Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 101634 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #345 on: February 07, 2012, 09:55:14 AM »
I'm not clear from your answer. Are you agreeing with me that their constitutions do not give congregations the authority to elect a bishop even at a duly called congregational meeting? Or, in more general terms, that  the constitutions do not give congregations all authority.

I was just trying to say red herring in a different way.


Congregations are not free to do anything they want to do. Electing their own bishop is not something an ELCA congregation can do. The Secretary of the Church has also said that an ELCA congregation cannot vote to join another denomination. (However synodical bishops can make exceptions -- but it's under the bishop's authority to allow it, not the congregation's.)
"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 #346 on: February 07, 2012, 10:07:32 AM »
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.
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."

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #347 on: February 07, 2012, 10:13:21 AM »
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.


The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.
"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 #348 on: February 07, 2012, 11:10:25 AM »
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.


The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And the things they are then authorized to do to that congregation:

Quote
20.31.02. The disciplinary actions which may be imposed are:

a. censure and admonition by the bishop of the synod;

b. suspension from this church for a designated period, the consequences of such suspension being the loss of voting rights of any member (including ordained ministers) of the congregation at synod or churchwide assemblies, the loss of the right to petition, and the forfeiture of eligibility by any member of the congregation to serve on any council, board, committee, or other group of this church, any of its synods, or any other subdivision thereof;

c. suspension of the congregation from this church for a designated period (with the same consequences as in b.) during which the congregation shall be under the administration of the synod, provided that a congregation may refuse to accept such administration in which case it shall be removed from the roster of congregations of this church; or

d. removal from the roster of congregations of this church.
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."

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #349 on: February 07, 2012, 12:57:33 PM »
Pastor Cottingham persists (following my warning about drawing large conclusions from afar):
And just why would that be, Charles?   What I saw in those articles has been reflected in many of the posts here - the devilish behavior on the part of a bishop who has stirred the pot several times, tossed live grenades into the room, and then stood back and absolved himself of all responsibility.
I comment:
The "devilish" word is yours, not in the information offered, as is the reference to weaponry.

Pastor Cottingham writes:
Those two articles have only affirmed the "second- third- and four-guessing" you rail against from those here, who actually know far more about the situation than you will ever admit.
I comment:
They refer to the situation reported in those particular articles; they may not pertain to the ELCA as a whole.

Pastor Cottingham writes:
But as the ELCA's chief defender, it is no surprise that you continue defend your mother church, and you fail to see in the situation the harm being done to the body of Christ and just how appalling the entire mess is, largely at the responsibility of the synodical leadership there.
I comment:
Yes, I defend the church I serve. Don't you?
As to assigning "blame" for any alleged "mess," I do not want to do that from afar; I do not want to say definitively what the situation in that church is or what it means for the whole wide world. You apparently do.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #350 on: February 07, 2012, 07:39:56 PM »
FWIW, the first of the above referenced examiner.com pieces just made me sad, not only in the two incredibly distressing situations facing the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin but in the way the writer melds the two unseemly situations together.  Frnakly, that's entirely too much psychological "analysis" going out under a reporter's byline for me.
 
As for the second, I must confess to almost laughing out loud at the headline, for its second part ("When the Journalist Becomes Part of the Story") pretty well describes how Pastor Connor made his name as a reporter of matters ELCA back in his final seminarian days, when he didn't want any stinking Bishop laying hands on him at his ordination.  Granted he unearthed some pretty awful stuff and there are matters where I think he and I are actually on much the same page.  But if I'm going to feel unclean after reading a story, I don't want to be wondering how much of that comes primarily from my experience with the writer rather than the story.

Christe eleison, Steven+
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #351 on: February 07, 2012, 07:46:18 PM »
And the things they are then authorized to do to that congregation:

Quote
20.31.02. The disciplinary actions which may be imposed are:

a. censure and admonition by the bishop of the synod;

b. suspension from this church for a designated period, the consequences of such suspension being the loss of voting rights of any member (including ordained ministers) of the congregation at synod or churchwide assemblies, the loss of the right to petition, and the forfeiture of eligibility by any member of the congregation to serve on any council, board, committee, or other group of this church, any of its synods, or any other subdivision thereof;

c. suspension of the congregation from this church for a designated period (with the same consequences as in b.) during which the congregation shall be under the administration of the synod, provided that a congregation may refuse to accept such administration in which case it shall be removed from the roster of congregations of this church; or

d. removal from the roster of congregations of this church.


No, only "a." is the one that a bishop can do. Note the boldface. Any others actions are referred to the disciplinary hearing committee.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 07:51:41 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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 #352 on: February 07, 2012, 07:54:23 PM »
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.

The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And I simply declare myself the winner of the Megamillions jackpot. 

Each declaration has about the same legal significance (i.e., none).
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 08:04:56 PM by James_Gale »

Evangel

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #353 on: February 07, 2012, 07:59:48 PM »
And the things they are then authorized to do to that congregation:

Quote
20.31.02. The disciplinary actions which may be imposed are:

a. censure and admonition by the bishop of the synod;

b. suspension from this church for a designated period, the consequences of such suspension being the loss of voting rights of any member (including ordained ministers) of the congregation at synod or churchwide assemblies, the loss of the right to petition, and the forfeiture of eligibility by any member of the congregation to serve on any council, board, committee, or other group of this church, any of its synods, or any other subdivision thereof;

c. suspension of the congregation from this church for a designated period (with the same consequences as in b.) during which the congregation shall be under the administration of the synod, provided that a congregation may refuse to accept such administration in which case it shall be removed from the roster of congregations of this church; or

d. removal from the roster of congregations of this church.


No, only "a." is the one that a bishop can do. Note the boldface. Any others actions are referred to the disciplinary hearing committee.

OK  ::)  They should get on with it then.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 08:01:47 PM by Evangel »
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 #354 on: February 07, 2012, 10:07:32 PM »

The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And I simply declare myself the winner of the Megamillions jackpot. 

Each declaration has about the same legal significance (i.e., none).

I don't know.  Seems to work for judges in California.  :-(

Lord, have mercy.  Steven+
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #355 on: February 08, 2012, 12:05:13 AM »
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.

The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And I simply declare myself the winner of the Megamillions jackpot. 

Each declaration has about the same legal significance (i.e., none).


However, if the head of the Megamillions jackpot who has the authority and power to declare who the winner is, says that you are the winner. It is so. There are people who have the authority to make such proclamations. The Secretary has authority to make proclamations about the legality of actions within the 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]

Richard Johnson

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #356 on: February 08, 2012, 01:08:02 AM »

Would someone please explain to Mr. Erdner - for the thousandth time - that no congregation in the ELCA is ever - repeat ever - "simultaneously part of the ELCA and PCUSA"? This does not happen. Ever. Nothing in any ecumenical agreement envisions congregations simultaneously part of two denominations.

Tell it to the good people of Truckee Lutheran-Presbyterian Church in Truckee, CA.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #357 on: February 08, 2012, 01:08:44 AM »
I believe, Peter, that those situations came from a time even before there was an ELCA. And it was your people who wanted to put an end to them.

Which means that the ELCA was fine with it back then.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

James_Gale

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #358 on: February 08, 2012, 02:14:09 AM »
It's not exactly splitting hairs to point out that secretaries nor bishops can stop a congregation from joining another denomination.  The bishop can choose whether or not to discipline a congregation based on the secretary's interpretation.

The bishop simply declares that the vote to join another denomination is illegal.

And I simply declare myself the winner of the Megamillions jackpot. 

Each declaration has about the same legal significance (i.e., none).


However, if the head of the Megamillions jackpot who has the authority and power to declare who the winner is, says that you are the winner. It is so. There are people who have the authority to make such proclamations. The Secretary has authority to make proclamations about the legality of actions within the ELCA.


Round and round we go.  At first, you said that the "bishop simply declares" whether or not a congregational vote to leave the ELCA is "legal."  When challenged, you backed off from this incorrect assertion.  That was wise.  It was not so wise, though, to substitute another incorrect assertion.  While the Secretary presumably can "make proclamations" on any subject whatever -- even on whether I won the lottery jackpot.  However, he has no special authority to make "proclamations about the legality of actions within the ELCA."  And such proclamations certainly have no binding effect. 


I suspect that you are thinking about ELCA Bylaw 13.41.04.  But it says something quite different from what you wrote.  Specifically, it provides that the "secretary shall prepare interpretations, as necessary, of the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America."  The secretary has no power to proclaim any act to be legal or illegal.  And he has no authority to issue authoritative interpretations of synod or congregational governing documents. 

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #359 on: February 08, 2012, 03:40:34 AM »
I noted that the ecumenical agreements did not envision dual-rostered congregations.
Richard wrote:
Tell it to the good people of Truckee Lutheran-Presbyterian Church in Truckee, CA.

I comment:
I did not say it could not happen, in a particular setting, with particular permission. I said it was not in the documents.
I also noted that at the formation of the ELCA, there had been congregations that, prior to the merger, considered themselves both ELCA and LCMS.

Richard wrote:
Which means that the ELCA was fine with it back then.
I comment:
Maybe. Maybe not. Or maybe later we decided it wasn't a good idea. (The LCMS certainly did.)

Mr. Gale writes, re ELCA bylaw 13.41.04, disputing what Pastor Stoffregen wrote about the ELCA secretary's "authority":
Specifically, it provides that the "secretary shall prepare interpretations, as necessary, of the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America."  The secretary has no power to proclaim any act to be legal or illegal.  And he has no authority to issue authoritative interpretations of synod or congregational governing documents.
I comment:
If, Mr. Gale, by "legal or illegal," you are referring to status vis a vis U.S. civil law, you may be correct. But the constitution says (at least this is how we have interpreted it up to now) that the ELCA secretary has the authority to issue interpretations which are understood as authoritative within the ELCA, how the ELCA officially sees the
matter at hand and how the ELCA interprets its documents.
I believe that for a civil court to rule contrary to the ELCA secretary's interpretation of our constitution would be to have the courts meddle in the internal affairs of a church body, and you have noted that they are reluctant to do so.