Author Topic: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.  (Read 883994 times)

Richard Johnson

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.
« Reply #10095 on: February 07, 2016, 10:55:15 PM »
It might also be noted that Immanuel is the congregation in whose building the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau was organized in 1914.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.
« Reply #10096 on: February 12, 2016, 11:58:00 AM »
For the record, the report on the vote at Immanuel:
http://www.immanuelnyc.org/report-special-voters-assembly-february-7th-2016

Thank you again for your prayers.

Steven Tibbetts

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The Hiawatha World Online reported yesterday that Zion Lutheran Church, Everest, Kansas, "has joined North American Lutheran Church (NALC) and Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) after being affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) since 1988." 
Quote
During the past year Zion Lutheran Church considered how they could continue in faithfulness to the scriptural and confessional truths upon which their congregation was founded in 1895; and how Zion could have direct representation in decisions that affect their congregation’s ministry and the denomination to which they belong. After many months of prayerful discernment and diligent effort, Zion Lutheran Church is excited to join two Lutheran church bodies which more closely reflect their shared beliefs and values which are based on the integrity and authority of God’s inerrant word in the Bible.

The current ELCA Yearbook shows this former ALC congregation of 241 baptized member with an average Sunday attendance of 93, $92,147 in current expenses, and $11,556 in benevolence. 

Pax, Steven+
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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.
« Reply #10098 on: November 06, 2017, 08:15:32 PM »
The Abilene Reflector-Chronicle reports Trinity Lutheran Church, Abilene, Kansas, has joined the North American Lutheran Church. 

The current ELCA yearbook shows a former LCA congregation with 266 baptized members; an average attendance of 57; current expenses of $106,508; and benevolence of $9,550.  For the last 10 years Trinity has been part of a geographical parish which still has 2 ELCA congregations.

Pax, Steven+
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The ongoing legal battle in Holdrege NE has intensified in the seven year saga: a lower court has now ruled for the first time (after multiple dismissals and refilings by the plaintiffs) that since the ELCA didn't release Bethel Lutheran (when they released 3 others the same day), it is still a congregation of the ELCA.  Of course, the only difference between it and the other 3 is that it has significant financial assets.  The process to leave was followed the same by all 4, and has never been under dispute.

It should be noted that the lawsuit was filed by a handful of former members, with the Nebraska synod's lawyer acting as their attorney.

Lest we forget St. Paul's own instructions on the matter...

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Dan Fienen

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The ongoing legal battle in Holdrege NE has intensified in the seven year saga: a lower court has now ruled for the first time (after multiple dismissals and refilings by the plaintiffs) that since the ELCA didn't release Bethel Lutheran (when they released 3 others the same day), it is still a congregation of the ELCA.  Of course, the only difference between it and the other 3 is that it has significant financial assets.  The process to leave was followed the same by all 4, and has never been under dispute.

It should be noted that the lawsuit was filed by a handful of former members, with the Nebraska synod's lawyer acting as their attorney.

Lest we forget St. Paul's own instructions on the matter...
This saddens me.  I served the LCMS congregation in town, knew some of the people and was friends with the pastors.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Charles Austin

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Yes, here it is again. The big, bad, evil ELCA acting in order to…
Preserve what legitimately belongs to it. At the  request of some of its members. How awful.
Retired ELCA Pastor. You can say liberal Christians are wrong. You can say that you disagree with our interpretation of faith. But when you say we are driven by “culture” or “trendiness,” you prove that you do not listen to us. Luther fared better with Rome.

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...legitimately..,

Since this has taken 7 years to resolve, I'd suggest that maybe, just maybe, this case is not as easy as you might like to believe. And do we know whether or not the congregation will appeal the ruling?

Dan Fienen

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Yes, here it is again. The big, bad, evil ELCA acting in order to…
Preserve what legitimately belongs to it. At the  request of some of its members. How awful.
I make no judgment as to who is in the right and who is in the wrong, I am sad that it has come to such conflict.  By the by, by the time this conflict came to pass none of the clergy that I knew were still serving that church so I have no opinion as to the pastoral leadership under which this impasse came to pass.


One other point, there is nothing to divide and engender conflict in families than the prospect of a chunk of money.  The same thing goes for church families.  As I recall, quite some time ago, before I was in the community, the congregation had been bequeathed a large sum of money.  At that time (before there was any hint of a split in or with the ELCA) the money had already caused some conflict and upset.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 07:21:45 PM by Dan Fienen »
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Pilgrim

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Yes, here it is again. The big, bad, evil ELCA acting in order to…
Preserve what legitimately belongs to it. At the  request of some of its members. How awful.

With all due respect Charles, your blind defense of all things ELCA, has years of dust accumulating on it. There are way too many stories over many years of party line Bishops and synods behaving like Pharisees and taking to the Law like bunch of clones for you to continue to air blanket dismissals with language like “the big, bad ELCA”. It is a ecclesastical tragedy of the highest order that the 2009 decisions have been steamrolled over any and all who even speak of orthodoxy having a place and a voice in the conversation. To claim credentials as a journalist and to be be as unrelentingly biased as you are on this forum truly calls into question whether your journalistic training ever progressed beyond even an introductory course in the subject. Were not journalists once proudly hailed as watchdogs, not lapdogs, not all that many years ago? Your constant refrain has had you sitting in the lap of the ELCA for years getting your ears scratched and quite content to never question nor ever consider biting the hand that feeds you. If retirement doesn’t work out, I hear TASS is hiring.
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

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It is a troubling sign when those holding ecclesiastical power are more adept at using the Sword than they are at using the power of the Keys.

Article XXVIII: Of Ecclesiastical Power.
1] There has been great controversy concerning the Power of Bishops, in which some have awkwardly confounded the power of the Church 2] and the power of the sword. And from this confusion very great wars and tumults have resulted, while the Pontiffs, emboldened by the power of the Keys, not only have instituted new services and burdened consciences with reservation of cases and ruthless excommunications, but have also undertaken to transfer the kingdoms of this world, 3] and to take the Empire from the Emperor. These wrongs have long since been rebuked in the Church 4] by learned and godly men. Therefore our teachers, for the comforting of men's consciences, were constrained to show the difference between the power of the Church and the power of the sword, and taught that both of them, because of God's commandment, are to be held in reverence and honor, as the chief blessings of God on earth.

5] But this is their opinion, that the power of the Keys, or the power of the bishops, according to the Gospel, is a power or commandment of God, to preach the Gospel, to remit and retain sins, and to administer Sacraments.
David Charlton  

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Yes, here it is again. The big, bad, evil ELCA acting in order to…
Preserve what legitimately belongs to it. At the  request of some of its members. How awful.

Fact:  4 congregations voted at nearly the same time, following the duly outlined procedures of the ELCA, to disaffiliate.
Fact:  3 of the 4 were dismissed by the ELCA.  (the 3 that had no major assets).  The 4th, with large endowment and value, was not.
Fact:  A former member of the NE synod under oath has sworn an affidavit that because of the large endowment, they were instructed to vote not to let them leave, AFTER they successfully voted.
Fact:  The church, properly speaking, belongs to God alone.  Not you, not the big, bad, evil ELCA.  It belongs to God.   Alone.

So you tell me, Charles:  Who in this account, besides you, is acting as the bully? 

It is indeed a sordid affair that a church body would resort to lawsuits to settle it's disputes.  If the large majority no longer want to be affiliated, why hang on to it?  It truly shows the depths to which some of the leadership have fallen.

It is by no means over.  An appeal, at the very least, is likely. 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 10:46:42 PM by Coach-Rev »
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Charles Austin

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Pastor Charlton and others, I have constantly and consistently said that virtually no one in this tiny forum - including this humble correspondent - has the experience, credentials or personal involvement to comment specifically on or to rule on one side or the other of these specific congregational disputes.
I happen to think that for the most part our church body acts to protect what it needs to protect. Hundreds of congregations left us, most of them peaceably. Some did not leave without bitter conflict, often involving court cases. It is the wont of some here to immediately side with one part of the dispute.
I have always asked: What does the ELCA have to gain by trying to keep congregations or people "in" if they do not want to be "in." And I have always noted that in many many cases, the rules of our order say if a majority of a congregation votes to leave the ELCA under certain conditions, the property goes to those who choose to remain in the ELCA, even if they are the minority.
Sometimes this has to be adjudicated in courts other than ours.
As for the "assets," again I have no first hand knowledge, but one can imagine.
St. Oppo's Lutheran church, 200 members, a modest building, wants to leave. Perhaps their modest building ought to go to the synod, but the synod council figures it would take four years and a chunk of lawyer fees to keep that modest building in the ELCA. So they let it go.
St. Dissie's Lutheran Church, 850 members, a $3 million facility, $2.5 million in reserve funds, votes by a narrow margin to leave the ELCA. Those wishing to stay in the ELCA claim title to the building and assets. The synod council concludes that while it will take some years and legal fees, that facility and other assets can aid the on-going ministry of the synod and the members of St. Dissie's who want to stay in the ELCA can make good use of those things. So the "prize" as it were, is worth the fight.
Finally, as I have said before; members of the synod council have a fiduciary responsibility, and could be found legally derelict in that responsibility if they did not take steps to preserve their rights to the property and simply said to those at St. Dissies who voted to leave: "OK, it's all yours."
Once again - for the umpteenth time - Pilgrim, I am not a journalist here; I'm just another bozo on the bus, riding along, with some opinions, observing certain things, probably missing certain other things.
And yes, I am an ELCA "loyalist," that is, I believe that as a pastor in that church body I owe it some respect and that I accept its supervision of my ministry. It does some things I don't like and it screws up some things that I do like; but not so badly that I want to mount the barricades and start waving flags.
What I have never - never! - understood is those ELCA pastors who decide that they can reject the oversight of the ELCA because, in their opinion it counters some "higher power" or "different interpretation" of confessions or constitution, and that their personal view should take precedence.
You want to operate clerically that way, be a Baptist or a Congregationalist, not an ELCA Lutheran.
I can already sense the howls forming and we are heading into Holy Week, so having reiterated my views which I have expressed in this forum many times, I will begin my study and prep for the services ahead.
You all have as blessed a week as you can manage. I think mine is going to be pretty nice.
Retired ELCA Pastor. You can say liberal Christians are wrong. You can say that you disagree with our interpretation of faith. But when you say we are driven by “culture” or “trendiness,” you prove that you do not listen to us. Luther fared better with Rome.

Steven Tibbetts

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The ongoing legal battle in Holdrege NE has intensified in the seven year saga: a lower court has now ruled for the first time (after multiple dismissals and refilings by the plaintiffs) that since the ELCA didn't release Bethel Lutheran (when they released 3 others the same day), it is still a congregation of the ELCA.  Of course, the only difference between it and the other 3 is that it has significant financial assets.  The process to leave was followed the same by all 4, and has never been under dispute.

It should be noted that the lawsuit was filed by a handful of former members, with the Nebraska synod's lawyer acting as their attorney.

Lest we forget St. Paul's own instructions on the matter...

It is only fair to note that, being a former LCA congregation, the congregation's own constitution stated at the time it voted to disassociate from the ELCA that the Nebraska Synod is not required to approve Bethel's vote to leave the ELCA and, "If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America."

Now, in doing so I'll note (once again) that those who included that provision in the constitution presumed that it would be a majority of the congregation that could depart from the faith of the Lutheran Church, rather than the Synod or the larger church body.  My sympathies are with those who have departed, but I fear that on matters where the Court has competence and jurisdiction, the wicked have the stronger argument.

Kyrie eleison.  Christe eleison.  Kyrie eleison.

Pax, Steven+
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Charles Austin

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Steven writes (citing congregational constitutions)
"If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America."

I note:
And this is what I have been referencing for nine years when it is assumed that every congregation can just vote to leave the ELCA and take all property and assets with it.
The "policy" behind this comes from ULCA and LCA congregations. Many of them were started with funds from the Board of American Mission, which sent out pastors to gather a congregation and build a building (often with church-wide funds). Hence the thought that the "larger church" had a stake in the congregation.
I learned that many ALC congregations started locally, that is, people came together, sometimes even erected a church building, and then "hired" a pastor. It is easy to see how this gave a more "localized" view of the congregation than with ULCA/LCA churches. (And, BTW, of the "status" of the pastor. )
Retired ELCA Pastor. You can say liberal Christians are wrong. You can say that you disagree with our interpretation of faith. But when you say we are driven by “culture” or “trendiness,” you prove that you do not listen to us. Luther fared better with Rome.