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Topics - Steven Tibbetts

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Your Turn / ++Eaton Calls to Observe National Day of Mourning
« on: May 30, 2020, 11:42:23 AM »
Quote from: ELCA News
ELCA presiding bishop calls on church to observe national day of mourning
5/29/2020 4:10:00 PM

CHICAGO (May 29, 2020) — The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has called on the church to join with faith communities across the United States in lament and remembrance, and on our elected leaders to observe Monday, June 1, as a day of mourning to honor the more than 100,000 people who have died from COVID-19.

"I encourage all of us in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to join together across faith lines in this time of collective mourning," Eaton said. "This weekend our Jewish neighbors will remember God's covenant, our Muslim neighbors will recall the reception of the Quran, and as Christians we will celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit present among us. In the significance of these days in our traditions, our faith communities will collectively lament and remember the more than 100,000 lives that have been lost to COVID-19. We join together in prayer for the healing of this nation, and for the world that God so loves."

The day of mourning calls on all religious communities to come together in observing this historic moment in their own traditions and practices. A toolkit and other resources are available for local religious leaders and mayors. 

"We are united – as individuals, as communities and as a nation – in our grief," said Kathryn M. Lohre, assistant to the presiding bishop and executive for ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious relations. "The interfaith community has recognized this and claimed this moment as a time to come together as the Christian family and with our neighbors of other religions and worldviews, to mourn the tragic loss of over 100,000 lives. The faith communities also call upon our elected leaders to designate June 1 as a national day of prayer and remembrance, as a time set aside for national mourning."

Federal and local governments are also being called on to observe the day of prayer and remembrance by the lowering of flags, moments of silence and other methods of reflection.

In contemplation of the gravity of the COVID-19 situation during the season of Pentecost, Eaton, along with the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, invite members to pray for and with one another through a new prayer, "A Prayer for the Power of the Spirit Among the People of God." 

This new prayer for Pentecost was crafted by a team of Lutheran and Episcopal prayer leaders in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will connect the two church bodies in common prayer and remind members of the common mission, wherever and however we may be gathered.

The ELCA and the Episcopal Church are approaching the 20th anniversary of their full communion agreement, "Called to Common Mission."

Your Turn / 1517 Media Announces New Imprint
« on: January 28, 2020, 03:22:48 PM »
In my e-mail this morning:

1517 Media, the publishing ministry of the ELCA, is excited to announce the launch of Broadleaf Books. Broadleaf Books joins our family of imprints that include Augsburg Fortress, Sparkhouse, Fortress Press, and Beaming Books.

In recent years, 1517 Media has published several well-received titles for general reading audiences such as Dear Church by Lenny Duncan, Red State Christians by Angela Denker, and Seculosity by David Zahl. Broadleaf Books will look to build on those high-impact offerings and continue to publish books from thought leaders and emerging spiritual voices that reflect on how to live with meaning and connection.

"As a Christian publisher steeped in a grace-based theological tradition, titles published by Broadleaf Books will explore the expanse of human experience—always seeking to deepen faith and understanding and bring wholeness to our readers and society," said Tim Blevins, president and CEO of 1517 Media.

This new imprint will publish compelling nonfiction books in the areas of religion and culture, personal growth, spirituality, social justice, and Christian living. The first Broadleaf Books will be published in July 2020. Learn more at

Your Turn / Meanwhile, the Church Goes about Her Business
« on: November 16, 2019, 09:38:13 PM »
Quote from: ELCA News
ELCA Church Council welcomes 23 new members
11/13/2019 2:20:00 PM

CHICAGO — The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met at the Lutheran Center in Chicago, Nov. 7-10. Twenty-three new members, elected by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly, were welcomed. The council serves as the ELCA's board of directors and interim legislative authority between meetings of the Churchwide Assembly.

The council took the following key actions:
  • Authorized use of ministry rites for pastors and deacons in response to constitutional changes by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly that identified ordination as the entrance rite for ministers of Word and Service. The ministry rites for ordination to the ministry of Word and Service, ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, installation of a deacon and installation of a pastor will be effective Jan. 1, 2020.

  • Created an advisory team to receive updates, track progress and provide periodic reports on the "Strategy Toward Authentic Diversity in the ELCA," adopted by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

  • Adopted a continuing resolution authorizing the creation of a resource development committee of the council to continue developing strategies related to funding initiatives and future churchwide appeals.

  • Adopted the "Memorandum of Mutual Recognition of Relations of Full Communion" among The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the ELCA as a way to strengthen ties among the two U.S. and two Canadian churches.

  • Authorized development of a social message on the vocation of citizenship, civic engagement, and church and state, as requested by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

  • Received the final report of its Theological Education Advisory Committee, approved the committee's recommended transition plan and thanked the committee members for their service.

  • Approved a 2020 spending authorization of $67,666,652 for the churchwide organization and $21,596,595 for ELCA World Hunger.

  • Received an update on development of the resource "Trustworthy Servants of the People of God," the replacement for "Vision and Expectations," which articulates the church's hopes and expectations for its rostered ministers.

  • Adopted the Reference and Counsel Committee recommendations regarding unfinished business from the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

  • Referred to the Domestic Mission unit the Conference of Bishops recommendation that the unit give top priority to this church's response to the global crisis of climate change.

  • Thanked the Rev. Wyvetta Bullock for her faithful service as executive for administration and her many years of service to this church. Bullock will retire Jan. 30, 2020.

In a special order of the day, the council received a greeting from Ms. Rose Simmons, whose father, the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., was one of the nine congregants martyred in June 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

The council also received reports from the church's presiding bishop, treasurer, secretary and vice president, from the ELCA Conference of Bishops, and from the ELCA's separately incorporated ministries. They also received greetings from ecumenical partners.

- - -

About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands.," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder

Your Turn / Replacing “Vision and Expectations”
« on: August 05, 2019, 07:08:10 PM »
I received the following e-mail from the ELCA's Executive Director, Domestic Mission, on Saturday morning:

Quote from: Pr. Phil Hirsch
Replacing “Vision and Expectations”

Dear pastors and deacons,
On June 26, 2019, a listening group was convened by the ELCA Domestic Mission unit in Chicago to help inform the process for creating a new document to replace “Vision and Expectations.”
In reading the minutes from the 1990 Church Council meeting where “Vision and Expectations” was adopted, we noted that it was not to be “a prescriptive document” but rather “a teaching opportunity about shared expectations, which this church has of its” rostered ministers.
We saw how “Vision and Expectations” had become conflated with the church’s need for discipline and was used as a juridical document (which is the specific purpose of another document called “Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline”), causing great pain for many.
In our June 2019 conversation, we reflected on the need for and purpose of this document and recognized that our rostered ministers have to be able to navigate our church’s commitment to Christ and spreading the gospel in a way that is congruent with our constitution, social statements and teachings. For that to happen well, our leaders need to be mindful of many things such as cultural competency, racial equity, creation care, confessional integrity and the presence of the Spirit speaking through the wideness of God’s people.
Since we are a community of believers, we would like to invite you into a process of asking what the church needs. Our inclination is not to try to edit the document drafted to replace “Vision and Expectations,” called “Trustworthy Servants of the People of God,” but to start with your voices. And so, we invite you into this process by asking that you answer one simple question on this survey: What does the church need?


The Rev. Phil Hirsch
Executive Director, Domestic Mission
Listening group members:
     Sister Krista Anderson, program director for the support of rostered ministers, ELCA
     The Rev. Cherlyne Beck, manager for candidacy and leadership, ELCA
     Christopher Evans, associate dean for academic and student affairs, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
     The Rev. Amanda Gerken-Nelson, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries
     The Rev. Phil Hirsch, executive director, ELCA Domestic Mission
     Barbara Keller, ELCA Sexual Abuse Prevention
     Bishop Kurt Kusserow, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod
     Emma Wagner, ELCA Church Council
     The Rev. Lamont Wells, Ethnic Specific Associations

Anticipated next steps:
  • Gathering information via survey from rostered ministers, candidates, lay leaders and seminary partners on what the church needs (August – September 2019).
  • A listening event at the Churchwide Assembly (Aug. 6, 2019).
  • Intentionally reaching out to various communities for input, such as candidates, deacons, gender and sexual minorities, survivors of clergy misconduct, ethnic specific communities, the confessionally conservative, and those from all four convictions identified in the social statement “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” to encourage participation in the survey and process.
  • Zoom listening sessions with rostered ministers, candidates, lay leaders and seminary partners will be held Sept. 5 at 8 p.m., Sept. 17 at 12 p.m., and Sept. 24 at 12 p.m. (all Central Time). Please sign up to let us know how many people to expect.
  • Update to Conference of Bishops (September 2019).
  • Curation of information (October 2019).
  • Summary posted on website when available.
  • Listening group meeting (October 2019) when the next steps will be communicated.
  • Update to Church Council (November 2019).

Your Turn / 2019 Synod Assembies: Something in the Air?
« on: May 18, 2019, 11:05:46 AM »
From ELCA News:

Lorna Halaas elected bishop of the ELCA Western Iowa Synod

CHICAGO (May 9, 2019) – The Rev. Lorna H. Halaas, Sioux City, Iowa, was elected May 4 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Western Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during the Synod Assembly, held May 3-5 at Sioux City Convention Center.

Halaas was elected on the fifth ballot with 146 votes. The Rev. William Tesch, associate to the bishop and director of evangelical mission in the ELCA South Dakota Synod, received 112.

The bishop-elect has served as assistant to the bishop of the Western Iowa Synod since 2013. She served as interim pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Sioux City and of Immanuel Lutheran Church in George, Iowa, from 2012 to 2013, and of First Lutheran Church in Hoople, N.D., from 2011 to 2012. Halaas served as pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Williston, N.D., from 2009 to 2010.

Halaas received a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., in 1978 and a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minn. (now located in St. Paul), in 2008. Concordia is one of 27 ELCA colleges and universities.

Halaas will be installed later this summer.

The Rev. Rodger Prois has served as bishop since 2013.

Information about the ELCA Western Iowa Synod is available at

Bishop Prois came in third on the 4th ballot: Lorna Halaas 117; Bill Tesch 88; Bishop Rodger Prois 55.

Your Turn / No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
« on: January 20, 2019, 10:17:03 PM »
Note: The subject title is inspired by a description I used on this Forum years ago.

Following Holy Communion this morning, a Special Meeting of the Congregation of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria, Illinois, adopted a resolution to formally dissolve the congregation once its assets have been properly disposed of.  This is the conclusion of several discussions and actions over the last year.  Earlier in November the Congregation had voted that Zion's final worship services would be January 27, 2019.

Initially established as a mission parochial and Sunday School for German-speaking residents of Peoria's South Side in 1882, the congregation organized in 1894 and joined the Iowa Synod.  I have served as Zion's 13th pastor since 1992.

Pax et bonum, Steven+

Your Turn / LSTC: ELCA's "last predominantly residential seminary"
« on: August 11, 2018, 11:01:10 PM »
Dr. James Nieman writes the "President's Letter" in the Summer 2018 LSTC (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago) Epistle:

Quote from: James Nieman
Dear friends in Christ:

In the late spring, I had the chance to meet the curator of bonsai at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. He brings a lifetime of prominent expertise to his present role caring for hundreds of trees, this country’s second largest collection, many of them several times older than he. As a result, his work unfolds on a time scale most would regard as, well, extended. Sure, he thinks about today’s rain or next winter’s dormancy, but more often he casually speaks of removing a few branches in three years so he can repot and trim roots a few years later and then maybe see how things shape up after a decade. There’s nothing fast-paced about bonsai.

That could also be said of seminary, though pressures are mounting. With apologies to the IOC, “faster, easier, cheaper” is becoming the motto for seminaries, guiding our efforts without assuring the outcome. Will racing to finish a degree as soon as possible give the depth needed for durable ministry? Will removing encounters with serious change and challenge reinforce a ministry where real people become inconvenient interruptions? And while all schools try to be efficient, will reducing costs at all costs inadvertently lead to forms of learning whose value is debased? It’s too soon to tell, and so I wonder about other long-term options.

At LSTC, we unexpectedly find ourselves today as the last predominantly residential seminary in our denomination. We love our commuters, to be sure, but the fact is that most of those who study here live here as well. That’s not an accident but the result of a visionary plan. When our five (later six) predecessor schools relocated to the South Side, the whole idea was to become a community embedded in a community. At the heart of a vibrant city, in the shadow of a great university, as a faithful assembly living and learning together, during the past half-century we have been committed to live into the future envisioned for us.

It’s not that we cannot imagine another way to be. Many seminary experiments are now underway, which is great. It’s just that we have a distinctive, proven profile, a countercultural approach that may not be for everyone. We think encountering genuine difference requires face-to-face engagement, a diversity in and beyond our school. We think deep learning respects the varied kinds of learners who need different pathways to develop valuable competencies. We think where we live is neither accident nor ornament but fundament to what we should learn. Most of all, we think that ministry formation means more than acquiring information, because being called into the world calls first for being with and for others.

This distinctive profile—engaging difference, varied pathways, contextual learning, and formational attention—is a time-expensive, space-intensive, risky venture for us. It surely isn’t the only way to be a seminary, but it’s ours and we think it’s still worth upholding, especially in these noisy and fractured times. This past May at commencement, I greeted each graduate not with “Congratulations!” (because a diploma is not a door prize) but “Blessings!” (because that’s what our newest alumni so dearly need). And even though blessing is from God, I do wonder if we’ve given what they need for untold ministries yet ahead. What should be our gift, a blessing to sustain them as we shake hands and they step forward into God’s call?

Maybe our truest blessing to them is not just what we learn but how—taking time, in a place, together. In these noisy and fractured times, we can still seek what Evagrius of Pontus (4th century desert monastic) called hesychia—stillness. That’s more than calm and serenity, but also steadiness, the low center of gravity to weather storms, and then quietness to turn from raging passion to fully hear your neighbor’s need. Interestingly for us who want everything so quickly, Evagrius thought hesychia—which was only the entryway into the contemplative life—might take a lifetime to attain. But in God’s time there is no frenzy. Growing into ministry can share that tempo, careful and attentive. There’s nothing fast-paced about it.

James Nieman

Your Turn / Luther Sem to Pilot 2-yr MDiv.
« on: July 11, 2018, 12:23:45 AM »
News from Luther Seminary:
Quote from: Luther Seminary
Luther Seminary receives $21.4 million commitment to pilot a two-year Master of Divinity program

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Luther Seminary has received the largest single donation in its history: a $21.4 million commitment to pilot a two-year Master of Divinity program.

The two-year degree program, covering tuition and some living expenses for students, will launch in fall 2019 and enables students to shorten their education to two years from the current three to four years and ensures that they take on no new personal debt.

Dean Buntrock, the founder and former chairman and CEO of Waste Management, Inc., and long-time benefactor of Lutheran higher education, made the donation covering the five-year pilot program. The donation includes a year of planning and resources to add faculty and staff.

“This pilot project is designed to inspire and support innovative leadership development churchwide," Buntrock said. "It will attract exceptional candidates from across the nation who show potential to be spiritually strong, theologically faithful, and entrepreneurially innovative. The outcomes will lead to further church leadership innovation for years to come. It is also my hope that others in the church will step up and ensure the long term and broad sustainability of education for our church. ”

Buntrock’s gift builds on Luther’s new vision, new curriculum and, starting in fall 2018, the new Jubilee full tuition scholarship for all Master of Divinity and Master of Arts students admitted to Luther Seminary.

“This transformative investment by Dean Buntrock promotes game-changing innovation in educating church leaders, ultimately serving the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and church bodies across the nation,” said Rev. Dr. Robin J. Steinke, president of Luther Seminary.  “Luther Seminary’s new vision calls us to undertake exactly this kind of leadership formation, embedded within some of the most adaptive congregations we serve.”

Students enrolled in this newly designed Master of Divinity will work through the curriculum year-round for two consecutive years while completing concurrent part-time congregational internships that provide high-impact learning experiences through real-world application. They will receive full-tuition scholarships, living expense stipends, books and other learning materials, computer software, and travel expenses for immersion experiences. They also will be paid for their internships in accordance with ELCA standards. In addition, by reducing the time spent in seminary to two years, students will realize a significant savings in living expenses, estimated at more than $100,000 per learner.

"Identifying, inviting, equipping, and supporting leaders is one of the highest priorities for our work in the ELCA,” said Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, who launched the ELCA Leadership Initiative in November 2016. "We are thankful for Dean Buntrock's generous investment in Lutheran theological education and the benefits this innovative pilot program will have across the church."

Founded in 1869 by Norwegian Lutheran immigrants, Luther Seminary currently educates nearly 40 percent of the ELCA’s pastors and church leaders, provides continuing education to more than 3,000 pastors each year, and supports more than 50,000 pastors every week through our Working Preacher digital resource.

Our vision is this: the Holy Spirit calls Luther Seminary to lead faithful innovation for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a rapidly changing world.

Your Turn / Luther Seminary to Sell 15 Acres of Land and Buildings
« on: June 22, 2018, 12:01:40 PM »
From the (St. Anthony) Park Bugle earlier this week:

Quote from: Kristal Leebrick of the Park Bugle
Luther Seminary’s new “Campus of the Future” plan will bring big change to the school by offering free tuition to all incoming students starting this fall and to the St. Anthony Park neighborhood when it sheds 15 acres of land and buildings in the northwestern part of its campus.

In May, the seminary’s board of directors approved the sale of a parcel that includes Northwestern Hall, the administrative building at 1501 Fulham St.; Stub Hall, a dormitory at 2329 Hendon Ave.; several houses and the LDR apartments on Fulham Street; a vacant home in an alley off of Hoyt Avenue in Lauderdale; and the 7 acres of wooded land abutting the Lauderdale Nature Area, known as Breck Woods. Bockman Hall, what many consider the centerpiece to the St. Anthony Park campus at the top of the hill on 2400 block of Como Avenue, will also be sold....

Luther Seminary has slowly been selling under-used portions of its property for several years. In 2014, the seminary sold five apartment buildings on Eustis Street to Greenway Village. Senior housing developer Ecumen bought 1.6 acres at Luther Place and Como Avenue in 2015 to build Zvago, a 49-unit co-op currently under construction. HealthPartners purchased 4.5 acres of land across from its Como Avenue building in 2016 to build a replacement clinic.

Read it all here.  For descriptions of the current Luther campus, look here and/or at the campus map.

Pax, Steven+

Your Turn / Ordination Questions
« on: May 13, 2018, 02:02:56 PM »
That implies to this humble correspondent that the confessions - and a wooden, literal reading of them at that - are elevated above scripture, above serious study of scripture and above our intelligence and human history.

Well, no.  Furthermore,

Quote from: The Rite for Ordination, The Occasional Services from the Service Book and Hymnal, page 97
Then shall the officiating Minister say:

AS you shall give account before the Lord in the great day of his appearing, and that this Congregation here present may know your mind and will in these things, I call upon you now to make answer before Almighty God:

ARE you now ready to take upon you this Holy Ministry, and faithfullly to serve therein?

Each candidate shall answer in turn:
                  Yes, by the help of God.

   Will you preach and teach the word of God in accordance with the Confessions of the Church, and will you administer the Holy Sacrament after the ordinance of Christ?
     Answer: Yes, by the help of God.

   Will you be diligent in the study of Holy Scripture, instant in prayer, and faithful in the use of the Means of Grace?
     Answer: Yes, by the help of God.

   Will you adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour by a holy life and conversation?
     Answer: Yes, by the help of God.

Then may each candidate repeat after the officiating Minister:
BEFORE God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, I (N.N.) do promise, with his grace and help, to fulfil these sacred obligations.  Amen.

Noting that once when this form was used, "N.N." was "Charles Austin" and, on another occasion, it was "Brian Stoffregen" (who, when it suits the point of a particular post, is without peer on this Forum in the woodenness of his textual interpretation) permit me to direct the reader to the second question asked by the officiating Minister:

Will you preach and teach the word of God in accordance with the Confessions of the Church...

But I have confessed to having been, on a few occasions in the past, so caught up in attacking another's position that I've found myself arguing something that I not only don't believe, but that I would reject in any other circumstance.  When I find I'm about to do that, I take that as a sign to take a step back and disengage for a while.

Pax, Steven+

Your Turn / Nearby Media Notices United Seminary Controversy
« on: March 09, 2018, 07:29:44 PM »
Following up on a derailed conversation in the re-started New Lutheran Seminary Names President topic, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted "Lutheran seminary faces leadership crisis over president's past LGBTQ beliefs" late Tuesday evening.

It begins,
Quote from: Peter Smith of the Post-Gazette
A Lutheran seminary in eastern Pennsylvania is facing a leadership crisis due to a belated disclosure that the president of the LGBTQ-affirming school once directed an organization that said gay Christians should change or at least resist same-sex attractions as a temptation to sin.

The Rev. Theresa Latini, the first president of United Lutheran Seminary, which has campuses in Philadelphia and Gettysburg, now repudiates the philosophy of the group she worked for, saying it was “fear-based, controlling, and particularly marginalizing of LGBTQ+ persons.”

But many alumni and students are expressing dismay that she never disclosed this part of her work history — more than five years of work as director of the group OneByOne, beginning in 1996 — to the search committee that interviewed her.

Rev. Latini said in a Feb. 21 statement that she is committed to working with the seminary in “actively identifying and resisting homophobia and heteronormativity.”

But many are wondering why it took months for this to come out.

The full article is here.

Christe eleison, Steven+

Your Turn / ELCA Draft: A Declaration of Our Inter-Religious Commitment
« on: February 12, 2018, 12:27:00 PM »
This appeared in my e-mail this morning.

Quote from: ELCA Ecumenical & Inter-Religious Life
Dear partners in ministry,

From now until the end of June, individuals and groups across the ELCA are invited to participate in responding to the draft ELCA policy statement, "A Declaration of Our Inter-Religious Commitment."

Please consider how you might take the lead in sharing this invitation and in convening people to participate in the process in your particular ministry setting.

You can download the draft policy statement and participate in the online survey. On page 5 of the statement, you will find tips and ideas for participating.

The draft policy statement was developed by an inter-religious task force appointed by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton in 2016 and chaired by Bishop Patricia Lull. The draft presents a common, theological basis and practical framework for this church's inter-religious relations, taking into consideration our varied ministry contexts, challenges and opportunities.

The input shared across the church over the next six months will inform revisions to the document before it goes to the ELCA Church Council for possible recommendation to the 2019 Churchwide Assembly. If adopted, the policy statement would complement "A Declaration of Ecumenical Commitment: A Policy Statement of the ELCA," adopted by the second churchwide assembly in 1991.

For more information, visit the website above or write to

In partnership,

Ecumenical & Inter-Religious Relations
Office of the Presiding Bishop

Your Turn / Duties of ELCA Pastors
« on: February 11, 2018, 10:55:01 PM »
In another topic, Pastor Austin has again found it necessary to remind ELCA pastors of, and explain to others, our duties.

Our governing documents make clear certain things we are to do as rostered leaders.  Insofar as those things are clear, we are obligated to do them.
If I as an ELCA pastor refuse to provide my synod with mission support, refuse to send my people to ELCA events, refuse to promote the various aspects of ELCA mission in my congregation, refuse to use ELCA publications in my parish, boycott my synod assembly, badmouth synod camps and youth programs and outreach efforts, then it is clear that I am not doing what our governing documents quite clearly say I should do.
Criticize us all you want, but do your duty.

Here's what our governing documents say:

Quote from: ELCA Constitution
7.31.02 Responsibilities. Consistent with the faith and practice of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
   a. Every minister of Word and Sacrament shall:
      1) preach the Word;
      2) administer the sacraments;
      3) conduct public worship;
      4) provide pastoral care;
      5) seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel;
      6) impart knowledge of this church and its wider ministry through distribution of its communications and publications;
      7) witness to the Kingdom of God in the community, in the nation, and abroad; and
      8 ) speak publicly to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, calling for justice and proclaiming God’s love for the world.

   b. Each pastor with a congregational call shall, within the congregation:
      1) offer instruction, confirm, marry, visit the sick and distressed, and bury the dead;
      2) relate to all schools and organizations of this congregation;
      3) install regularly elected members of the Congregation Council;
      4) with the council, administer discipline; and
      5) endeavor to increase the support given by the congregation to the work of the ELCA churchwide organization and its synod.

Christe eleison, Steven+

Your Turn / Renaming Ceremony: Pastor transitions from female to male
« on: February 07, 2018, 08:43:05 PM »
Meanwhile in Hoboken:

Quote from: Daniel Stoll
HOBOKEN, NJ - The congregation of St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church is celebrating Pastor Rose Beeson as she transitions from female to male and takes on the name Peter in a renaming ceremony on February 11 at 10:30 a.m.

The Rev. Tracie Bartholomew, bishop of the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will be the featured preacher during the worship service that affirms transgender individuals who take on a new name and remember their baptism.

It is one of the first times a minister of a congregation in the ELCA has transitioned from female to male while serving as pastor, acting on St. Matthew Trinity’s aspiration to be a church where tradition and inclusivity meet.

All who believe in promoting inclusion and diversity are welcome to attend this historic occasion.

"As many of you were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female' for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3

What: Renaming Ceremony. Pastor Rose Beeson transitions from female to male and takes on the name Peter in a renaming liturgy that affirms transgender individuals who take on a new name and remember their baptism.

When: Sunday, February 11, 2018, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Where: St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church, 57 8th St. on the corner of 8th & Hudson Streets in Hoboken, NJ.

About St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church
500 years ago, Martin Luther brought a new perspective to Christianity, which became known as Lutheranism. If one were to summarize Luther’s message to the world, it would be Word alone; Grace alone; Faith alone.

St. Matthew Trinity lives this message by believing it is only God’s compassion for us that can save us, not any works we do. We are a place where tradition and inclusivity meet – embracing the best of the traditions of the past we continue to embody Luther’s reforming spirit, welcoming women and LGBT people to all levels of leadership in the church; acting in solidarity with those who are homeless, undocumented, or in recovery. We envision a world where all people are fed, brought into community and experience the wideness of God’s compassion.

There is a place for you here. Join us on this journey.

For further information, click here.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this post are the author's own. Registered users are welcome to post on Patch.

Christe eleison, Steven+

Your Turn / LSTC Now “Accredited – On Probation”
« on: February 02, 2018, 05:31:50 PM »
Okay.  We note that the accreditation agency here is the Higher Learning Commission, not the better known Association of Theological Schools.  Nevertheless, HLC is one of the two agencies from which LSTC is currently accredited.  And HLC is rather concerned with LSTC's financial position.

Today Inside Higher Ed ("the leading digital media company serving the higher education space") reports on the following notice:

Quote from: Higher Learning Commission
Public Disclosure:
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago status changed
from “Accredited” to “Accredited – On Probation”
Effective: January 17, 2018

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has placed Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, on Probation. HLC took this action because it determined that the College does not meet HLC's Criteria for Accreditation related to financial resources.

Probation is a sanction meaning that an accredited institution is no longer in compliance with one or more of HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. The period of Probation is not more than two years.

What Probation Means for Students
While on Probation, the College remains accredited, and it has the opportunity to remedy the issues that led to the sanction.

In most cases, other institutions of higher education will continue to accept the institution’s credits in transfer or for admission to a higher degree program. All colleges and universities define their own transfer and admission policies.
Students should contact any institution they plan to attend in the future so they are knowledgeable about the admission and transfer policies for that institution.

Noted Criteria for Accreditation
HLC concluded that the College does not meet the following:
  • Criterion Five, Core Component 5.A, “the institution’s resource base supports its current educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future
HLC concluded that the College is at risk of not meeting the following:
  • Criterion Five, Core Component 5.C, “the institution engages in systematic and integrated planning”

Next Steps
The School is required to provide evidence that it has addressed the issues that led to the sanction no later than March 1, 2019 in preparation for HLC’s on-site evaluation no later than May 2019. In November 2019, the HLC Board of Trustees will determine whether the institution has demonstrated that it is in compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation and whether Probation can be removed.

About the Higher Learning Commission
The Higher Learning Commission accredits approximately 1,000 colleges and universities that have a home base in one of 19 states that stretch from West Virginia to Arizona. HLC is a private, nonprofit accrediting agency. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Questions? Contact or call 312.263.0456.

More detailed information can be found in HLC's letter to LSTC's President here.

Pax, spt+

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