't need programs and exortations from Higgins Road to inspire him to social action, the Holy Spirit will.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 13, 2010, 10:54:14 AM
I spoke to a friend today whose congregation completed both votes to leave the ELCA.  The synod council did not give its approval.  According to my friend, the reason given was that there were no other ELCA churches in the area.  (I realize that there are two sides to the story and I have only one.)

The Lutheran CORE news and discussion blog has some more info on this:

http://commonconfession.blogspot.com/2010/03/synod-wont-let-florida-congregation.html

A while back, before Mark gave us this link to confirm that the facts presented by Pastor Charlton earlier were in fact factual, I dug up some additional facts that were buried a few pages back. These are those:

Some facts about the situation:

From the ELCA website, Find a Congregation:

http://www.elca.org/ELCA/Search/Find-a-Congregation.aspx#&&miles=15&zip=34981 (http://www.elca.org/ELCA/Search/Find-a-Congregation.aspx#&&miles=15&zip=34981)

There are three churches within 15 miles of St Peter:

St Andrew Lutheran Church and affiliated schools  295 NW Prima Vista Blvd Port St Lucie , FL  8.6 miles, 287 attendance
Hope Lutheran Church  1750 SE Lennard Rd, Port St Lucie , FL  9.0 miles, 174 attendance
Living Waters Lutheran Church and School  2007 SW Newport Isles Blvd Port St Lucie , FL  14.2 miles, none reported 

Mileage derived from MapQuest driving directions between the St Peters and the other three churches. Attendance figures from the ELCA website.
St Peter Lutheran Church joined the LCMC on 2/14/2010. Source, the LCMC website:

http://lcmc.net/memberdirectory.html (http://lcmc.net/memberdirectory.html)

If the Synod Council denied St Peter's decision to leave the ELCA because there weren't other congregations near enough, then the truth was not in their reasoning.

Also, Living Waters has no data in their reports. According to the church website, they are a new, mission congregation. Apparently, the ELCA sees no problem in supporting a new mission start-up in Port St Lucie only 6 miles from another ELCA congregation, but won't let an existing congregation leave based on the nearest ELCA congregation being a whopping 8.6 miles away.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 13, 2010, 12:50:38 PM
As this and other stories unfold, some here have called this "speculation." Often ... often! ... the reports are charitably made as simple fyi to others in similar circumstance. There is no speculation to these things. It is happening. It is ugly, and there are worse things not reported, in hope that bishops will back off for the congregation in that particular struggle. To address these, the specific bishop should be "in the room," (on the forum) to respond. But for congregations, they should be prepared for such responses and plan accordingly early in the process.

The second point - "the Synod Council’s decision was made for reasons of mission, given the potential for mission in the area where the church is located."
is arrogance in the extreme. There is a presumption that only the "new ELCA" can do a mission in an area that has unanimously told them, that they are a "hinderance to mission" in that place. This self delusion is remarkable and leaves one speechless.

I want to bring a similar example in LCMS to the table as to how insane that response is, and how LCMS avoided self delusion. I'll not mention names other than my old "non-geographical" congregation Ev Luth Church w/o Walls. (CWOW).

A Synod sponsored Ablaze! congregation basically crashed and burned (details unimportant). Obviously that LCMS model failed mission in that place. LCMS did not assume that it's method alone could do the mission there. She faced reality! But LCMS also has, allows, encourages the CWOW model, hands off, no help. CWOW stepped into that place and last I heard with her pastor, and people are still doing mission with the remnant left, and community in that place. Mission is thriving as a small plant growing in the gardener's care. IT DID NOT NEED LCMS to do mission! To LCMS's credit, CWOW is a member congregation even if a bit unusual (non-geographical). She trains CWOW's leaders, and walks beside a thing, she does not really understand all that well. That's LCMS in one mission circumstance. I could tell of others.

Does the Florida-Bahama Synod really think they are the Mission saviors, and LCMC (or whoever goes there, NALC,LCMS,AALC,AFLC etc.) cannot do mission?!!!!! What arrogance in the face of a unanimous scream to their face - NO!

This aspect of the "new ELCA" is as disturbing as the CWA actions themselves. Clearly in the eyes of this one missionary, trained by missionaries, they apparently do not even know what mission is.

TV

(PS."missionary taught"-for those that do not know, my mentors/instructors have an average of over 40 years experience  n China, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, South America, Mexico, Kazakhstan, South Africa,  East Africa, Cameroon, and .....   MIssissippi! ;D .., and have taught in seminaries on 4 continents. Hopefully I picked up 5%  ??? of what they taught  )
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Dadoo on March 13, 2010, 01:36:42 PM
I spoke to a friend today whose congregation completed both votes to leave the ELCA.  The synod council did not give its approval.  According to my friend, the reason given was that there were no other ELCA churches in the area.  (I realize that there are two sides to the story and I have only one.)

The Lutheran CORE news and discussion blog has some more info on this:

http://commonconfession.blogspot.com/2010/03/synod-wont-let-florida-congregation.html

A while back, before Mark gave us this link to confirm that the facts presented by Pastor Charlton earlier were in fact factual, I dug up some additional facts that were buried a few pages back. These are those:

Some facts about the situation:

From the ELCA website, Find a Congregation:

http://www.elca.org/ELCA/Search/Find-a-Congregation.aspx#&&miles=15&zip=34981 (http://www.elca.org/ELCA/Search/Find-a-Congregation.aspx#&&miles=15&zip=34981)

There are three churches within 15 miles of St Peter:

St Andrew Lutheran Church and affiliated schools  295 NW Prima Vista Blvd Port St Lucie , FL  8.6 miles, 287 attendance
Hope Lutheran Church  1750 SE Lennard Rd, Port St Lucie , FL  9.0 miles, 174 attendance
Living Waters Lutheran Church and School  2007 SW Newport Isles Blvd Port St Lucie , FL  14.2 miles, none reported 

Mileage derived from MapQuest driving directions between the St Peters and the other three churches. Attendance figures from the ELCA website.
St Peter Lutheran Church joined the LCMC on 2/14/2010. Source, the LCMC website:

http://lcmc.net/memberdirectory.html (http://lcmc.net/memberdirectory.html)

If the Synod Council denied St Peter's decision to leave the ELCA because there weren't other congregations near enough, then the truth was not in their reasoning.

Also, Living Waters has no data in their reports. According to the church website, they are a new, mission congregation. Apparently, the ELCA sees no problem in supporting a new mission start-up in Port St Lucie only 6 miles from another ELCA congregation, but won't let an existing congregation leave based on the nearest ELCA congregation being a whopping 8.6 miles away.

There is obviously something going on here that we do not understand.

No good will come from speculation.

Not that that has ever kept us from speculating.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 13, 2010, 01:51:51 PM
.....
There is obviously something going on here that we do not understand.

No good will come from speculation.

Not that that has ever kept us from speculating.

With as much charity as I can muster, and I probably should stand down on this, until the bishop shows up to explain, and I can cool down ... That is garbage!.. Notice that a former ELCA congregation in the SW Cal Synod has changed their name, as a courtesy to the Synod, (they were not legally required to do this) so the Synod could "try" and form a mission across the street. The congregation knows the community, and the folly of this type of thinking. In that case I will plainly state the Synod  has no clue what mission is. The request was laughable, and the congregation charitably left them to their silliness.

The gentle charitable nature of this forum should not always be taken as "speculation." Now I should return to a charitable spirit, but this line of defense needs to challenged at least once. Forgive me.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 13, 2010, 02:08:37 PM
There is obviously something going on here that we do not understand.

No good will come from speculation.

Not that that has ever kept us from speculating.

There is obviously something going on. That is an accurate statement. However, "that we do not understand" is not totally accurate. We may not know the nuances, but we do know some facts. And please note, what I posted are facts. The number of other ELCA congregations and their distance from St. Peter are not "speculation". The attendance at the two established congregations are not "speculation", they are facts from the ELCA website, and are as accurate as the ELCA's information usually is. (Take that any way you wish!)

As for no good coming from speculation, the only way to be prepared for future eventualities is to speculate on what might happen, and then prepare just in case it happens. I have speculated about what might happen if there is a fire in my kitchen. As a result, I keep two fire extinguishers handy. If it comes to pass that I do not have a fire, it was still prudent to be prepared.

If the ELCA is going to start refusing permission to leave to all congregations who vote unanimously to leave if the congregations are former LCA, and therefore the ELCA has that power, shouldn't other former LCA congregations start considering their options about what to do next?

From the ELCA website, St. Peter has an average of 46 worshipping each Sunday. Their Full Trend Report shows a baptized membership of 105 after a "purge" of inactive members listed as "d. Other & Stat. Adjustment" of 122 back in 2008. However, the photos on their website of the dedication of their new facility back in 2000 shows a very nice, new, modern facility.

According to the ELCA constitution, 9.61.e., the synod can take over a congregation and its property if: "The membership of the congregation becomes so scattered or diminished in numbers as to make it impracticable for such congregation to fulfill the purposes for which it was organized. In such case, the synod, in order to protect the property from waste and deterioration, through the Synod Council or trustees appointed by it, may take charge and control of the property of the congregation to hold, manage, and convey the same on behalf of the synod. The congregation shall have the right to appeal the decision to the Synod Assembly."

From the Full Trend Report, St Peter has gone from an average of 157 worshipping per week back in 2000 to only 46 in 2008. The demographic report shows that there were 35 African Americans worshipping in the congregation in 2000, but by 2004 there were only White people attending.

This is speculation on my part, but does it seem coincidental that "The Rev. Edward R. Benoway, bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, said that the Synod Council’s decision was made for reasons of mission, given the potential for mission in the area where the church is located." (quoted from the CORE website link Mark provided), that "mission" might include taking the building away from the St. Peter congregation under the provisions of 9.61.e?

And, if such an action is planned, might not some negative publicity on places like the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau have an impact on the successful completion of that plan?

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on March 13, 2010, 02:34:54 PM
I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples. 

What do you expect of the disciples after they are "made"? Is there no social aspect to living their lives as believers vs. as non-believers?

As to question #1 - I expect them to make more disciples and to live lives worthy of their calling.
As to question #2 - http://chestofbooks.com/food/recipes/How-To-Cook-Fish/Twenty-Five-Ways-To-Cook-Herring.html
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 13, 2010, 02:39:02 PM
... a former ELCA congregation in the SW Cal Synod has changed their name, as a courtesy to the Synod, (they were not legally required to do this) so the Synod could "try" and form a mission across the street.
TV

To the subject of the thread, and for those keeping score on Captain thin etc. (which is sort of the what the thread was for once.)

Good luck on keeping score. It appears new (?non-viable?) ELCA missions will be forming perhaps, at least in one case, with the same exact name as the congregation that left, under the banner of "mission." Don't let the obscuring Smoke cause you to run into a Mirror.

This effort, that appears plainly to be to manage the numbers/influence, would certainly indicate that "There is obviously something going on here that we do not understand."  I would think the Synod would be anxious to refute the obvious inferences of others reporting facts, whether others silently avoid speculation or not?

There is a debt to the 8th commandment for the congregations as well as the Synod. If avoiding speculation is to condemn the congregation, when the facts lean to their side, that is NOT a charitable interpretation. It is a conscious decision to condemn the congregation. Consider, maybe their cries are actually true!? I would think, other congregations in discernment, should take note. Should we not point that out? If not here where it can be publicly challenged, then where? In a back room? Smoke and mirrors indeed.

TV
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 13, 2010, 02:45:09 PM
To the subject of the thread, and for those keeping score on Captain thin etc. (which is sort of the what the thread was for once.)


Please note, the subject heading/title is "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up." Everything discussed about the situation with St. Peter is "follow-up", and is totally on-topic.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on March 13, 2010, 02:53:11 PM
To the subject of the thread, and for those keeping score on Captain thin etc. (which is sort of the what the thread was for once.)


Please note, the subject heading/title is "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up." Everything discussed about the situation with St. Peter is "follow-up", and is totally on-topic.


I agree concerning St. Peters, however...

Help me connect this to dkeener/Brian's Herring cook book for Social Gospel debate please. :)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on March 13, 2010, 03:45:24 PM
To the subject of the thread, and for those keeping score on Captain thin etc. (which is sort of the what the thread was for once.)


Please note, the subject heading/title is "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up." Everything discussed about the situation with St. Peter is "follow-up", and is totally on-topic.

 

I agree concerning St. Peters, however...

Help me connect this to dkeener/Brian's Herring cook book for Social Gospel debate please. :)


It's not that hard really - I was responding to Brian Hughes and commenting that I agreed that it isn't just about the sexuality issue. Many congregations are fed up with the social gospel replacing evangelical witness as the main focus of the ELCA. Brian S jumped into the conversation, as so often happens, with an irrelevant question - so I directed him to some delicious "red herring" recipes.  See how easily all those dots line up - especially on a Saturday afternoon when I'm not all that committed to critical thinking.   OK now back to the tread and I'll try to be more focused in the future.   ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 13, 2010, 03:57:02 PM
To the subject of the thread, and for those keeping score on Captain thin etc. (which is sort of the what the thread was for once.)


Please note, the subject heading/title is "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up." Everything discussed about the situation with St. Peter is "follow-up", and is totally on-topic.

 

I agree concerning St. Peters, however...

Help me connect this to dkeener/Brian's Herring cook book for Social Gospel debate please. :)


It's not that hard really - I was responding to Brian Hughes and commenting that I agreed that it isn't just about the sexuality issue. Many congregations are fed up with the social gospel replacing evangelical witness as the main focus of the ELCA. Brian S jumped into the conversation, as so often happens, with an irrelevant question - so I directed him to some delicious "red herring" recipes.  See how easily all those dots line up - especially on a Saturday afternoon when I'm not all that committed to critical thinking.   OK now back to the tread and I'll try to be more focused in the future.   ;D

That is an all too frequent occurrence. Not that some thread drift isn't unavoidable or even useful, but there seems to be some participants who seize the opportunity to drag a thread away from a direction or train of thought that they dislike in order to suppress discussion. It is impossible to know someone's true inner motivation, so again, we're back to speculating. However, if someone appears to be intelligent and consistently engages in actions that produce a certain result, it is not unreasonable to assume that the actions were taken with the intention of causing the result to occur.

As for the issue about the social gospel agenda, I believe that is a very accurate observation. In my conversations with people from ELCA churches who voted on leaving, I get the impression that the actions of the 2009 CWA were the straw that broke the camel's back, but that poor camel's back was already very close to the breaking point. People might overlook siding with the Palestinians against Israel, even if they don't agree with it. People might overlook spending offering money to support Democrat party politics in Washington, DC, even if they don't agree with it. People might overlook the de-gendering of language in the ELW and removal of masculine pronouns to refer to God, even if they don't agree with it. People might overlook making radical environmentalism a higher priority than preaching the Gospel, even if they don't agree with it. People might overlook the universalist heresy in the new study Bible from Augsburg, even if they don't agree with it. 

But after a while, the cumulative effects of all those individual objections start to add up. Throw in the rejection of Scripture to accommodate those who enjoy homosexual sodomy, and you have a burden that's just too much to bear.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: BHughes on March 13, 2010, 04:44:03 PM

It's not that hard really - I was responding to Brian Hughes and commenting that I agreed that it isn't just about the sexuality issue. Many congregations are fed up with the social gospel replacing evangelical witness as the main focus of the ELCA.

  And as suggested, in our situation this is most certainly true.  We may end up leaving the ELCA in slow motion *not* because a majority are torqued about the sexuality vote as the primary or even presenting issue, but rather twenty years of debate and millions of wasted benevolence dollars on the concern are prima facie evidence of a whole host of other ways the denomination has seriously lost its way as a Christian church.  Endless social statements and piercing insights directed at state and federal representatives are what this church "does."  Transforming lives by the power of the Gospel is not.  

 And in other news, this summer I'm planning to add spearfishing to my wreck diving resume.  Imagine my joy when I poke a three foot long stainless steel shaft through the head of free swimming herrings, red and otherwise ...   8)


  
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Revbert on March 14, 2010, 07:40:32 PM
To the subject of the thread, and for those keeping score on Captain thin etc. (which is sort of the what the thread was for once.)


Please note, the subject heading/title is "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up." Everything discussed about the situation with St. Peter is "follow-up", and is totally on-topic.



I agree concerning St. Peters, however...

Help me connect this to dkeener/Brian's Herring cook book for Social Gospel debate please. :)


I presume it is a humourous reference to the many "red herrings" some posters toss out here to derail conversations.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: revklak on March 15, 2010, 08:42:00 AM
Well, one more is added to list officially "left."  Martin Luther (Lutheran Church) in Giddings, Texas, voted yesterday in their second and final vote to leave the ELCA.  I can't remember the exact number I heard from the council member, but it was in the ballpark of 100-36.  They also voted to join LCMC. 

So much for "only a handful" have actually voted to leave.  Here is another who was "in between" votes, so to speak, at the time of that proclamation. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 15, 2010, 12:30:19 PM
It's not that hard really - I was responding to Brian Hughes and commenting that I agreed that it isn't just about the sexuality issue. Many congregations are fed up with the social gospel replacing evangelical witness as the main focus of the ELCA. Brian S jumped into the conversation, as so often happens, with an irrelevant question - so I directed him to some delicious "red herring" recipes.  See how easily all those dots line up - especially on a Saturday afternoon when I'm not all that committed to critical thinking.   OK now back to the tread and I'll try to be more focused in the future.   ;D

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one -- and thus an invalid excuse for leaving a church body. Especially when one considers that "gospel" = "evangelical" (at least in Greek). If the "good news" / "gospel" / "evangel" is going to be something other than just a theory, it affects the social lives of converts and believers.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: BHughes on March 15, 2010, 12:32:19 PM

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one --

  Naturally.  ::)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 15, 2010, 12:34:34 PM

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one --

  Naturally.  ::)

And I would say that your emphasis on a disciplined life for believers is an aspect of "social gospel" -- it is having our faith affect the way we live in society.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 15, 2010, 12:49:37 PM

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one --

  Naturally.  ::)

And I would say that your emphasis on a disciplined life for believers is an aspect of "social gospel" -- it is having our faith affect the way we live in society.

What does having our faith affect how we live in society have to do with spending money to push Democrat party political agendas to force everyone to share a common vision of government redistribution of wealth programs? Where in the Gospel does Jesus tell us to band together to encourage Caesar to force everyone (at the tip of a spear) to particpate in "social justice" programs?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 15, 2010, 01:37:48 PM

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one --

  Naturally.  ::)

And I would say that your emphasis on a disciplined life for believers is an aspect of "social gospel" -- it is having our faith affect the way we live in society.

What does having our faith affect how we live in society have to do with spending money to push Democrat party political agendas to force everyone to share a common vision of government redistribution of wealth programs? Where in the Gospel does Jesus tell us to band together to encourage Caesar to force everyone (at the tip of a spear) to particpate in "social justice" programs?

It was required of the early Christians to "redistribute" their wealth for those in need. Whether it is sharing all wealth in common, as in Acts; or taking up a collection as in 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Romans; all illustrate what Paul states in Galatians 2:10: "All that they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along."

It is not only "Caesar" that does this, but the church requires it, too. The model constitution:

*C8.04.   It shall be the privilege and duty of members of this congregation to:
   a.   make regular use of the means of grace, both Word and sacraments;
   b.   live a Christian life in accordance with the Word of God and the teachings of the Lutheran church; and
   c.   support the work of this congregation, the synod, and the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America through contributions of their time, abilities, and financial support as biblical stewards.

If someone is not fulfilling their "privilege and duty" as a member of the congregation, they can be removed from membership (*C8.05.3.)

In addition, as we're studying 1 Corinthians through the Lenten Season, over and over again Paul stresses the need for each part of the body to be concerned and work for the good of the whole body. Certainly that applies to the body of the congregation -- but it seems to me that it is also part of our understanding as good citizens of the State.

Note also that I never used the phrase "social justice" -- but "social gospel". What is good news for society?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on March 15, 2010, 01:43:31 PM

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one --

  Naturally.  ::)

Bonos quaerite.
Bonis adhaerete.
Boni estote.

Seek the good.
Cling to the good.
Be good.

St. Augustine

Christ is risen from the dead... now it gets complicated with God running around in the poor, sick and sad.

Peter (Me, the Holy Spirit and Chuck Norris will handle this...) Garrison
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on March 15, 2010, 01:46:15 PM

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one --

  Naturally.  ::)

And I would say that your emphasis on a disciplined life for believers is an aspect of "social gospel" -- it is having our faith affect the way we live in society.

The frustration Brian is that you continue take things out of context for no other reason than to start an argument. At no point did Brian H. or I suggest that social action and faith were exclusive to each other - We know that, you know that and anyone who has read the above posts knows that.  So what was your point in asking the question?  What we have said - and I will say it one more time - is that the Church is called to be more than a social service agency. We do much good with our social ministry but the ultimate good comes through the proclimation of Christ crucified and risen. That should be our primary focus and my observation has been that it has not been the primary focus of the ELCA for a long time. (note before you reply that I said "primary")  When Jesus was being called by the disciples and crowds to do "social ministry" he responded, "I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent." (Luke 4:43).  

Paul writes in Romans,  "But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?"

Is social ministry good? Of course it is always good to act with love and compassion. But I believe it is used by far too many as a convenient excuse to not speak about Christ to those who are lost. I'm sorry but I think it is a poor excuse of a disciple who believes it is exceptable in God's eyes to give food, clothing and shelter and then withhold the greatest gift they have to share - the Gospel of life.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 15, 2010, 02:19:36 PM

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one --

  Naturally.  ::)

And I would say that your emphasis on a disciplined life for believers is an aspect of "social gospel" -- it is having our faith affect the way we live in society.

What does having our faith affect how we live in society have to do with spending money to push Democrat party political agendas to force everyone to share a common vision of government redistribution of wealth programs? Where in the Gospel does Jesus tell us to band together to encourage Caesar to force everyone (at the tip of a spear) to particpate in "social justice" programs?

It was required of the early Christians to "redistribute" their wealth for those in need. Whether it is sharing all wealth in common, as in Acts; or taking up a collection as in 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Romans; all illustrate what Paul states in Galatians 2:10: "All that they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along."

It is not only "Caesar" that does this, but the church requires it, too. The model constitution:

*C8.04.   It shall be the privilege and duty of members of this congregation to:
   a.   make regular use of the means of grace, both Word and sacraments;
   b.   live a Christian life in accordance with the Word of God and the teachings of the Lutheran church; and
   c.   support the work of this congregation, the synod, and the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America through contributions of their time, abilities, and financial support as biblical stewards.

If someone is not fulfilling their "privilege and duty" as a member of the congregation, they can be removed from membership (*C8.05.3.)

In addition, as we're studying 1 Corinthians through the Lenten Season, over and over again Paul stresses the need for each part of the body to be concerned and work for the good of the whole body. Certainly that applies to the body of the congregation -- but it seems to me that it is also part of our understanding as good citizens of the State.

Note also that I never used the phrase "social justice" -- but "social gospel". What is good news for society?


The flesh of the common herring is usually white, but when it is preserved by smoking, it takes on the characteristic red color common to all smoked meat and fish.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 15, 2010, 03:11:52 PM
The frustration Brian is that you continue take things out of context for no other reason than to start an argument. At no point did Brian H. or I suggest that social action and faith were exclusive to each other - We know that, you know that and anyone who has read the above posts knows that.
 

When you wrote: "I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples," you sure seemed to be pitting "social gospel issues" against "our call to make disciples."

Quote
So what was your point in asking the question?  What we have said - and I will say it one more time - is that the Church is called to be more than a social service agency.

I return your same critique: when did I ever say that the church should just be a social service agency? I can let you read through 100's of my sermons and you will see very little in regards to "social gospel." And, whenever I do, it is a response to being Jesus' disciples.

Quote
When Jesus was being called by the disciples and crowds to do "social ministry" he responded, "I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent." (Luke 4:43).  

However, we are given the content of Jesus' preaching in Luke 4:18-19 (as he reads from Isaiah): "to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recover of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

When Jesus sent out the Twelve: "he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:1-2); and when he sent out the 72: "Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'" (Luke 10:9). Proclaiming the Kingdom of God was indistinguishable from healing the sick and driving out demons. According to social-scientists I've read, demon-possession and sickness was as much a social issue as a medical one. Such dis-eases removed one from their proper place in society, e.g., the uncleanness and thus separation caused by leprosy.

Quote
Paul writes in Romans,  "But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?"

And yet, quoting Proverbs, Paul also tells them: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." (Romans 12:20)

Quote
Is social ministry good? Of course it is always good to act with love and compassion. But I believe it is used by far too many as a convenient excuse to not speak about Christ to those who are lost. I'm sorry but I think it is a poor excuse of a disciple who believes it is exceptable in God's eyes to give food, clothing and shelter and then withhold the greatest gift they have to share - the Gospel of life.

I agree; but go further. The way that we indicate that we have been grasped by the Gospel of life is through our lives -- living them for the sake of others -- following the example of Christ. Christ died for all people -- and even now, 2000 years latter, a majority of folks for whom he sacrificed his life, have not come to believe in him.

Lutheran ethics is about helping our neighbors because they need help -- without expecting anything in return. Certainly we must witness to the love of Christ that has changed and is motivating our lives -- and how it can change their lives -- but we help the needy because the needy need it; not with an ulterior motive of notching another convert on our good-deeds-chart.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: efretheim on March 15, 2010, 05:34:14 PM

Lutheran ethics is about helping our neighbors because they need help -- without expecting anything in return. Certainly we must witness to the love of Christ that has changed and is motivating our lives -- and how it can change their lives -- but we help the needy because the needy need it; not with an ulterior motive of notching another convert on our good-deeds-chart.

I fully agree with what you are saying about Lutheran ethics, but there is moe to it than that.  There is also helping our neighbors from gratitude to God for the mercy he has shown us in granting his grace.  This is what makes us different from the natural man and the good he is capable of by nature.
At the same time though we also need to keep in mind, just as you have said the "we help the need", etc.  Not the government, not some social organization, but "we".  Each of us has his own responsiblity as an individual.  Forcing others to give up their posessions to help others does not satisfy the need for "we" to take responsibility.  It only gives the forcers a short time warm and fuzzy feeling that they have actually done something without having to pay any real personal price - especially when it's a raise the taxes on the rich plan. 

Unfortunately our world is too full of these feel good types of schmes which don't do a lot for anyone other than provide good feelings, sort term benefits with long term consequences, and often shady ethics.  Unfortunately, the ELCA puts too much of its time and resourceces into supporting these schemes which are really little more than indulgences, which as Luther points out burden men's consciousnesses while not offering them grace.  A good example is carbon credits.  The people who buy and sell these  are no different from those who bought and sold indulgences.  For the sellers, there are two error they may find themselves in.  First they may not believe in the dangers of carbon, but may be seeking to take advantage of those who do.  These are really the more honest of the two, and perhaps one could argue the less evil.  Then there are those who truely believe that carbon is a threat.  By buying and selling carbon credits, they are abdicating their personal responsibility to do something about it, and are contributing to the problem by allowing the continued unabated production of carbon. 

So we need to ask, are we offering grace through faith, or cheap indulgences to satisfy people of having done "good" through easy acts that don't really demand much of them?   Are we telling people they need to "act like a Christian" as if that's how they become one, or encouraging them to praise God and thnk him for his grace through their service to others?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 15, 2010, 05:52:25 PM

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one -- and thus an invalid excuse for leaving a church body.

One of these days, Brian, I may understand why you inevitably conclude a comment with a complete non-sequitur.  No one is threatening to leave, or leaving, or considering leaving the ELCA simply because of its "social gospel" message.  No one.  

Some do, however, point to it as one of several signs that the ELCA's entire "evangelical witness" (of which a church's teaching on Jesus, the Holy Trinity, the Holy Bible, marriage and marital relations are a part) is so severely wanting that leaving is the most faithful thing to do.  



It was required of the early Christians to "redistribute" their wealth for those in need. Whether it is sharing all wealth in common, as in Acts; or taking up a collection as in 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Romans; all illustrate what Paul states in Galatians 2:10: "All that they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along."

Yet more Stoffregenian exegetical nonsense. Where do you find "required," in either Acts or in St. Paul?  If it had been required, St. Paul wouldn't have had to plead so hard, and the economic sharing in Acts 4-5 (btw, Acts 5:4 is in your Bible, no?) would have lasted, say, further into the book of Acts...

spt+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: BHughes on March 15, 2010, 05:52:37 PM

The flesh of the common herring is usually white, but when it is preserved by smoking, it takes on the characteristic red color common to all smoked meat and fish.


   Working up the kind of rig I'll want on my speargun this summer ('cause the rigging is species dependent), seems herring likely won't be on the menu.  They're not found on North Atlantic ship wrecks.  Since wood-pit BBQ is also a hobby and passion, maybe I can experiment with monkfish.

http://njscuba.net/gear/misc_catch_fish.html#TypesofPrey (http://njscuba.net/gear/misc_catch_fish.html#TypesofPrey)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 15, 2010, 06:13:14 PM

There is obviously something going on here that we do not understand.

There may be more going on, but this much I've understood since I was confirmed in an LCA congregation and read our congregation's constitution.

This is a former LCA congregation, and thus the synod is acting within its authority and rights.

And from an LCA sense of "the church," the Synod's refusal is the right and proper thing to do.

Of course, from an LCA sense of "the church," the CWA never would have approved the Sexuality Statement, ELW, etc. in the first place.  Individual congregations may go off the rails, but it is inconceivable that an entire Synod or the whole denomination would.

Except by approving ELW, the 2005 CWA knocked the ELCA off the rails. The 2009 CWA, devastating as it was, simply confirmed what had already happened 4 years earlier.

But particularly if one believes that the 2009 CWA acted rightly, the Florida-Bahamas Synod Council is acting in the most faithful way it can for the mission of the Church.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on March 15, 2010, 07:14:13 PM
 Brian do really not understand or do you just choose not to understand.


When you wrote: "I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples," you sure seemed to be pitting "social gospel issues" against "our call to make disciples."


Read carefully - I am Frustrated - with - The ELCA's obsession - with - social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples.

How in the world do you see this as pitting social gospel issues against the call to make disciples. The last time I looked feeding the hungry and caring for the widows and orphans wasn't all that controversial - so that must not be what I was referring too.


Quote
So what was your point in asking the question?  What we have said - and I will say it one more time - is that the Church is called to be more than a social service agency.

I return your same critique: when did I ever say that the church should just be a social service agency? I can let you read through 100's of my sermons and you will see very little in regards to "social gospel." And, whenever I do, it is a response to being Jesus' disciples.


You sure read a whole lot between the lines - I don't recall accusing you of saying anything - I simply asked your point in asking the question.


Lutheran ethics is about helping our neighbors because they need help -- without expecting anything in return. Certainly we must witness to the love of Christ that has changed and is motivating our lives -- and how it can change their lives -- but we help the needy because the needy need it; not with an ulterior motive of notching another convert on our good-deeds-chart.

Double Wow! Telling the people you are feeding about Jesus is an "ulterior motive"? And here I was always taught that when you have two gifts to give you should give both.

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 15, 2010, 08:31:19 PM
Brian do really not understand or do you just choose not to understand.


When you wrote: "I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples," you sure seemed to be pitting "social gospel issues" against "our call to make disciples."


Read carefully - I am Frustrated - with - The ELCA's obsession - with - social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples.

How in the world do you see this as pitting social gospel issues against the call to make disciples. The last time I looked feeding the hungry and caring for the widows and orphans wasn't all that controversial - so that must not be what I was referring too.

How in the world does any social statement (controversial or not) keep you and your congregation from your call to make disciples?

Quote
Double Wow! Telling the people you are feeding about Jesus is an "ulterior motive"? And here I was always taught that when you have two gifts to give you should give both.

Read carefully what I wrote: If you are telling people about Jesus with a motive of notching another convert on our good-deeds-chart -- it is an ulterior motive. There are "evangelists" who have to report to some authority how many "converts" they have made. Just as those who promote social action can do so with ulterior motives, so can those who seek personal conversions. I've been on gospel teams, going around the country and preaching to people with the Four Spiritual Laws.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 15, 2010, 09:13:07 PM

There is obviously something going on here that we do not understand.

There may be more going on, but this much I've understood since I was confirmed in an LCA congregation and read our congregation's constitution.

This is a former LCA congregation, and thus the synod is acting within its authority and
rights.

And from an LCA sense of "the church," the Synod's refusal is the right and proper thing to do.

Of course, from an LCA sense of "the church," the CWA never would have approved the Sexuality Statement, ELW, etc. in the first place.  Individual congregations may go off the rails, but it is inconceivable that an entire Synod or the whole denomination would.

Except by approving ELW, the 2005 CWA knocked the ELCA off the rails. The 2009 CWA, devastating as it was, simply confirmed what had already happened 4 years earlier.

But particularly if one believes that the 2009 CWA acted rightly, the Florida-Bahamas Synod Council is acting in the most faithful way it can for the mission of the Church.

Pax, Steven+

How is this the "right and proper thing to do"? The congregation voted unanimously to leave.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: dkeener on March 15, 2010, 10:58:34 PM
Brian do really not understand or do you just choose not to understand.


When you wrote: "I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples," you sure seemed to be pitting "social gospel issues" against "our call to make disciples."


Read carefully - I am Frustrated - with - The ELCA's obsession - with - social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples.

How in the world do you see this as pitting social gospel issues against the call to make disciples. The last time I looked feeding the hungry and caring for the widows and orphans wasn't all that controversial - so that must not be what I was referring too.

How in the world does any social statement (controversial or not) keep you and your congregation from your call to make disciples?

Quote
Double Wow! Telling the people you are feeding about Jesus is an "ulterior motive"? And here I was always taught that when you have two gifts to give you should give both.

Read carefully what I wrote: If you are telling people about Jesus with a motive of notching another convert on our good-deeds-chart -- it is an ulterior motive. There are "evangelists" who have to report to some authority how many "converts" they have made. Just as those who promote social action can do so with ulterior motives, so can those who seek personal conversions. I've been on gospel teams, going around the country and preaching to people with the Four Spiritual Laws.

Well Brian, this a Lutheran forum so if you have the names of these shadowy authorities that we are supposed to report to please let us know. Personally, I have yet to meet a person with a passion for evangelism who is doing it to "notch a belt" of any kind.  The people I meet who have a passion for proclamation tell others of Christ because they honestly believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through the Son. This puts an imperative in their lives that compels them to witness on a personal level, not to win reward, but because they believe it is the most loving thing they can do and the most precious gift they can share. I think it is way too easy to explain away the lousy job we (the ELCA) have done in evangelism by falsely accusing others of "ulterior motives." Personally, I would like to have a bit more of their zeal. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: DCharlton on March 15, 2010, 11:41:28 PM
Here is the ELCA press release on the situation in the FB Synod:

http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4479
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 15, 2010, 11:48:56 PM
This is rather interesting considering the church you pastor has declined almost 50% in attendance in the past 8 years.What is your evangelism emphasis in Yuma?

Brian do really not understand or do you just choose not to understand.


When you wrote: "I'm with you in being frustrated by the ELCA's obsession with social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples," you sure seemed to be pitting "social gospel issues" against "our call to make disciples."


Read carefully - I am Frustrated - with - The ELCA's obsession - with - social gospel issues that continue to stir the pot of controversy and distract us from our call to make disciples.

How in the world do you see this as pitting social gospel issues against the call to make disciples. The last time I looked feeding the hungry and caring for the widows and orphans wasn't all that controversial - so that must not be what I was referring too.

How in the world does any social statement (controversial or not) keep you and your congregation from your call to make disciples?

Quote
Double Wow! Telling the people you are feeding about Jesus is an "ulterior motive"? And here I was always taught that when you have two gifts to give you should give both.

Read carefully what I wrote: If you are telling people about Jesus with a motive of notching another convert on our good-deeds-chart -- it is an ulterior motive. There are "evangelists" who have to report to some authority how many "converts" they have made. Just as those who promote social action can do so with ulterior motives, so can those who seek personal conversions. I've been on gospel teams, going around the country and preaching to people with the Four Spiritual Laws.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: LTSS_Sem_2 on March 16, 2010, 01:23:39 AM
According to the ELCA news release, the FL/BH Synod based their ruling on section 9.62 (of the ELCA Constitution). “The ELCA Constitution, section 9.62, states that congregations established by the LCA must "receive synodical approval" before terminating their ELCA memberships.” (emphasis added)

The ELCA Model Constitution for congregations C.6.05.g reads, “Since/If this congregation was a member of the Lutheran Church in America, it shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in C6.05., to receive synodical approval before terminating its membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” (emphasis added)

There is a distinction between being established by and being a member of, no? The congregations I serve pre-date the LCA by about 100 years so neither was established by the LCA, but both were members of the LCA.


Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 16, 2010, 01:30:25 AM
According to the ELCA news release, the FL/BH Synod based their ruling on section 9.62 (of the ELCA Constitution). “The ELCA Constitution, section 9.62, states that congregations established by the LCA must "receive synodical approval" before terminating their ELCA memberships.” (emphasis added)

The ELCA Model Constitution for congregations C.6.05.g reads, “Since/If this congregation was a member of the Lutheran Church in America, it shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in C6.05., to receive synodical approval before terminating its membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” (emphasis added)

There is a distinction between being established by and being a member of, no? The congregations I serve pre-date the LCA by about 100 years so neither was established by the LCA, but both were members of the LCA.




You raise a good point. "St. Peter's Lutheran Church of Fort Pierce Florida was officially organized on October 8, 1961." That's a direct quote from their website:

http://www.stpeterministrycenter.org/page3.htm (http://www.stpeterministrycenter.org/page3.htm)

Odds are they were ULCA or one of the other bodies that became the LCA a year or two later.
 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 16, 2010, 01:46:39 AM
According to the ELCA news release, the FL/BH Synod based their ruling on section 9.62 (of the ELCA Constitution). “The ELCA Constitution, section 9.62, states that congregations established by the LCA must "receive synodical approval" before terminating their ELCA memberships.” (emphasis added)

The ELCA Model Constitution for congregations C.6.05.g reads, “Since/If this congregation was a member of the Lutheran Church in America, it shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in C6.05., to receive synodical approval before terminating its membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” (emphasis added)

There is a distinction between being established by and being a member of, no? The congregations I serve pre-date the LCA by about 100 years so neither was established by the LCA, but both were members of the LCA.


The language you quoted is wrong.  Here's Section 9.62(g):

"g.   Congregations which had been members of the Lutheran Church in America shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in 9.62., to receive synodical approval before terminating their membership in this church."

The word "established" is used only in Section 9.62(h), which deals with congregations "established" by the ELCA. 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: LTSS_Sem_2 on March 16, 2010, 01:53:29 AM
According to the ELCA news release, the FL/BH Synod based their ruling on section 9.62 (of the ELCA Constitution). “The ELCA Constitution, section 9.62, states that congregations established by the LCA must "receive synodical approval" before terminating their ELCA memberships.” (emphasis added)

The ELCA Model Constitution for congregations C.6.05.g reads, “Since/If this congregation was a member of the Lutheran Church in America, it shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in C6.05., to receive synodical approval before terminating its membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” (emphasis added)

There is a distinction between being established by and being a member of, no? The congregations I serve pre-date the LCA by about 100 years so neither was established by the LCA, but both were members of the LCA.


The language you quoted is wrong.  Here's Section 9.62(g):

"g.   Congregations which had been members of the Lutheran Church in America shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in 9.62., to receive synodical approval before terminating their membership in this church."

The word "established" is used only in Section 9.62(h), which deals with congregations "established" by the ELCA. 

I directly quoted the ELCA News release. I didn't verify their facts. I stand corrected. Mea culpa.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 16, 2010, 02:09:54 AM
This is rather interesting considering the church you pastor has declined almost 50% in attendance in the past 8 years.What is your evangelism emphasis in Yuma?

First of all, to make a commitment to stay more than three years. The turn over of pastors and interims during that eight years was quite high (two called pastors -- one left the ministry.) Next Sunday we are receiving 12 new members -- may not be high by your standards, but it's an increase of 7% of our membership. That would be equivalent to La Casa receiving 233 new members.

Secondly, in nearly every sermon, I am talking about sharing our faith with others.

Thirdly, I am attracting people with the music program -- I'm also the musician -- and receive complements every Sunday. A couple visited last Sunday; they said, "to hear you play and preach."

Of course I also try to visit with the folks who have visited the congregation. We have numerous outside groups using our facilities and I try to make myself known to them. We have stopped the decline in worship attendance this year -- worship attendance equals that of last year -- and, ironically, we have done that with one less worship service!

I'm also encouraging our membership to be more welcoming towards visitors when they come. (I my mind, that's step one. Step two is to for them invite folks to come.)

Considering the turmoil and decline that is happening in other congregations, I think that we are doing very well -- and with six less paid staff than even three years ago.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Mel Harris on March 16, 2010, 03:34:29 AM
From the ELCA press release

Quote

  The ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod Council has acted on three requests from congregations to terminate their relationships with the synod and the ELCA, but its approach was different.  The congregations are Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, New Rochelle; Advent Lutheran Church, Elmont; and St. James Lutheran Church, Stewart Manor. In each case, the synod council adopted a resolution "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod," according to the synod's records.


I do not understand how this is a different approach.  Is not "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod,", also denying those requests to terminate their relationship with the synod?  If someone could explain this to me I would appreciate it.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on March 16, 2010, 08:06:21 AM

I believe that the dichotomy between "social gospel" and "evangelical witness" is a false one --

  Naturally.  ::)

And I would say that your emphasis on a disciplined life for believers is an aspect of "social gospel" -- it is having our faith affect the way we live in society.

What does having our faith affect how we live in society have to do with spending money to push Democrat party political agendas to force everyone to share a common vision of government redistribution of wealth programs? Where in the Gospel does Jesus tell us to band together to encourage Caesar to force everyone (at the tip of a spear) to particpate in "social justice" programs?

It was required of the early Christians to "redistribute" their wealth for those in need. Whether it is sharing all wealth in common, as in Acts; or taking up a collection as in 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Romans; all illustrate what Paul states in Galatians 2:10: "All that they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along."

It is not only "Caesar" that does this, but the church requires it, too. The model constitution:

*C8.04.   It shall be the privilege and duty of members of this congregation to:
   a.   make regular use of the means of grace, both Word and sacraments;
   b.   live a Christian life in accordance with the Word of God and the teachings of the Lutheran church; and
   c.   support the work of this congregation, the synod, and the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America through contributions of their time, abilities, and financial support as biblical stewards.

If someone is not fulfilling their "privilege and duty" as a member of the congregation, they can be removed from membership (*C8.05.3.)

In addition, as we're studying 1 Corinthians through the Lenten Season, over and over again Paul stresses the need for each part of the body to be concerned and work for the good of the whole body. Certainly that applies to the body of the congregation -- but it seems to me that it is also part of our understanding as good citizens of the State.

Note also that I never used the phrase "social justice" -- but "social gospel". What is good news for society?


Right.  The whole body.  Paul was collecting money for the suffering church in Jerusalem, not for some vague human social purpose, not even for some unidentified sufferers, but for those who were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.  Though that doesn't exclude helping everyone after a hurricane or earthquake or in an AIDS epidemic, it does distinguish between encouraged witness to the larger world and expected responsibility to fellow believers.  We have lost that distinction in the social Gospel today.  Today's incarnation of 'social Gospel' says people can make it on their own if only some caring person/group would first give them a hand.  The bible says we make it together following Jesus Christ, and in fact he makes it for us in every way that's important.  Without Jesus front and center, the 'social Gospel' is another name for social work.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on March 16, 2010, 08:09:38 AM
From the ELCA press release

Quote

  The ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod Council has acted on three requests from congregations to terminate their relationships with the synod and the ELCA, but its approach was different.  The congregations are Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, New Rochelle; Advent Lutheran Church, Elmont; and St. James Lutheran Church, Stewart Manor. In each case, the synod council adopted a resolution "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod," according to the synod's records.


I do not understand how this is a different approach.  Is not "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod,", also denying those requests to terminate their relationship with the synod?  If someone could explain this to me I would appreciate it.

Mel Harris

Oh Vicarbob ...  I see Eric's congregation in NR is still on the ELCA website.  Did you fine synod council folks permit them to leave and we are just in a time lag to have them removed from the website, or did you "respectfully" tell them no?

Respectfully,
Mark
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 16, 2010, 09:53:50 AM
According to the ELCA news release, the FL/BH Synod based their ruling on section 9.62 (of the ELCA Constitution). “The ELCA Constitution, section 9.62, states that congregations established by the LCA must "receive synodical approval" before terminating their ELCA memberships.” (emphasis added)

The ELCA Model Constitution for congregations C.6.05.g reads, “Since/If this congregation was a member of the Lutheran Church in America, it shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in C6.05., to receive synodical approval before terminating its membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” (emphasis added)

There is a distinction between being established by and being a member of, no? The congregations I serve pre-date the LCA by about 100 years so neither was established by the LCA, but both were members of the LCA.


The language you quoted is wrong.  Here's Section 9.62(g):

"g.   Congregations which had been members of the Lutheran Church in America shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions in 9.62., to receive synodical approval before terminating their membership in this church."

The word "established" is used only in Section 9.62(h), which deals with congregations "established" by the ELCA. 

I directly quoted the ELCA News release. I didn't verify their facts. I stand corrected. Mea culpa.

I understand.  I'm not blaming you for the errors in the press release.  Just pointing out that it was wrong.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: DCharlton on March 16, 2010, 09:58:08 AM
From the ELCA press release

Quote

  The ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod Council has acted on three requests from congregations to terminate their relationships with the synod and the ELCA, but its approach was different.  The congregations are Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, New Rochelle; Advent Lutheran Church, Elmont; and St. James Lutheran Church, Stewart Manor. In each case, the synod council adopted a resolution "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod," according to the synod's records.


I do not understand how this is a different approach.  Is not "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod,", also denying those requests to terminate their relationship with the synod?  If someone could explain this to me I would appreciate it.

Mel Harris

Oh Vicarbob ...  I see Eric's congregation in NR is still on the ELCA website.  Did you fine synod council folks permit them to leave and we are just in a time lag to have them removed from the website, or did you "respectfully" tell them no?

Respectfully,
Mark

If Eric's congregation is still considered part of the Metropolitan New York Synod, then it is dually rostered! 
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on March 16, 2010, 10:07:47 AM
From the ELCA press release

Quote

  The ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod Council has acted on three requests from congregations to terminate their relationships with the synod and the ELCA, but its approach was different.  The congregations are Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, New Rochelle; Advent Lutheran Church, Elmont; and St. James Lutheran Church, Stewart Manor. In each case, the synod council adopted a resolution "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod," according to the synod's records.


I do not understand how this is a different approach.  Is not "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod,", also denying those requests to terminate their relationship with the synod?  If someone could explain this to me I would appreciate it.

Mel Harris

Oh Vicarbob ...  I see Eric's congregation in NR is still on the ELCA website.  Did you fine synod council folks permit them to leave and we are just in a time lag to have them removed from the website, or did you "respectfully" tell them no?

Respectfully,
Mark

If Eric's congregation is still considered part of the Metropolitan New York Synod, then it is dually rostered! 

It appears so.  A quick message to Eric revealed that the synod did not release them.  Eric replied; "No. They value diversity."  So evidently the MNYS has no problem with dual rostered congregations and LCMC pastors serving them.  Hmm.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Chuck Sampson on March 16, 2010, 10:11:55 AM
This is rather interesting considering the church you pastor has declined almost 50% in attendance in the past 8 years.What is your evangelism emphasis in Yuma?

First of all, to make a commitment to stay more than three years. The turn over of pastors and interims during that eight years was quite high (two called pastors -- one left the ministry.) Next Sunday we are receiving 12 new members -- may not be high by your standards, but it's an increase of 7% of our membership. That would be equivalent to La Casa receiving 233 new members.

Secondly, in nearly every sermon, I am talking about sharing our faith with others.

Thirdly, I am attracting people with the music program -- I'm also the musician -- and receive complements every Sunday. A couple visited last Sunday; they said, "to hear you play and preach."

Of course I also try to visit with the folks who have visited the congregation. We have numerous outside groups using our facilities and I try to make myself known to them. We have stopped the decline in worship attendance this year -- worship attendance equals that of last year -- and, ironically, we have done that with one less worship service!

I'm also encouraging our membership to be more welcoming towards visitors when they come. (I my mind, that's step one. Step two is to for them invite folks to come.)

Considering the turmoil and decline that is happening in other congregations, I think that we are doing very well -- and with six less paid staff than even three years ago.
"That would be equivalent to La Casa receiving 233 new members."   This gets my vote for most egregious red herring of all time.   I wish we had the "clappy-guy" emoticon.  ;D (best I can do with what's available)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Bergs on March 16, 2010, 10:20:33 AM
Emanuel Lutheran in Lodi, CA.

http://lodinews.com/articles/2010/03/13/religion/1_emanuel_100313.txt

The first time they voted in January, a 2/3rds majority was not achieved.  Looks like February's vote achieved an 85% majority.  

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: DCharlton on March 16, 2010, 10:21:34 AM
From the ELCA press release

Quote

  The ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod Council has acted on three requests from congregations to terminate their relationships with the synod and the ELCA, but its approach was different.  The congregations are Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, New Rochelle; Advent Lutheran Church, Elmont; and St. James Lutheran Church, Stewart Manor. In each case, the synod council adopted a resolution "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod," according to the synod's records.


I do not understand how this is a different approach.  Is not "respectfully" requesting each to "remain in the fellowship of the Metropolitan New York Synod,", also denying those requests to terminate their relationship with the synod?  If someone could explain this to me I would appreciate it.

Mel Harris

Oh Vicarbob ...  I see Eric's congregation in NR is still on the ELCA website.  Did you fine synod council folks permit them to leave and we are just in a time lag to have them removed from the website, or did you "respectfully" tell them no?

Respectfully,
Mark

If Eric's congregation is still considered part of the Metropolitan New York Synod, then it is dually rostered! 

It appears so.  A quick message to Eric revealed that the synod did not release them.  Eric replied; "No. They value diversity."  So evidently the MNYS has no problem with dual rostered congregations and LCMC pastors serving them.  Hmm.

You have to hand it to the Metro NY Synod.  What better way to value diversity than to allow congregation to be dually rostered!  Perhaps if congregations knew that joining LCMC or CORE would not invoke the wrath of the synod, they would not feel compelled to leave the ELCA.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 16, 2010, 10:41:04 AM
Which would be less than what we actually received last year, which was 238, with 339 received in 2007.  But who's counting?   ;D ;)

quote author=Brian Stoffregen link=topic=2616.msg144664#msg144664 date=1268719794]
This is rather interesting considering the church you pastor has declined almost 50% in attendance in the past 8 years.What is your evangelism emphasis in Yuma?

First of all, to make a commitment to stay more than three years. The turn over of pastors and interims during that eight years was quite high (two called pastors -- one left the ministry.) Next Sunday we are receiving 12 new members -- may not be high by your standards, but it's an increase of 7% of our membership. That would be equivalent to La Casa receiving 233 new members.

Secondly, in nearly every sermon, I am talking about sharing our faith with others.

Thirdly, I am attracting people with the music program -- I'm also the musician -- and receive complements every Sunday. A couple visited last Sunday; they said, "to hear you play and preach."

Of course I also try to visit with the folks who have visited the congregation. We have numerous outside groups using our facilities and I try to make myself known to them. We have stopped the decline in worship attendance this year -- worship attendance equals that of last year -- and, ironically, we have done that with one less worship service!

I'm also encouraging our membership to be more welcoming towards visitors when they come. (I my mind, that's step one. Step two is to for them invite folks to come.)

Considering the turmoil and decline that is happening in other congregations, I think that we are doing very well -- and with six less paid staff than even three years ago.
[/quote]
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 16, 2010, 10:52:28 AM
Which would be less than what we actually received last year, which was 238, with 339 received in 2007.  But who's counting?   ;D ;)

I'm planing this to be just the first welcome of new members this year -- additional ones will follow. But who's counting! :D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 16, 2010, 10:57:51 AM

Well, ytd we are at  85, so percentage wise, keep working...................  we will do a tall year end....of course, you probably won't see it on a 2010 ELCA annual report ;D ;)

Which would be less than what we actually received last year, which was 238, with 339 received in 2007.  But who's counting?   ;D ;)

I'm planing this to be just the first welcome of new members this year -- additional ones will follow. But who's counting! :D

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Virgil on March 16, 2010, 11:13:16 AM
Is this really necessary, this p - - - ing contest about membership? I can think of all sorts of reasons a church grows or shrinks, and I try not to take too much credit for either.  :(


Well, ytd we are at  85, so percentage wise, keep working...................  we will do a tall year end....of course, you probably won't see it on a 2010 ELCA annual report ;D ;)

Which would be less than what we actually received last year, which was 238, with 339 received in 2007.  But who's counting?   ;D ;)

I'm planing this to be just the first welcome of new members this year -- additional ones will follow. But who's counting! :D

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: jrubyaz on March 16, 2010, 12:45:35 PM
We didn't take credit either, Steve. The reality is the topic came up because of evangelism and how churches grow , or don't grow. It was some friendly banter with lots of emoticons that indicated jokes.....lighten up a bit! ::) ;D I got to meet Pastor S at a Synod Assembly and he plays a mean piano!  8)

Is this really necessary, this p - - - ing contest about membership? I can think of all sorts of reasons a church grows or shrinks, and I try not to take too much credit for either.  :(


Well, ytd we are at  85, so percentage wise, keep working...................  we will do a tall year end....of course, you probably won't see it on a 2010 ELCA annual report ;D ;)

Which would be less than what we actually received last year, which was 238, with 339 received in 2007.  But who's counting?   ;D ;)

I'm planing this to be just the first welcome of new members this year -- additional ones will follow. But who's counting! :D

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 16, 2010, 01:29:44 PM
We didn't take credit either, Steve. The reality is the topic came up because of evangelism and how churches grow , or don't grow. It was some friendly banter with lots of emoticons that indicated jokes.....lighten up a bit! ::) ;D I got to meet Pastor S at a Synod Assembly and he plays a mean piano!  8)

Thanks. It was good meeting you, too. It is refreshing to see a large church continue to grow. (We've already discussed the numbers at Community Church of Joy.) Somewhere, some author, I read commented that often the small congregations who take in only a few new members a year, percentage-wise, are out-growing the large congregations whose raw numbers are much larger, but grow at a small percentage rate. (I suspected that your growth was continuing at a high rate.)

It is also worth comparing a congregation's percentage growth/decline with the population growth/decline in the area. A congregation that is growing by 10% in a community that is growing by 20% is not keeping up. Similarly, a congregation with no growth in a community whose population has declined by 10% is doing well. In contrast, I went to a congregation whose community had grown in population from 5000 to 20,000 in ten years -- and during the same decade, congregational membership declined. The two previous ministers before me had both left the ministry. There were problems.

(If I hadn't become a minister, I'd probably have majored in some area of math.)
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Virgil on March 16, 2010, 01:50:29 PM
Alright, then. You may proceed to your customary bantering.  ;)

We didn't take credit either, Steve. The reality is the topic came up because of evangelism and how churches grow , or don't grow. It was some friendly banter with lots of emoticons that indicated jokes.....lighten up a bit! ::) ;D I got to meet Pastor S at a Synod Assembly and he plays a mean piano!  8)

Is this really necessary, this p - - - ing contest about membership? I can think of all sorts of reasons a church grows or shrinks, and I try not to take too much credit for either.  :(


Well, ytd we are at  85, so percentage wise, keep working...................  we will do a tall year end....of course, you probably won't see it on a 2010 ELCA annual report ;D ;)

Which would be less than what we actually received last year, which was 238, with 339 received in 2007.  But who's counting?   ;D ;)

I'm planing this to be just the first welcome of new members this year -- additional ones will follow. But who's counting! :D

Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 16, 2010, 01:54:13 PM

(If I hadn't become a minister, I'd probably have majored in some area of math.)
Woulda, coulda, shoulda
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: George Erdner on March 16, 2010, 02:33:22 PM

(If I hadn't become a minister, I'd probably have majored in some area of math.)
Woulda, coulda, shoulda

Some how, that doesn't add up.  ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: G.Edward on March 16, 2010, 02:41:29 PM

(If I hadn't become a minister, I'd probably have majored in some area of math.)
Woulda, coulda, shoulda

Some how, that doesn't add up.  ;D

I think it's called "new math".  ;D ;D
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 16, 2010, 05:19:45 PM

(If I hadn't become a minister, I'd probably have majored in some area of math.)
Woulda, coulda, shoulda

Some how, that doesn't add up.  ;D

I think it's called "new math".  ;D ;D

Like binary!!!
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: SmithL on March 16, 2010, 06:19:50 PM
You have to hand it to the Metro NY Synod.  What better way to value diversity than to allow congregation to be dually rostered!  Perhaps if congregations knew that joining LCMC or CORE would not invoke the wrath of the synod, they would not feel compelled to leave the ELCA.
I have a Sunday-only subscription to my local newspaper, but they insist on delivering it every day.  My value to them as a subscriber is quite low, but if they can tell advertisers that I see ads every day (even though I don't open the paper), I have more value to them.  So it seems to be with the ELCA.  The congregations may not be sending any money to the Synod, but the Synod can claim their numbers.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: MSchimmel on March 16, 2010, 06:33:27 PM
You have to hand it to the Metro NY Synod.  What better way to value diversity than to allow congregation to be dually rostered!  Perhaps if congregations knew that joining LCMC or CORE would not invoke the wrath of the synod, they would not feel compelled to leave the ELCA.
I have a Sunday-only subscription to my local newspaper, but they insist on delivering it every day.  My value to them as a subscriber is quite low, but if they can tell advertisers that I see ads every day (even though I don't open the paper), I have more value to them.  So it seems to be with the ELCA.  The congregations may not be sending any money to the Synod, but the Synod can claim their numbers.

There actually is real monetary value in numbers on the roles.  We've been asked to update our congregation records (many LCMC congregations have never submitted such records) because the grant from Thrivent to the organization (much like the ones made to ELCA and LCMS) is based upon how many people are in the organization.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Eric Swensson on March 17, 2010, 10:43:25 AM
At our meeting with the Synod Council  we asked several times that they let us go and that they vote at this meeting. The Bishop, Vice President and others told us that they would get in touch with us in a few weeks to a few months, it was a big decision. Imagine our shock when we found out that they voted immediately after we left. The members, of course, felt as though they had been lied to.

Read all about it.

http://www.mnys.org/downloads/about/SCO9.9.minutes.pdf
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: DCharlton on March 17, 2010, 10:50:31 AM
At our meeting with the Synod Council  we asked several times that they let us go and that they vote at this meeting. The Bishop, Vice President and others told us that they would get in touch with us in a few weeks to a few months, it was a big decision. Imagine our shock when we found out that they voted immediately after we left. The members, of course, felt as though they had been lied to.

Read all about it.

http://www.mnys.org/downloads/about/SCO9.9.minutes.pdf


So Holy Trinity is, in the eyes of the Metro NY Synod, dually rostered?  And it was the decision of the synod council, not the congregation, that Holy Trinity be dually rostered?  How strange.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: BHughes on March 17, 2010, 11:02:10 AM
At our meeting with the Synod Council  we asked several times that they let us go and that they vote at this meeting. The Bishop, Vice President and others told us that they would get in touch with us in a few weeks to a few months, it was a big decision. Imagine our shock when we found out that they voted immediately after we left. The members, of course, felt as though they had been lied to.

Read all about it.

http://www.mnys.org/downloads/about/SCO9.9.minutes.pdf


  So they said you can't go?   Wow.  Just - wow.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Scotty8284 on March 17, 2010, 11:06:42 AM
As I read the resolution, Holy Trinity can still reject the request.  Maybe Holy Trinity should use the strategy that's being bandied about Congress and pass a resolution that they "deem" the relationship terminated.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 17, 2010, 11:40:15 AM
So they respectfully requested that you stay in the ELCA. Big deal. They didn't say you had to. I respectfully request that you send me a thousand dollars.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: BHughes on March 17, 2010, 11:46:04 AM
So they respectfully requested that you stay in the ELCA. Big deal. They didn't say you had to. I respectfully request that you send me a thousand dollars.

  Well ... at the same time they didn't officially "release" them either.  It was an interesting decision.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Scotty8284 on March 17, 2010, 12:45:53 PM
A Memorial should be brought to every Synod Convention this year requiring Synod Council's to release any congregation which has met all other constitutionally mandated guidelines.  Let's really find out if the principle of "Bound Conscience" is respected in the ELCA or not.  If a congregation's "Bound Conscience" cannot allow them to remain, then there should be no impediment to their release.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 17, 2010, 12:50:24 PM
So they respectfully requested that you stay in the ELCA. Big deal. They didn't say you had to. I respectfully request that you send me a thousand dollars.

  Well ... at the same time they didn't officially "release" them either.  It was an interesting decision.

I do find it interesting that at least two synods (MNYS and Florida-Bahamas) seem inclined to ignore the hard-line approach on dual rostering that Secretary Swartling advocated.  Will this hard line, like V&E up till now, be a policy that synods choose regularly not to enforce?  I guess time will tell.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Charles_Austin on March 17, 2010, 12:52:18 PM
It must be said again, I suppose, that the concept of "bound conscience" only comes into play with regard to certain matters about the deicsions on sexuality. It does not come into play with regard to staying in the ELCA or leaving it. It is not something that can be applied in every situation.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 17, 2010, 12:57:46 PM
A Memorial should be brought to every Synod Convention this year requiring Synod Council's to release any congregation which has met all other constitutionally mandated guidelines.  Let's really find out if the principle of "Bound Conscience" is respected in the ELCA or not.  If a congregation's "Bound Conscience" cannot allow them to remain, then there should be no impediment to their release.

I have argued time and again that the "bound conscience" standard envisioned by the CWA resolutions is inherently unworkable.  That aside, I don't think that you can fairly read those resolutions as extending the standard to deliberations over whether a congregation should be permitted to leave the ELCA.  On the contrary, imposition of the standard is intended to make it unnecessary to leave the ELCA.

I suppose you can still use the term "bound conscience" to support the kind of motion you are proposing.  But you would be using it in a somewhat different way than did the CWA.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: peter_speckhard on March 17, 2010, 01:05:22 PM
It must be said again, I suppose, that the concept of "bound conscience" only comes into play with regard to certain matters about the deicsions on sexuality. It does not come into play with regard to staying in the ELCA or leaving it. It is not something that can be applied in every situation.
The whole concept only applies to the CWA decisions on sexuality? Brian has been saying that it applies to eating pork and circumcision, too, that in fact the concept of bound conscience comes from St. Paul, and its manifest wider applicability is what allowed the CWA to adapt it for use on matters of sexuality in the first place. How can the concept only come into play with regard to sexuality? By what criteria do we determine whether the bound conscience is to be honored or not?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: James_Gale on March 17, 2010, 01:20:12 PM
It must be said again, I suppose, that the concept of "bound conscience" only comes into play with regard to certain matters about the deicsions on sexuality. It does not come into play with regard to staying in the ELCA or leaving it. It is not something that can be applied in every situation.
The whole concept only applies to the CWA decisions on sexuality? Brian has been saying that it applies to eating pork and circumcision, too, that in fact the concept of bound conscience comes from St. Paul, and its manifest wider applicability is what allowed the CWA to adapt it for use on matters of sexuality in the first place. How can the concept only come into play with regard to sexuality? By what criteria do we determine whether the bound conscience is to be honored or not?

The CWA's concept, which ought never be confused with the Biblical standard, only applies to differing views regarding sexuality.  The point, of course, was to declare that differing views regarding sexuality are welcome in the ELCA and that these differences therefore need not be church-dividing.  Ultimately, however, a churchwide assembly can't declare by fiat that something either is or is not church-dividing.  Moreover, as the church council has discovered, no new structural formulations can be adequate to permit each person to act in accord with his or her bound conscience.  The standard collapses on itself, as any changes designed to respect the bound consciences of members of one group infringe on the bound consciences of the members of other groups.

If anyone intends to use the concept of "bound conscience" outside the realm of sexuality, he or she should make very clear that he or she is using "bound conscience" in a Biblical way, and not in the way the term was used by the CWA.  Otherwise, you will create confusion as two very different standards become conflated in the ensuing conversation. 

I can't speak to the way in which Pr. Stoffregen is using the term and won't try.
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 17, 2010, 01:32:00 PM
It must be said again, I suppose, that the concept of "bound conscience" only comes into play with regard to certain matters about the deicsions on sexuality. It does not come into play with regard to staying in the ELCA or leaving it. It is not something that can be applied in every situation.

Yes, you keep saying this, as does Brian. Let's analyze this claim. Granted, the concept of "bound conscience" was developed (out of whole cloth, some might say) by the ELCA sexuality task force to justify its recommendation in this particular instance. Where, exactly, in the task force report does it suggest that "this concept only applies, and can only be used, in this specific instance"? By what rational argument can one maintain that a concept like this is only relevent or applicable when it is used in the context of sexuality? After all, it seems to find its Scriptural warrant in St. Paul's dealing with meat sacrificed to idols; if the CWA has determined that it is a fundamental ethical principle with applicability beyond that particular situation, how can you maintain that the basic principle can't be applied in other situations?
Title: Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
Post by: Richard Johnson o