Author Topic: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.  (Read 817229 times)

Richard Johnson

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3810 on: November 08, 2010, 10:47:21 AM »
If a congregation leaves the ELCA, then we have the situation of an ELCA pastor serving - without proper authorization - a congregation not in the ELCA. Discipline can ensue.

But if you are talking about the Iowa case, the question is HAS the congregation left the ELCA? The bishop seems to claim they have not because their action was unconstitutional. But then he seems to claim they have, so he removes the pastors from the roster. He can't have it both ways.

Or maybe he can. After all, it's the ELCA.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Richard Johnson

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3811 on: November 08, 2010, 10:51:52 AM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the issue on the congregations affiliating with LCMC, NOT the pastors?  yes, it is true that pastors cannot be dual affiliated, but we've been looking into the congregational end of it to see what, if anything, can be said about a congregation, and it appears that there is nothing at first glance. 

As I read the bishop's argument, it seems to be: the congregation joined LCMC; the pastors, by continuing to serve a congregation that belongs to a "schismatic group" after admonition by the bishop to resign, they removed themselves from the roster of the ELCA. (Normally when a pastor is called to a congregation, their membership then belongs in that congregation, thus whether or not the pastors were rostered with LCMC, they became members of LCMC when they stayed with the congregation.)

Except... you are only partially correct.  The bishop is also arguing that the congregation's 2nd attempt at a 2nd vote was invalid because it was not in accordance with their constitution, thus the congregation has NEVER left the ELCA.  If the congregation has not left the ELCA, then the two pastors are serving, under call, as rostered ELCA pastors serving an ELCA congregation.

The congregation did join LCMC. Thus, the pastors, by remaining members of that congregation, also joined LCMC. While the congregation might be able to claim the legitimacy of being LCMC and ELCA, the pastors cannot.


Obstinately specious argument of the week award.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Pilgrim

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3812 on: November 08, 2010, 11:01:03 AM »
Tim Christ writes: catching up on this, having read the links and following this thread (all in one sitting...I'm feeling a tad nauseous), I can't help but wonder ... on the notion of simply shining light in the darkness, how about the ELCA provide the corresspondence of this parish and their Bishop to every ELCA congregation's council and membership (ie, the "whole church - circa Matthew 18) and let's see how "loyal" the faithful in every congregation would evaluate this "fruit".
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

George Erdner

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3813 on: November 08, 2010, 11:10:47 AM »
Tim Christ writes: catching up on this, having read the links and following this thread (all in one sitting...I'm feeling a tad nauseous), I can't help but wonder ... on the notion of simply shining light in the darkness, how about the ELCA provide the corresspondence of this parish and their Bishop to every ELCA congregation's council and membership (ie, the "whole church - circa Matthew 18) and let's see how "loyal" the faithful in every congregation would evaluate this "fruit".

If the ELCA doesn't, maybe someone else should distribute as much of the documentation as can be found. That is something that shouldn't be kept secret. As long as it is the truth, it will only set people free if they hear it.

Jim Lehmann

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3814 on: November 08, 2010, 11:16:35 AM »
Tim Christ writes: catching up on this, having read the links and following this thread (all in one sitting...I'm feeling a tad nauseous), I can't help but wonder ... on the notion of simply shining light in the darkness, how about the ELCA provide the corresspondence of this parish and their Bishop to every ELCA congregation's council and membership (ie, the "whole church - circa Matthew 18) and let's see how "loyal" the faithful in every congregation would evaluate this "fruit".

I am reminded of the chant from the 60's anti-war movement:  "The whole world's watching.  The whole world's watching.  The whole world's watching."

Indeed, let us see how the Lutheran world responds if it is told the truth.

hillwilliam

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3815 on: November 08, 2010, 11:18:59 AM »

Just because a majority of people disagree with an interpretation of a law, doesn't make it a wrong interpretation. Their three replacements could make exactly the same decision.

My how you love to hide in interpretation. One day that won't work.

Lou

Those who consider themselves to be more knowledgeable than simple believers (like pig farmers or fishermen) should be aware that we will all stand before the bench eventually. Gnosis didn't trump faith in Jesus for the early church fathers and it shouldn't for us either. Still pondering:

Concerning Simon Magus and his Gnostics: "He, then, not putting faith in God a whit the more, set himself eagerly to contend against the apostles, in order that he might seem to be a wonderful  being, and applied himself with still greater zeal to the study of the whole magic art, that he might the better bewilder and overpower multitudes of men." and "Inflated with the false name of knowledge" they "... do certainly recognize the scriptures, but they pervert the interpretations" Irenaeus AD 180

Excerpt from "Four Witnesses" by Rod Bennett, Ignatius Press.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3816 on: November 08, 2010, 11:24:17 AM »
I have read with great interest about the plight of Zion Lutheran Church in Clear Lake and their pastors in Christ. I have read all the correspondence posted from Bishop Ullestad of the Northeastern Iowa Synod and the congregation. I have followed all the posts since the initial report. When viewing all this, one scripture verse keeps coming to my mind; "You will know them by their fruits." Matt. 7:16a, and 7:20 Actually one should read the verse in its entire context in the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 7:15-20. I believe they are Jesus' words, even in the judgement of the Jesus Seminar people.

What are the fruits that we are seeing as a consequence of the '09 CWA actions? Are they good fruits or are they another kind of fruit? What kind of fruits are we seeing in ELCA churchwide leadership and synodical bishops? What kind of fruits are we seeing in congregational life? For those on either side of the issue I think it is a bitter fruit, because neither side is happy. And in the meantime, the church, "this church," the ELCA suffers. Can any good come of this?

Another book keeps coming to mind in all of this, C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters." It was hypothetical fiction, but does it say anything now about what is happening in "this church?"

Anyone wishing to dialogue on these questions?

Yes, we need to look at the fruit since Aug 2009 -- but we should also look at the fruit our congregations were producing with homosexual folks prior to 2009. How much did our position contribute to suicides of homosexual youth? How much did our position push homosexuals away from the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3817 on: November 08, 2010, 11:27:21 AM »
It appears a number of bishops are putting an unpleasant spin on what must be an uncomfortable truth:  Charles and Brian have quoted a bishop, and I was directly told by Bishop Tom Aiken, that those who join LCMC have removed themselves from the roster of the ELCA.  That claim is simply not true.

I did not remove myself from the roster of the ELCA.  I was removed.

You can quibble all you want about why that difference would be important to me.  I recognize it might not be important at all to some.  But what is indisputable is the simple truth of it.

Being removed from the roster is the stated consequence of joining LCMC.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3818 on: November 08, 2010, 11:31:27 AM »
I don’t find anything in the Constitution or Bylaws which gives a bishop this power, so the sole authorization for this method of removal is the adoption of the Manual by the Church Council. But where does the Church Council derive the authority to grant this power?  In fact, the Constitution seems to deny this authority to the Church Council. Article 7.23 states: “The standards for acceptance and continuance of pastors in the ordained ministry of this church shall be set forth in the bylaws.” Only the Churchwide Assembly can adopt bylaws.

Consider this article. (boldface in the text added).

7.41. Letters of Call. Letters of call to ordained ministers of this church or properly approved candidates for this church’s roster of ordained ministers shall be issued in keeping with this church’s constitutions, bylaws, and continuing resolutions as well as policies regarding such calls developed by the appropriate churchwide unit, reviewed by the Conference of Bishops, and approved by the Church Council.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Maryland Brian

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3819 on: November 08, 2010, 11:32:05 AM »
It appears a number of bishops are putting an unpleasant spin on what must be an uncomfortable truth:  Charles and Brian have quoted a bishop, and I was directly told by Bishop Tom Aiken, that those who join LCMC have removed themselves from the roster of the ELCA.  That claim is simply not true.

I did not remove myself from the roster of the ELCA.  I was removed.

You can quibble all you want about why that difference would be important to me.  I recognize it might not be important at all to some.  But what is indisputable is the simple truth of it.

Being removed from the roster is the stated consequence of joining LCMC.

  That was the ruling of the Secretary of the ELCA.  I don't think he has the power to circumvent the constitutional discipline processes either.

Scotty8284

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3820 on: November 08, 2010, 11:33:14 AM »
Yes, we need to look at the fruit since Aug 2009 -- but we should also look at the fruit our congregations were producing with homosexual folks prior to 2009. How much did our position contribute to suicides of homosexual youth? How much did our position push homosexuals away from the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ?

This is the easiest question I've seen in a long time.  Our positions prior to 2009 did NOT contribute to any suicides.  Our positions prior to 2009 did NOT push anyone away from the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Jim Scott
NALC Layman
Wittenberg '78

David Norland

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3821 on: November 08, 2010, 11:33:55 AM »
Exactly.

A stated consequence.  The action of a bishop.

I took action to join LCMC.  The bishop took action to remove my from the ELCA roster.

What I did was join the LCMC.  What the bishop did was to remove me.

The bishop did not join LCMC.  I did not remove myself from the roster.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3822 on: November 08, 2010, 11:35:49 AM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the issue on the congregations affiliating with LCMC, NOT the pastors?  yes, it is true that pastors cannot be dual affiliated, but we've been looking into the congregational end of it to see what, if anything, can be said about a congregation, and it appears that there is nothing at first glance. 

As I read the bishop's argument, it seems to be: the congregation joined LCMC; the pastors, by continuing to serve a congregation that belongs to a "schismatic group" after admonition by the bishop to resign, they removed themselves from the roster of the ELCA. (Normally when a pastor is called to a congregation, their membership then belongs in that congregation, thus whether or not the pastors were rostered with LCMC, they became members of LCMC when they stayed with the congregation.)

Except... you are only partially correct.  The bishop is also arguing that the congregation's 2nd attempt at a 2nd vote was invalid because it was not in accordance with their constitution, thus the congregation has NEVER left the ELCA.  If the congregation has not left the ELCA, then the two pastors are serving, under call, as rostered ELCA pastors serving an ELCA congregation.

The congregation did join LCMC. Thus, the pastors, by remaining members of that congregation, also joined LCMC. While the congregation might be able to claim the legitimacy of being LCMC and ELCA, the pastors cannot.


Being a member of a congregation is not the same thing as being officially rostered by whatever church body the congregation is affiliated with. While dual rostering is forbidden, is there anything in the ELCA's governing documents that equates mere membership with rostering?

Page 45 of the Manual has been quoted a couple of times as the basis for the bishop's actions against a clergy 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.”

Had these pastors joined an LCMC congregation -- a congregation of another church body?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3823 on: November 08, 2010, 11:38:07 AM »
If a congregation leaves the ELCA, then we have the situation of an ELCA pastor serving - without proper authorization - a congregation not in the ELCA. Discipline can ensue.

But if you are talking about the Iowa case, the question is HAS the congregation left the ELCA? The bishop seems to claim they have not because their action was unconstitutional. But then he seems to claim they have, so he removes the pastors from the roster. He can't have it both ways.

Or maybe he can. After all, it's the ELCA.

I don't think that the issue was whether the congregation had left the ELCA, but whether the pastors were serving an LCMC congregation, whether they were members of another church body. The bishop concluded that they were.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 11:42:56 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #3824 on: November 08, 2010, 11:41:23 AM »
It appears a number of bishops are putting an unpleasant spin on what must be an uncomfortable truth:  Charles and Brian have quoted a bishop, and I was directly told by Bishop Tom Aiken, that those who join LCMC have removed themselves from the roster of the ELCA.  That claim is simply not true.

I did not remove myself from the roster of the ELCA.  I was removed.

You can quibble all you want about why that difference would be important to me.  I recognize it might not be important at all to some.  But what is indisputable is the simple truth of it.

Being removed from the roster is the stated consequence of joining LCMC.

  That was the ruling of the Secretary of the ELCA.  I don't think he has the power to circumvent the constitutional discipline processes either.

It's not a matter of discipline. It's stating what ELCA clergy are not allowed to do, and the consequences of it. If pastors join another church body, they forfeit their clergy status in the ELCA. Similarly, our congregations state what active members are to do -- and if they fail to do it, they can be removed from membership without going through the disciplinary steps stated elsewhere in the constitution and bylaws.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]