Author Topic: Wednesday morning plenary  (Read 6914 times)

PTMcCain

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2011, 04:33:58 PM »
Just an observation: for whatever reason the color balance on the video stream is really weird, everyone looks like they have a very bad sunburn, or are deeply embarrassed.

Richard Johnson

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2011, 04:40:29 PM »
Just an observation: for whatever reason the color balance on the video stream is really weird, everyone looks like they have a very bad sunburn, or are deeply embarrassed.

Hey, it's Florida.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

PTMcCain

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2011, 04:45:28 PM »
Ah...yes...that Florida sunshine can be brutal to people without color.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2011, 05:01:48 PM »
Pastor Shelley writes:
So,we are marginal and expendable, no great loss since we are going to die with our communities anyway? 
In other words, a good riddance.
Absolutely nothing pastoral in the Secretary's observation; of course, one should not expect that from a former trial lawyer.
Any miniscule doubt over the necessity and timeliness of departure have been erased.

I comment:
Had you been here, or watched the video, you might understand just how wrong your comments above are. And if you were watching the video presentation, you owe an apology to the ELCA secretary and your colleagues, for this is a most unfair characterization of his remarks.
But if you desire to construct a fantasy that feeds your desire to leave, no matter the cost to charity, go ahead....

Revbert

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2011, 05:05:22 PM »
Pastor Shelley writes:
So,we are marginal and expendable, no great loss since we are going to die with our communities anyway? 
In other words, a good riddance.
Absolutely nothing pastoral in the Secretary's observation; of course, one should not expect that from a former trial lawyer.
Any miniscule doubt over the necessity and timeliness of departure have been erased.

I comment:
Had you been here, or watched the video, you might understand just how wrong your comments above are. And if you were watching the video presentation, you owe an apology to the ELCA secretary and your colleagues, for this is a most unfair characterization of his remarks.
But if you desire to construct a fantasy that feeds your desire to leave, no matter the cost to charity, go ahead....

I dunno, Charles, but it sure sounded snarky. And, it may be true that these small-town congregations are challenged, but there might also have been a gentler way to say it.

Richard Johnson

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2011, 05:05:39 PM »
Well, I'm not sure his remarks are entirely wrong. But on the other hand, I think one could hear Mr. Swartling's comment about this unviable situations as a concern that they will be difficult to sustain without the support and connectedness of the ELCA. There is a pastoral sense there, it seems to me, though I'm not sure he's right, and he doesn't take into consideration the kind of support and connectedness that the congregations might get from their new church bodies.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2011, 05:25:49 PM »

But these ELCA Lutherans are "my people," and I enjoy being among them.
I think a lot of you would, too; but not all of you.

So much for "full inclusion". At least you admit that there are some who would not "feel" comfortable in your group.


But because wouldn't "feel" comfortable doesn't mean that they aren't invited. Any of you LCMS folks could attend the daily worship at our CWA. You would be invited to share the sacrament with us. Many wouldn't.
"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]

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2011, 05:57:48 PM »
Had you been here, or watched the video, you might understand just how wrong your comments above are. And if you were watching the video presentation, you owe an apology to the ELCA secretary and your colleagues, for this is a most unfair characterization of his remarks.

My window to this ELCA Churchwide Assembly is Richard's reporting.

Our good Moderator is correct to note that the newer  Lutheran church bodies are developing their own network of support.   In my county we have three LCMC and two NALC congregations, all within ten miles of each other.  There would be no geographic barrier to developing multi point parishes, should the need ever arise.

"Serious questions about long-term viablity" is an unfair characterization in its own right.
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

dkeener

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2011, 06:00:22 PM »
Well, I'm not sure his remarks are entirely wrong. But on the other hand, I think one could hear Mr. Swartling's comment about this unviable situations as a concern that they will be difficult to sustain without the support and connectedness of the ELCA. There is a pastoral sense there, it seems to me, though I'm not sure he's right, and he doesn't take into consideration the kind of support and connectedness that the congregations might get from their new church bodies.

I know that the NALC is small when compared with the ELCA (currently about 242 congregations & 100,000 members) but I will note that in it's first year of existence the NALC has hired a full time Missions Director, started a Missions Society, and is currently planning a conference in November specifically for the above mentioned congregations. My guess is that these small struggling congregations may in fact be getting more individual attention now then they had previously.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2011, 06:07:23 PM »
Well, I'm not sure his remarks are entirely wrong. But on the other hand, I think one could hear Mr. Swartling's comment about this unviable situations as a concern that they will be difficult to sustain without the support and connectedness of the ELCA. There is a pastoral sense there, it seems to me, though I'm not sure he's right, and he doesn't take into consideration the kind of support and connectedness that the congregations might get from their new church bodies.

I know that the NALC is small when compared with the ELCA (currently about 242 congregations & 100,000 members) but I will note that in it's first year of existence the NALC has hired a full time Missions Director, started a Missions Society, and is currently planning a conference in November specifically for the above mentioned congregations. My guess is that these small struggling congregations may in fact be getting more individual attention now then they had previously.


But, are not these new synods made up of the pretty much the same people who had been in the declining ELCA for ten years? Unless these people in the pews change their attitudes and behaviors in regard to mission work, a congregation in decline is likely to continue in decline even if the denominational name and logo on their sign is changed.


In other words, without some systemic changes among the people in a congregations, a vote to leave the ELCA and unite with LCMC or NALC is not likely to alter the trend (whether upward or downward) that was already present in the congregational system.
"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

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2011, 06:32:44 PM »
Well, I'm not sure his remarks are entirely wrong. But on the other hand, I think one could hear Mr. Swartling's comment about this unviable situations as a concern that they will be difficult to sustain without the support and connectedness of the ELCA. There is a pastoral sense there, it seems to me, though I'm not sure he's right, and he doesn't take into consideration the kind of support and connectedness that the congregations might get from their new church bodies.

I know that the NALC is small when compared with the ELCA (currently about 242 congregations & 100,000 members) but I will note that in it's first year of existence the NALC has hired a full time Missions Director, started a Missions Society, and is currently planning a conference in November specifically for the above mentioned congregations. My guess is that these small struggling congregations may in fact be getting more individual attention now then they had previously.


But, are not these new synods made up of the pretty much the same people who had been in the declining ELCA for ten years? Unless these people in the pews change their attitudes and behaviors in regard to mission work, a congregation in decline is likely to continue in decline even if the denominational name and logo on their sign is changed.


In other words, without some systemic changes among the people in a congregations, a vote to leave the ELCA and unite with LCMC or NALC is not likely to alter the trend (whether upward or downward) that was already present in the congregational system.

You are correct (mostly) - This is exactly why the NALC is so focused on revitalizing congregations. Since we are smaller it is even more critical for us to work with them. This is why I think they will probably receive even more attention and encouragement. I will say, however, that I do think that the vote to leave the ELCA may "alter the trend".  The very process of leaving required that congregations look more deeply at their beliefs, values and commitments then they probably had in years. In a sense all of these congregations are "new" mission starts. They made a conscience decision to be something different then they were. There was a real sense of joy in Columbus that I took as a sign of hope. Only time will tell if this translates into growth and renewal. We will appreciate all the prayers we can get.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 06:35:59 PM by dkeener »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2011, 06:39:27 PM »
Well, I'm not sure his remarks are entirely wrong. But on the other hand, I think one could hear Mr. Swartling's comment about this unviable situations as a concern that they will be difficult to sustain without the support and connectedness of the ELCA. There is a pastoral sense there, it seems to me, though I'm not sure he's right, and he doesn't take into consideration the kind of support and connectedness that the congregations might get from their new church bodies.

I know that the NALC is small when compared with the ELCA (currently about 242 congregations & 100,000 members) but I will note that in it's first year of existence the NALC has hired a full time Missions Director, started a Missions Society, and is currently planning a conference in November specifically for the above mentioned congregations. My guess is that these small struggling congregations may in fact be getting more individual attention now then they had previously.


But, are not these new synods made up of the pretty much the same people who had been in the declining ELCA for ten years? Unless these people in the pews change their attitudes and behaviors in regard to mission work, a congregation in decline is likely to continue in decline even if the denominational name and logo on their sign is changed.


In other words, without some systemic changes among the people in a congregations, a vote to leave the ELCA and unite with LCMC or NALC is not likely to alter the trend (whether upward or downward) that was already present in the congregational system.

You are correct (mostly) - This is exactly why the NALC is so focused on revitalizing congregations. Since we are smaller it is even more critical for us to work with them. This is why I think they will probably receive even more attention and encouragement. I will say, however, that I do think that the vote to leave the ELCA may "alter the trend".  The very process of leaving required that congregations look more deeply at their beliefs, values and commitments they probably had in years. In a sense all of these congregations are "new" mission starts. They made a conscience decision to be something different then they were. There was a real sense of joy in Columbus that I took as a sign of hope. Only time will tell if this translates into growth and renewal. We will appreciate all the prayers we can get.


There is truth in what you say -- getting people to take a stand for or against the ELCA is probably more faith-based activity than many have done for years. Hopefully, their commitment and activity will stay high and result in a revitalized congregation.
"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]

revklak

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2011, 08:49:43 AM »
54% of departing are from communities of 10,000 or less—10% higher than demographic of remaining congregations. This presents serious questions about long-term viability of many of these departing congregations.

So,we are marginal and expendable, no great loss since we are going to die with our communities anyway? 

In other words, a good riddance.

Absolutely nothing pastoral in the Secretary's observation; of course, one should not expect that from a former trial lawyer.

Any miniscule doubt over the necessity and timeliness of departure have been erased.

This citation is a bit confusing to me... .but I tend to agree that there is a bit of legelease trying to spin it to, if not a negative, but at least a downer.

First, my problem is this -- that communities of 10,000 or less are somehow deemed areas of decline, small-ness, and potential (for lack of former "connectedness") unsustainabliity.  Communiteis of 2-4000 are PLENTY sustainable, as are communities in rural areas (2-400 people).  Some of the strongest (not necesessarily finaincail) congregations are in these areas.

Second, if 54% are from communitiess LESS than 10,000, then 46% are from communities of MORE than 10,000.  In politics this is a huge spread, but for basiscs, using 10,000 as the dividing line, which is a decent sized community, than roughly half are larger and half smaller.... why is this even an issue?  Thus, with intentional interconnection and mutual support, the potential in the 54% for decline WITHOUT interconnectedness can be greatly diminished WITH.  The ELCA has no monopoly on this

Third, I dont' even GET what this "10% higher than demographic of remaining congregations" even means.  If he's saying that 44% of remaining ELCA congregations fall in this category, then SO WHAT?  The ELCA has demonstrated (at least in the synods I've been invovled with and perceptively nationally) itself to be more of an urban, pluralistic (ideologically rather than ethnically), liberal church that has often discounted the rural and small congregations (even with much hoopla speaking of interdependence).  Just look at the ethnic ministries -- how the QUOTAS mandated certain percentage participation and membership, supposedly reinforcing their 'commitment' to ethnic specific ministries, but time and again they get financial support gutted becasue the same mindset follows the money as it does for small, rural congregations -- why spend good money in areas that can't support themselves.  The ethnic ministries should be by far the most funded ministries given a supposed 'commitment' to them, whereby the Church ALWAYS supoprted ("remembered") the poor brothers and sisters and mutually supported them, but why are we surprised at the loss of ethnic ministries and congregations when we won't even 'remember' the poor rural churches?

(Granted, not all rural churches are really that poor -- but the ones that are can't expect support from either the Church body or even other individual congregations.... its a rant, I know, but I just got so.... (*grunt*  :'(  )


Marshall_Hahn

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2011, 10:00:10 AM »
Well, I'm not sure his remarks are entirely wrong. But on the other hand, I think one could hear Mr. Swartling's comment about this unviable situations as a concern that they will be difficult to sustain without the support and connectedness of the ELCA. There is a pastoral sense there, it seems to me, though I'm not sure he's right, and he doesn't take into consideration the kind of support and connectedness that the congregations might get from their new church bodies.

What appears an "unviable situation" to one is an "enviable situation" to another.
For many it is precisely the "connectedness" with the ELCA that was the problem.

Marshall Hahn

CSLewis2

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #29 on: August 18, 2011, 10:17:39 AM »
54% of departing are from communities of 10,000 or less—10% higher than demographic of remaining congregations. This presents serious questions about long-term viability of many of these departing congregations.

So,we are marginal and expendable, no great loss since we are going to die with our communities anyway? 

In other words, a good riddance.

Absolutely nothing pastoral in the Secretary's observation; of course, one should not expect that from a former trial lawyer.

Any miniscule doubt over the necessity and timeliness of departure have been erased.

This citation is a bit confusing to me... .but I tend to agree that there is a bit of legelease trying to spin it to, if not a negative, but at least a downer.

First, my problem is this -- that communities of 10,000 or less are somehow deemed areas of decline, small-ness, and potential (for lack of former "connectedness") unsustainabliity.  Communiteis of 2-4000 are PLENTY sustainable, as are communities in rural areas (2-400 people).  Some of the strongest (not necesessarily finaincail) congregations are in these areas.

Second, if 54% are from communitiess LESS than 10,000, then 46% are from communities of MORE than 10,000.  In politics this is a huge spread, but for basiscs, using 10,000 as the dividing line, which is a decent sized community, than roughly half are larger and half smaller.... why is this even an issue?  Thus, with intentional interconnection and mutual support, the potential in the 54% for decline WITHOUT interconnectedness can be greatly diminished WITH.  The ELCA has no monopoly on this

Third, I dont' even GET what this "10% higher than demographic of remaining congregations" even means.  If he's saying that 44% of remaining ELCA congregations fall in this category, then SO WHAT?  The ELCA has demonstrated (at least in the synods I've been invovled with and perceptively nationally) itself to be more of an urban, pluralistic (ideologically rather than ethnically), liberal church that has often discounted the rural and small congregations (even with much hoopla speaking of interdependence).  Just look at the ethnic ministries -- how the QUOTAS mandated certain percentage participation and membership, supposedly reinforcing their 'commitment' to ethnic specific ministries, but time and again they get financial support gutted becasue the same mindset follows the money as it does for small, rural congregations -- why spend good money in areas that can't support themselves.  The ethnic ministries should be by far the most funded ministries given a supposed 'commitment' to them, whereby the Church ALWAYS supoprted ("remembered") the poor brothers and sisters and mutually supported them, but why are we surprised at the loss of ethnic ministries and congregations when we won't even 'remember' the poor rural churches?

(Granted, not all rural churches are really that poor -- but the ones that are can't expect support from either the Church body or even other individual congregations.... its a rant, I know, but I just got so.... (*grunt*  :'(  )

Gentlemen, I wouldn't let it all bother you. I serve two very small congregations and one small outreach. Eventually we may disappear, if the Lord wills it to be so. However, we are here now and we can minister now, and whether we last another hundred years or not (and two of these congregations have been here more than 100 years) we did the right thing to leave and following the Lord and dieing for it is much better than not serving him and coming under judgment.

What I found interesting in some way though was the stat that "90%" of the ELCA membership had stayed. That means 10% (so far) have left. That would mean the ELCA is looking at something like 400,000 member decline since 2009. That is larger than some national denominations. They can minimize all they want, but in the end the drain is happening, as we see congregations continuing to vote to leave the ELCA even two years after the 2009 CWA.

However in the end, even if the drain were to stop that really is of no concern to us. I say this, because ultimately we must move forward and do the ministry of the Church and leave the dead to bury their dead.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler