Author Topic: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA  (Read 32236 times)

Timotheus Verinus

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2340
    • View Profile
Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
« Reply #105 on: November 27, 2010, 06:06:47 PM »
...
Those who do not want their congregation to leave, even if they are a 10 percent minority, can have a valid, constitutional, legal claim to the property.
It is not necessarily a matter of keeping "a congregation against its will," but a matter of proper concern for the assets of the church and the members who want to remain with the ELCA and the synod.
This has been explained before.

These are red herrings, and I have a hard time not assuming that you know that.

What was the vote in Florida again? The only viable law suit out of all of this is if anyone wished to make the case that the leadership knew full well what the result would be that has wrecked congregations, consciously decided that the "?minimal?" damage anticipated for specific litigants, was worth it, and that certain manner of dealing with the process leading into and during CWA '09 would be indicative. That would be an easier case to make, than the three people who never came to church, and gave $5.00 total wanted the assets of the congregation from those who had given millions over 200 years. Like I said "confused" may be the best construction. I can understand how when in the heat of a mess, it is hard to think straight.

TV
TAALC Pastor

Evangel

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 780
  • Rev. Mark Schimmel
    • View Profile

Similarly, what would happen if someone got upset at a congregation and demanded that all of his offerings for the past year be returned to him?

What if a congregation does not spend designated money for what it was designated, can the donator request their money back or does it belong to the congregation?

I have yet to hear of a congregation which demanded that its Mission Support donations be returned to it from the ELCA.

Marshall Hahn

Though I have heard of at least a couple that when the ELCA demanded their early mission support money returned have told the ELCA "we've paid you X thousands more in benevolence than you ever gave us as start up funds ... we're willing to call it even."
Mark Schimmel, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, LCMC
Priddy, TX
--
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."

prglj

  • Guest
Congregations will be required to meet any financial obligations to the ELCA before leaving.

Has anyone seen what this refers to?  My expectation, being a pastor of a church that left the synod in February of this year, is that at least part of it refers to previous subsidy received by the congregation.  After our meeting with the bishop, the ELCA representative of Division of Outreach, Rev. Jerry Wahl, indicated that there was discussions going on to demand that of us.  A quick calculation by me and I sent them a note.  If they want to consider their subsidy a loan to be recalled if we leave the synod, we'd send the $106,000 to them after receiving the $640,000 we have sent to the synod in benevolence over the years.  I believe a case can be made that synod (ELCA) has left it's prior positions and therefore is no longer the synod to whom we sent the money.  I have never heard a response.

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 43297
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Congregations will be required to meet any financial obligations to the ELCA before leaving.

It could refer to a loan from the ELCA's Mission Investment Fund.
"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]

dkeener

  • Guest
Congregations will be required to meet any financial obligations to the ELCA before leaving.

It could refer to a loan from the ELCA's Mission Investment Fund.

A MIF loan is a legal contract so congregations are already required to fulfill their financial obligations to the MIF. Additionally the MIF currently has the right to call a loan if a congregation leaves the ELCA. All this requirement would do (if indeed it is about the MIF) would be to force the MIF to call in all loans to non ELCA congregations - I suspect that this is something the MIF does not want to do in this economy.

Jeremy Loesch

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2244
    • View Profile
prglj- you speak wisdom!  That's a great idea.  Please let us know when you receive a response.   ;)

Your post, and this whole thread, underscores in bold print how messy this has all become and how needless it is.  But the horse is under the bridge, the water is out of the tube, and the toothpaste is out of the barn, or whatever phrase we can find.  Very sorry for this.  Blessings to you and your congregation.

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Revbert

  • Guest
When I was in the ELCA, and we applied for mission grants for a Korean ministry, we had to sign off that if the ministry was cancelled, the congregation closed, or the congregation left the ELCA within 3 years following receipt of the grant, it had to be paid back.

I can understand that. I can't understand asking a congregation that got mission money more than 3 years ago to pay that back.

What are they going to do if a congregation doesn't pay it back? Kick them out of the ELCA?

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
To resolve an issue raised upstream:
The Lutheran published changes of call until 1989. One year into the new ELCA, it was determined that to do so took up too much space and required too much staff time and that the changes were not always promptly reported to the ELCA secretary by synods. It was stopped.

Papster

  • Guest
Back on topic. I have been away for a week when this news broke. When I read about the proposed changes my reaction was disbelief. This is a stared chapter in the consitiution. It cannot be altered or changed by a congregation or a synod, but the ELCA Church Council and CWA appear to be exempt from that. They can change what should be unchangable, since it is the "covenant" under which all parties agreed to observe.

What can I compare this to? The ELCA looks like an immature child that does not like what is happening as a consequence of its own actions. So like in a backyard game of touch football, the side that is losing the most wants to chage the rules to its own advantage. How sad. 

Marshall_Hahn

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1433
    • View Profile
I just returned last week from Hungary visiting our son who is studying there, and I do not know if this has been brought up in all of the subsesquent posts concerning who makes the grade as a legitimate ELCA pastor in the exalted opinion of one of our colleagues and all of that, so if it has already been discussed I apologize for taking up more precious space in this corner of the blogosphere, BUT, in looking through the proposals from the ELCA Church Council, this one struck me in particular:

Quote
A congregation will be required to vote by a two-thirds majority to join a new Lutheran church body, or else it will be “conclusively presumed” to have become an independent Lutheran congregation, potentially forfeiting its property.

This seems particularly presumptious, in my opinion.  How is it that the ELCA can presume to dictate to another Lutheran body the conditions upon which a congregation is received into its fellowship?  If a congregation has successfully voted twice to leave the ELCA, by what authority would the ELCA have to make requirements upon that former ELCA congregation as to the threshhold needed to approve a recommendation to join another Lutheran body?  This is just hubris.  And if it became a dispute over who retains the property of the congregation, I very much doubt it would stand up to a challenge. 

Marshall Hahn

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Pastor Hahn writes:
  How is it that the ELCA can presume to dictate to another Lutheran body the conditions upon which a congregation is received into its fellowship?
I ask:
Where, in the paragraph you cited, does the ELCA do this?

iowakatie1981

  • Guest
Pastor Hahn writes:
  How is it that the ELCA can presume to dictate to another Lutheran body the conditions upon which a congregation is received into its fellowship?
I ask:
Where, in the paragraph you cited, does the ELCA do this?

What happens if, after voting properly to leave the ELCA, the congregation then votes on whether to join LCMC or NALC, and the vote is split 55-45?  According to the paragraph cited, the ELCA could "conclusively presume" it to be an "independent Lutheran congregation" thereby "potentially forfeiting its property."  Even though the rest of the world would probably "conclusively presume" that the congregation would now be joining LCMC.  To be sure, there are "coulds" and "potentiallys", which leaves room for grace and "go in peace", but there's also room for it to swing the other way.  One thinks that ELCA seizure of property is unlikely in this sort of scenario, but it's an interesting point nonetheless. 

Marshall_Hahn

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1433
    • View Profile
Pastor Hahn writes:
  How is it that the ELCA can presume to dictate to another Lutheran body the conditions upon which a congregation is received into its fellowship?
I ask:
Where, in the paragraph you cited, does the ELCA do this?

"conclusively presumed" seems to do it, in my opinion. 
"presumed" means that this one factor, i.e., failing to attain a 2/3 vote to join another Lutheran body, implies that the congregation remains independent of any Lutheran body.
"conclusively" means that this one factor is sufficient in reaching that conclusion, i.e., there are no extenuating or additional factors to consider, for example, what the policies of the other Lutheran body or of the congregation itself might be.

The presumption is that unless there is a 2/3 vote to join another Lutheran body the congregation has not done so.  And in the eyes of the ELCA this is conclusively the case - even if the other Lutheran body has a policy of requiring a simple majority vote for a congregation to affiliate with it.  This is to dictate to this other Lutheran body that the congregation has NOT joined with it despite fulfilling all of the conditions that other Lutheran body spells out for doing so. 
If this is not the case, then it should be expressed differently.  And if this is not the case, then what is the point of this proposal?

Marshall Hahn

Steven Tibbetts

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10213
  • Big tents are for circuses.
    • View Profile
To resolve an issue raised upstream:
The Lutheran published changes of call until 1989. One year into the new ELCA, it was determined that to do so took up too much space and required too much staff time and that the changes were not always promptly reported to the ELCA secretary by synods. It was stopped.


Like I wrote...[url]
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Pastor Hahn writes:
This is to dictate to this other Lutheran body that the congregation has NOT joined with it despite fulfilling all of the conditions that other Lutheran body spells out for doing so.

I respond:
O.k., grey area and lousy wording. But (perhaps in a more charitable mood than some others here  ;D ), I read the reference to voting having to do with leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran church body, that is, the vote to do both must be 2/3rds, that vote being required to satisfy the "leaving the ELCA" part of the equation, rather than saying there must be a 2/3rds vote in order for the "joining of another Lutheran body" part of the process to be actuated.

To Steven:
Yes, your recollection of what was in The Lutheran 19 years ago was better than the memory of this humble correspondent. And I was the one who sought out the accurate information and posted it here, knowing full well that it might damage my reputation for being right all the time. But hey, that's the king of guy I am.  ;D ;D