Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 101380 times)

James_Gale

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #300 on: February 01, 2012, 10:56:49 PM »
The congregation's "governing documents," Mr. Gale, are not the whole deal and with regard to some things, certainly are not the final deal.


True.  But they do govern the process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body.  The synod may claim in response that the congregation is subject to discipline.  That would be governed by the synod and ELCA governing documents.  That's the way that the interdependent ELCA works.


Frankly, I agree with much of what you say.  Some congregations and some people should leave the ELCA.  And some people should leave their congregations.  Indeed, in the congregation at issue here, many who wanted to remain in the ELCA did leave the congregation and began worshiping in another church across town.  Now they want to come back and to take the property of their former congregation.  How is this healthy?  There are plenty of Eau Claire ELCA congregations for these people to join.  They have already left, for all intents and purposes.  Why interject such strife now to a situation that was well along the process of resolving itself?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #301 on: February 02, 2012, 12:43:10 AM »

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #302 on: February 02, 2012, 12:46:11 AM »
Why are you insisting on applying your denominational rules and paradigms to all other denominational arrangements? Are you not aware that the Lutheran confessions are open to more than one way of viewing such "man-made" arrangements and rites?


Because the actions in question -- an ELCA congregation becoming rostered with additional denominations -- involve my denomination.

Was the course of action in this congregation taken before or after the ruling from secretary Swartling which changed long-standing ELCA precedent from the likes of Sec Almen and the former presiding Bishops? I don't know...


I'm pretty sure that the four congregations that were dual rostered with ELCA and LCMS had that before the ELCA was formed. As I stated before, they were grandfathered in -- and we had no problems with that. As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #303 on: February 02, 2012, 12:47:44 AM »
Why are you insisting on applying your denominational rules and paradigms to all other denominational arrangements? Are you not aware that the Lutheran confessions are open to more than one way of viewing such "man-made" arrangements and rites?


Because the actions in question -- an ELCA congregation becoming rostered with additional denominations -- involve my denomination.


You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?


I also wonder: if the denominations are so similar that you and/or your congregation can be rostered with them -- why don't they come together as one?

This attitude is probably one of the fears that TAALC had in establishing altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS.  That someone would propose that its under 100 congregations be absorbed into the LCMS.


But would a congregation be allowed to be rostered as both TAALC and LCMS?
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #304 on: February 02, 2012, 12:55:36 AM »
And I ask again the question which no one has ever answered.
Why do you want to belong to two denominations?
The people in the congregations joining LCMC and NALC have clearly expressed their disagreements with the ELCA, disagreements so strong that they want to leave the discipline and policies of the ELCA.
I say:
O.k. I understand. So go. Please go. Go now.
Gather the votes in your congregation, go through the process and leave the ELCA. Hundreds have done this. I approve of this.
If you can't get the votes to leave, then leave as individuals. It is certainly possible to find a congregation nearby that doesn't ordain partnered gays or lesbians or snuggle with heretic Presbyterians or Episcopalians.
If not, round up your buddies and start a new congregation. Go.
But, I say again: I cannot understand why you want to be in the ELCA and LCMC or NALC or any of the other conglomerations of the alphabet with an "L" in them. It just doesn't make sense.


Over time, when people here have argued for results that are either not allowed or not required by the ELCA's rules and procedures, you have admonished them to learn how the ELCA works.  In this case, you stand in their shoes and need to take heed of your own admonishments.  You may not "understand" why an ELCA congregation would join LCMC.  You might not like it.  But your personal point of view does not control here.  The congregation's governing documents do.


The governing documents do not give an ELCA congregation the power or authority to join another denomination. They have the authority to terminate their relationship with the ELCA C5.03.j. Once that is terminated, then they can give themselves the power to join another denomination.
"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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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #305 on: February 02, 2012, 12:59:57 AM »
And I ask again the question which no one has ever answered.
Why do you want to belong to two denominations?
The people in the congregations joining LCMC and NALC have clearly expressed their disagreements with the ELCA, disagreements so strong that they want to leave the discipline and policies of the ELCA.
I say:
O.k. I understand. So go. Please go. Go now.
Gather the votes in your congregation, go through the process and leave the ELCA. Hundreds have done this. I approve of this.
If you can't get the votes to leave, then leave as individuals. It is certainly possible to find a congregation nearby that doesn't ordain partnered gays or lesbians or snuggle with heretic Presbyterians or Episcopalians.
If not, round up your buddies and start a new congregation. Go.
But, I say again: I cannot understand why you want to be in the ELCA and LCMC or NALC or any of the other conglomerations of the alphabet with an "L" in them. It just doesn't make sense.


Over time, when people here have argued for results that are either not allowed or not required by the ELCA's rules and procedures, you have admonished them to learn how the ELCA works.  In this case, you stand in their shoes and need to take heed of your own admonishments.  You may not "understand" why an ELCA congregation would join LCMC.  You might not like it.  But your personal point of view does not control here.  The congregation's governing documents do.


The governing documents do not give an ELCA congregation the power or authority to join another denomination. They have the authority to terminate their relationship with the ELCA C5.03.j. Once that is terminated, then they can give themselves the power to join another denomination.


We've been over this several times.  Congregations have the power to do anything that is not prohibited by their governing documents.  Those governing documents create the process by which actions can be taken.  The model governing documents for congregations do not prohibit congregations from joining other church bodies.  This is confirmed, among other ways, by the quotes from ELCA leaders through the years that dual membership of congregations is "not a problem" in the ELCA.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #306 on: February 02, 2012, 01:03:48 AM »
The congregation's "governing documents," Mr. Gale, are not the whole deal and with regard to some things, certainly are not the final deal.


True.  But they do govern the process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body.


No. There is no process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body. Congregations have the authority to terminate their relationship to the ELCA. As I read the ELCA congregation, congregations don't vote themselves into the ELCA; but need to be approved by the synod council and synod assembly. Thus, an independent congregation or one from another denomination, can vote to request membership in the ELCA; but their vote doesn't make them members.
"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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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #307 on: February 02, 2012, 01:07:00 AM »

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?


I thought that God is to be our master.  But you are arguing that it is to be a "denomination"?  To the exclusion of other "denominations" and "the Lord"?  Huh. 

James_Gale

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #308 on: February 02, 2012, 01:11:20 AM »
The congregation's "governing documents," Mr. Gale, are not the whole deal and with regard to some things, certainly are not the final deal.


True.  But they do govern the process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body.


No. There is no process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body. Congregations have the authority to terminate their relationship to the ELCA. As I read the ELCA congregation, congregations don't vote themselves into the ELCA; but need to be approved by the synod council and synod assembly. Thus, an independent congregation or one from another denomination, can vote to request membership in the ELCA; but their vote doesn't make them members.


You sure do like mixes apples and pears and oranges and bananas.  A congregation obviously cannot join a church body against the church body's will.  So what?  The ELCA's model constitution for congregations creates a decision-making structure through which congregations can take the steps required by LCMC for LCMC membership.


You seem to think that congregations can only make decisions specifically identified in congregational governing documents.  Not so.  Not even close.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #309 on: February 02, 2012, 01:12:58 AM »

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?


I thought that God is to be our master.  But you are arguing that it is to be a "denomination"?  To the exclusion of other "denominations" and "the Lord"?  Huh.


If God were truly our master, there would not be denominations. We let things like national heritage, theological differences and practices become more important than God.


God is to be our master, be all of us who are married know that we cannot spend all our time serving God -- spouses and children and sometimes parents at times become our masters.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #310 on: February 02, 2012, 01:19:52 AM »
The congregation's "governing documents," Mr. Gale, are not the whole deal and with regard to some things, certainly are not the final deal.


True.  But they do govern the process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body.


No. There is no process by which an ELCA congregation may choose to join another church body. Congregations have the authority to terminate their relationship to the ELCA. As I read the ELCA congregation, congregations don't vote themselves into the ELCA; but need to be approved by the synod council and synod assembly. Thus, an independent congregation or one from another denomination, can vote to request membership in the ELCA; but their vote doesn't make them members.


You sure do like mixes apples and pears and oranges and bananas.  A congregation obviously cannot join a church body against the church body's will.  So what?  The ELCA's model constitution for congregations creates a decision-making structure through which congregations can take the steps required by LCMC for LCMC membership.


You seem to think that congregations can only make decisions specifically identified in congregational governing documents.  Not so.  Not even close.


You must be looking at a different part of the constitution than I am. C5.03. states what authority is given to the congregation. Other sections talk about how decisions are to be made; but they are not empowered to make decisions beyond their authority. A congregation cannot vote to elect the bishop of their synod. Even if they follow all the rules of a proper congregational meeting, such an election would be out of order because they do not have the authority to elect a bishop.
"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]

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #311 on: February 02, 2012, 01:50:33 AM »

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?


I thought that God is to be our master.  But you are arguing that it is to be a "denomination"?  To the exclusion of other "denominations" and "the Lord"?  Huh.

Excellent point! Congregations are not servants of the denomination that they are affiliated with. The denominations are a collection of congregations. The congregations are the church, the denominations are artificial, man-made establishments that are supposed to facilitate the functioning of the congregations, but the denomination is not an authority over the congregations. That's why the only course of discipline available to the denomination regarding a congregation is to sever the affiliation between the denomination and the congregation.
 
The denomination serves the congregation by providing resources, maintaining a certain degree of good order, facilitating cooperative action to accomplish broader ranges of missions, and other things like maintaining seminaries and a publishing service to make available educational and worship materials. It also handles the training, ordination, and certification of clergy. 
 
If being affiliated with one organization that provides those benefits is good, then being affiliated with two such organizations would surely be better. The only issue would be if the mutually agreed upon standards that define each of two different denominations are at variance with each other to the point of being mutually exclusive.
 

Team Hesse

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #312 on: February 02, 2012, 02:18:01 AM »

You haven't answered the question why your congregation and/or you would want to be rostered with multiple denominations?

Why not seek Christian unity where and when you can?


You cannot serve two masters. Paul recognized that even married people have to devote time to the spouse that otherwise could be devoted to the Lord. How can a congregation or pastor be adequately devoted to more than one denomination?
The answer to this question depends to a certain extent on whether one sees the congregation serving the denomination or the denomination serving the congregation. I would guess we differ on the answer to this duality.

Quite frankly, I am surprised at the strength of your insistence on this matter, given your long-time argumentation that Christian unity is sooooo very important. In this instance, I am clearly more open to the possibility of a sense of unity than you are. Don't know what to make of that....

Lou

George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #313 on: February 02, 2012, 02:29:12 AM »
Quite frankly, I am surprised at the strength of your insistence on this matter, given your long-time argumentation that Christian unity is sooooo very important. In this instance, I am clearly more open to the possibility of a sense of unity than you are. Don't know what to make of that....

Lou

It's called "hypocrisy".
 

Team Hesse

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #314 on: February 02, 2012, 02:29:28 AM »
As far as I know, no congregations had unilaterally decided to become dual rostered under Sec. Alman's watch. He did not have to rule on the issue of a congregation taking steps to join another Lutheran denomination while remaining ELCA.

I don't believe this to be true.
Early in the formation of LCMC there were more than a few congregations who unilaterally decided to dual roster. Sec Almen never ruled on that to my knowledge--and "never ruling" gave the impression to many of us that that was an acceptable avenue to approach the uncertainty of the times in which we were living. Congregations wished to keep their options open and send a message that the ELCA was "skating on thin ice".

Lou