Author Topic: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson  (Read 7233 times)

James_Gale

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2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« on: September 30, 2009, 04:15:52 PM »
We can't change the past.  But it is sometimes interesting and helpful to understand how we got where we are.  On another thread, some of us were discussing PB Hanson's leadership style.  For some reason, that caused me to look back to the 2001 Churchwide Assembly, which elected PB Hanson to his first term.

On the first ballot for PB, Dr. Nestingen had the most votes (108) followed by Bp. Donald McCoid (101 votes), Bp. Peter Rogness (61 votes), Bp. Hanson (53 votes), Bp. April Larson (47 votes), and many others following behind. 

On the second ballot, Bp. McCoid shot into the lead (201 votes) followed by Dr. Nestingen (148 votes), Bp. Rogness (107 votes), Bp. Larson (98 votes).  Bp. Hanson fell to fifth place, with 87 votes with others trailing.

On the third ballot, Bp. McCoid continued to lead (247 votes) followed by Bp. Hanson, who had moved into second (211 votes), and Dr. Nestingen (174 votes) with others trailing.

At this point, only the three top candidates remained.  Due to a computer glitch, two "fourth ballot" votes were taken.  The order of finish was the same each time, with the number of votes varying slightly.  In each case, Bp. Hanson led (453/448 votes), followed by Bp. McCoid (358/362 votes) and Dr. Nestingen (223/225 votes).

On the final ballot, involving just the top two candidates from the fourth ballot, Bp. Hanson was elected 533-499 over Bp. McCoid.

Upon being eliminated from consideration after the fourth ballot, Dr. Nestingen pled for unity, saying "fraction is terrible."

From these results, one can see that over a third of those who had supported Dr. Nestingen voted for Bp. Hanson on the final ballot over Bp. McCoid.  Can anyone explain this?  Is it because Bp. McCoid was viewed as too "catholic" or "bishop friendly"?  Is it because he did not have a good German or Scandinavian name?  As an observer from afar, I believe that it was clear even in 2001 that Bp. Hanson was more likely to be open to the LCNA agenda than Bp. McCoid.  But I'm not sure this is right.

We can't change the past.  And who knows how the ELCA might have been different under a PB McCoid.  But I do find a good bit of irony in the fact that Nestingen voters ultimately put Mark Hanson into office.

Michael_Rothaar

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 04:25:45 PM »

From these results, one can see that over a third of those who had supported Dr. Nestingen voted for Bp. Hanson on the final ballot over Bp. McCoid.  Can anyone explain this? 

It was common for observers in the room to note that Hanson had a really, really good speech and made good use of the cameras. McCoid -- not so much.
Mike Rothaar
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Steverem

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2009, 04:42:24 PM »
To his credit, Bishop Hanson is a skilled speaker with a great stage presence.  He comes across as humble, charming, polite, and soft-spoken.  (And, to be fair, I think he generally is those things.)  He's not the firebrand many traditional Lutherans imagine when picturing the opposition. He is very comfortable using language evangelicals use, and can sound somewhat conservative at first blush.  It is only later that evangelicals realize that while the language might sound the same, Bishop Hanson means something entirely different with the terms he uses than they do.

James_Gale

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2009, 04:44:04 PM »

From these results, one can see that over a third of those who had supported Dr. Nestingen voted for Bp. Hanson on the final ballot over Bp. McCoid.  Can anyone explain this? 

It was common for observers in the room to note that Hanson had a really, really good speech and made good use of the cameras. McCoid -- not so much.

I recall having the same impression when watching over the internet feed.  Even so, WA was so organized at CWAs in those days, it's hard to believe that things worked out as they did.  Unless, of course, bishops were a bigger bugaboo in those days than the LCNA agenda.  After all, while speaking ability is an important attribute, there are many others that ought to be considered.  

Charles_Austin

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2009, 04:54:05 PM »
Mike Bennett writes:
And was the revisionist wing of the ELCA split among many candidates at first and then finally coalesced around Bishop Hanson the reason he steadily rose in position after starting so far down the list?

I ponder:
It could be the midwest. Easterners or those on the Pacific Coast do not generally do well in major Lutheran elections.

Steverem

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2009, 05:00:17 PM »
As an LCMS outsider, can anyone tell me why Dr. Nestingen seemed to have such an inability to pick up votes?

And was the revisionist wing of the ELCA split among many candidates at first and then finally coalesced around Bishop Hanson the reason he steadily rose in position after starting so far down the list?

Mike

Well, at the time he was closely tied to the WA wing, and when the CCM vote went the other way, I think his candidacy lost some steam.

Mike Bennett

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2009, 05:00:27 PM »
Mike Bennett writes:
And was the revisionist wing of the ELCA split among many candidates at first and then finally coalesced around Bishop Hanson the reason he steadily rose in position after starting so far down the list?

I ponder:
It could be the midwest. Easterners or those on the Pacific Coast do not generally do well in major Lutheran elections.

And Mike Bennett will now again annoy Charles Austin by pointing out how use of the Quote button can save a guy from mistaking LCMS parishioner Gehlhausen for ELCA parishioner Bennett.  I mean, even without using the Quote button, how do you DO that?  ::)

Mike Bennett
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Richard Johnson

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2009, 05:12:17 PM »
I think all the comments people have made about what it happened that way are part of the story. As to public persona--same reason Carlos Pena almost didn't win this time. His public presentation was lacking. The geographic thing was part of it too, though I would describe it more as theological geography. Many of Nestingen's votes were from pietists, and Hanson was more attractive than McCoid because Hanson is, at heart, a pietist.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

northdakota

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2009, 05:28:50 PM »
I think all the comments people have made about what it happened that way are part of the story. As to public persona--same reason Carlos Pena almost didn't win this time. His public presentation was lacking. The geographic thing was part of it too, though I would describe it more as theological geography. Many of Nestingen's votes were from pietists, and Hanson was more attractive than McCoid because Hanson is, at heart, a pietist.

Perhaps some think so, but he certainly is not a pietist that any Haugian, Spener, etc. would recognize.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler

James_Gale

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2009, 05:29:17 PM »
As an LCMS outsider, can anyone tell me why Dr. Nestingen seemed to have such an inability to pick up votes?

And was the revisionist wing of the ELCA split among many candidates at first and then finally coalesced around Bishop Hanson the reason he steadily rose in position after starting so far down the list?

Mike

Word Alone came into existence largely as a single issue group to oppose the proposed full communion arrangement with the Episcopalians.  The group made a number of arguments, but focused overwhelmingly on the role of bishops under the proposed arrangement.  In particular, the proposal would commit the ELCA to a requirement that a bishop preside at all ordinations of pastors and that bishops in historic succession be involved in the laying on of hands at the installation of new bishops.

(To illustrate the primacy of Word Alone's concern over bishops, the group put up little opposition to proposed full communion arrangements with the UCC, PCUSA, RCA, and the Moravian Church, all of which were considered during the same period.  These agreements did not involve any change in the role of ELCA bishops and therefore excited little passion one way or the other.)

In 1997, the Churchwide Assembly just barely failed to approve the full communion agreement with the Episcopalians, which would have required a 2/3 majority.  In 1999, the Churchwide Assembly approved a slightly revised version of the agreement, barely clearing the 2/3 hurdle.  At the 2001 Churchwide Assembly, Word Alone remained a fairly potent force.  It was able to win approval of an exception to the full communion agreement with the Episcopalians to permit in certain cases of conscience a pastor to be ordained by someone other than a bishop.  

This is the Assembly at which PB Hanson was elected.

Throughout this period, Word Alone was an effectively organized group.  But it never accounted for more than 30-35% of voting members at Churchwide Assemblies.  And I think that others at the Assemblies wearied of their obsession with a single issue.  I personally don't think that Dr. Nestingen ever had a prayer of being elected, being as tied as he was to Word Alone.

As the sexuality issues became more prominent over the last 6 years or so, Word Alone has regained strength and taken a broader focus.  But it has not regained any meaningful influence at the ELCA churchwide level.  Its supporters accounted for a declining number of voting members at Churchwide Assemblies since 2001.

Others with better knowledge obviously should feel free to correct any errors here.

Mike Bennett

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2009, 05:31:10 PM »
Mike Singletary writes:

I think he is just tired and Bennett was easier to spell.

Of course, you are right that using the Quote button is even easier.

Cheers,

Your identical twin.

I ruminate and reply:

I think that probably explains it.  It's hard to remember whether Singletary is spelled with an le or an el in the middle.

Your evil twin.
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

James_Gale

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2009, 05:32:11 PM »
I think all the comments people have made about what it happened that way are part of the story. As to public persona--same reason Carlos Pena almost didn't win this time. His public presentation was lacking. The geographic thing was part of it too, though I would describe it more as theological geography. Many of Nestingen's votes were from pietists, and Hanson was more attractive than McCoid because Hanson is, at heart, a pietist.

That's an interesting observation.  In his Issues, etc. interview, Dr. Nestingen seemed to criticize PB Hanson for bringing too much pietism and emotionalism into the ELCA and its decision making processes.

Mike Bennett

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2009, 05:37:26 PM »
Mike Rothaar writes:

Groovy.

I ask:

How many more postings do I need for that fifth star?

Mike Ditka
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Charles_Austin

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2009, 05:37:41 PM »
James Gale writes:
Word Alone came into existence largely as a single issue group to oppose the proposed full communion arrangement with the Episcopalians.  The group made a number of arguments, but focused overwhelmingly on the role of bishops under the proposed arrangement.  In particular, the proposal would commit the ELCA to a requirement that a bishop preside at all ordinations of pastors and that bishops in historic succession be involved in the laying on of hands at the installation of new bishops.
(To illustrate the primacy of Word Alone's concern over bishops, the group put up little opposition to proposed full communion arrangements with the UCC, PCUSA, RCA, and the Moravian Church, all of which were considered during the same period.  These agreements did not involve any change in the role of ELCA bishops and therefore excited little passion one way or the other.)

I add:
I think Mr. Gale is on target. I would add that the stridency of some Word Alone publications and the inerrantist cast of the group offended many and did not reflect the biblical views of most ELCA Lutherans.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2009, 05:42:02 PM by Charles_Austin »

Michael Slusser

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Re: 2001 Election of PB Mark Hanson
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2009, 05:44:39 PM »
 At the 2001 Churchwide Assembly, Word Alone remained a fairly potent force.  It was able to win approval of an exception to the full communion agreement with the Episcopalians to permit in certain cases of conscience a pastor to be ordained by someone other than a bishop.  

Was this associated with a comparatively congregationalist ecclesiology? Was congregational authority invoked to ordain in several different ELCA congregations pastors who could not or were unwilling to meet the terms of Vision and Expectations, and thus failed to receive official synodical authorization to be ordained--but the congregations ordained them anyway?

If that was the case, then WordAlone partly contributed to this summer's difficulties by fighting effective episcopal authority.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
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