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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: MEKoch on July 18, 2007, 04:21:09 PM

Title: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: MEKoch on July 18, 2007, 04:21:09 PM
My bishop, Elizabeth Eaton, of the Northeastern Ohio Synod, wrote about the divisions about sexuality in the Synod.  What was interesting was her use of a quote by Conrad Bergendorf in 1939 in an open letter to the LCMS.

"You inquire whether the Augustana Synod could subscribe to doctrinal statements already drawn up by the Missouri Synod (The Brief Statement, I imagine).  I do not know if I can make myself clear in my reply without seeming to avoid the issue, which is exactly what I do not intend.  I must say, that I question the method of attaining fellowship which consists in one party offering a document to the other to be signed on the dotted line.  Indeed it is just this method which will preclude our coming closer. It is my contention that we are to meet each other as Lutheras, and not as suppliants asking for the right to be called Lutherans by other who have decided what Lutheranism is.  The question is ultimately not an intellectual question and can't be answered by formulae.  For I believe that I speak truly when I saw that many Lutherans do not accept the Missouri Synod as judge of their faith, or of their Lutheranism.  You treat us as non-Lutherans.  We resent it.  At once a gulf is created." 

The parenthesis is my editorial edition.  Michael Koch
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 18, 2007, 04:42:11 PM
1) So I guess he would have had trouble at Nicea, too? At Augsburg?

2) His argument is totally an emotion based one, so I guess that is its appeal to Bp Eaton?

3) Yeah, I don't like it either!

Anyway, #3 withstanding, I'd sooner fellowship in these latter days with people who know what they believe based on doctrine than on feelings. Feelings are secondary, they change, and sometimes they are just gas.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Dadoo on July 18, 2007, 05:15:47 PM
As I read her letter I note this:  THe Berdorf quote- which by the way has something to commend itself but that is another matter- here is used as a way of saying that: "We have to talk about this. We cannot just impose something on the other side."  That would imply that we have not talked at all-  One side just handed the other a take-it-or -leave-it paper.  That is not what happened and is not what is happening.  We have talked.   We have had debate for over 20 years now.  (and,yes, taught consistently "no" for 100's more)  This argument does not work for me somhow but better minds might explain itbetter.
By the way the bish's article also mentions that Prof Erling made a presentation to the new bishs that basically said that we, the ELCA, are a stronger church because of all of our mergers because we know how to talk and debate with one another.  What is up with that?  I am not sure that I see veracity of that point at all.  WHere is the data for it?

Keep the Faith

Peter
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: David Charlton on July 18, 2007, 09:04:04 PM
Remember that among many in the ELCA to compare someone with the LCMS is to call them bigoted, self-righteous, mean spirited and fundamentalist.  Not the best way to encourage a spirit of unity.

Bergendorf was apparently addressing doctrinal disagreements and the implication that the Augustana synod wasn't truly Lutheran.  It was not about an issue of morality that had been without dispute for 2000 plus years. 

Now, perhaps we're being unfair, the bishop may have been referring to those who say the gospel of unqualified acceptance have is the only true gospel.  You never know.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 18, 2007, 09:27:47 PM
This Sunday Bp. Eaton told a congregation that they could not be in the LCMC and stay in the ELCA.     They also could not keep their Pastor whom she removed from the ELCA roster for serving whom she deems schismatics and stay in the ELCA.

I think the main question to her was why if we are all Lutherans?

Yours In Christ
Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Dadoo on July 18, 2007, 10:05:24 PM
By the Way: here is Bishop Eaton's full letter

http://neos-elca.org/unified_mailing/2007/07-2007/Bishops_Newsletter.pdf

Again the Bergendorf comparison does not work for me but then..

Enjoy

Keep the Faith

Peter
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Mel Harris on July 19, 2007, 12:40:50 AM

This Sunday Bp. Eaton told a congregation that they could not be in the LCMC and stay in the ELCA.     They also could not keep their Pastor whom she removed from the ELCA roster for serving whom she deems schismatics and stay in the ELCA.


Rob,

While it is not unexpected, given what you have previously reported, I am very sorry to hear that this has happened. 

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Maryland Brian on July 19, 2007, 10:37:02 AM
This Sunday Bp. Eaton told a congregation that they could not be in the LCMC and stay in the ELCA.     They also could not keep their Pastor whom she removed from the ELCA roster for serving whom she deems schismatics and stay in the ELCA.

Rob,


I'm confused.  She's been in office five months, has dismissed a pastor and told a congregation they have to make a decision and THEN releases a letter that says:

My job is to hold the synod together. I believe it is possible, even while debating this deeply
dividing issue. If we acknowledge that we are sinners and the one with whom we disagree is
someone for whom Christ died, if we recognize each other as Lutherans and commit ourselves to
working out what this means, we can “walk together”

If I'm not mistaken, this is the same sort of confusion we see going on in TEC.  Which is it, a call to hold the church together or a call to dismiss those deemed "schismatic"?  I would think a strong case could also be made that membership in LCNA is also "schismatic" and the entire Reconciled in Christ movement is schismatic.  I mean, if you're going to start labeling people and booting them out, why not just go at it and be done with it?  That would leave the vastly reduced moderate middle to muddle along in a Post Modern and Post Denomination world.

Is this a dynamic of the latest breed of Bishops or was this something taught to the new Bishops or is this simply the logical outcome of the implosion coming to the ELCA along the lines we're already seeing in TEC?

Also - is the idea that LCMC membership means one cannot also be an ELCA congregation unique to this Bishop or is this the coming policy?

BTW, I would have hoped a Bishop of the Church would understand herself as the chief guardian of orthodoxy and evangelism in Christ's name, but that's just me....


Maryland Brian
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 19, 2007, 10:47:44 AM
This Sunday Bp. Eaton told a congregation that they could not be in the LCMC and stay in the ELCA.     They also could not keep their Pastor whom she removed from the ELCA roster for serving whom she deems schismatics and stay in the ELCA.

Rob,


I'm confused.  She's been in office five months, has dismissed a pastor and told a congregation they have to make a decision and THEN releases a letter that says:

My job is to hold the synod together. I believe it is possible, even while debating this deeply
dividing issue. If we acknowledge that we are sinners and the one with whom we disagree is
someone for whom Christ died, if we recognize each other as Lutherans and commit ourselves to
working out what this means, we can “walk together”

If I'm not mistaken, this is the same sort of confusion we see going on in TEC.  Which is it, a call to hold the church together or a call to dismiss those deemed "schismatic"?  I would think a strong case could also be made that membership in LCNA is also "schismatic" and the entire Reconciled in Christ movement is schismatic.  I mean, if you're going to start labeling people and booting them out, why not just go at it and be done with it?  That would leave the vastly reduced moderate middle to muddle along in a Post Modern and Post Denomination world.

Is this a dynamic of the latest breed of Bishops or was this something taught to the new Bishops or is this simply the logical outcome of the implosion coming to the ELCA along the lines we're already seeing in TEC?

Also - is the idea that LCMC membership means one cannot also be an ELCA congregation unique to this Bishop or is this the coming policy?

BTW, I would have hoped a Bishop of the Church would understand herself as the chief guardian of orthodoxy and evangelism in Christ's name, but that's just me....


Maryland Brian

Brian's observations and questions are worthy of a broader audience. It is such things that we should be considering in our conference, synod and national gatherings and what the CoB should be discussing.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 10:56:48 AM
Also - is the idea that LCMC membership means one cannot also be an ELCA congregation unique to this Bishop or is this the coming policy?
It is not unique that that bishop. I believe it was over a year ago that a congregation in the Rocky Mountain Synod was given the same choice: ELCA or LCMC, but not both. As LCMC becomes more denomination-like, (and the ELCA Yearbooks already list them as a "Lutheran Body,") bishops will ask congregations to make a choice. I believe that most of the congregations in the LCMC association are no longer rostered in the ELCA.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Maryland Brian on July 19, 2007, 11:16:01 AM
I believe it was over a year ago that a congregation in the Rocky Mountain Synod was given the same choice: ELCA or LCMC, but not both. As LCMC becomes more denomination-like, (and the ELCA Yearbooks already list them as a "Lutheran Body,") bishops will ask congregations to make a choice. I believe that most of the congregations in the LCMC association are no longer rostered in the ELCA.

  It was the confusion of doing the booting within months of her election and saying "Gee, can't we all just get along because I'm called to hold the synod together" rhetoric that raised my question.  Which is it?  Boot or get along?

MD Brian
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: MaddogLutheran on July 19, 2007, 11:19:17 AM
If I'm not mistaken, this is the same sort of confusion we see going on in TEC.  Which is it, a call to hold the church together or a call to dismiss those deemed "schismatic"?  I would think a strong case could also be made that membership in LCNA is also "schismatic" and the entire Reconciled in Christ movement is schismatic.  I mean, if you're going to start labeling people and booting them out, why not just go at it and be done with it?  That would leave the vastly reduced moderate middle to muddle along in a Post Modern and Post Denomination world.

Is this a dynamic of the latest breed of Bishops or was this something taught to the new Bishops or is this simply the logical outcome of the implosion coming to the ELCA along the lines we're already seeing in TEC?

I was hoping for a place to offer this:  Sarah Hey of the Anglican Standing Firm in Faith website recently posted a long essay on the state of internal TEC politics.  She profiled the distinction between the two ascendant leadership groups:  institutional progressives and ideological progressives; and how the ideologues have gained the upper hand, as evidenced by the election of PB Schori and her public interviews, the property lawsuits, confrontation with the African primates, etc.  Sarah describes the institutional types as flumoxed by this turn of events, as their approach has been incremental and obfuscated public pronouncements so that the people in the pews (whom she believes are way more conservative) are unaware of it all.  It would seem this ideologue attitude corresponds to what MD Brian has said of LCNA and RIC types, that they don't care if they destroy the institution in their attempts to achieve their goals, because its the right thing to do.

Again the canary in the coal mine for the ELCA...are we about to see a more concerted "in your face" confrontation, as opposed to the more "institutional" approach of Bp. Hanson (as witness his reaction to the rainbow stole brigade on the last CWA floor debate)?

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/4445/


Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 11:20:27 AM
I believe it was over a year ago that a congregation in the Rocky Mountain Synod was given the same choice: ELCA or LCMC, but not both. As LCMC becomes more denomination-like, (and the ELCA Yearbooks already list them as a "Lutheran Body,") bishops will ask congregations to make a choice. I believe that most of the congregations in the LCMC association are no longer rostered in the ELCA.

  It was the confusion of doing the booting within months of her election and saying "Gee, can't we all just get along because I'm called to hold the synod together" rhetoric that raised my question.  Which is it?  Boot or get along?

It's like removing inactive members from the congregation. While it may seem like the congregation council "boots" them out of the church, in reality, it was the members' own actions (or lack of actions) by which they removed themselves. The council just honestly declares what is: such people are no longer active members of the congregation. I think the "get along" approach means that those congregations and clergy are free to have their conservative views within the ELCA, but when they join another Lutheran body, they have removed themselves from the ELCA.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 19, 2007, 11:26:04 AM
If I'm not mistaken, this is the same sort of confusion we see going on in TEC.  Which is it, a call to hold the church together or a call to dismiss those deemed "schismatic"?  I would think a strong case could also be made that membership in LCNA is also "schismatic" and the entire Reconciled in Christ movement is schismatic.  I mean, if you're going to start labeling people and booting them out, why not just go at it and be done with it?  That would leave the vastly reduced moderate middle to muddle along in a Post Modern and Post Denomination world.

Is this a dynamic of the latest breed of Bishops or was this something taught to the new Bishops or is this simply the logical outcome of the implosion coming to the ELCA along the lines we're already seeing in TEC?

I was hoping for a place to offer this:  Sarah Hey of the Anglican Standing Firm in Faith website recently posted a long essay on the state of internal TEC politics.  She profiled the distinction between the two ascendant leadership groups:  institutional progressives and ideological progressives; and how the ideologues have gained the upper hand, as evidenced by the election of PB Schori and her public interviews, the property lawsuits, confrontation with the African primates, etc.  Sarah describes the institutional types as flumoxed by this turn of events, as their approach has been incremental and obfuscated public pronouncements so that the people in the pews (whom she believes are way more conservative) are unaware of it all.  It would seem this ideologue attitude corresponds to what MD Brian has said of LCNA and RIC types, that they don't care if they destroy the institution in their attempts to achieve their goals, because its the right thing to do.

Again the canary in the coal mine for the ELCA...are we about to see a more concerted "in your face" confrontation, as opposed to the more "institutional" approach of Bp. Hanson (as witness his reaction to the rainbow stole brigade on the last CWA floor debate)?

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/4445/


Sterling Spatz

Sterling, that same analysis of the two types of revisionist groups was offered here after the April 2006 Council meeting by Pr Kimball. He attended the whole meeting and said it was the same. He used different terms, but it is significant that the two denoms are led by the same dynamic.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 19, 2007, 11:31:04 AM
I believe it was over a year ago that a congregation in the Rocky Mountain Synod was given the same choice: ELCA or LCMC, but not both. As LCMC becomes more denomination-like, (and the ELCA Yearbooks already list them as a "Lutheran Body,") bishops will ask congregations to make a choice. I believe that most of the congregations in the LCMC association are no longer rostered in the ELCA.

  It was the confusion of doing the booting within months of her election and saying "Gee, can't we all just get along because I'm called to hold the synod together" rhetoric that raised my question.  Which is it?  Boot or get along?

It's like removing inactive members from the congregation. While it may seem like the congregation council "boots" them out of the church, in reality, it was the members' own actions (or lack of actions) by which they removed themselves. The council just honestly declares what is: such people are no longer active members of the congregation. I think the "get along" approach means that those congregations and clergy are free to have their conservative views within the ELCA, but when they join another Lutheran body, they have removed themselves from the ELCA.

Oh, exactly the same. Exactly the same, not. An lay individual is free to do things a clergy individual is not, but a whole congregation's actions being declared the same as an individual, it beggars belief. Of course, before we go forward, it is a false start. Your "individual" has in fact gone somewhere. Rob and his congregation still reside at their saem address.

Shalll we get into the fact that the address predates the ELCA by, what is it Rob, 150 years?

As Rob said, they are still Lutheran!
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 11:44:18 AM
As Rob said, they are still Lutheran!
And so is St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco, but that doesn't mean that they are rosterred in the ELCA.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: MaddogLutheran on July 19, 2007, 11:46:01 AM
Sterling, that same analysis of the two types of [TEC] revisionist groups was offered here after the April 2006 [ELCA] Council meeting by Pr Kimball. He attended the whole meeting and said it was the same. He used different terms, but it is significant that the two denoms are led by the same dynamic.
Which forces me to agree with the prevailing wisdom at the now occurring LCMS National Convention that it is the ELCA which is moving further away from Missouri.  Wish it were not so.  Following the coverage here, much of their leadership (and not just on the podium) seems focused on evangelism and outreach, despite whatever institutional politics is going on (mostly about particular methods, not so much doctrine and theology).  It is regrettable that it seems likely at the CWA that even though it is not on the formal agenda, the sexuality/LCNA issues will swamp everything else (acknowledging that their are synod memorials on the issue).

Something I found particularly interesting in Sarah Hey's article is her analysis of the size of the population that might be attracted both to the diversity/inclusiveness gospel and liturgical worship which TEC progressive are proclaiming.  It's an awfully small slice of the American demographic.  She makes the cogent point that LGBT and diversity advocates are much more likely to be staunch atheist or agnostics, affirmatively hostile to organized religion (not just ambivalent), so trying to reach out to them is no recipe for growth, and is in fact a formula for decline by the alienation of the existing membership (as witness the TEC parish departures and general numbers and giving declines).  I feel like I'm channeling MD Brian here  ;D ... you are getting through to at least one person, Pastor!  (And you, too, Pr. Swensson.)

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 19, 2007, 11:48:38 AM
OK, so what makes them Lutheran is they left the belief system of Lutherans. You miss the point that individuals and groups can and do change their beliefs. I would wager Rob's church still believes what they have, yet St Francis has progressed on from the beliefs of the people who built that church.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Maryland Brian on July 19, 2007, 11:55:21 AM
It's like removing inactive members from the congregation. While it may seem like the congregation council "boots" them out of the church, in reality, it was the members' own actions (or lack of actions) by which they removed themselves.

Brian,

You're more insightful than that.  As you know, how you enter a system makes a statement about how you will lead in the system. 

MD BRian
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 11:59:38 AM
OK, so what makes them Lutheran is they left the belief system of Lutherans. You miss the point that individuals and groups can and do change their beliefs. I would wager Rob's church still believes what they have, yet St Francis has progressed on from the beliefs of the people who built that church.
Y'mean like worshiping in English now.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 12:09:03 PM
You're more insightful than that.  As you know, how you enter a system makes a statement about how you will lead in the system. 
Yes, some congregations came kicking and screaming into the ELCA. Some congregations voted "no" on the new church, but became part of it in spite of their vote. My own congregation had a faction that refused to become ELCA so they left and formed another church in 1987 so that they wouldn't have to. Some of those rebellious congregations were never really in the "system," except by name only. (Just as some members of congregations are members in name only -- and offer little or no support of the congregation and little or no participation in congregational activities.) A key clue about a person's participation in a larger system, or a congregation's participation in a churchwide expression is whether or not their language is about unity "we" and "us" and "our" that includes the larger system, e.g., "our synod" or "our ELCA"; or language of division, "us and them," "ours and theirs," e.g., "those people in Chicago".
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 19, 2007, 12:16:38 PM
OK, so what makes them Lutheran is they left the belief system of Lutherans. You miss the point that individuals and groups can and do change their beliefs. I would wager Rob's church still believes what they have, yet St Francis has progressed on from the beliefs of the people who built that church.
Y'mean like worshiping in English now.

This time you really are going to have to explain what you mean. I take it this is humor? Did they recently switch. Is there any point. Be fair, Brian. We are busy.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Maryland Brian on July 19, 2007, 01:15:31 PM
Yes, some congregations came kicking and screaming into the ELCA.

Clever.  As you know my confusion was centered around seemingly mixed messages from this newly elected Bishop.  That's why I asked about those and quoted her.  Perhaps I'm misreading what she is communicating.  Perhaps she inherited someone else's problem child.  The newly elected Bishop of the Atlanta area certainly has, but in that case, there are obvious policy and procedure determinations that have been made outside of his future actions, whatever they may be.

So back to the question I asked, "Is the inability to hold membership in LCMC and the ELCA now a voted upon policy, has it been recommended to the newly elected bishops or is this one bishop making her own decision in the opening moments of her new ministry?"  OR ... I'll grant one more possibility, "Did she inherit a removal process and simply carried it out soon after her election?"  But even that begs the first question.

Like I said, how an INDIVIDUAL enters a system often makes a statement about how that person will lead in the system.  So in this case, which will it be; boot or "let's all get along."

MD Brian
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 01:32:06 PM
So back to the question I asked, "Is the inability to hold membership in LCMC and the ELCA now a voted upon policy, has it been recommended to the newly elected bishops or is this one bishop making her own decision in the opening moments of her new ministry?"  OR ... I'll grant one more possibility, "Did she inherit a removal process and simply carried it out soon after her election?"  But even that begs the first question.

I believe that Lowell Almen has made the decision that LCMC is a competing church body and that dual membership is not allowed. Whether or not a bishop follows through is up to the bishop.

It may also be true in this case that the newly elected bishop wanted to make it clear that "a new sheriff is in town" -- one who will follow the rules. (Or at least some of the rules :)).
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: mchristi on July 19, 2007, 01:35:54 PM
OK, so what makes them Lutheran is they left the belief system of Lutherans. You miss the point that individuals and groups can and do change their beliefs. I would wager Rob's church still believes what they have, yet St Francis has progressed on from the beliefs of the people who built that church.

This seems very confused.  I think the point that Brian was making is that one can be Lutheran, and retain a Lutheran faith, and not be a congregation of the ELCA.  Or have we come to the point that to be defined as "Lutheran" a congregation or individual must have a particular understanding of the topic of homosexuality?  Can we not see that this is a topic on which faithful Christians, including faithful Lutherans, may disagree?

Mark C. Christianson
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Maryland Brian on July 19, 2007, 01:43:43 PM

I believe that Lowell Almen has made the decision that LCMC is a competing church body and that dual membership is not allowed. Whether or not a bishop follows through is up to the bishop.



Therefore it is your belief that the policy was not voted upon by any legislative agency of the ELCA, but a determination was made by the Secretary of the church.  That suggests to me that the Secretary of the ELCA has the authority to make such a determination.  Would the Secretary have the ability to likewise decide what is not a competing church body?  I wouldn't think so.  In other words, LCNA seems like a competing body to me.  They even have their own candidacy process for ordained clergy, congregations are calling people from that list, said congregations are not being disciplined in some of our syonds and yet LCNA is on a different list than LCMC.

Like I said, which is it;  boot or let's all get along?  We know what's happening in TEC.  Looks very similar here to me.

MD Brian
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 19, 2007, 02:06:12 PM
Would the Secretary have the ability to likewise decide what is not a competing church body?  I wouldn't think so.  In other words, LCNA seems like a competing body to me.  They even have their own candidacy process for ordained clergy, congregations are calling people from that list, said congregations are not being disciplined in some of our syonds and yet LCNA is on a different list than LCMC.

Now there's a fascinating idea. Of course the immediate philosophical problem is that LCNA's members are individuals, not congregations; congregations may join the RIC program, but that less clearly has the institutional trappings that might argue for it to be a "church body."

Interesting, by the way, that LCNA has been utterly silent about the LCMS convention, where there was a resolution opposing placement of adoptive children with gay couples. They claim to be "pan-Lutheran," but of course I guess there are limits.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 19, 2007, 02:09:54 PM

Like I said, how an INDIVIDUAL enters a system often makes a statement about how that person will lead in the system.  So in this case, which will it be; boot or "let's all get along."

MD Brian

Indeed a congregation may have entered the system believing that they had the capacity to read and apply their constitutions as they had always done.   They could have read section 9.31 and understood that they had "Authority in all matters" if it was not assigned in the constitutions.    Thus if these understandings have now been unilaterally interpreted and congregational authority seemingly redefined then the system /relationship seems to have been changed and not by East Union Lutheran as some here have suggested.

Like wise East Union understands it continues in the faith of its fore fathers of near 200 years ago.  Now perhaps they find once again to have had understandings (this time of faith) been interpreted to the contrary of their understandings.    The G/L/B/T question has for them and so many brought this to light.

The key is the use and method of interpretation that seems to be being applied to both scripture and governing documents and the application there of.    If its about unity it is definitely a specific unity.

Not a lawyer.  But if people/congregations now need one to read thier governing documents isnt there a problem?

Yours In Christ
Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 19, 2007, 02:18:33 PM
Would the Secretary have the ability to likewise decide what is not a competing church body?  I wouldn't think so.  In other words, LCNA seems like a competing body to me.  They even have their own candidacy process for ordained clergy, congregations are calling people from that list, said congregations are not being disciplined in some of our syonds and yet LCNA is on a different list than LCMC.

Now there's a fascinating idea. Of course the immediate philosophical problem is that LCNA's members are individuals, not congregations; congregations may join the RIC program, but that less clearly has the institutional trappings that might argue for it to be a "church body."

Interesting, by the way, that LCNA has been utterly silent about the LCMS convention, where there was a resolution opposing placement of adoptive children with gay couples. They claim to be "pan-Lutheran," but of course I guess there are limits.

Thus it is interesting how the concept of "Church body" rather than common faith is of prime importance.   

Yours In Christ
Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Maryland Brian on July 19, 2007, 02:24:02 PM
Now there's a fascinating idea. Of course the immediate philosophical problem is that LCNA's members are individuals, not congregations; congregations may join the RIC program, but that less clearly has the institutional trappings that might argue for it to be a "church body."

 OTOH, and this is why this determination is confusing to me, congregations are the ones calling individuals from the ECP process.  That tells me this alternate candidacy process is acceptable to the majority as evidenced by their voting at a constitutionally appropriate congregation meeting.  The congregations are calling people outside the ELCA roster and the congregations are allowed to do so in some synods.  Are the newly elected Bishops being told this is not acceptable within the ELCA and they should do something about it?

The congregation in question for this little conversation seems to have been led by a pastor called from the roster, serving a congregation within the ELCA, and yet he is booted and the congregation is now threatened with removal ... considering, from what I've read, LCMC does not understand itself as a competing denomination/entity.

Double standard comes to mind.  Confusion comes to mind.  But I still haven't had my core question answered and perhaps that's because no one knows; "Has the latest crop of newly elected Bishops been told that LCMC membership is not allowed for ELCA congregations, that they should start doing something about it and what process in the ELCA made that determination?"

I carry no water for LCMC and have no current interest in joining.  It's the actions and rhetoric of a newly elected Bishop that I find confusing.  Where did she learn this was something she should do?

MD Brian
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: mchristi on July 19, 2007, 02:37:47 PM
In other words, LCNA seems like a competing body to me.  They even have their own candidacy process for ordained clergy, congregations are calling people from that list, said congregations are not being disciplined in some of our syonds and yet LCNA is on a different list than LCMC.

As Richard correctly pointed out, LC/NA's membership is made up of individuals, not congregation.  The Reconciling in Christ program is a program of Lutherans Concerned.  It is essentially a list of congregations, synods, and other organizations that have made a "statement of welcome" and chosen to take the Reconciling in Christ designation.  Lutherans Concerned does sometimes organize local or national gatherings for RIC congregations, but there is no RIC organization as such.  It would be a stretch to call a list of congregations who have chosen to be public ally known as RIC a "church body" precisely because of its lack of any congregation membership organization associated with it.

But Brian is incorrect that Lutherans Concerned/North America has its own candidacy process.  I assume he is thinking of the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, but that is not a LC/NA program.  They have no control or governance over it.  While many, if not most, of the people involved are also members of LC/NA, but there is no organic connection.  The ECP is closely associated with Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries (LLGM) which had founded and sponsored the program and continues to work closely with it.  LLGM was formed around the time of the ordinations in San Francisco.  These various organizations cooperate often, but also retain distinct characters and foci.  The ECP also is not an organization of congregations.  It has individuals who are members of its board and a couple of regional panels as well as its roster.  It doesn't even have an extensive individual membership.

Mark C.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 19, 2007, 03:57:24 PM
OK, so what makes them Lutheran is they left the belief system of Lutherans. You miss the point that individuals and groups can and do change their beliefs. I would wager Rob's church still believes what they have, yet St Francis has progressed on from the beliefs of the people who built that church.

This seems very confused.  I think the point that Brian was making is that one can be Lutheran, and retain a Lutheran faith, and not be a congregation of the ELCA.  Or have we come to the point that to be defined as "Lutheran" a congregation or individual must have a particular understanding of the topic of homosexuality?  Can we not see that this is a topic on which faithful Christians, including faithful Lutherans, may disagree?

Mark C. Christianson

No, Mark, we have not come to the point where any one person or congregation or offical may definitively say that to be defined as "Lutheran" a congregation or individual must have a particular understanding of the topic of homosexuality, but we have always been able to say that something is biblical or it is not. Never forget that no one in the history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church before this generation ever tried to make the argument that there is some other understanding of human sexuality than was faithful to God's Word than what you are hintng at. Perhaps you want to come out and explain how a congregation such as th eaforementioned one in San Francisco teached that their understanding fits within the ELCA consititution.

The case has not been made yet, and until it has, it is not just an issue that we disagree on, but goes to core matters, essentialluy, that of the authority of Scripture.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: mchristi on July 19, 2007, 04:06:04 PM
Never forget that no one in the history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church ever tried to make the argument that there is some other understanding of human sexuality than was faithful to God's Word than what you are hintng at.

No, Eric, many people have made such an argument.  Clearly, you don't find any of them convincing or maybe you haven't been looking or listening for them, but it simply wrong that no one has ever tried to make such an argument.

Mark C.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 19, 2007, 04:12:20 PM
Mark, it is an expression we use. When we say "The argument has not been made" it means that it falls short. It is significant that with all the resources that have been put into this voer 20 years or longer, the case has not been made and now, in 2007, Good Soil has dropped trying to prove the issue biblically and is going at it politically, hopoing to get enough votes.

I'm in Metro NY, OK? At our annual assembly all the speakers on the revisionist side made emotional arguments and not a one tried to argue Scripture.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: mchristi on July 19, 2007, 04:30:51 PM
What you said, precisely, was "that no one in the history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church ever tried to make the argument."  That isn't the same construction as "no one has made the argument" which I would have understood as "the argument has not been convincing," at least in your assessment.  But when you speak of trying to make the argument is a different matter.

Just because no one has made arguments from Scripture at your synod assemblies doesn't mean that no one has presented such arguments in the ELCA, either in print, in other forums, or in assemblies of the ELCA or its synods.  In fact, I can tell you that such arguments from scripture and theological principles have in fact been made, even at synod assemblies.  I've heard them.

Mark C.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Eric_Swensson on July 19, 2007, 04:42:50 PM
I thought I had included "before this generation" in the sentence. I've since gone back and inserted it. I would have thought that was implied in what I said. Sorry to have put you to the trouble.

As to your second paragraph, you continue to misread me. If you read Scripture as literally as you are reading me we would not be having this discussion! If I didn't say it, I impied it, but to be clear, I meant this year. This year, following a round of six papers dealing wiht these issues seriously, the revisionist abandoned arguing from Scripture or Lutheran law and Gospel and went to emotional agruments urging a legislative solution.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 05:13:09 PM
OK, so what makes them Lutheran is they left the belief system of Lutherans. You miss the point that individuals and groups can and do change their beliefs. I would wager Rob's church still believes what they have, yet St Francis has progressed on from the beliefs of the people who built that church.
Y'mean like worshiping in English now.

This time you really are going to have to explain what you mean. I take it this is humor? Did they recently switch. Is there any point. Be fair, Brian. We are busy.
St. Francis Lutheran has gone through many changes in its long history. It was formed in 1964 by a merger of Ansgar Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (began in 1903) and Gethsemane Lutheran Church, which began in 1899 as the First Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of San Francisco. The name change occured in 1958. For its first 30 years, Ansgar had Danish and English services. Finnish language services continued until 1982. Besides changes in languages, both churches went through changes of location and buildings. St. Francis does not have the same mission as the founding members had. They are no longer reaching Finnish seamen nor Danish settlers in San Francisco.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 05:16:10 PM
Indeed a congregation may have entered the system believing that they had the capacity to read and apply their constitutions as they had always done.
If they did, they weren't reading the materials well. From the very beginning, congregations were given five years to conform to the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 19, 2007, 05:19:58 PM
Indeed a congregation may have entered the system believing that they had the capacity to read and apply their constitutions as they had always done.
If they did, they weren't reading the materials well. From the very beginning, congregations were given five years to conform to the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations.

Or they where "reading the materials well" and you are not in relation to the fact that they say nothing about dual roster for congregations but does give congregations "authority in all matters" through section 9.31?     

Perhaps you could show me where "the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations" states they do not have "the capacity to read and apply their constitutions"?

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 05:42:56 PM
Indeed a congregation may have entered the system believing that they had the capacity to read and apply their constitutions as they had always done.
If they did, they weren't reading the materials well. From the very beginning, congregations were given five years to conform to the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations.

Or they where "reading the materials well" and you are not in relation to the fact that they say nothing about dual roster for congregations but does give congregations "authority in all matters" through section 9.31?     

Perhaps you could show me where "the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations" states they do not have "the capacity to read and apply their constitutions"?

The ELCA Constitution lists these requirements for congregations:

9.21. This church shall recognize, receive, and maintain on the roster those congregations which by their practice as well as their governing documents:
a. preach the Word, administer the sacraments, and carry out God’s mission;
b. accept this church’s Confession of Faith;
c. agree to the Statement of Purpose of this church;
d. agree to call pastoral leadership from the clergy roster of this church in accordance with the call procedures of this church except in special circumstances and with the approval of the synodical bishop;
e. agree to be responsible for their life as a Christian community; and
f. agree to support the life and work of this church. (boldface added)

A congregation's governing documents have to agree with the ELCA's Confession of Faith. They do not have the right or authority to create a different confession of faith.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 05:49:33 PM
Re: Dual Rostering

The Manual of Policies and Procedures for Management of the Rosters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America contains this paragraph.

No Dual Roster Membership: An ordained minister of this church who enters the ordained ministry of another church body, or who joins a religious group or congregation of another church body (except as provided in 7.41.17.), or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof, shall cease to be a member of this church. The ordained minister’s name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report the action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly. (boldface in original)

This document was originally approved by the Church Council on November 14, 1994. With the ELCA's restructuring, and constitution and bylaw changes, the document was revised and again approved by the Church Council on November 12, 2005.

I note: it was the Church Council who approved Definition and Guidelines for Discipline and Vision and Expectations. These, like the Manual, have never been approved by a Churchwide Assembly.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Mel Harris on July 19, 2007, 06:11:34 PM


Indeed a congregation may have entered the system believing that they had the capacity to read and apply their constitutions as they had always done.
If they did, they weren't reading the materials well. From the very beginning, congregations were given five years to conform to the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations.


I do not think that this is correct.  As I recall, former ALC congregations were encouraged to bring their constitutions into conformity with the constitution of the ELCA within so many years, but were not required to do so.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 19, 2007, 06:34:05 PM
Re: Dual Rostering

The Manual of Policies and Procedures for Management of the Rosters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America contains this paragraph.

No Dual Roster Membership: An ordained minister of this church who enters the ordained ministry of another church body, or who joins a religious group or congregation of another church body (except as provided in 7.41.17.), or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof, shall cease to be a member of this church. The ordained minister’s name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report the action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly. (boldface in original)

This document was originally approved by the Church Council on November 14, 1994. With the ELCA's restructuring, and constitution and bylaw changes, the document was revised and again approved by the Church Council on November 12, 2005.

I note: it was the Church Council who approved Definition and Guidelines for Discipline and Vision and Expectations. These, like the Manual, have never been approved by a Churchwide Assembly.

Excuse me???!!   Where do you see NO DUAL ROSTER FOR CONGERATIONS?  CONGREGATIONS? not "ordained minister"s?   Did you miss the point or is it an attempt to redirect?

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 19, 2007, 06:36:50 PM
Indeed a congregation may have entered the system believing that they had the capacity to read and apply their constitutions as they had always done.
If they did, they weren't reading the materials well. From the very beginning, congregations were given five years to conform to the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations.

Or they where "reading the materials well" and you are not in relation to the fact that they say nothing about dual roster for congregations but does give congregations "authority in all matters" through section 9.31?     

Perhaps you could show me where "the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations" states they do not have "the capacity to read and apply their constitutions"?

The ELCA Constitution lists these requirements for congregations:

9.21. This church shall recognize, receive, and maintain on the roster those congregations which by their practice as well as their governing documents:
a. preach the Word, administer the sacraments, and carry out God’s mission;
b. accept this church’s Confession of Faith;
c. agree to the Statement of Purpose of this church;
d. agree to call pastoral leadership from the clergy roster of this church in accordance with the call procedures of this church except in special circumstances and with the approval of the synodical bishop;
e. agree to be responsible for their life as a Christian community; and
f. agree to support the life and work of this church. (boldface added)

A congregation's governing documents have to agree with the ELCA's Confession of Faith. They do not have the right or authority to create a different confession of faith.

So where does the confession of faith state "NO DUAL ROSTER FOR CONGREGATIONS" or negate section 9.31?   

Does that confession of faith declare the use of higher criticism?  Ordaining gay ministers or same sex unions?  So who then would be that is creating "a different confession of faith"?
 
Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Keith Falk on July 19, 2007, 07:47:39 PM
So the congregation is, or is not, still a member of the ELCA?  Still listed on the synod and ELCA's website... though the pastor in question is not on the Rostered Leaders directory.

A Confession of Faith, seems to me, is a declaration that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, fully human and fully divine, who died that we could live.  You know, something along those lines - and that really doesn't seem to be the issue at place.  The congregation and pastors aren't becoming, let's say... Muslim, for example  ;)
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 08:27:42 PM


Indeed a congregation may have entered the system believing that they had the capacity to read and apply their constitutions as they had always done.
If they did, they weren't reading the materials well. From the very beginning, congregations were given five years to conform to the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations.


I do not think that this is correct.  As I recall, former ALC congregations were encouraged to bring their constitutions into conformity with the constitution of the ELCA within so many years, but were not required to do so.
I think that the language was stronger than "encouraged," but there was no disciplinary actions for those who did not conform. Someone else stated that even if congregations have not revised their Constitutions, the provisions in the Model concerning withdrawal, clergy issues, etc., still apply to them. For example, a congregation wishing to leave the ELCA, would have to follow the procedures in the Model, even if their own constitution listed a different procedure.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 08:39:22 PM
So where does the confession of faith state "NO DUAL ROSTER FOR CONGREGATIONS" or negate section 9.31?

The Confession of Faith is Chapter 2 of the ELCA's Constitution, Chapter 4 of the Model Constitution for Synods, and Chapter 2 of the Model Constitution for Congregations. The content is the same in each.

There is nothing in the Constitution about dual rosters for congregations. However, I could interpret 9.21.f. agree to support the life and work of this church, as saying, joining another church body is an act of non-support towards the ELCA. It could be similar to a husband telling his wife, "I've found another woman I want to marry, but I want to stay married to you, too."

Quote
Does that confession of faith declare the use of higher criticism?  Ordaining gay ministers or same sex unions?  So who then would be that is creating "a different confession of faith"?
You can read chapter 2. That is the ELCA's confession of faith. I think that it's a very good confession. If you don't have it, I can send it to you. I use it in every new member class.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 19, 2007, 08:47:29 PM
So where does the confession of faith state "NO DUAL ROSTER FOR CONGREGATIONS" or negate section 9.31?

The Confession of Faith is Chapter 2 of the ELCA's Constitution, Chapter 4 of the Model Constitution for Synods, and Chapter 2 of the Model Constitution for Congregations. The content is the same in each.

There is nothing in the Constitution about dual rosters for congregations.
Thank you.  Thus section 9.31 applies

Quote
However, I could interpret 9.21.f. agree to support the life and work of this church, as saying, joining another church body is an act of non-support towards the ELCA. It could be similar to a husband telling his wife, "I've found another woman I want to marry, but I want to stay married to you, too."

Which means nothing!   See above.

Quote
Does that confession of faith declare the use of higher criticism?  Ordaining gay ministers or same sex unions?  So who then would be that is creating "a different confession of faith"?
You can read chapter 2. That is the ELCA's confession of faith. I think that it's a very good confession. If you don't have it, I can send it to you. I use it in every new member class.
Quote
I have read it many times so you have to do so and show "the use of higher criticism?  Ordaining gay ministers or same sex unions?" or your declaration about people making thier own confession of faith becomes suspect? 

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 19, 2007, 11:39:45 PM
I have read it many times so you have to do so and show "the use of higher criticism?  Ordaining gay ministers or same sex unions?" or your declaration about people making thier own confession of faith becomes suspect? 
Congregations who wish to be part of the ELCA are to use the ELCA's Confession of Faith. It has nothing to do with higher criticism or who can be ordained.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: jrstacy98 on July 20, 2007, 12:25:29 AM
So back to the question I asked, "Is the inability to hold membership in LCMC and the ELCA now a voted upon policy, has it been recommended to the newly elected bishops or is this one bishop making her own decision in the opening moments of her new ministry?"  OR ... I'll grant one more possibility, "Did she inherit a removal process and simply carried it out soon after her election?"  But even that begs the first question.

I believe that Lowell Almen has made the decision that LCMC is a competing church body and that dual membership is not allowed. Whether or not a bishop follows through is up to the bishop.

It may also be true in this case that the newly elected bishop wanted to make it clear that "a new sheriff is in town" -- one who will follow the rules. (Or at least some of the rules :)).

But isn't this just another double standard, a few years ago there were churches that were both elca and LCMS.  They had affiliated with AELC but stayed as part of the LCMS.  When LCMS told them to make a decision I've seen elca comments about how mean and unfair that is.  Now according to you it should have been the elca that through them out when it started.

And to the point of MBrian, she's talking about unity after doing everything she can to cause division.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 20, 2007, 02:03:20 AM
But isn't this just another double standard, a few years ago there were churches that were both elca and LCMS.  They had affiliated with AELC but stayed as part of the LCMS.  When LCMS told them to make a decision I've seen elca comments about how mean and unfair that is.  Now according to you it should have been the elca that through them out when it started.
The two churches that continue to relate to the ELCA and LCMS (in Paradise, CA, and Arcata, CA,) do not have "dual" membership in the two denominations, but are composed of two congregations sharing a pastor, building, joint council, etc. One congregation is ELCA and the other is LCMS.

The ELCA Constitution does allow for Federated or Union Congregations, but it's at the discretion of the synod bishop and is limited to denominations with whom we have full communion agreements (9.90.-9.91.).
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Dennis on July 20, 2007, 09:04:31 AM
For what its worth, and at a very late point in this thread, the man being quoted is

Conrad Bergendoff, not Bergendorf.

Conrad Bergendoff was a giant in mid 20th century Lutheranism, and recognized as such.  He lived to be over 100 years old.

His quote is valuable because it reminds Missouri that we come to the table as equals, not as one group having to answer to another.  His comments could equally apply to the recent statements coming out of Rome.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: James S. Rustad on July 20, 2007, 05:44:30 PM
It's like removing inactive members from the congregation. While it may seem like the congregation council "boots" them out of the church, in reality, it was the members' own actions (or lack of actions) by which they removed themselves. The council just honestly declares what is: such people are no longer active members of the congregation. I think the "get along" approach means that those congregations and clergy are free to have their conservative views within the ELCA, but when they join another Lutheran body, they have removed themselves from the ELCA.

Without facts that are not in evidence, we can't conclude that it's "like removing inactive members from the congregation."  It's quite possible that the congregations that have been given this choice ARE still active in their synods and the ELCA.

I think a more accurate comparison (without knowing more) would be to members that have membership in two congregations -- one as a member, one as an associate member.  Just which body is the associate membership would be a good question, though.

Another fair comparison might be to my own situation -- my wife and I attend one congregation while sunday school is in session and another on other sundays.  The one congregation has a sunday school that fits my son's needs better.  We are active in both congregations.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 20, 2007, 06:20:55 PM
Without facts that are not in evidence, we can't conclude that it's "like removing inactive members from the congregation."  It's quite possible that the congregations that have been given this choice ARE still active in their synods and the ELCA.
The comparison was not about one's activity per se, but that one's actions cause the so-called "booting out". In my example, it is the inactivity of members that cause them to be removed from membership by the council. In the case under discussion, it was the congregation's actions (joining another Lutheran body) that caused them to be faced with a choice of picking one or the other. Their choice resulted in removal from the ELCA's roster.

It's like the occasions when I have received a ticket for speeding. Should I put all the blame on the police officers who gave me the ticket; or should I accept responsibility for my own actions that resulted in the ticket? In rare cases, I might argue that I didn't know the speed limit. The rules weren't posted. (I think this is part of the argument under discussion.) In that case, police officers will state that the drivers' handbook we all had to study in order to get our license, lists the general speed limits on different type roads when they are not posted. (The congregation under discussion argues that the rule that they were punished under is not posted anywhere -- and they are right, in so far as I cannot find any rules that talk about dual rostered congregations.) However, if after a first offense, the police officer tells me what the rule is, and lets me go without a ticket, and I continue to drive too fast on that road, I should expect a ticket have to pay the consequences on subsequent infractions. I can no longer claim ignorance of the rule. (I may not agree with the rule, but I can't claim ignorance of it.)

When clergy and congregations have been informed that they cannot have dual membership in the ELCA and LCMC, and they persist in continuing their dual membership, they should expect to pay the consequences.

That is the usual case in regards to inactive members. When they fail to meet the expectations of membership (expectations that they may not be aware of,) they are to be informed of the rules, and that they have failed to meet them, and then be encouraged to follow the rules and become active members. If they persist in their inactivity, they are removed. After being removed, should they blame the council for "booting them out" or accept responsibility for failing to abide by the rules?
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 20, 2007, 08:03:29 PM

When clergy and congregations have been informed that they cannot have dual membership in the ELCA and LCMC, and they persist in continuing their dual membership, they should expect to pay the consequences.


When as you have admitted "There is nothing in the Constitution about dual rosters for congregations" and thus section 9.31 declares congregations have "Authority in all matters that are not assigned" thus followed thier constitutions, who ? "should expect to pay the consequences".

I think congregations are realizing the consequences of staying in the ELCA.   Your logic only drives that home.

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: pilgrimpriest on July 20, 2007, 08:58:38 PM

When clergy and congregations have been informed that they cannot have dual membership in the ELCA and LCMC, and they persist in continuing their dual membership, they should expect to pay the consequences.


When as you have admitted "There is nothing in the Constitution about dual rosters for congregations" and thus section 9.31 declares congregations have "Authority in all matters that are not assigned" thus followed thier constitutions, who ? "should expect to pay the consequences".

I think congregations are realizing the consequences of staying in the ELCA.   Your logic only drives that home.

Rob Moskowitz

The worst consequences I've seen so far is that disobedient congregations (as in the GLBT "extraordinary" ordination parishes) are denied the vote at the Synod Assembly and their benevolence is refused... and the downside of that is what?

Priest Robert
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 20, 2007, 10:12:48 PM

The worst consequences I've seen so far is that disobedient congregations (as in the GLBT "extraordinary" ordination parishes) are denied the vote at the Synod Assembly and their benevolence is refused... and the downside of that is what?

Priest Robert

So you would consider this situation healthy and desireable for those living thier faith?     Besides ofcourse any future questions of constitutions, clergy and property.

Pastor Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: pilgrimpriest on July 20, 2007, 10:34:15 PM

The worst consequences I've seen so far is that disobedient congregations (as in the GLBT "extraordinary" ordination parishes) are denied the vote at the Synod Assembly and their benevolence is refused... and the downside of that is what?

Priest Robert

So you would consider this situation healthy and desireable for those living thier faith?     Besides ofcourse any future questions of constitutions, clergy and property.

Pastor Rob Moskowitz

Well, Rob, you caught me without my smiley face icon :)!  I was, of course, being facetious. Indeed that particular situation is unhealthy but sets some interesting precedents for how a Synod might have its hands tied to do anything against an ELCA congregation that chooses to ordain without a bishop or maintain a membership in LCMC.  IOW, its own tepid actions on the former congregations may provide justification for the latter to remain in good standing.

Fr. Bob
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 20, 2007, 10:39:53 PM

The worst consequences I've seen so far is that disobedient congregations (as in the GLBT "extraordinary" ordination parishes) are denied the vote at the Synod Assembly and their benevolence is refused... and the downside of that is what?

Priest Robert

So you would consider this situation healthy and desireable for those living thier faith?     Besides ofcourse any future questions of constitutions, clergy and property.

Pastor Rob Moskowitz

Well, Rob, you caught me without my smiley face icon :)!  I was, of course, being facetious. Indeed that particular situation is unhealthy but sets some interesting precedents for how a Synod might have its hands tied to do anything against an ELCA congregation that chooses to ordain without a bishop or maintain a membership in LCMC.  IOW, its own tepid actions on the former congregations may provide justification for the latter to remain in good standing.

Fr. Bob

Ah yes the smiley factor clears the situations up.   I think you would agree that conservitves are less likly to want to be such president setters in such a way.

Yours In Christ
Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: James S. Rustad on July 23, 2007, 10:39:49 AM
It's like the occasions when I have received a ticket for speeding. Should I put all the blame on the police officers who gave me the ticket; or should I accept responsibility for my own actions that resulted in the ticket? In rare cases, I might argue that I didn't know the speed limit. The rules weren't posted. (I think this is part of the argument under discussion.) In that case, police officers will state that the drivers' handbook we all had to study in order to get our license, lists the general speed limits on different type roads when they are not posted. (The congregation under discussion argues that the rule that they were punished under is not posted anywhere -- and they are right, in so far as I cannot find any rules that talk about dual rostered congregations.) However, if after a first offense, the police officer tells me what the rule is, and lets me go without a ticket, and I continue to drive too fast on that road, I should expect a ticket have to pay the consequences on subsequent infractions. I can no longer claim ignorance of the rule. (I may not agree with the rule, but I can't claim ignorance of it.)

When clergy and congregations have been informed that they cannot have dual membership in the ELCA and LCMC, and they persist in continuing their dual membership, they should expect to pay the consequences.

Except that it's more like the officer telling you that the speed limit is something other than what the law actually says.  In that case, the officer may issue you the ticket, but it's going to be thrown out of court if you contest it.

Which brings us back to the original question -- why does the bishop think that ELCA congregations cannot affiliate with LCMC?  If it's just because the ELCA secretary says so, maybe the questions should be "Why does the ELCA secretary think that ELCA congregations cannot be affiliated with LCMC, given that the ELCA's governing documents don't seem to rule it out?" and "How does this get cleared up?"
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 23, 2007, 01:19:11 PM
Which brings us back to the original question -- why does the bishop think that ELCA congregations cannot affiliate with LCMC?  If it's just because the ELCA secretary says so, maybe the questions should be "Why does the ELCA secretary think that ELCA congregations cannot be affiliated with LCMC, given that the ELCA's governing documents don't seem to rule it out?" and "How does this get cleared up?"
A logic I would use -- and I don't know if the situation is present is exactly what has happened, nor if it is the logic bishops have used -- is:

(1) Our rule, from the Manual of Policies and Procedures for Management of the Rosters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are clear about clergy:

No Dual Roster Membership: An ordained minister of this church who enters the ordained ministry of another church body, or who joins a religious group or congregation of another church body (except as provided in 7.41.17.), or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof, shall cease to be a member of this church. The ordained minister’s name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report the action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly.

so if a clergy joins LCMC and in the mind of the bishop, they have joined another church body and/or serving a schismatic group, that pastor is removed from the roster of the church.

(2) The ELCA Constitution is clear about congregations who are served by non-rostered clergy:

9.21. This church shall recognize, receive, and maintain on the roster those congregations which by their practice as well as their governing documents: ...
d. agree to call pastoral leadership from the clergy roster of this church in accordance with the call procedures of this church except in special circumstances.

and

9.23. In accord with constitutional provision 9.21.d. and bylaw 9.21.01. and without invoking the provisions of Chapter 20, a congregation that maintains as its pastor an ordained minister who has resigned or been removed from this church’s roster of ordained ministers or that calls as its pastor one who has not been approved for the roster of ordained ministers may be removed from the roster of congregations of this church by the Synod Council upon recommendation of the synodical bishop.

Thus, with the two-step process, and the rules from two guiding documents, it does fall within the rules do allow bishops to remove the clergy and the congregation when the pastor affiliates with LCMC.

However, I note that the Manual uses "shall" language concerning clergy. The Constitution uses "may" language concerning congregations. Thus, bishops can argue that in some cases, they may not remove a congregation who is served by a non-rostered clergy. We have three or four of those in our synod.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: plateman on July 24, 2007, 03:48:54 PM
Brian,

   As a former member of the congregation in question and as one who was baptized and confirmed in this church, it saddens me to witness what has occured.  Let me provide some historical perspective.

    East Union was a member of the LCA before the merger.....and quite frankly, there was little discussion or angst about the merger....we did not go "kicking and screaming".  The former minister retired and after being without a minister for over a year and after being rejected on a first ballot, the current minister was called.

     Very shortly, thereafter, there were sermons speaking against the ELCA - a particular sermon dealt with an advertising campaign by the ELCA.  In 2005, the partner church was convinced to join the LCMC and voted in favor of leaving the ELCA and joining the LCMC by a unaminous vote.  The vote at East Union was haphazard at best (I'm trying to be kind).  Ballots were passed out and voting was begun before the discussion was finished.  It is not certain that all votes counted were cast by members and the exact vote total has never been announced to the congregation - just an announcement that the vote to join the LCMC had passed.  When a question was asked at the congregational meeting on the ELCA's viewpoint, it was quickly dismissed (while voting was taking place) in that they had heard from the LCMC and that was all that was necessary.  The congregation was assured several times by the minister that dual rostering of congregations was allowed by the ELCA.....although the congregation had nothing from the ELCA (the ELCA was not asked).

     If the question about dual rostering of congregations had been allowed to be researched (rather than the railroading of the vote), it would have been found that Secretary Almen had addressed this issue in a memo dated January 4, 2002 to the synodical bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  His interpretation (and since that is his job....it is the only intepretation that matters at this point) is that ELCA congregations may not affiliate simultaneously with the ELCA and any of the 21 U.S. Lutheran Church Bodies (the LCMC is listed as one of the 21).

     When the new bishop took office, she sent a letter to the minister stating that the congregation could not be dual rostered AND that an ordained minister of the ELCA could not be dual rostered.  Her letter indicated a need for a meeting to occur between herself and the minister to discuss his roster status and she gave him a month in which to make an appointment to discuss.  He refused stating that he was "too busy".  The bishop removed the minister from the roster after the deadline had passed and so now the church is still an ELCA congregation without an ELCA minister.  There will be a vote take to determine whether this church leaves the ELCA.

     I can't tell you how much damage this has done to the church that provided me my faith foundation.  There are several people that feel very strongly about remaining with the ELCA and it has turned into a battle of family members against each other.  The pain that many members of this church are going though is enormous....there are people who have been members of this church for over 60 years that feel they must leave if this congregation votes to leave the ELCA.  I pray for this congregation every day....I pray that the people who became so disenfranchised by the leadership of this congregation will find comfort.  One may think that a small congregation with few members (approximately 40-50 members each Sunday) really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of God's kingdom.....to me, it's what matters the most.  Thanks for allowing me to provide a different perspective on this issue.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 24, 2007, 05:20:50 PM
Dear "plateman" -
I am sorry for the trouble your congregation has experienced. It sounds as if a pastor with hostility toward the denomination which he had agreed to serve allied with members to alienate the church from the ELCA, perhaps even by methods that were suspect. And now the push to leave the ELCA alienates others. I'm sure it feels as if your church was "hijacked" by a special interest group that was ill-advised or intentionally ignored procedures that could have been more fair. It is too bad when that happens, especially on the congregational level. And, yes, even small churches are valuable in the kingdom of God. Keep your prayers going.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 24, 2007, 06:41:31 PM
Brian,

   As a former member of the congregation in question and as one who was baptized and confirmed in this church, it saddens me to witness what has occured.  Let me provide some historical perspective.

    East Union was a member of the LCA before the merger.....and quite frankly, there was little discussion or angst about the merger....we did not go "kicking and screaming".  The former minister retired and after being without a minister for over a year and after being rejected on a first ballot, the current minister was called.

     Very shortly, thereafter, there were sermons speaking against the ELCA - a particular sermon dealt with an advertising campaign by the ELCA.  In 2005, the partner church was convinced to join the LCMC and voted in favor of leaving the ELCA and joining the LCMC by a unaminous vote.  The vote at East Union was haphazard at best (I'm trying to be kind).  Ballots were passed out and voting was begun before the discussion was finished.  It is not certain that all votes counted were cast by members and the exact vote total has never been announced to the congregation - just an announcement that the vote to join the LCMC had passed.  When a question was asked at the congregational meeting on the ELCA's viewpoint, it was quickly dismissed (while voting was taking place) in that they had heard from the LCMC and that was all that was necessary.  The congregation was assured several times by the minister that dual rostering of congregations was allowed by the ELCA.....although the congregation had nothing from the ELCA (the ELCA was not asked).

     If the question about dual rostering of congregations had been allowed to be researched (rather than the railroading of the vote), it would have been found that Secretary Almen had addressed this issue in a memo dated January 4, 2002 to the synodical bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  His interpretation (and since that is his job....it is the only intepretation that matters at this point) is that ELCA congregations may not affiliate simultaneously with the ELCA and any of the 21 U.S. Lutheran Church Bodies (the LCMC is listed as one of the 21).

     When the new bishop took office, she sent a letter to the minister stating that the congregation could not be dual rostered AND that an ordained minister of the ELCA could not be dual rostered.  Her letter indicated a need for a meeting to occur between herself and the minister to discuss his roster status and she gave him a month in which to make an appointment to discuss.  He refused stating that he was "too busy".  The bishop removed the minister from the roster after the deadline had passed and so now the church is still an ELCA congregation without an ELCA minister.  There will be a vote take to determine whether this church leaves the ELCA.

     I can't tell you how much damage this has done to the church that provided me my faith foundation.  There are several people that feel very strongly about remaining with the ELCA and it has turned into a battle of family members against each other.  The pain that many members of this church are going though is enormous....there are people who have been members of this church for over 60 years that feel they must leave if this congregation votes to leave the ELCA.  I pray for this congregation every day....I pray that the people who became so disenfranchised by the leadership of this congregation will find comfort.  One may think that a small congregation with few members (approximately 40-50 members each Sunday) really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of God's kingdom.....to me, it's what matters the most.  Thanks for allowing me to provide a different perspective on this issue.

Obviously a former member who was not privy to much first hand.  Allot of accusations and little to no accuracy.

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Charles_Austin on July 24, 2007, 08:37:54 PM
Rob Moskowitz writes:
Obviously a former member who was not privy to much first hand.  Allot of accusations and little to no accuracy.

I wonder:
Ah, but perhaps the poster was a member during the time of the "troubles". Or perhaps the poster is related to members. There are a lot of "perhaps" to consider. I doubt that you could be considered a disinterested party, objective and accurate in every detail. But I sense that this online forum would be a terrible place to rehash the sad incidents in a particular congregation being led out of the ELCA to the consternation of some of its members.
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 24, 2007, 08:50:36 PM
Rob Moskowitz writes:
Obviously a former member who was not privy to much first hand.  Allot of accusations and little to no accuracy.

I wonder:
Ah, but perhaps the poster was a member during the time of the "troubles". Or perhaps the poster is related to members. There are a lot of "perhaps" to consider. I doubt that you could be considered a disinterested party, objective and accurate in every detail. But I sense that this online forum would be a terrible place to rehash the sad incidents in a particular congregation being led out of the ELCA to the consternation of some of its members.

Of course declaring that people are "being led" says allot about those folks in said congregations.    As I think is the tone of the poster as well.

Just one example of the accuracy?   What "advertising campaign" is he referring to?   ELCA?

Its Probably best to view it in the argument you usually apply to other anonymous posters

Rob Moskowitz
Title: Re: Bergendorf Quote
Post by: Deb_H. on July 24, 2007, 09:06:59 PM
I'm sure it feels as if your church was "hijacked" by a special interest group

Likewise, there are many of us who feel as if our church (congregation or national church) has been hijacked by (a) special interest group(s)...
CCM, sexuality, LOGA, seminary professors teaching other than confessional Lutheranism, creeping Calvinism or Borg-thought...

We generally tell people that we didn't leave our church, it left us standing where we had always been while it went off on some tangent somewhere.  When the presiding bishop speaks about "two irreconcilable but equally valid interpretations of scripture," that is eventually what is going to happen in the ELCA in many many congregations across this country.  If one is fortunate, there is another congregation closeby and the membership can do a shuffle between them.  If not, there might be new congregations forming, some inside the ELCA or LCMC, some outside the national structure (house churches).  That's how it's done in foreign missions, it can be done here too.

Everyone has to get past the idea that "I've been a part of this church for 60 years."  That church has only been part of the ELCA for 20  years.  The church of your childhood went away with the merger.  You've maybe attended church at that building for 60 years, but a building is not the church.  It's sad to leave the building, but sometimes, in order to recognize what church IS, it could be necessary.

Debbie