Author Topic: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.  (Read 841466 times)

Charles_Austin

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4215 on: November 17, 2010, 10:50:15 AM »
And once again, it seems unfair to make a judgment call from afar. Your own report says that the intrusive vote would not have made a difference. And so...? Perhaps, for the sake of peace at the meeting the not-making-a-difference voter was tolerated. Nothing is gained by third-guessing from far away. But of course, it adds to the heated rhetoric.

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4216 on: November 17, 2010, 11:18:11 AM »
And once again, it seems unfair to make a judgment call from afar. Your own report says that the intrusive vote would not have made a difference. And so...? Perhaps, for the sake of peace at the meeting the not-making-a-difference voter was tolerated. Nothing is gained by third-guessing from far away. But of course, it adds to the heated rhetoric.


This is where best construction and fair discussion gets very difficult. My comment was simply to Ken and others that this is not unusual.

What is "from afar?" We are talking in many cases about family and dear friends. In this case, unlike the ballot stuffer, I have (prior to '09) communed in that church. If I go there, members great me in Christian love, with hugs. They did that before '09. Is that from afar?  I am more a "member" than that "voter."

And in many cases, it does make a difference. My year old counsel remains. Expect the ugly, and leaders need to do the preliminary work of reaching real consensus either way. I predicted that 60-40 and 50-50 churches would suffer greatly. That has happened. In "at least one case" the Bishop and Synod have contributed to, and not mitigated that suffering. The "meddling from afar" is not from witnesses like myself here, but from the Synod beyond the scope and responsibility of their jurisdiction, and ignoring the real call to pastoral care, and unfortunately that meddling is not always rooted in truth. (ie. they speak words that are not true)

I understand the bishops are in difficult circumstances themselves, and do not impute premeditated malicious intent, but pray for them as well. But your perspective is simply not rooted in what is happening on ground. That's the best construction I can bring.

TV
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 01:11:19 AM by TVerinus »
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dkeener

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4217 on: November 17, 2010, 11:53:54 AM »
And once again, it seems unfair to make a judgment call from afar. Your own report says that the intrusive vote would not have made a difference. And so...? Perhaps, for the sake of peace at the meeting the not-making-a-difference voter was tolerated. Nothing is gained by third-guessing from far away. But of course, it adds to the heated rhetoric.


Not rhetoric, TV is absolutely correct - it is ugly. As one who has been through the process I know this from personal experience. I had false rumors spread about me and my role in our congregation's vote to leave the ELCA. I had people spreading slanderous rumors about me and my family in the church and synod. (I know this is true because I overheard one such rumor being spread and confronted the person spreading it. The reason the person gave for spreading the rumor was, "I know I shouldn't have done it, but I was mad.") In the 15 months from CWA to the second congregational vote I only had three or four colleagues call to see how I was doing. I will add that I have never been a "lone wolf" pastor. I was a Partner in Evangelism for the ELCA for 12 years, active on several synod committees and a Dean of my conference for eight years. In spite of this my synod chose to talk about me rather than to me during the process. This is the way bound conscious works in the new ELCA. If you agree with the CWA's decisions - celebrate it and be rewarded. If you disagree with the CWA's decisions - shut up or be prepared to be isolated and ridiculed. This is first hand experience for me and I don't believe that I am an isolated case.

iowakatie1981

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4218 on: November 17, 2010, 12:18:20 PM »
Funny, I'm having this same conversation about membership "requirements" with several other people this week, so let's see what happens here.  

I kind of think there are 2 (mostly) separate issues in this sort of conversation:
1) the importance of going to church, and of reaching out to people who aren't in church and finding out what's going on that they stopped coming and encouraging them to come back
2) what the requirements should be for someone to be able to vote

It seems to me that the requirements for who can vote should be fairly strict - it's a decision of the community, for the community, whether you're voting to call a new pastor, approve a budget, or change denominational affiliations.  Now clearly, if you've got some job that requires you to work on Sunday mornings, there's grace for that, if your kids are still coming to Sunday School and you're on a committee or two and you send in a check and come to midweek worship if/when it's available, etc...

But if you've donated $10 in the last ten years and show up on Christmas most years - when the weather's not too bad - and you are really in no discernible fashion a member of the community other than that you show up once a year when it's guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside or because Grandma would flip out if we didn't go to church on Easter, are you really part of the community?  Should you really be given a voice in determining the direction of the community?

Somewhat tangentially, I'm unclear where this whole "I don't have to go to church to be a Christian" thing comes from.  Can you imagine anyone saying that in the 3rd century and getting away with it?  Does it seem like that's something Paul (or hey, Jesus!) would be down with?  Those two strike me as people who thought you were either in or out, and they didn't really have time for people who just wanted to screw around on the edges for decades at a time...

peter_speckhard

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4219 on: November 17, 2010, 12:36:15 PM »
And once again, it seems unfair to make a judgment call from afar. Your own report says that the intrusive vote would not have made a difference. And so...? Perhaps, for the sake of peace at the meeting the not-making-a-difference voter was tolerated. Nothing is gained by third-guessing from far away. But of course, it adds to the heated rhetoric.

For someone complaining about everyone else's second guessing, uncharitable interpretations, and assumption of bad motives, you show a remarkable ability, Charles, to respond to a reasoned, detailed, and heartfelt post with a dismissive assumption that the motive was to add to the heated rhetoric. The next time I come across a post of yours that dismisses someone else here as arrogant, elitist, willfully ignorant, or any of the other terms you habitually use to comment on the other posters without commenting on the thread topic, I might decide the forum would be better off without you. 

Evangel

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4220 on: November 17, 2010, 02:10:55 PM »
A follow up on Zion Clear Lake IA - I didn't see the result posted yet.  Word is that they passed their second second vote at >85% this weekend.
Mark Schimmel, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, LCMC
Priddy, TX
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4221 on: November 17, 2010, 02:11:26 PM »
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.

Charles, if the experiences of congregations in Central Illinois is any indication of what people are talking about, the "inactives" who are showing up at these special meetings are not persons who show up once every two years (or whatever the latest "minimum requirement") to commune and put a recorded dollar in the offering plate.  

These are people who really are inactive -- haven't darkened the door of the church in several years, much less communed or made a token offering -- but for one reason or another their names still appear on a roll of members or a congregational directory.  "It's our church," even if they only show up every once every 15 years for a special vote.

I know, it shouldn't be that way.  But it is that way.  Maybe not in New Jersey; but it is here.

Pax, Steven+
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James_Gale

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4222 on: November 17, 2010, 02:35:03 PM »
A follow up on Zion Clear Lake IA - I didn't see the result posted yet.  Word is that they passed their second second vote at >85% this weekend.

This was a second "second vote," the effectiveness of which is very unclear.  The congregation and the synod have taken opposing positions regarding the vote and regarding the congregation's status.  The mess will continue.  And as I said above, I think that the congregation is acting somewhat recklessly.

Rev. Kevin Scheuller

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4223 on: November 17, 2010, 02:46:46 PM »
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.

Charles, if the experiences of congregations in Central Illinois is any indication of what people are talking about, the "inactives" who are showing up at these special meetings are not persons who show up once every two years (or whatever the latest "minimum requirement") to commune and put a recorded dollar in the offering plate.  

These are people who really are inactive -- haven't darkened the door of the church in several years, much less communed or made a token offering -- but for one reason or another their names still appear on a roll of members or a congregational directory.  "It's our church," even if they only show up every once every 15 years for a special vote.

I know, it shouldn't be that way.  But it is that way.  Maybe not in New Jersey; but it is here.

Pax, Steven+
...and try to enforce the constitutional provisions without full backing of the council (difficult in many cases in our current climate, sadly) and you risk being called a legalist or worse.  Emotionalism runs roughshod over doctrine and procedure, and we're the ones accused of being "heated." 


racin_jason

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4224 on: November 17, 2010, 02:49:42 PM »

But if you've donated $10 in the last ten years and show up on Christmas most years - when the weather's not too bad - and you are really in no discernible fashion a member of the community other than that you show up once a year when it's guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside or because Grandma would flip out if we didn't go to church on Easter, are you really part of the community? Should you really be given a voice in determining the direction of the community?


In theory, no. But in reality, there is much more flux. Because we in the church have allowed standards for membership to become so low, there is room for such a case to be made. We don't like it, but it's how the church has functioned for over a generation.

Take the case of a small town church, where certain last names have been part of the church and town since it was settled by people who came over from europe. Even though the aging baby-boomer hasn't, other than for funerals, darkened the doorway to the church, because he is a descendant of church or town founders, no one has the guts to take him off the roles or deny him voice in a congregational meeting.

These are strange times....i for one am looking forward to the church being wrested from the hands of Constantine. Until then, we church workers will be dealing with this sort of thing.....and if all the churches of the ELCA decided to cut out the deadwood on their roles, there'd be a strong awakening as to where we are as a denomination.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 02:51:24 PM by racin_jason »
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Evangel

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4225 on: November 17, 2010, 02:55:07 PM »
I know that the way that the process has operated is a vote followed by at least 90 days followed by a second vote ... no problem with that from my standpoint.  Most have also assumed that if the second vote failed that was either a) the end of the line, or b) time to restart the process with a new "first vote".  I hadn't really thought of the wording of the constitution until Clear Lake brought up the fact that the constitution doesn't actually say that:

*C6.05. This congregation may terminate its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by the following procedure:
a. A resolution indicating the desire of this congregation to terminate its relationship must be adopted at a legally called and conducted special meeting of this congregation by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present.
b. The secretary of this congregation shall submit a copy of the resolution to the synodical bishop and shall mail a copy of the resolution to voting members of this congregation. This notice shall be submitted within 10 days after the resolution has been adopted.
c. The bishop of the synod shall consult with this congregation during a period of at least 90 days.
d. If this congregation, after consultation, still desires to terminate its relationship, such action may be taken at a legally called and conducted special meeting by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present, at which meeting the bishop of the synod or an
authorized representative shall be present. Notice of the meeting shall be mailed to all voting members at least 10 days in advance of the meeting.
e. A certified copy of the resolution to terminate its relationship shall be sent to the synodical bishop, at which time the relationship between this congregation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America shall be terminated.
f. Notice of termination shall be forwarded by the synodical bishop to the secretary of this church and published in the periodical of this church.


Nothing in d. says "if the vote fails to reach the required 2/3 go back to step a."

I can see that to return to step a is more clear-cut - it also prolongs the pain and struggle.  Leaders in situations like this need to know the pulse of the congregation.  I know some in other congregations that have told me they could have gone back to step a and "won" on a second try but they thought they were better served by breaking away and forming a new congregation.  Having gone through a very painful process myself I understand and respect that decision.  I guess the folks at Zion are confident in their direction but don't want to deal with the pain and more damage to the ministry there. We'll see how it works out for them.
Mark Schimmel, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, LCMC
Priddy, TX
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ACXXIII, "Your majesty will graciously take into account the fact that, in these last times of which the Scriptures prophesy, the world is growing worse and men are becoming weaker and more infirm."

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4226 on: November 17, 2010, 02:57:17 PM »

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.

No disrespect towards you or your opinion or your congregation's present status. I believe that your reporting of events at CWA is biased. It's also probably that if I had been there, you, and others would think that my reporting of events is biased.

Actually, as I think about it, almost exactly the same thing happened when the CWA voted on the Concordat. It fell 6 votes short of the 2/3 majority. The argument was given then that if the people who were in the bathrooms or hallways were there to vote, it would have passed. I believe that there was a motion to reconsider the resolution. It was defeated. The decision had been made at that assembly (with less than 100% of voting members voting.)

As I flew in to PHX today, I thought that I should take a trip to Scottsdale to see your campus.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 03:01:24 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
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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 #4227 on: November 17, 2010, 03:09:53 PM »
Peter writes:
The next time I come across a post of yours that dismisses someone else here as arrogant, elitist, willfully ignorant, or any of the other terms you habitually use to comment on the other posters without commenting on the thread topic, I might decide the forum would be better off without you.

I respond:
Got that.  ;D

Jim Lehmann

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4228 on: November 17, 2010, 03:27:46 PM »
It is interesting that we so easily and willing discuss whether or not a decision was made at CWA because some voters took a bathroom break, whether the Chair should have given two minutes or not, etc.  "I remember....."  "Well, I remember...."  And of course, "this has happened before -- remember Concordat."  ad infinitum.......

Meanwhile, the church -- congregations, synods, churchwide -- suffers deeply.  I think this illustrates all too painfully the inherent flaw in having churchwide assemblies vote on theological issues.  In another thread, there was discussion about how the CNLC nearly voted to remove "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" from the statement of faith.  Where will it end?  Will it end?

The "what if" game is pointless, unless it helps us live into the future.  What if, following the Concordat battle and subsequent passage (the field strewn with many casualties), the church had decided not to pursue another hot-button issue?  What if we would have backed off until some healing could have taken place?  What if, following the two decade sexuality battle and subsequent passage (the field strewn with many casualties), the church had decided to back off in the implementation until some healing could have taken place.

Boardrooms and bathrooms and the church disintegrates.    :'(  :'(  :'(

Coach-Rev

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4229 on: November 17, 2010, 04:49:47 PM »
and with that, a silence falls across the room...

well said.