Author Topic: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.  (Read 841493 times)

gausmann

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4200 on: November 16, 2010, 10:12:30 PM »
Jeff, LCMC has many mission congregations started by folks who have left previous congregations, in fact dozens, NALC also has such congregations as does the AFLC and others. Many of these are thriving, it is a painful process and you and the former congregation are in my prayers.  In regards to the debate over the vote at the 2009 Assembly, I think the inevitable happened, now they are reaping the consequences, why not just move on, or put it on another thread, this endless bitterness, accusations and arguing over done deals is really pointless, the church and its pastors should be in mission to the lost and erring.  Paul Gausmann LCMC Saint Paul Lutheran-York, PA.

Rev. Kevin Scheuller

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4201 on: November 16, 2010, 10:38:20 PM »

This is my first post here although I have been a long time lurker.

I am the congregation president at St. Martin Lutheran Church in Malvern, OH.  Our second vote to leave the ELCA fell short by a few votes.  44 to leave and 23 to stay.  It has been suggested we take more votes, start the process over.

I disagree.  Had the vote passed, would the supermajority allowed repeated votes to stay?  I remember the joy of those who wished to stay when the results were read.  Do we have the right to try to change that.

If the vote was the will of God and I believe it was, what do the results mean?  Am I obligated now to stay against my personal convictions.  Am I free to join with another congregation?

Our congregation is now experiencing a separation.  Some from St. Martins, including myself, and some from neighboring ELCA congregations are setting up a satelite congregation and will receive services from a LCMS congregation 25 miles away.

We ask for your prayers.

Jeff
Jeff, you and your fellow members are in my prayers.

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4202 on: November 16, 2010, 10:43:56 PM »
JeffCrowl, I'll be praying for the whole congregation and that you receive loving compassionate care from the other congregation. 

If I may offer this, we had a death in our congregation, and in communicating with our members, I wrote this: "Merciful Father, in the midst of our tears, we pray that you would help us to see the cross of our Savior Jesus standing like a beacon of your love and forgiveness."  It seems appropriate for what your congregation is experiencing now.  (And if I have misread your post, please forgive my presumptuousness.)

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Ken Kimball

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4203 on: November 16, 2010, 10:58:47 PM »
What is wrong with congregations calling for repeated votes until they get the desired results?  Isn't that ELCA tradition?  How many times did approval for ordination of individuals in PSALMSGR get voted on at CWAs before the way was finally cleared for its approval at CWA '09?  So what if it takes a congregation 2, 3, or 4 or more tries to get the 2/3s necessary for what the leaders want?

Dan

Congregations can vote repeatedly.  The question in this part of the thread is whether Zion's second "second vote" was effective under the applicable rules.  If it was not, the right course for Zion was to take a new "first vote."  If that passed, then a "second vote" could be taken after the 90-day consultation period. 

Now, whether congregations or church bodies should take serial votes is another question altogether.

This is my first post here although I have been a long time lurker.

I am the congregation president at St. Martin Lutheran Church in Malvern, OH.  Our second vote to leave the ELCA fell short by a few votes.  44 to leave and 23 to stay.  It has been suggested we take more votes, start the process over.

I disagree.  Had the vote passed, would the supermajority allowed repeated votes to stay?  I remember the joy of those who wished to stay when the results were read.  Do we have the right to try to change that.

If the vote was the will of God and I believe it was, what do the results mean?  Am I obligated now to stay against my personal convictions.  Am I free to join with another congregation?

Our congregation is now experiencing a separation.  Some from St. Martins, including myself, and some from neighboring ELCA congregations are setting up a satelite congregation and will receive services from a LCMS congregation 25 miles away.

We ask for your prayers.

Jeff
My prayers for you and those with you Jeff.  I think your logic is clear and fair.  You gave it your best shot and if you can't continue in the ELCA the best thing is to walk away and find another way to continue in the one holy catholic and apostolic church. 
Ken

amos

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4204 on: November 16, 2010, 11:31:46 PM »
Our prayers are with you and all the members of that congregation. A spit in a church family is never without heartache.  My first church split and divided and the wounds suffered by some family members are still present 25 years later.  Peace has arrived and forgineness has taken place but some family relationships will never be the same again.

Ken Kimball

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4205 on: November 16, 2010, 11:50:47 PM »
Pastor McCain, among others, may find this of interest:

Zion, Readlyn IA  voted 94% first vote to terminate relationship with ELCA
St. Matthew's, Readlyn IA  98% first vote to terminate relationship with ELCA. 

St. Paul's, Monona, 2nd vote failed 112-85, as 50 additional voters recruited (largely inactive and nursing home--none of whom had attended the informational meetings).  The result is similar to Strawberry Point--nearly the entire church council resigned, 40 positions vacant in St. Paul from council to Sunday School to adult Bible study etc.,; 79 former members of St. Paul's gathered for worship at the community center (50 LBW's given by Old East Paint Creek)--another mission congregation (not yet NALC but likely to go that way) in the offing and the "winning side" in the vote now has to pick up the pieces with 50%+ of active worshipers and financial contributors gone from St. Paul's. 

Ken

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4206 on: November 17, 2010, 12:10:31 AM »
Ken,

That is not unusual. There is "at least one" other situation with several buildings, where ELCA churches will be left gutted, and the remnants will gather into basically a X times 50+ refugees = 200+ "active financially supportive" member new congregation. Maybe ELCA can pay the upside down mortgages, since they wanted them so badly :( , Or perhaps the pretend member voters shipped in, have a trust fund, they'll share?

This is all so ugly ! Implosion is not off the table yet.

TV

PS Charles if you wonder about the claim of "pretend members shipped in," my comment of over a year, and more since then remain. As soon as the bishop shows up to defend himself, I'll name them. Otherwise, I stand by the statement as simple fact, not an accusation. And additional fact is that these games are hurting real people in real ways, on both sides.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 12:18:02 AM by TVerinus »
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Charles_Austin

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4207 on: November 17, 2010, 03:47:16 AM »
It is a hard fact, but a true fact. If a congregation's constitution says someone who communes or contributes once a year is entitled to vote at meetings, then that person is entitled to vote at meetings. Period. Stop. End of discussion.
The attitude: "Well, they aren't really active, so who the heck do they think they are by coming to a congregational meeting?" is uncharitable. And I suspect such people have been recruited by various sides of various issues.
People should stop talking as if only the elite, the "chosen" or those who meet some special "standard" outside the agreed-upon provisions should have a say in what happens.
Let's see how the new church bodies and micro-synods or independent congregations decide who gets to vote. And spare us the romantic language about "consensus" or "unity." The time will come.

Pastor Awtry writes:
Maybe ELCA can pay the upside down mortgages, since they wanted them so badly,
I respond:
Yep. Synod councils are sitting around saying "Hey, we want the property of congregations." Is it completely impossible for some people to understand that bishops and synod councils may just be doing their constitutional duty?

Pastor Awtry comments:
Or perhaps the pretend member voters shipped in, have a trust fund, they'll share?
I comment:
See above for my take on this arrogant and elitist remark.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 03:53:23 AM by Charles_Austin »

ptmccain

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4208 on: November 17, 2010, 07:54:40 AM »
Pastor McCain, among others, may find this of interest:

Zion, Readlyn IA  voted 94% first vote to terminate relationship with ELCA
St. Matthew's, Readlyn IA  98% first vote to terminate relationship with ELCA.  

St. Paul's, Monona, 2nd vote failed 112-85, as 50 additional voters recruited (largely inactive and nursing home--none of whom had attended the informational meetings).  The result is similar to Strawberry Point--nearly the entire church council resigned, 40 positions vacant in St. Paul from council to Sunday School to adult Bible study etc.,; 79 former members of St. Paul's gathered for worship at the community center (50 LBW's given by Old East Paint Creek)--another mission congregation (not yet NALC but likely to go that way) in the offing and the "winning side" in the vote now has to pick up the pieces with 50%+ of active worshipers and financial contributors gone from St. Paul's.  

Ken


Thanks Ken.. When I was a pastor there in the early 1990s, one of the Readlyn congregations was pastored by a really way-out liberal ELCA pastor. The congregation put up hands reaching toward heaven in prayer they were huge.

A member of the parish told me, "Pastor, our pastor says they are the hands of the oppressed people of the third world reaching out to the world for justice, but we all know they are just hands of a person praying to Jesus."

 :)

I truly believe that over the next several years the ELCA is going to lose a lot of the rural, small town congregations to the NALC or LCMC. Wouldn't be surprised if the total congregation loss approaches 2,000 or so in the next five years.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 08:49:52 AM by ptmccain »

Coach-Rev

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4209 on: November 17, 2010, 08:14:32 AM »
It is a hard fact, but a true fact. If a congregation's constitution says someone who communes or contributes once a year is entitled to vote at meetings, then that person is entitled to vote at meetings. Period. Stop. End of discussion.
The attitude: "Well, they aren't really active, so who the heck do they think they are by coming to a congregational meeting?" is uncharitable. And I suspect such people have been recruited by various sides of various issues.
People should stop talking as if only the elite, the "chosen" or those who meet some special "standard" outside the agreed-upon provisions should have a say in what happens.
Let's see how the new church bodies and micro-synods or independent congregations decide who gets to vote. And spare us the romantic language about "consensus" or "unity." The time will come.
 


yes, you are correct, in that legally, a person can vote if they meet constitutional requirements for membership.  The question remains, however, "why would they want to, when they've shown no other interest in the congregation outside of a paltry and pathetic 'commune and/or contribute' once a year," or even something less active than that, depending on the congregation's constitution?

this has nothing to do with charity.  It has everything to do with those who come to worship, hear the Word of God, and actually *act* like the Gospel and their salvation mean something to them.

This raises a whole other topic, because I for one am going to require changes to our constitution again to make membership something that can't be maintained by throwing a dollar into the offering plate on Christmas eve or Easter. 

dkeener

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4210 on: November 17, 2010, 08:34:16 AM »
It is a hard fact, but a true fact. If a congregation's constitution says someone who communes or contributes once a year is entitled to vote at meetings, then that person is entitled to vote at meetings. Period. Stop. End of discussion.

No one is disputing the facts Charles but they are questioning the ethics of the minority who use these tactics. Is it legal for a group of minimally active members to make a power grab for a building, bank accounts and other resources of a congregation that they did little to finance or support?  Yes it is - no one disputes that. Is it right? That is the question. It would also be legal for the simple majority to vote to sell all the church furniture, musical instruments, educational resources, empty all the bank accounts and give the cash to the NALC or LCMC before leaving.  I imagine that if that happened we would hear a lot of charges of unethical behavior from the ELCA.


jrubyaz

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4211 on: November 17, 2010, 09:33:39 AM »

Brian,

Thanks for confirming the party line. There is no respect for dissenting opinions in the ELCA, all this talk of bound conscience is nonsense. Thanks for making that so very clear.

Jeff Ruby


I don't disagree some were flaking out. I am saying he could have (and i have seen it done many times at synod assemblies and other meetings using RR)  and should have used other options.

But just as well, it made things very clear what the agenda was ...push through at all costs.

Steven may know better than I, but in three CWA I've attended, there has never been a vote where all the voting members voted. If the chair waited till every one came back and was ready to vote, nothing would happen.

I've also never seen a chair at a synod assembly do what you're asking. I'm in my fourth synod since the ELCA began. They follow the orders of the day. If someone wants to change them or delay a vote, they have the right to make that motion.

Considering your actions after the votes, I seriously doubt that you can offer an unbiased opinion about the vote or the process. Thus I would better trust the opinions of Steven and Richard.

Charles_Austin

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4212 on: November 17, 2010, 10:00:58 AM »
Someone writes (re those pesky votes):
this has nothing to do with charity.  It has everything to do with those who come to worship, hear the Word of God, and actually *act* like the Gospel and their salvation mean something to them.

I comment:
There you go again, setting an elitist standard for congregational life. What's next? Denying communion to those who don't meet some requirement? Or limiting voting membership to those who serve on committees, teach Sunday Church School or otherwise volunteer a certain number of hours per week/year?

Someone writes:
This raises a whole other topic, because I for one am going to require changes to our constitution again to make membership something that can't be maintained by throwing a dollar into the offering plate on Christmas eve or Easter.
I comment:
Good luck with that. Let us know how it comes out.
I'll venture a wild thought that perhaps, just perhaps, the thought of their congregation leaving the ELCA might energize a few of those considered less active, some of whom might actually (Oh horrors!) agree with the actions of last August. But of course their views don't count, because....  ::) ::) ;D

Pilgrim

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4213 on: November 17, 2010, 10:15:00 AM »
There you go again, setting an elitist standard for congregational life. What's next? Denying communion to those who don't meet some requirement? Or limiting voting membership to those who serve on committees, teach Sunday Church School or otherwise volunteer a certain number of hours per week/year?

Tim wryly notes: You're right of course Charles. Dispense with those pesky elitist things ... picking up a cross springs to mind ... terribly elitist.  :P
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4214 on: November 17, 2010, 10:22:47 AM »
Just to be clear on the report of fact. In "at least one," case a person showed up with the knowledge if not the encouragement of the bishop, and was told they were not a member "according to the constitution." They said yes they were, insisted on voting, and grabbed a ballot and voted. The Leadership in that case knew they had overwhelming majority, and simply let that vote go. This voter, to the best of my knowledge had never taken communion at the church, and had certainly never been made a member.

This is not Chreasters. It is intentionally shipping in a disruptive voice, and ballot stuffer. The bishop knew the person and watched it happen. The bishop knew the person well enough to take their phone call to disrupt a meeting.

We should try and put the best construction on events, this is true. But the above, IS the best construction. I have avoided speaking to what I am virtually positive was going on. Charles, it really is quite ugly.

TV
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 03:19:45 PM by TVerinus »
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