Author Topic: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?  (Read 8821 times)

GalRev83

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #75 on: November 06, 2010, 08:51:49 PM »
God help me, I am plunging in here also.

Honestly, the mood of the ELCA seems to me to vary widely by synod and conference. I am in the same conference as these pastors. They are my treasured colleagues. And this area feels like Stalinist Russia these days. One wrong word and off to the Gulag with you. Don't deny the official word from Pravda -- I mean, The Lutheran!  ;)

 Note, I said that it *feels* this way. No, they have not yet constructed a re-education camp here in Central Illinois. That I know of. :'( So please do not go all literal on me. Maybe the "gulag" around here is when people who have families to support are told "There is no call for you here."

The amount of suspicion and vitriol being aimed here at pastors who are trying to remain faithful to Scripture and their calling is - at best - hurtful. They owe nothing to this forum or those who question them here  -- not even their full names, in my opinion. They are only beholden to God. I know some of you  will only listen to those with their names clearly displayed (preferably with a link to their Vitae), but do we not see the potential consequences if they openly identify themselves here? Can't they find some support here, -- even as they provide verification of their situations to us?

I pray that I might have the courage, when my moment comes, to be as steadfast as these, my brothers in the faith have been.

Donna H. Smith
Pastor

David Norland

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #76 on: November 06, 2010, 09:57:55 PM »
On September 15, 2009 at the headquarters of Indiana-Kentucky Synod I was told by the Assistant to the Bishop, Rudy Mueller that I would not be preaching or teaching in the Synod for Bishop Stuck. I asked why.  He was very clear that it was because I spoke at the Synod Assembly asking Kelly Fryer's presentations to be struck from the agenda.

I met with the Bishop within the next two weeks.  I posted both my initial reaction, my hopes, and the resolution of the matter somewhere in this ALPB bulletin board.  He had added that part of the reason I was intially blacklisted (not a word he used) was that I directly disobeyed him.  I had given him a heads up about the parliamentary motion I was bringing and he asked me not to do it.  I told him that I still was going to do it, and I did.  In the later conversation he said that this meant he could not trust me to speak on his behalf in congregations.  I raised this as an issue of conscience.  Bishop Stuck told me that mine was a faithful voice and that he wanted to use me as an interim. 

I asked about a particular post to a newly vacant conservative congregation.  No I was told.  He was desiring to place a particular person there (who happened to be a liberal lesbian).  Yet he assured me there was a place for me, and he desired to use me.  In fact no future full time posts were offered.  One part time post was offered some months later after I had secured my own part time work and then withdrawn a week later when I had made the necessary arrangements for it to work (I was told by Rudy Mueller that he had given it to someone else because he hadn't really expected me to say yes).

On September 1, 2010 Bishop Stuck removed me from the ELCA roster, because I had rostered with LCMC.  Funny how the ECP rostered folk can remain dual rostered, isn't it?
 

Scott6

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #77 on: November 06, 2010, 10:02:24 PM »
On September 15, 2009 at the headquarters of Indiana-Kentucky Synod I was told by the Assistant to the Bishop, Rudy Mueller that I would not be preaching or teaching in the Synod for Bishop Stuck. I asked why.  He was very clear that it was because I spoke at the Synod Assembly asking Kelly Fryer's presentations to be struck from the agenda.

I met with the Bishop within the next two weeks.  I posted both my initial reaction, my hopes, and the resolution of the matter somewhere in this ALPB bulletin board.  He had added that part of the reason I was intially blacklisted (not a word he used) was that I directly disobeyed him.  I had given him a heads up about the parliamentary motion I was bringing and he asked me not to do it.  I told him that I still was going to do it, and I did.  In the later conversation he said that this meant he could not trust me to speak on his behalf in congregations.  I raised this as an issue of conscience.  Bishop Stuck told me that mine was a faithful voice and that he wanted to use me as an interim.  

I asked about a particular post to a newly vacant conservative congregation.  No I was told.  He was desiring to place a particular person there (who happened to be a liberal lesbian).  Yet he assured me there was a place for me, and he desired to use me.  In fact no future full time posts were offered.  One part time post was offered some months later after I had secured my own part time work and then withdrawn a week later when I had made the necessary arrangements for it to work (I was told by Rudy Mueller that he had given it to someone else because he hadn't really expected me to say yes).

On September 1, 2010 Bishop Stuck removed me from the ELCA roster, because I had rostered with LCMC.  Funny how the ECP rostered folk can remain dual rostered, isn't it?

Wow.  The more stories I hear, the more I wonder why this is apparently so easy in the case of pastors who disagree with homosexual behavior.

Perhaps Steve Sabin could weigh in here, because I believe that in his case, it took somewhat more than a bishop's decision to remove him from the roster.

Why is it easy to remove "traditionalist" pastors as compared to others?

Birkholz

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #78 on: November 06, 2010, 10:14:57 PM »
  I posted both my initial reaction, my hopes, and the resolution of the matter somewhere in this ALPB bulletin board. 


David-

Your post is here: http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=2273.msg116562#msg116562

If you go to your profile (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=15844) you can select "show the last posts of this person".

Thank you for sharing your story.

Mark
Pastor Mark Birkholz
Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church
Oak Lawn, IL
www.faithoaklawn.org

mg2000

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #79 on: November 06, 2010, 10:45:45 PM »
I know that, even before the current restructuring, the ELCA had moved the "roster" out of the Synod's hands and into the Office of the Secretary of the ELCA.  This may, or may not be, a huge deal.  Practically speaking, the most immeadate ramification is that an ELCA pastor now submits their mobility paperwork to the ELCA and not their Synod Office.  There are other possible ramifications, but they have yet to be fully fleshed out.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


Perhaps I didn't understand the move correctly, but the change of the "roster" administration was a technological one.  All mobility papers are now in cloud in one data warehouse. This takes the IT responsibilities and data integrity management off the synod desk.  Ultimately, I would think this could be a great thing.  It could streamline the process if an Asst. to the Bishop could input key characteristics from the self-study, and then have a number of eligible candidates appear seconds later without needing to ask another synod office to send the data.  I would think this could suggest a move toward more congregational autonomy rather than less.  Can you imagine a call committee sitting with the database on the screen in front of them - no waiting for candidates!

mg2000

George Erdner

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #80 on: November 06, 2010, 10:55:26 PM »
I know that, even before the current restructuring, the ELCA had moved the "roster" out of the Synod's hands and into the Office of the Secretary of the ELCA.  This may, or may not be, a huge deal.  Practically speaking, the most immeadate ramification is that an ELCA pastor now submits their mobility paperwork to the ELCA and not their Synod Office.  There are other possible ramifications, but they have yet to be fully fleshed out.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


Perhaps I didn't understand the move correctly, but the change of the "roster" administration was a technological one.  All mobility papers are now in cloud in one data warehouse. This takes the IT responsibilities and data integrity management off the synod desk.  Ultimately, I would think this could be a great thing.  It could streamline the process if an Asst. to the Bishop could input key characteristics from the self-study, and then have a number of eligible candidates appear seconds later without needing to ask another synod office to send the data.  I would think this could suggest a move toward more congregational autonomy rather than less.  Can you imagine a call committee sitting with the database on the screen in front of them - no waiting for candidates!

mg2000

Or imagine one bishop deciding that a pastor was too "traditionalist", and noting on that pastor's central database record that the pastor is not recommended for call.


Charles_Austin

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #81 on: November 06, 2010, 11:07:45 PM »
Does anyone think we are in a totally "new" situation here with regard to calls?
I was told three years into my ministry that my career would end unless I shut up about war and racism. I did not and it did not, although I understood that my current bishop was probably not going to recommend me for a call.
Later I met many bishops in many situations. A couple virtually begged me to come into their synods. But one, when I said I'd like to explore the possibility of a call, said something along the lines of "Uh,... well...er... , maybe... we could talk about that, but... we don't have... and .... " I got the idea.
I've heard bishops say things like, "He's a good pastor, but...." or "In the right place, he (or she) would be terrific, but..." And I have heard bishops be quite direct. "The man can do a good job, but tends to shoot himself in the foot about three times a year." Or "He didn't work out so well for me, but maybe you can do something with him." Or, "Give him a chance, even though..."
And all this was long before August of last year.

mg2000

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #82 on: November 06, 2010, 11:19:19 PM »

Perhaps I didn't understand the move correctly, but the change of the "roster" administration was a technological one.  All mobility papers are now in the cloud in one data warehouse. This takes the IT responsibilities and data integrity management off the synod desk.  Ultimately, I would think this could be a great thing.  It could streamline the process if an Asst. to the Bishop could input key characteristics from the self-study, and then have a number of eligible candidates appear seconds later without needing to ask another synod office to send the data.  I would think this could suggest a move toward more congregational autonomy rather than less.  Can you imagine a call committee sitting with the database on the screen in front of them - no waiting for candidates!

mg2000

Or imagine one bishop deciding that a pastor was too "traditionalist", and noting on that pastor's central database record that the pastor is not recommended for call.



True, but notes of that kind wouldn't effect the query search unless that was something specifically defined in the query by the user.  In fact, a congregation that wanted a pastor whose bishop noted "too traditionalist" in the notes could search for records that had that in them.  Databases are much more difficult to fix than people who have to hit send.   :)

George Erdner

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #83 on: November 06, 2010, 11:24:39 PM »

Perhaps I didn't understand the move correctly, but the change of the "roster" administration was a technological one.  All mobility papers are now in the cloud in one data warehouse. This takes the IT responsibilities and data integrity management off the synod desk.  Ultimately, I would think this could be a great thing.  It could streamline the process if an Asst. to the Bishop could input key characteristics from the self-study, and then have a number of eligible candidates appear seconds later without needing to ask another synod office to send the data.  I would think this could suggest a move toward more congregational autonomy rather than less.  Can you imagine a call committee sitting with the database on the screen in front of them - no waiting for candidates!

mg2000

Or imagine one bishop deciding that a pastor was too "traditionalist", and noting on that pastor's central database record that the pastor is not recommended for call.



True, but notes of that kind wouldn't effect the query search unless that was something specifically defined in the query by the user.  In fact, a congregation that wanted a pastor whose bishop noted "too traditionalist" in the notes could search for records that had that in them.  Databases are much more difficult to fix than people who have to hit send.   :)

The principle of GIGO hasn't changed. This isn't about tampering with the searchable fields in a database, it's about the content of the comments. When a personnel record is found through a database search, the next step is to read the non-searchable comment fields, where things like "He's a good pastor, but....", "The man can do a good job, but tends to shoot himself in the foot about three times a year.", or any of the other zinger comments Austin listed in his post just before yours.

amos

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #84 on: November 07, 2010, 12:41:02 AM »
Charles --- you may not believe it but -- I respected your comment , "But, if the situation is as you say - now read carefully -  I am sorry about that and believe you are being treated unfairly." 

I thank you for that -- unfortunately that is not an attitude that exist in this synod. It has been made very clear orthodox pastors will not be respected and are not wanted in this synod. Granted, that may not be the situation in every area but it is in this one. As you can see from several different post, many orthodox pastors in this synod know each other very well, --- the only support many of us have had for several years has been each other. 

For the record many of our fellow pastors have even worked hard and long to keep their congregations from making rash and angry decisions based only on a single issue. Only to ultimately find they have no other choice.  They are being pushed out.  I am almost 70 years years old having served the church for almost 30 years. I have never seen anything like what is going on in our synod now.  Our bishop has been less than honest to others in respected position of authority in the synod.  Our source is no less than five of the people he deliberately mislead.  Pastors in this synod do know what I am talking about.   I am heart broken that a church I have loved and served for so many years has deteriorated to this level.   After the sarcastic and mean spirited behavior displayed and condoned at our last assembly I believe there are 11 congregations who have now voted to leave the ELCA and many more in the works.   Most of these movements are being lead by lay people who saw it with their own eyes and no longer have any respect for the ELCA. 

So when you say, I am sorry about that and believe you are being treated unfairly. I hear you and I thank you --- for myself and others in the same situations in this synod. At this time of so many leaving the ELCA it is not a time of rejoicing --- It is a sad time that so many are coming to realize they are being given no other choice. 

Coach-Rev

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #85 on: November 07, 2010, 12:50:28 AM »
Does anyone think we are in a totally "new" situation here with regard to calls?
...
And all this was long before August of last year.

So you dismiss my claims of a blacklist (or at the very least chastise me for said claims), and then you go on and identify a long standing "blacklist" of sorts within the church.  How fascinating...

Charles_Austin

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #86 on: November 07, 2010, 05:21:29 AM »
Someone writes:
It has been made very clear orthodox pastors will not be respected and are not wanted in this synod. Granted, that may not be the situation in every area but it is in this one. As you can see from several different post, many orthodox pastors in this synod know each other very well, --- the only support many of us have had for several years has been each other.  

I respond:
I agree that if this is the case, it is unfair and tragic. There was a time when, in some synods, "liberal" pastors felt the same way and were treated the same way, and this, too, was tragic and unfair.
On the other hand, I know or have heard of synods where this is not the case. I"m sorry you have to experience the dark side.

Someone writes:
So you dismiss my claims of a blacklist (or at the very least chastise me for said claims), and then you go on and identify a long standing "blacklist" of sorts within the church.  How fascinating...
I respond:
Well, a far-reaching "blacklist" may be too strong a term. But what do you think should happen? Should a bishop keep utterly silent about a pastor's record when dealing with a bishop in another synod about a call for that pastor? In every secular job I have held, the prospective employer has checked with my former bosses to see how I have operated and what kind of trouble I have caused or been in.  ;D
The church has survived worse and it will survive this. Those of us called to the ministry during specific times must bear the burdens of the times. I take no joy in seeing some predictions that a few of us made at the start of the ELCA come true and evolve into serious trouble. And - while this view is constantly rejected by some on this board - those of us deemed "revisionists" also suffer when we see the church in turmoil.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 05:48:33 AM by Charles_Austin »

Coach-Rev

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #87 on: November 08, 2010, 07:21:20 PM »
Someone writes:
Well, a far-reaching "blacklist" may be too strong a term. But what do you think should happen? Should a bishop keep utterly silent about a pastor's record when dealing with a bishop in another synod about a call for that pastor? In every secular job I have held, the prospective employer has checked with my former bosses to see how I have operated and what kind of trouble I have caused or been in.  ;D

What I think should happen is that a pastor should be evaluated first and foremost on the merits of whether or not he lives up to the basic ordination vows of preaching and teaching in accordance with the Word of God and administering the Sacraments accordingly.  But that never seems to enter into the discussion much anymore.

Coach-Rev
pseudonymous for Rev. John Doe


George Erdner

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #88 on: November 08, 2010, 07:30:58 PM »
Someone writes:
Well, a far-reaching "blacklist" may be too strong a term. But what do you think should happen? Should a bishop keep utterly silent about a pastor's record when dealing with a bishop in another synod about a call for that pastor? In every secular job I have held, the prospective employer has checked with my former bosses to see how I have operated and what kind of trouble I have caused or been in.  ;D

What I think should happen is that a pastor should be evaluated first and foremost on the merits of whether or not he lives up to the basic ordination vows of preaching and teaching in accordance with the Word of God and administering the Sacraments accordingly.  But that never seems to enter into the discussion much anymore.

Coach-Rev
pseudonymous for Rev. John Doe



If the standards were enforced using the criteria highlighted above, how would the ELCA be able to function after losing so many bishops?

Charles_Austin

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Re: "parish arrangement" as future policy of the ELCA?
« Reply #89 on: November 08, 2010, 07:40:04 PM »
Someone writes:
What I think should happen is that a pastor should be evaluated first and foremost on the merits of whether or not he lives up to the basic ordination vows of preaching and teaching in accordance with the Word of God and administering the Sacraments accordingly.  But that never seems to enter into the discussion much anymore.

I comment:
"First and foremost," yes, certainly. But as has been said many times here, our responsibilities are many and varied and our obligations include the duty to support our colleagues, our synod and our church body. One can preach and teach just fine and still fall short in some other areas of ministry and the obligations attendant upon ELCA pastors.
And I knew one man some years ago who could be a fine preacher and a decent teacher, but had absolutely none of the other skills needed to be a pastor.
So your "first and foremost," while valid, is not the whole deal.