Author Topic: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.  (Read 840612 times)

John Theiss

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4230 on: November 17, 2010, 06:40:49 PM »
Conventions also provide for some unintended theological situations.  In 2005 the ELCIC voted upon a motion presented by National Church Council to allow some form of "local option" regarding the blessing of same sex unions.  This vote was taken following a prayer by the then National Bishop that the Holy Spirit would lead the convention to a God pleasing decision.  The vote failed.  In 2007 a similar motion was again proposed by the NCC, with a similar prayer by the same National Bishop.  Unfortunately, no one asked the Bishop whether the Holy Spirit had a) failed to lead us to a God pleasing decision in 2005 or b) informed NCC that he had now changed his mind.  Either would have fit with the actions of NCC and the prayers of the Bishop.

Coach-Rev

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4231 on: November 17, 2010, 06:53:15 PM »
Conventions also provide for some unintended theological situations.  In 2005 the ELCIC voted upon a motion presented by National Church Council to allow some form of "local option" regarding the blessing of same sex unions.  This vote was taken following a prayer by the then National Bishop that the Holy Spirit would lead the convention to a God pleasing decision.  The vote failed.  In 2007 a similar motion was again proposed by the NCC, with a similar prayer by the same National Bishop.  Unfortunately, no one asked the Bishop whether the Holy Spirit had a) failed to lead us to a God pleasing decision in 2005 or b) informed NCC that he had now changed his mind.  Either would have fit with the actions of NCC and the prayers of the Bishop.

And thus it is mirrored by the ELCA.  When similar things had failed repeatedly, including ministry options in  2005, all we heard was how the "Holy Spirit" hadn't definitively spoken" on the matter yet.  Now that "they" got what they wanted, we hear "the Holy Spirit has spoken." 

what a load of skubala...

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4232 on: November 17, 2010, 07:06:10 PM »
Conventions also provide for some unintended theological situations.  In 2005 the ELCIC voted upon a motion presented by National Church Council to allow some form of "local option" regarding the blessing of same sex unions.  This vote was taken following a prayer by the then National Bishop that the Holy Spirit would lead the convention to a God pleasing decision.  The vote failed.  In 2007 a similar motion was again proposed by the NCC, with a similar prayer by the same National Bishop.  Unfortunately, no one asked the Bishop whether the Holy Spirit had a) failed to lead us to a God pleasing decision in 2005 or b) informed NCC that he had now changed his mind.  Either would have fit with the actions of NCC and the prayers of the Bishop.

God's answer to prayer may often by like my father often said to us kids, "We'll see." "We'll see's" can turn into a "yes". Sometimes because my father changed his mind, but more often because he saw a change in us kids and we were ready for the "yes".
"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 #4233 on: November 17, 2010, 07:11:00 PM »
Conventions also provide for some unintended theological situations.  In 2005 the ELCIC voted upon a motion presented by National Church Council to allow some form of "local option" regarding the blessing of same sex unions.  This vote was taken following a prayer by the then National Bishop that the Holy Spirit would lead the convention to a God pleasing decision.  The vote failed.  In 2007 a similar motion was again proposed by the NCC, with a similar prayer by the same National Bishop.  Unfortunately, no one asked the Bishop whether the Holy Spirit had a) failed to lead us to a God pleasing decision in 2005 or b) informed NCC that he had now changed his mind.  Either would have fit with the actions of NCC and the prayers of the Bishop.

And thus it is mirrored by the ELCA.  When similar things had failed repeatedly, including ministry options in  2005, all we heard was how the "Holy Spirit" hadn't definitively spoken" on the matter yet.  Now that "they" got what they wanted, we hear "the Holy Spirit has spoken." 

what a load of skubala...

Like congregations who keep taking first votes until they get the result they want? Or the one who took a second second vote because they didn't like the results of the first second vote -- and because they didn't like the ruling that a failed second vote means they have to start over.
"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]

jrubyaz

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4234 on: November 17, 2010, 07:19:52 PM »
And we know two wrongs don't make a right !  (although in this case it did make a rite.....) ::)  :o

Conventions also provide for some unintended theological situations.  In 2005 the ELCIC voted upon a motion presented by National Church Council to allow some form of "local option" regarding the blessing of same sex unions.  This vote was taken following a prayer by the then National Bishop that the Holy Spirit would lead the convention to a God pleasing decision.  The vote failed.  In 2007 a similar motion was again proposed by the NCC, with a similar prayer by the same National Bishop.  Unfortunately, no one asked the Bishop whether the Holy Spirit had a) failed to lead us to a God pleasing decision in 2005 or b) informed NCC that he had now changed his mind.  Either would have fit with the actions of NCC and the prayers of the Bishop.

And thus it is mirrored by the ELCA.  When similar things had failed repeatedly, including ministry options in  2005, all we heard was how the "Holy Spirit" hadn't definitively spoken" on the matter yet.  Now that "they" got what they wanted, we hear "the Holy Spirit has spoken."  

what a load of skubala...

Like congregations who keep taking first votes until they get the result they want? Or the one who took a second second vote because they didn't like the results of the first second vote -- and because they didn't like the ruling that a failed second vote means they have to start over.

Dan Fienen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4235 on: November 17, 2010, 07:22:41 PM »
Like I said before, taking votes until the people get them right has become an ELCA tradition.   :D

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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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 #4236 on: November 17, 2010, 07:43:25 PM »
And as I said above, I think that the congregation is acting somewhat recklessly.

So, help me out. I'm not clear.

Do you think the congregation is acting somewhat recklessly?

Mike

Why, funny you should ask?  In case I haven't mentioned it before, let me say now that I do.
 ;D

SmithL

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4237 on: November 17, 2010, 07:44:34 PM »
Like I said before, taking votes until the people get them right has become an ELCA tradition.   :D
Dan

It's a pretty poor dealer that can't win (and even worse of a scorekeeper).
Just sayin'
 ;)

G.Edward

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4238 on: November 17, 2010, 07:57:17 PM »
No, it is my reminder that we have agreed-upon ways of enabling churches to sever their connections with the ELCA. Some of those ways, if not followed, involve potentially serious civil legal obligations. We should follow them.
Why does that bother you? How ironic - I say again - that suddenly the "traditionalists" believe that all rules and policies should be set aside so that they can do what they want. Codswallop.

There are guidelines about the order of voting, who qualifies to vote, and the timing of such votes, but no mention of how many times that process can be repeated.  No irony here.

James_Gale

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4239 on: November 17, 2010, 08:19:19 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.

I don't think that the authors of this process wanted it to be easy or pain-free.  And it's not.

I agree with you that the constitution does not state expressly that a failed second vote ends the process, thereby sending a congregation back to the beginning.  But let me give you a simplified version of what seems to me to be the strongest argument from the synod's perspective that Zion's second "second vote" was not effective.

Under the process for leaving the ELCA, a congregation must vote to leave once and then be open to consultation with the synod bishop for a period of at least 90 days.  After that, if a congregation "still desires to terminate its relationship," it may do so through a successful second vote.  The word "still" from subsection (d) is critically important.  The process requires two votes because in order to leave, the congregation must "still" want to leave (as evidenced by a 2/3 vote) upon the conclusion of the consultation period.  A failed second vote shows that the congregation does not "still" wish to leave.  Thus, the process for leaving has failed.  It is done and over.  A later 2/3 vote to leave is not evidence that a congregation "still" wants to leave.  Instead, it is evidence of a renewed desire to leave.  For this reason, it cannot constitute a successful second vote.  It could, however, constitute a successful first vote.  And if after 90 days of consultation the congregation then holds a successful vote to leave, it will have shown that it "still" has the desire to leave and the process will be complete.

One could argue that any other construction would be absurd.  If Zion were right, a congregation could take second votes indefinitely until one succeeded.  It would never need to take another first vote or engage in further consultation.  That makes no sense.  

There are passable counter-arguments to all of this.  I offer this post simply to illustrate that there is strength to the ELCA position on this question.  And it is for this reason that congregations should proceed prudently when evaluating the risks associated with relying on a second "second vote."

jrubyaz

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4240 on: November 17, 2010, 09:05:24 PM »

As someone who has personally been through the two vote process, I concur with Mr. Gale.

I think a lot can change in a few months, either to solidify the first vote or move against it. I can see why it is in the constitution, from the perspective of the ELCA.

In our case, while both votes were around 82-84%, we had double the number of members vote at the second meeting than at the first.

You can't have a second vote fail and then go back to just a second vote.

And I will state again, repeatedly taking votes is wrong, unless there was some sort of issue with a legally called first or second vote that would cause it to be invalidated.

Jeff Ruby

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.

I don't think that the authors of this process wanted it to be easy or pain-free.  And it's not.

I agree with you that the constitution does not state expressly that a failed second vote ends the process, thereby sending a congregation back to the beginning.  But let me give you a simplified version of what seems to me to be the strongest argument from the synod's perspective that Zion's second "second vote" was not effective.

Under the process for leaving the ELCA, a congregation must vote to leave once and then be open to consultation with the synod bishop for a period of at least 90 days.  After that, if a congregation "still desires to terminate its relationship," it may do so through a successful second vote.  The word "still" from subsection (d) is critically important.  The process requires two votes because in order to leave, the congregation must "still" want to leave (as evidenced by a 2/3 vote) upon the conclusion of the consultation period.  A failed second vote shows that the congregation does not "still" wish to leave.  Thus, the process for leaving has failed.  It is done and over.  A later 2/3 vote to leave is not evidence that a congregation "still" wants to leave.  Instead, it is evidence of a renewed desire to leave.  For this reason, it cannot constitute a successful second vote.  It could, however, constitute a successful first vote.  And if after 90 days of consultation the congregation then holds a successful vote to leave, it will have shown that it "still" has the desire to leave and the process will be complete.

One could argue that any other construction would be absurd.  If Zion were right, a congregation could take second votes indefinitely until one succeeded.  It would never need to take another first vote or engage in further consultation.  That makes no sense.  

There are passable counter-arguments to all of this.  I offer this post simply to illustrate that there is strength to the ELCA position on this question.  And it is for this reason that congregations should proceed prudently when evaluating the risks associated with relying on a second "second vote."

mdpastor

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4241 on: November 17, 2010, 09:09:33 PM »
Conventions also provide for some unintended theological situations.  In 2005 the ELCIC voted upon a motion presented by National Church Council to allow some form of "local option" regarding the blessing of same sex unions.  This vote was taken following a prayer by the then National Bishop that the Holy Spirit would lead the convention to a God pleasing decision.  The vote failed.  In 2007 a similar motion was again proposed by the NCC, with a similar prayer by the same National Bishop.  Unfortunately, no one asked the Bishop whether the Holy Spirit had a) failed to lead us to a God pleasing decision in 2005 or b) informed NCC that he had now changed his mind.  Either would have fit with the actions of NCC and the prayers of the Bishop.

God's answer to prayer may often by like my father often said to us kids, "We'll see." "We'll see's" can turn into a "yes". Sometimes because my father changed his mind, but more often because he saw a change in us kids and we were ready for the "yes".

I usually just lurk but I felt compelled to respond to this statement of astounding theological arrogance.  

So . . . the revisionists were "ready" for the great leap forward, and the traditionalists just aren't that advanced (yet).  Do you realize how condescending that comes across?  Is that really how you and the others in this exalted state of readiness feel about those of us further down on the theological evolutionary scale?

As an ELCA pastor who is displeased with the decisions of the 2009 CWA but who does believe (wants to believe) that it is possible to do God's work together despite the disagreement, the more comments I read like this one on this forum the more I fear that I am just naive.

gausmann

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4242 on: November 17, 2010, 09:50:18 PM »
It strikes that there are any number of ELCA congregatiions near Zion Clear Lake that will be happy to receive into membership those who do not like the decision of the pastors, majority of leadership and of membership of that congregation. While one could argue in contrast that they should not have to feel that they should leave, the reality is that the fight has gone on too long already, no matter what one may say about procedures or lack there of along the way. I hope that many of those who voted to stay in the ELCA will stay at Zion but the reality is that barring a painful lawsuit or some other legal action it is now LCMC and this will pass slowly and painfully but it will pass. I seem to remember that when I served in Iowa, Zion Clear lake was viewed as kind of a golden boy congregation, growing fast, prospering, a model church in a pretty stagnant Synod, it is a flag ship in Northeast Iowa perhaps there are some who just ned to let go of it. 

jrubyaz

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4243 on: November 18, 2010, 11:36:43 AM »

As a follow up to our vote last Sunday, there has been local radio , TV , and newspaper coverage. AP is going national with a story in the next day . I guess they think it is newsworthy since we are the largest Lutheran church in the state.

Jeff Ruby

John Theiss

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #4244 on: November 18, 2010, 07:00:34 PM »
Brian, I would be very interested in your view of what changed in "you kids" in the ELCA that God went from a "no" previous to 2009 to a "yes" after 2009.