Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 99710 times)

Evangel

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #255 on: January 31, 2012, 02:37:07 PM »
This is exactly the point.  The ELCA constitution is silent on dual rostering of congregations.  Because of this silence the 9.3.1 (if I have the section right) section of the constitution says any other matters are the responsibility of the congregation.
Mark Schimmel, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, LCMC
Priddy, TX
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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."

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #256 on: January 31, 2012, 02:40:14 PM »

What steps does the constitution/bylaws give for becoming a dual rostered congregation? Does it take one vote or two votes? Is it a simple majority vote or 2/3 majority vote? Does the congregation have to receive synod approval to become dual rostered?


These are the issues being litigated, Brian.  The ELCA Constitutions do not directly address these questions, unless joining LCMC is adopting a faith contrary to that described in the ELCA's Constitutions.  Are congregations free to do things that are not prohibited (something you like to assert in other contexts), or are the free only to to things specifically permitted (something you seem to be, uh, suggesting in this particular context), or something in-between. 

Perhaps this judge will render a decision, whereupon we can argue whether this is setting a precedent and, if so, for whom.

If someone asserts on general principles that anything not forbidden is permitted in one context, it's hard to believe them if they say otherwise in a different context.
 

James_Gale

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #257 on: January 31, 2012, 03:06:38 PM »

What steps does the constitution/bylaws give for becoming a dual rostered congregation? Does it take one vote or two votes? Is it a simple majority vote or 2/3 majority vote? Does the congregation have to receive synod approval to become dual rostered?


These are the issues being litigated, Brian.  The ELCA Constitutions do not directly address these questions, unless joining LCMC is adopting a faith contrary to that described in the ELCA's Constitutions.  Are congregations free to do things that are not prohibited (something you like to assert in other contexts), or are the free only to to things specifically permitted (something you seem to be, uh, suggesting in this particular context), or something in-between. 

Perhaps this judge will render a decision, whereupon we can argue whether this is setting a precedent and, if so, for whom.


We'll see what happens.  But I think that there's a strong chance that the case could turn on the court's understanding of the structure of the ELCA. Courts don't like to resolve church disputes.  Thus, rather than deciding the substance of a dispute, the courts often decide instead who within a church body gets to decide.  Where church bodies are seen as "hierarchical," the church body will get to decide the matter.  Where church bodies are "congregational," the congregation gets to decide.  Where does the ELCA fit in this scheme?  I'd argue that it is neither hierarchical nor congregational.  Instead, using the language of the ELCA's governing documents, I'd argue that the ELCA is "interdependent."  The contours of that interdependence are defined by the various churchwide, synodical, and congregational governing documents.  Unfortunately, this may look like a conclusion that requires complicated analysis, which the court probably will want to avoid. 


We shall see.

Evangel

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #258 on: January 31, 2012, 04:42:50 PM »
One of the documents that always seems to be forgotten is the document called "The Organization of the ELCA" - a document that used to be prominently displayed on the "Legal" page of the ELCA website.  I haven't looked for it lately but at one time it was only on the archived site.  I have a pdf if anyone is interested.

It says:

Quote
The ELCA consists of three expressions. (See Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (“CBCR”), 8.10. et. seq.) One expression is the “churchwide organization.”2 (CBCR 8.14., 11.10. et. seq.) A second expression is the 65 area organizations known as synods, each of which is separately incorporated. (CBCR 10.01. et. seq.) The third expression is the approximately 11,000 congregations, most of which are also separately incorporated.3 (CBCR 9.11. et. seq.) The relationships between the three expressions are primarily ecclesiastical rather than legal. (CBCR 8.17.) The ecclesiastical relationships are defined by the CBCR and the corresponding required provisions of the synod and congregation constitutions. (CBCR 8.10., 9.10. - 9.90., 10.01.-10.80., 11.10. -11.40.; Constitution for Synods (“S”)4; and Model Constitution for Congregations (“C”).)5 The constitutions of most congregations, all synods and the churchwide organization also serve as the corporate bylaws for each organization.6
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."

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #259 on: January 31, 2012, 06:07:02 PM »
This is exactly the point.  The ELCA constitution is silent on dual rostering of congregations.  Because of this silence the 9.3.1 (if I have the section right) section of the constitution says any other matters are the responsibility of the congregation.


How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.
"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]

Evangel

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #260 on: January 31, 2012, 06:23:57 PM »
This is exactly the point.  The ELCA constitution is silent on dual rostering of congregations.  Because of this silence the 9.3.1 (if I have the section right) section of the constitution says any other matters are the responsibility of the congregation.


How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.

Since it is not defined in the constitution the congregation can decide how to do this.  LCMC requires a congregation to fill out a form subscribing to our statement of faith and tell by what means the congregation decided to affiliate with LCMC (looks like the latest version of this requires the date of the congregational vote - it used to leave that field open to the congregation to fill in ... could have been by council vote).  Congregations can then place the additional affiliation in their bylaws or continuing resolutions ... neither of which the synod has veto power over.
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."

James_Gale

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #261 on: January 31, 2012, 07:16:40 PM »
This is exactly the point.  The ELCA constitution is silent on dual rostering of congregations.  Because of this silence the 9.3.1 (if I have the section right) section of the constitution says any other matters are the responsibility of the congregation.


How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.

Since it is not defined in the constitution the congregation can decide how to do this.  LCMC requires a congregation to fill out a form subscribing to our statement of faith and tell by what means the congregation decided to affiliate with LCMC (looks like the latest version of this requires the date of the congregational vote - it used to leave that field open to the congregation to fill in ... could have been by council vote).  Congregations can then place the additional affiliation in their bylaws or continuing resolutions ... neither of which the synod has veto power over.


This exchange reminds me of the testimony beginning at about 12:50 of linked video.

Evangel

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #262 on: January 31, 2012, 07:20:56 PM »
LOL! ;D ;D ;D
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."

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #263 on: February 01, 2012, 03:08:06 AM »

How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.

The same way(s) a congregation joins any other organization -- a matter that is rarely directly addressed in any ELCA congregation's constitution. 

One might say it depends upon what the pastor or Council (think they) can get away with.
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
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George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #264 on: February 01, 2012, 10:24:25 AM »

How does a congregation become dual rostered? Can the pastor decide it? The council? a majority vote? a super-majority vote of those voting? of those present? If it requires a change in the constitution, it would require 2/3 majority to do that -- and two votes.

The same way(s) a congregation joins any other organization -- a matter that is rarely directly addressed in any ELCA congregation's constitution. 

One might say it depends upon what the pastor or Council (think they) can get away with.

I am reminded of a presentation given at a Lutheran congregation here in Atlanta by people from CORE, before the NALC was started. A representative of the Bishop at the meeting advised everyone that they could NOT join CORE because that would be "dual-rostering". He couldn't explain how joining RIC was not.
 
I tend to think Pastor Tibbetts is totally correct about the process for affiliating with a second or even a third denomination. It's identical to the process for joining RIC. The fact that other denominations are denominations while RIC is only what RIC is doesn't matter. The process for joining is the same.
 
 

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #265 on: February 01, 2012, 10:34:30 AM »
Mr. Erdner writes:
I am reminded of a presentation given at a Lutheran congregation here in Atlanta by people from CORE, before the NALC was started. A representative of the Bishop at the meeting advised everyone that they could NOT join CORE because that would be "dual-rostering". He couldn't explain how joining RIC was not.
I comment:
The bishop may have been referring to one of the denominations spawned by CORE. I do not think CORE considers itself a church body. On the other hand it is perfectly clear to anyone not blinded by persistent or intentional ignorance that LCMC and NALC are church bodies, denominations with all the accoutrements of such. RIC is an organization, CORE is an organization. Joining either of those is not dual affiliation. Joining NALC or LCMS or LCMS or AALC is.
I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.


James_Gale

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #266 on: February 01, 2012, 10:46:28 AM »
I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.


Yes, you have.  And that puts you at odds with Secretary Almen, PB Chilstrom, and PB Anderson, none of whom ever objected to dual rostering of congregations.  Indeed, as is quoted upstream, dual membership was viewed by ELCA leadership until very recently as "not a problem" for the ELCA.  What is more "duplicitous" and "cowardly"?  An ELCA congregation joining a second church body in full accord with the congregation's governing documents?  Or ELCA leadership saying that the churchwide governing documents that had always been understood to permit dual rostering of congregations now prohibit it, even though the documents have not been amended to say so.
[size=78%]  [/size]

Team Hesse

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #267 on: February 01, 2012, 12:48:21 PM »

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.

Lou

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #268 on: February 01, 2012, 01:01:10 PM »
Let me see if I understand this. It's OK for a congregation to be simultaneously part of the ELCA and PCUSA, because those two organizations came to some sort of agreement. But to be part of the ELCA and another Lutheran church body "is either cowardly or duplicitous"?
 
I cannot argue that belonging to the ELCA and another Lutheran body violates some novel interpretation of the ELCA's rules that even the first two Presiding Bishops didn't agree with, but to call such an action either cowardly or duplicitous is inexcusable.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #269 on: February 01, 2012, 01:41:38 PM »

I have said it before. I believe the attempt to be dually affiliated is either cowardly or duplicitous.

Or more openly ecumenical........ when the differences are seen as relatively unimportant. I am dual-rostered with Augsburg Lutheran Churches and a district of LCMC. Some of my colleagues in ALC are dual-rostered with NALC at the invitation of NALC. My congregation could probably be triple-rostered with all of these entities if they wished.


Why? It's a bit like being married to two or three women.
"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]