Author Topic: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the ELCA  (Read 29779 times)

Maryland Brian

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So if a congregation is contemplating 'leaving' the ELCA then it should seriously consider doing so before the churchwide next August! Get while the getting's good as it were.


Glenn

Or ... Send in a dollar or two a year (or thirty pre-1964 quarters) and ignore the larger church should you so desire.  The ball could be punted for years.

Coach-Rev

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Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
« Reply #136 on: November 30, 2010, 06:03:10 PM »
actually, in most cases, you cannot take a vote to leave AND a vote to join another body in the same meeting.  Our constitution (as most, if not all specify) that the meeting must be called to consider that question and that question only.  However, nothing is stopping a congregation from adjourning one meeting and then immediately reconvening another to consider the second half of the question.

IF we are to go "by the book" (aka the almighty constitution)

I think that you're misreading the model constitution.  At a special meeting, a congregation can conduct only business that matches the "purpose" identified in the meeting notice.  However, "purpose" is not nearly as narrow a term as you suggest.  The "purpose" given in the notice might be to consider "(i) a resolution to terminate the relationship with the ELCA; (ii) a resolution to join Lutheran church body X; and (iii) any other business related to church-body affiliation."

Perhaps I misspoke.  I was specifically referring to our own constitution, which states regarding the specific meeting to vote to terminate the relationship with the ELCA, that only THAT will be discussed and action taken, and no other business.  In other words, only the vote to terminate this relationship will be acted on.  This would presumably mean a vote to join another Lutheran body then as well.

As I said, though, I see an easy solution in adjourning said meeting, and then immediately reconvening to take another vote at a separate special meeting.


Glenn Ryder

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It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.


Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

Glenn

Steven Tibbetts

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It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.

"That" or "what"?  

FWIW, my Bishop expected to lose 20% of the Synod's congregations.  

And then there was this thread from 2 years ago (one reason I think just cleaning everything "old" on this forum out is not the best of ideas).

Pax, Steven+
« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 07:03:28 PM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
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Brian Stoffregen

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It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.


Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

There was no analysis presented to the voting members at CWA09. They are the people who made the decisions concerning revising our ministry standards. It was not the COB or the Presiding Bishop or his staff. A majority of the voting members believe that making the changes was the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences.
"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]

ptmccain

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It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.

"That" or "what"?  

FWIW, my Bishop expected to lose 20% of the Synod's congregations.  

And then there was this thread[/i] from 2 years ago (one reason I think just cleaning everything "old" on this forum out is not the best of ideas).

Pax, Steven+

Obviously, "what" not "that" ... happy to clarify.


G.Edward

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Another interesting item in the proposal is that the report of a congregation's leaving the ELCA would no longer  be in The Lutheran, but only to the Churchwide Assembly.

Pax, Steven+

Ahh, suppressing news reports.  Beautiful.

Mike Bennett

Well, nobody wants too much depressing news... ::)

James_Gale

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Re: ELCA Considering New Procedures for Congregations Considering Leaving the EL
« Reply #142 on: November 30, 2010, 07:05:44 PM »
actually, in most cases, you cannot take a vote to leave AND a vote to join another body in the same meeting.  Our constitution (as most, if not all specify) that the meeting must be called to consider that question and that question only.  However, nothing is stopping a congregation from adjourning one meeting and then immediately reconvening another to consider the second half of the question.

IF we are to go "by the book" (aka the almighty constitution)

I think that you're misreading the model constitution.  At a special meeting, a congregation can conduct only business that matches the "purpose" identified in the meeting notice.  However, "purpose" is not nearly as narrow a term as you suggest.  The "purpose" given in the notice might be to consider "(i) a resolution to terminate the relationship with the ELCA; (ii) a resolution to join Lutheran church body X; and (iii) any other business related to church-body affiliation."

Perhaps I misspoke.  I was specifically referring to our own constitution, which states regarding the specific meeting to vote to terminate the relationship with the ELCA, that only THAT will be discussed and action taken, and no other business.  In other words, only the vote to terminate this relationship will be acted on.  This would presumably mean a vote to join another Lutheran body then as well.

As I said, though, I see an easy solution in adjourning said meeting, and then immediately reconvening to take another vote at a separate special meeting.


Under the new rules (and maybe under the current rules as well), if a congregation were going to vote separately on (i) whether to leave and (ii) where to go, I'd recommend voting on the second resolution first, making it expressly contingent on the passage of the resolution to leave the ELCA.  Otherwise, the congregation runs the risk that it will hold a successful "second vote" to leave but will not muster a 2/3-majority in support of a new church body.  In that event, the fate of the congregation's property arguably would be in the hands of the synod council.

Dan Fienen

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It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.


Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

There was no analysis presented to the voting members at CWA09. They are the people who made the decisions concerning revising our ministry standards. It was not the COB or the Presiding Bishop or his staff. A majority of the voting members believe that making the changes was the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences.

Concerning the statement above highlighted in red, that is how it should be.  In the church, above all else, decisions should be made because they are the right thing to do, not first taking a survey to see how many will walk if it is done.  Do the right thing and take the consequences.  Just as now some members of the ELCA are deciding what they believe the right thing to do (stay or leave) and taking the consequences.  Although, when Christians deal with each other, one should expect a certain level of respect and graciousness - something that at times has been shown on both sides, and has sadly been lacking at times from both sides.

I have never quite understood the harping on numbers from all sides in this fight, as though numbers should be a deciding factor.  If this was the right thing to do, then let the chips fall where they may and the fall out is part of the cost of discipleship.  (Although there might have been ways to do this better - how should I know what they might have been.)  Nor does a majority vote - even a super-majority - guarentee that the decision was correct and God pleasing.  To simply say of the decision that the vote was taken and the change won therefor it must have been God pleasing also makes no sense.  (Among other things, what then of all the votes where it lost - did God simply change His mind?)  Neither does the seeming majority of the youth generation coming up guarentee that God approves of what the ELCA did, nor the majority of the culture around us.

Dan
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James_Gale

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Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max.

You might be right.  But I've never seen any evidence of this.  If the analysis had been done, I think that the ELCA's leadership would have had a fiduciary duty to report the results to the CWA.  In any event, the analysis would have been complicated.  I doubt that anyone employed by the ELCA had the expertise necessary to do it well.  It would have required calculating losses flowing not only from the loss of congregations but also from disillusioned congregations remaining in the ELCA and from the loss of members at congregations across the ELCA.  There might well be other factors as well.

James_Gale

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It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.


Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

There was no analysis presented to the voting members at CWA09. They are the people who made the decisions concerning revising our ministry standards. It was not the COB or the Presiding Bishop or his staff. A majority of the voting members believe that making the changes was the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences.

Concerning the statement above highlighted in red, that is how it should be.  In the church, above all else, decisions should be made because they are the right thing to do, not first taking a survey to see how many will walk if it is done.  Do the right thing and take the consequences.  Just as now some members of the ELCA are deciding what they believe the right thing to do (stay or leave) and taking the consequences.  Although, when Christians deal with each other, one should expect a certain level of respect and graciousness - something that at times has been shown on both sides, and has sadly been lacking at times from both sides.

I have never quite understood the harping on numbers from all sides in this fight, as though numbers should be a deciding factor.  If this was the right thing to do, then let the chips fall where they may and the fall out is part of the cost of discipleship.  (Although there might have been ways to do this better - how should I know what they might have been.)  Nor does a majority vote - even a super-majority - guarentee that the decision was correct and God pleasing.  To simply say of the decision that the vote was taken and the change won therefor it must have been God pleasing also makes no sense.  (Among other things, what then of all the votes where it lost - did God simply change His mind?)  Neither does the seeming majority of the youth generation coming up guarentee that God approves of what the ELCA did, nor the majority of the culture around us.

Dan

I agree that numbers ought not be the deciding factor.  But the numbers are critically important for planning purposes.  If doing the "right thing" is likely to lead to a substantial decrease in membership and revenue, a church body's leaders should know this and should make appropriate plans.  There is little evidence that this happened.

Brian Stoffregen

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I agree that numbers ought not be the deciding factor.  But the numbers are critically important for planning purposes.  If doing the "right thing" is likely to lead to a substantial decrease in membership and revenue, a church body's leaders should know this and should make appropriate plans.  There is little evidence that this happened.

However, from beginning to end, the process was controlled by the voting members of the churchwide assemblies. The approved the study on sexuality against the wishes of the ELCA's leadership. I was there. I heard the presiding bishop speak against it, saying that it would consume too much time and energy. It was approved anyway. There were doomsday sayers predicting the end of the ELCA should the ministry standards be changed. They did not sway a majority of the voting members. A majority were convinced that changes were the right thing to do.

Similarly, there are majority of voting members in congregations who believe that leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran body is the right thing to do. Others believe that staying is the right thing to do. How will we know what is right?
"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]

James_Gale

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I agree that numbers ought not be the deciding factor.  But the numbers are critically important for planning purposes.  If doing the "right thing" is likely to lead to a substantial decrease in membership and revenue, a church body's leaders should know this and should make appropriate plans.  There is little evidence that this happened.

However, from beginning to end, the process was controlled by the voting members of the churchwide assemblies. The approved the study on sexuality against the wishes of the ELCA's leadership. I was there. I heard the presiding bishop speak against it, saying that it would consume too much time and energy. It was approved anyway. There were doomsday sayers predicting the end of the ELCA should the ministry standards be changed. They did not sway a majority of the voting members. A majority were convinced that changes were the right thing to do.

Similarly, there are majority of voting members in congregations who believe that leaving the ELCA and joining another Lutheran body is the right thing to do. Others believe that staying is the right thing to do. How will we know what is right?


Fine.  Does any of this cut against the point that I made?

Charles_Austin

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Pastor Hughes writes:
Or ... Send in a dollar or two a year (or thirty pre-1964 quarters) and ignore the larger church should you so desire.  The ball could be punted for years.

I comment:
Yep. Do that if you want to act like some sleazy politician or shady merchant trying to pull a fast one on the government. Create a "legal fiction" or semi-legal fiction and teach your people it's o.k. to cheat the synod and the ELCA and pretend to be what you are not. That's good church leadership.
 

GoCubsGo

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There was no analysis because some naively believed the hyped up thought of "this need not be church dividing" rather than the on the ground reality that for some this was indeed church dividing.  My synod bishop wrote a long letter post CWA09 that essentially said, "But you can't leave."  Some did not want to face the facts--they still don't.

It would be interesting to know that the ELCA leadership team determined would be acceptable losses as they pressed the homosexual through in the ELCA.
Surely somebody somewhere's did some kind of risk analysis to see if they could determine how many congregations would leave if the homosexual agenda was pushed to the max. Obviously however that was done the results were such that "damn the torpedoes....full speed ahead!" Meaning the losses were considered acceptable and the push was on.

I don't imagine we'll ever find out how the 'acceptable losses' were determined. Probably nothing on record. One could have asked the bishops at a COB meeting, off the record, to write down on a slip of paper "how many congregations do you think your synod will lose if the homosexual agenda was approved at a cwa?" Then collect the slips of paper, add the totals for a ballpark figure, destroy the slips of paper and move on. Or have I read too many John Grisham novels?

There was no analysis presented to the voting members at CWA09. They are the people who made the decisions concerning revising our ministry standards. It was not the COB or the Presiding Bishop or his staff. A majority of the voting members believe that making the changes was the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences.