Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 101445 times)

SmithL

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2011, 12:19:12 AM »
So, just because the Bible doesn't specifically forbid homosexual activity (as long as it's publicly accountable, etc), the ELCA says that it must be acceptable.

BUT, because all those congregational constitutions don't specifically allow dual memberships, the ELCA says that they are not acceptable?

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2011, 05:19:16 AM »
Scripture is scripture.
The ELCA's governing documents are not. Two different methods of interpretation must be applied.
But our governing documents are the agreements by which we - our congregations, our synods and our national organization - have voluntarily agreed to attempt to "be the church." We ordain women. If you cannot "be the church" in an organization which ordains women, you do not belong in the ELCA; you will have to "be the church" somewhere else.
It is the called and installed responsibility of the secretary of the ELCA to interpret our constitution. We have agreed that this is his or her responsibility. So we have agreed to accept the interpretation of the Secretary until or unless a Church-Wide Assembly overrules that interpretation.
This is not a matter of salvation, faith or doctrine. It is a relatively simple matter of being in the flawed, human organization that is the ELCA. If one wants to be in a congregation that calls the local mortician or school principal to be the pastor even though they are not on the ELCA roster, then that person does not belong in the ELCA. 
And I know I have said this before.

Chuck Sampson

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2011, 10:22:43 AM »
Scripture is scripture.
The ELCA's governing documents are not. Two different methods of interpretation must be applied.
But our governing documents are the agreements by which we - our congregations, our synods and our national organization - have voluntarily agreed to attempt to "be the church." We ordain women. If you cannot "be the church" in an organization which ordains women, you do not belong in the ELCA; you will have to "be the church" somewhere else.
It is the called and installed responsibility of the secretary of the ELCA to interpret our constitution. We have agreed that this is his or her responsibility. So we have agreed to accept the interpretation of the Secretary until or unless a Church-Wide Assembly overrules that interpretation.
This is not a matter of salvation, faith or doctrine. It is a relatively simple matter of being in the flawed, human organization that is the ELCA. If one wants to be in a congregation that calls the local mortician or school principal to be the pastor even though they are not on the ELCA roster, then that person does not belong in the ELCA. 
And I know I have said this before.
And I know I roll my eyes each time . . .   ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2011, 10:33:36 AM »
Pastor Sampson (in yet another one-line snarky response) writes, re my comment about our governing documents:
And I know I roll my eyes each time . . .

I ask, once again:
Anything to contribute to the discussion other than mean-spirited one-liners? And, since you have either left the ELCA or were never in it, why should I give a rat's rump about whether you eyes roll, light up, glaze over or close?
Seriously, Pastor Sampson, check your last 30 or so postings, at least 23 of them are one or two-line (and in some cases one character) pot shots aimed at this humble correspondent or Pastor Stoffregen. What is really up with that?

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2011, 12:46:30 PM »
Scripture is scripture.
The ELCA's governing documents are not. Two different methods of interpretation must be applied.
But our governing documents are the agreements by which we - our congregations, our synods and our national organization - have voluntarily agreed to attempt to "be the church." We ordain women. If you cannot "be the church" in an organization which ordains women, you do not belong in the ELCA; you will have to "be the church" somewhere else.
It is the called and installed responsibility of the secretary of the ELCA to interpret our constitution. We have agreed that this is his or her responsibility. So we have agreed to accept the interpretation of the Secretary until or unless a Church-Wide Assembly overrules that interpretation.
This is not a matter of salvation, faith or doctrine. It is a relatively simple matter of being in the flawed, human organization that is the ELCA. If one wants to be in a congregation that calls the local mortician or school principal to be the pastor even though they are not on the ELCA roster, then that person does not belong in the ELCA. 
And I know I have said this before.
And I know I roll my eyes each time . . .   ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)

Wouldn't one think that if an organization that's founded on Biblical principles discovered that a system or procedure they put into place wasn't working, and was actually counterproductive, then that organization would change the non-functioning procedure?
 
If the ELCA has flaws, and the flaws are clearly evident and apparent, why isn't the first priority of the leadership fixing the flaws?

DCharlton

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2011, 03:04:36 PM »
If the ELCA has flaws, and the flaws are clearly evident and apparent, why isn't the first priority of the leadership fixing the flaws?

In due time, George.  First let us fix the flaws in Scripture, the Creeds and the Confessions.  ;)
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2011, 04:11:58 PM »
Mr. Erdner writes:
If the ELCA has flaws, and the flaws are clearly evident and apparent, why isn't the first priority of the leadership fixing the flaws?

I muse:
And so we do. Our constitution and policies have been amended a lot of times during the last 21 years. We fixed some flaws in 2009.

Evangel

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2011, 02:55:36 PM »
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."

Dan Fienen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2011, 06:59:41 PM »
Not the most unbiased article.  It relates a view of the dispute that reflects the point of view of those leaving the ELCA.  Not that it is not true.  I personally would likely agree with that point of view.  But it should not be taken as strictly objective reporting.
 
Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

jeric

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #24 on: December 25, 2011, 07:37:00 PM »
Not the most unbiased article.  It relates a view of the dispute that reflects the point of view of those leaving the ELCA.  Not that it is not true.  I personally would likely agree with that point of view.  But it should not be taken as strictly objective reporting.
 
Dan


Wow! "Not the most unbiased article."?  Much worse than that.  The folks who formed Amazing Grace came out ahead on the legal vote but were shouldered out by those who used their power positions to negate the vote.  A.G. took time to consider the whole situation and addressed it in the only way available to them.  Sounds considerate, to me!  And much more gracious.

Erma S. Wolf

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #25 on: December 25, 2011, 09:00:14 PM »
   Biased accounts help neither side in presenting their "side" of the story.  The whole thing sounds like a complete, unholy mess.  The only sure thing is that the rancor stirred up by all of this, including but not limited to the lawsuit, will endure long after all the current antagonists have passed on to their eternal reward.  Lord, have mercy.

readselerttoo

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #26 on: December 25, 2011, 09:25:28 PM »
   Biased accounts help neither side in presenting their "side" of the story.  The whole thing sounds like a complete, unholy mess.  The only sure thing is that the rancor stirred up by all of this, including but not limited to the lawsuit, will endure long after all the current antagonists have passed on to their eternal reward.  Lord, have mercy.


or their eternal condemnation...per St. John 5:28 (RSV): "... for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
[29] and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. "
« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 09:31:06 PM by readselerttoo »

Evangel

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #27 on: December 26, 2011, 01:06:38 AM »
Got permission to publish a full report from a person at Grace in Eau Claire summarizing the latest communications from the congregation President and between the synod and congregation.  This includes two recent letters from the president to the congregation as well as a letter from the synod consultation committee.  Obviously the correspondent who wrote this is not a disinterested bystander, they are in the eye of the storm so there is a particular edginess and understandable bias.  So don't bother to complain about it.  That does not preclude them from being right or at least having some valid thoughts.

Quote
Dear friends in Christ,

This spring I shared with you the struggles of Grace Lutheran Church of Eau Claire as it voted 56-44% to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and join Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).  Because of a technicality that requires a congregation to reach a two-thirds majority to extract themselves from the ELCA, the council abided by its congregation's wishes and joined LCMC, even though it could not leave the ELCA.

Since that time, the church leadership reports a robust ministry and expansion of its mission in the community and the world.  However, the ELCA leadership continues to oppose the elected and called leadership of Grace Lutheran.  Four documents put forth in the past eight days will tell you the story.

The first document is an extraordinarily insightful report filed last week by Chris Connor, a reporter for Examiner.com, on the events leading up to a civil lawsuit filed by disgruntled ELCA supporters.  For those not fully aware of the situation, he does a nice job putting the issues at Grace into perspective.  http://www.examiner.com/religion-politics-in-st-paul/elca-bishop-and-amazing-grace-eau-claire-celebrate-christmas-with-a-lawsuit

The lawsuit apparently not being distraction enough from Grace's ministry, the bishop sent a letter that arrived last Friday for the council president demanding that Grace bring a delegation to an adjudication hearing three days later in nearby Chippewa Falls.  The report of that meeting by council president Anne Carter to the members of her congregation follows:

    Greetings,

    As you know, this morning the Consultation Committee of the NW Synod of Wisconsin met at Central Lutheran Church in Chippewa Falls to adjudicate a complaint filed with Bishop Pederson by those who are attending Amazing Grace ELCA, Inc.

    Bishop Pederson had contacted me by mail asking if Grace Lutheran Church intended to rescind dual affiliation and reinstate voting rights to those who had been moved to associate status. I responded with several questions. He did not answer those questions but informed me on Friday that Grace leadership was to report to this Committee meeting.

    Over the weekend Council appointed the following people to represent the leadership of Grace at that meeting:  Anne Carter, President; Carolyn Nestingen, attorney; and Jay Heit, attorney.

    The Consultation Committee is an elected standing committee of the NW Synod. It is made up of 6 to12 lay people and pastors. I'm afraid that I can't remember the names of all those attending today. It was a mix of male and female.

    We were called into the meeting at 10:45. The head of the committee thanked us for coming because without our presence it would be more difficult for them to render a decision in this case.

    After we introduced ourselves, I informed the committee that Carolyn Nestingen would be our spokesperson. When Jay Heit was identified as our attorney, they announced that it had already been decided that if any attorneys attended, they would not be allowed to speak. We were told that they had questions they wanted us to answer. Carolyn received permission to read a prepared statement.

    She then informed the committee that we were attending under protest and outlined several concerns we had:  Article 15 does not apply as this is not a dispute between factions-there is a duly elected Council and a minority who disagree with Council decisions; we had only two days notice; a lawsuit has been filed against us; Bishop Pederson has the appearance of bias against us; the committee will be subpeonaed for any discussion or decisions made during this meeting.

    As Carolyn paused in her reading, Ned Lenhart of Living Water Church interrupted her saying that he had some questions that he wanted answered. She said, "Excuse me, I'm not finished." He responded, "Yes, you are."

    At that we all picked up our things and proceeded to leave the meeting. As we were heading for the door, one female pastor said that she wanted to ask me one question. "Anne, after the vote failed how could you have moved your church out of the ELCA?" (approximately) I said that we were still an ELCA church and left. We left copies of the statement with the committee.

    We were in the meeting for 12 minutes.

    While we were still in the library discussing the meeting, Barb Radke, Dawn Sands and Drew Ryberg arrived for their meeting with the committee.

    Carolyn and I returned to Grace and met with Pastor Rolf and Pastor David to report the meeting. Later this afternoon I met with Council.

    These are just the facts. We have no idea of the next step in the process because we were not told of any guidelines or procedures that are in place.  We are bound to honor our Constitution and did so by attending today's meeting and registering our protests with the committee.

    Thank you all again for your support. We have been blessed by the Lord in so many ways. Now may we all celebrate the birth of Jesus in joy and happiness for His guidance and love.

    Merry Christmas,
    Anne

Predictably, the judgment from the Bishop was swift, as described in this email by Council President Carter to her members today (the letter from the Bishop is attached):

    Greetings:

    Yesterday I received communication from the Consultation Committee regarding our Monday meeting. The letter is attached.

    The letter speaks for itself so I offer no further comment, but I am always happy to hear any feedback from you.

    These last few weeks have been challenging but also very interesting. I have been outside the Grace Lutheran family and taken a look at a different world. As I look back at Grace, I am struck most by what I do not see among our family members. I do not see shallowness or superficiality. I do not see imperiousness or arrogance. I do not see greed or covetousness. I do not see hatred or discord. I am glad to be home and honored to be one of a host who do not put themselves above the other person or above our dear Savior.

    I thank God every day for all of you. Thank you for your laughter and hope and strength.

    God bless us, every one.
    Anne

 As you can see, the leadership and members of Grace Lutheran Church need to remain in your prayers.

The letter from the Consultation Committee to the council president is shared as a Google Document here.

Mark
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."

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2011, 02:04:45 AM »
   Biased accounts help neither side in presenting their "side" of the story.  The whole thing sounds like a complete, unholy mess.  The only sure thing is that the rancor stirred up by all of this, including but not limited to the lawsuit, will endure long after all the current antagonists have passed on to their eternal reward.  Lord, have mercy.

I'm sorry, but anyone who expects human beings to not have some sort of "bias" about things that affect them personally is due for disappointment. Given how many times you've revealed your emotional reactions to events with the church, how can you condemn as unhelpful people expressing their stories as they see them, clouded and colored by their emotions? Yes it is a mess, but clarity will require one or both of two things to happen. First, all parties involved need to somehow get past their emotional investments in the outcome, regardless of what that investment is. I'm sure praying for help from the Holy Spirit is the best method of achieving that end. The help received might involve a need for a catharsis of expression of grief, anger, and other emotions. The other thing required is a neutral, impartial arbitrator or mediator to help both sides come to some sort of agreement. Either will help, getting both would be better.
 
I won't express any opinion in this post about who is right and who is wrong. But one party or the other is wrong. This is not one of those mythical figments of some peoples' imaginations where each side's perception is merely a different point of view, with all points of view having equal worth and merit. The outcome of this controversy will see one side winning and the other side losing. If we're going to pray, then let us pray that the matter of which side is right is determined quickly and decisively, and that the side that loses accept losing graciously and goes on about its business.
 
 

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #29 on: December 26, 2011, 07:35:45 AM »
Language and the use of it is a funny thing.
The letter states (emphasis added):  Because of a technicality that requires a congregation to reach a two-thirds majority to extract themselves from the ELCA, the council abided by its congregation's wishes and joined LCMC, even though it could not leave the ELCA.

I note:
That "technicality" is not some minor quibble about an interpretation of anything, but a clearly stated, forcefully-worded provision of the congregation's constitution. And if the congregation is to stay in the ELCA, the Synod has declared that it may not join any other church body. But the council majority (and not the 2/3rds majority required) decided to do so anyway. Seems to me that is the "technicality," which must be questioned.
But doing so from afar is risky.