Author Topic: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.  (Read 866682 times)

George Erdner

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5670 on: February 27, 2011, 07:36:10 AM »
Yes indeed.  Much of this is only now being fleshed out.  New body, much too much to do, etc.  And as with any new endeavor, for sure some of the things we are doing will need to be modified or revisited as time passes.  No way we are not making mistakes along the way!

Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear anyone from the ELCA be as honest about their mistakes?

Bergs

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5671 on: February 27, 2011, 09:37:41 AM »
Here is a local newspaper article on First Lutheran Church of Ellendale, MN, and their vote to leave the ELCA. 

http://www.owatonna.com/news.php?viewStory=124942

Brian J. Bergs
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George Erdner

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5672 on: February 27, 2011, 01:29:56 PM »
From Pastor Barnhart's Blog:

Just how many churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) await the fate of Grace Lutheran Church, North Branch, NY? The membership of the church had been dwindling for several years and finances had been a challenge, but members of Grace Lutheran Church were shocked when they received a letter from their ELCA synod that began “In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" and continued “the Synod will take control of the real and personal property of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church.”

Grace Lutheran members were shocked even more when the ELCA changed the locks on the church doors to keep out the very people whose ancestors had built the church and who until the locks were changed paid for the church’s daily operations.

Such takeovers and closures have not been uncommon in the ELCA, but they will likely increase as more and more members walk out of their churches because of the unbiblical teachings and practices being imposed on local congregations by the national church. Congregations that are voting to leave the ELCA should ponder carefully what will happen if their vote fails and vast numbers of the congregation’s membership departs. It may be only a matter of time until they too will get a letter “In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Synod will take control of the real and personal property of your church."

The closure of Grace Lutheran Church in North Branch followed the closure this past summer of their sister congregation, First Lutheran Church of Jeffersonville, with whom they had been yoked as a parish.

How refreshing that nearly all of the congregations that have voted to leave the ELCA have joined Lutheran fellowships where the property resides totally in the hands of the local congregation and cannot be taken from them, namely the AFLC, AALC, LCMC and NALC.


I thought I couldn't think of anything to add, and that Pastor Barnhart said it all. Then it occurred to me that there will no doubt be some who'll defend the ELCA's actions on the principle, "Since the ELCA can do it, then no one should complain that they did do it." I wonder who will be the first to come to the ELCA's defense in this case of seizing a congregation's property using the argument that since the ELCA Constitution permits such theft, it's not theft, it's perfectly OK.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 01:45:38 PM by George Erdner »

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5673 on: February 27, 2011, 02:17:10 PM »
Sad news from Concordia Evangelical Lutheran, Ironville (Columbia) Lancaster County, PA:

First vote FAILED 87 yea / 88 nay,  49.7% to 50.3%.  In terms of congregational divisiveness it doesn't get much worse.

Pr. David Heffner is a member of the Lower Susquehanna Synod Council.

Meanwhile, Bishop Spring is meeting with a neighboring congregation today; first vote set for later in March.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 02:22:00 PM by Rev. J. Thomas Shelley, STS »
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racin_jason

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5674 on: February 27, 2011, 02:20:36 PM »
From the website of Grace Lutheran Church of North Branch New York:

Grace Church began as a Reformed Church in 1871, meeting in the nearby Methodist Church until the current sanctuary could be built in 1933.  Grace Church became Lutheran in 1963.

The right thing to do would be to return the property to the Reformed Church, one of the ELCA's full communion partners. I can't decide if I'm kidding when I say that.

The negative publicity the ELCA receives in the form of the blog entry above far outweighs the money the synod gets for the property. "this could happen to you" is a powerful motivator to congregations, especially ones that are angry and scared. Just because the state of New York has laws more sympathetic to church structures the rest of the ELCA pays the political price.
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SmithL

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5675 on: February 27, 2011, 05:27:51 PM »
Sad news from Concordia Evangelical Lutheran, Ironville (Columbia) Lancaster County, PA:
First vote FAILED 87 yea / 88 nay,  49.7% to 50.3%.  In terms of congregational divisiveness it doesn't get much worse.
Pr. David Heffner is a member of the Lower Susquehanna Synod Council.
Meanwhile, Bishop Spring is meeting with a neighboring congregation today; first vote set for later in March.

I agree that it's divisive. But when it's that close, I have to wonder why anyone called for a vote in the first place.

George Erdner

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5676 on: February 27, 2011, 05:48:00 PM »
Sad news from Concordia Evangelical Lutheran, Ironville (Columbia) Lancaster County, PA:
First vote FAILED 87 yea / 88 nay,  49.7% to 50.3%.  In terms of congregational divisiveness it doesn't get much worse.
Pr. David Heffner is a member of the Lower Susquehanna Synod Council.
Meanwhile, Bishop Spring is meeting with a neighboring congregation today; first vote set for later in March.

I agree that it's divisive. But when it's that close, I have to wonder why anyone called for a vote in the first place.

That church has 651 baptized members, but an average attendance of only 146. When average attendance is less than one-fourth of all the members, that indicates a large contingent of CEO's. The turnout at most votes is usually between one-half and one-fourth of the reported average attendance, not a few people more than average attendance. They had 176 people turn out for the vote, which usually (though I admit I cannot know for sure) indicates that the "stay" side beat the bushes to make sure all of the CEO's showed up to vote. That happens often, and there's nothing at all wrong with it.

I've talked to people from LCMC start-up congregations who left their congregations after the vote failed thanks to the CEO's being dragged in to vote. The long term result is usually the loss of most of the active members, with the CEO's reverting to attending only on Christmas and Easter.

If you think it's sad that a congregation leaves the ELCA (though I cannot fathom why people insist that is a tragedy), imagine how sad it is when a congregation loses the half of its membership that usually shows up most Sundays and keeps the congregation alive with their time, talent, and treasure.


Robert Johnson

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5677 on: February 27, 2011, 05:48:40 PM »
Sad news from Concordia Evangelical Lutheran, Ironville (Columbia) Lancaster County, PA:
First vote FAILED 87 yea / 88 nay,  49.7% to 50.3%.  In terms of congregational divisiveness it doesn't get much worse.
Pr. David Heffner is a member of the Lower Susquehanna Synod Council.
Meanwhile, Bishop Spring is meeting with a neighboring congregation today; first vote set for later in March.

I agree that it's divisive. But when it's that close, I have to wonder why anyone called for a vote in the first place.

It's probably a bad tactic from a political point of view, but maybe it exposes a fundamental truth about the congregation that is going to have to be dealt with.  Or is it better to proceed blindly, pretending everything is okay, without knowing?

George Erdner

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5678 on: February 27, 2011, 05:53:20 PM »
Sad news from Concordia Evangelical Lutheran, Ironville (Columbia) Lancaster County, PA:
First vote FAILED 87 yea / 88 nay,  49.7% to 50.3%.  In terms of congregational divisiveness it doesn't get much worse.
Pr. David Heffner is a member of the Lower Susquehanna Synod Council.
Meanwhile, Bishop Spring is meeting with a neighboring congregation today; first vote set for later in March.

I agree that it's divisive. But when it's that close, I have to wonder why anyone called for a vote in the first place.

It's probably a bad tactic from a political point of view, but maybe it exposes a fundamental truth about the congregation that is going to have to be dealt with.  Or is it better to proceed blindly, pretending everything is okay, without knowing?

As I said, if a church council conducts an impromptu poll of the active members who show up every Sunday, they'll often get a very different result than they'd get if they talked to the CEO's.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5679 on: February 27, 2011, 05:56:16 PM »
Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear anyone from the ELCA be as honest about their mistakes?

What mistake? All the proper rules and procedures were followed. What would have been a mistake is to change our process; throw out our democratic process and rules we've adopted for governing ourselves.
"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]

Revbert

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5680 on: February 27, 2011, 06:20:30 PM »
Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear anyone from the ELCA be as honest about their mistakes?

What mistake? All the proper rules and procedures were followed. What would have been a mistake is to change our process; throw out our democratic process and rules we've adopted for governing ourselves.

Brian,

What planet are you living on?

I may not agree with George 100% of the time, or disagree with you 100% of the time, but on this one, I think you've taken this the wrong way.

As an outsider, I read this comment about folks in the ELCA (administration/leadership) being less than willing to admit mistakes or acknowledge publicly that mistakes are going to happen.  I don't read anything here that indicates George was speaking about any particular action or decision.

Sheesh....stop making issues where they don't appear.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5681 on: February 27, 2011, 06:27:53 PM »
Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear anyone from the ELCA be as honest about their mistakes?

What mistake? All the proper rules and procedures were followed. What would have been a mistake is to change our process; throw out our democratic process and rules we've adopted for governing ourselves.

Brian,

What planet are you living on?

I may not agree with George 100% of the time, or disagree with you 100% of the time, but on this one, I think you've taken this the wrong way.

As an outsider, I read this comment about folks in the ELCA (administration/leadership) being less than willing to admit mistakes or acknowledge publicly that mistakes are going to happen.  I don't read anything here that indicates George was speaking about any particular action or decision.

Sheesh....stop making issues where they don't appear.

Everything that led up to the decisions in 2009 came through the proper processes -- sometimes contrary to the wishes of the ELCA administration/leadership. If the presiding bishop had decided that the issue of homosexual relationships was too volatile and forbade any more votes on it at churchwide assemblies, it would have been an abuse of his authority. (That charge had already been leveled against Bishop Hanson when he was a synodical bishop.) He would have been acting contrary to the votes of earlier churchwide assemblies. These assemblies are the highest legislative authority in the our church -- not the presiding bishop. At the assemblies, he is, essentially, no more than the chair of a large decision-making body. As such, he is to remain neutral.

Some wish that we had a governing ministerium -- perhaps like the supreme court -- who has the right and authority to declare an assembly's actions to be contrary to scriptures or our confessions; but we do not have such a body. It is assumed that the discussion during the churchwide assembly will include arguments related to scriptures and confessions; and that with that information, the voting members will make a well-informed decision.

I believe that the only way for the ELCA to declare the actions to be mistakes is for a subsequent assembly to vote on a resolution that calls them "a mistake".

While the leadership of the ELCA probably doesn't like the many votes by congregations to leave; they cannot say that the decision was a mistake.

I think that in a similar way, the US government couldn't really say that the democratically elected Hamas in Palestine was a mistake. After pushing for democratic elections, we can't really complain when they follow the right process that we insisted on, but elect people we don't want in power.

We have our approved procedures and processes. They can result in decisions that people don't like.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 06:32:56 PM 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]

George Erdner

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5682 on: February 27, 2011, 06:35:22 PM »
Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear anyone from the ELCA be as honest about their mistakes?

What mistake? All the proper rules and procedures were followed. What would have been a mistake is to change our process; throw out our democratic process and rules we've adopted for governing ourselves.

I asked this earlier:

I thought I couldn't think of anything to add, and that Pastor Barnhart said it all. Then it occurred to me that there will no doubt be some who'll defend the ELCA's actions on the principle, "Since the ELCA can do it, then no one should complain that they did do it." I wonder who will be the first to come to the ELCA's defense in this case of seizing a congregation's property using the argument that since the ELCA Constitution permits such theft, it's not theft, it's perfectly OK.

Now I know the answer.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5683 on: February 27, 2011, 06:39:26 PM »
Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear anyone from the ELCA be as honest about their mistakes?

What mistake? All the proper rules and procedures were followed. What would have been a mistake is to change our process; throw out our democratic process and rules we've adopted for governing ourselves.

I asked this earlier:

I thought I couldn't think of anything to add, and that Pastor Barnhart said it all. Then it occurred to me that there will no doubt be some who'll defend the ELCA's actions on the principle, "Since the ELCA can do it, then no one should complain that they did do it." I wonder who will be the first to come to the ELCA's defense in this case of seizing a congregation's property using the argument that since the ELCA Constitution permits such theft, it's not theft, it's perfectly OK.

Now I know the answer.

The "theft" of property, as you call it, occurs only when the future use of the property is quite different from the reason the property was built and dedicated to God -- namely, to serve as a center for Lutheran worship. "Lutheran," in this case, means, "belonging to a recognized Lutheran denomination."

With as much talk as some have done about "tradition," it is precisely the tradition of being a building for Lutheran worship that the synods seek to uphold.
"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]

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #5684 on: February 27, 2011, 06:39:54 PM »
Huh?  Where do you get that, Brian?

I have never heard anyone argue for a "ministerium."  I have argued for a recovery of a majesterium, but that's nowhere near your concept of a ministerium...

Given my opinion of the Sith Lord...um Presiding Bishop... I shudder to think what would be the course if he had been vested with such authority as you proppse.  

And you (should) know there is a difference between "proper" (ie. "legal") and "right." (ie. correct)  Adolf Hitler was elected to chancelor of Germany quite properly.  Segregation was done in this country quite legally.  That doesn't make either instance good, right, or salutary.  This whole "proper" argument shows how little you listen to, or care about, what your brothers and sisters care about.  And it makes "respecting bound conscience" quite impossible....  But we already knew that.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS