Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 94175 times)

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1080 on: May 01, 2013, 07:37:08 PM »
Mr. Gale writes:
...some judges, especially Catholic judges, just aren't comfortable with this. Not when the governing documents plainly give synods at least some authority over congregations. And the ELCA is willing in court to characterize itself, not as interdependent, but as hierarchical. Once the ELCA or a synod makes and wins this argument, the language of the governing documents means nothing. The synod has absolute power to do whatever it pleases.

I comment (tongue in cheek, whimsey-meter on high, but not without some honest yukking it up):
Then, as a good ol' song says: "Hooray and Hallelujah! You had it coming' to ya. Goody Goody for us!
    Let's hear it for those Catholic judges! Another hip-hip-hooray for ELCA lawyers who made the hierarchy case stick.
    And now, with those synods (and their bishops) having "absolute power" we have the kind of top-down, we-know-what-the-doctrine-is-and-we'll-tell-you-what-to-believe authority system that some have desired. Bishops with power. Synods who can proclaim what is doctrinally pure.
    Call up your memories of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and sing along, (words slightly altered):
    Traditionalists gonna be singing the blues all night
    Goody, goody
    The fuses went out on their barrel of dynamite
    Hooray and hallelujah
    Ya had it coming to ya
    Goody, goody for them, goody, goody for us
    I hope you're satisfied you rascal you.

Now don't start! It's a joke.


Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1081 on: May 01, 2013, 07:51:39 PM »
   Here is a brief summary of what has happened so far.  Offer a correction if you think any of this is not accurate.

[the middle block removed in consideration of space...]


       I doubt that many think this is good for the reputation of that synod or the ELCA.

                     Mel Harris

That pretty much sums it up.


I doubt that existence of LCMC and NALC and LCMS and WELS and ELCA and all the smaller Lutheran bodies is good for the reputation of Lutherans or Christians.


I just finished my "notes" on John 17:20-26. I wonder, what would the church look like if God fulfilled Jesus' prayer that all his followers be united as the Son is one with the Father? How much more effective would our witness be to an unbelieving world?

Addressing your statement which I bolded: assuming that you are the ultimate arbiter then of which prayers God has fulfilled and which He has not, might I cautiously suggest that if the ELCA truly respected this prayer of our Lord's that it would not have acted in such an arbitrary and solitary fashion as it did by its decisions at the 2009 CWA?  How were those sectarian decisions and actions respectful of the unity of the whole Church?


I think that it would be in the same place as many husbands and wives - who are one flesh with each other; but who can also disagree about many, many issues; but because of their union with each other, they don't let the differences divide them or lead to a divorce. There are husbands and wives who disagree about homosexual relationships. There are husbands and wives who are members of different political parties - and even different churches. I have a friend who is an ELCA minister and her husband is a Roman Catholic permanent deacon. We know how to live together with differences.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 07:54:21 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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1082 on: May 01, 2013, 08:14:40 PM »
The synod decided that those who had continued to attend services at Grace Lutheran had been disloyal to the ELCA and had to be moved from the list of voting members to the list of associate members, and that the keys to the property of Grace Lutheran had to be handed over to the members of Amazing Grace Lutheran.  quoted from Mel Harris' post

If this is accurate, by what authority does the synod act to remove members of a congregation from membership of that congregation?

If you are looking for a constitutional grant of authority, you won't find one.


There are these two articles in the Model Synod Constitution. (There may be additional bylaws that give more specifics. I remember the Sierra Pacific synod having some.)
 
S13.24. If any congregation of this synod has disbanded, or if the members of a congregation agree that it is no longer possible for it to function as such, or if it is the opinion of the Synod Council that the membership of a congregation has become so scattered or so diminished in numbers as to make it impractical for such a congregation to fulfill the purposes for which it was organized or that it is necessary for this synod to protect the congregation’s property from waste and deterioration, the Synod Council, itself or through trustees appointed by it, may take charge and control of the property of the congregation to hold, manage, and convey the same on behalf of this synod. The congregation shall have the right to appeal the decision to the Synod Assembly.

S13.25. This synod may temporarily assume administration of a congregation upon its request or with its concurrence.

I don't know that it happened this way, in Eau Claire, but I could see a synod council deciding that a congregation that has ignored the synod's mandate about joining another church body, and goes ahead and does it, being deemed by the synod as unable to function as an ELCA congregation; thus giving them authority to assume control.


I could see the judge declaring the (Amazing) Grace group to be the congregation of Grace; then their leadership asking the Synod to assume administration of the congregation.


From the synod's point of view, Grace Lutheran was also vacant. Their pastors had been removed.
"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]

DCharlton

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1083 on: May 01, 2013, 08:15:41 PM »
Mr. Gale writes:
...some judges, especially Catholic judges, just aren't comfortable with this. Not when the governing documents plainly give synods at least some authority over congregations. And the ELCA is willing in court to characterize itself, not as interdependent, but as hierarchical. Once the ELCA or a synod makes and wins this argument, the language of the governing documents means nothing. The synod has absolute power to do whatever it pleases.

I comment (tongue in cheek, whimsey-meter on high, but not without some honest yukking it up):
Then, as a good ol' song says: "Hooray and Hallelujah! You had it coming' to ya. Goody Goody for us!
    Let's hear it for those Catholic judges! Another hip-hip-hooray for ELCA lawyers who made the hierarchy case stick.
    And now, with those synods (and their bishops) having "absolute power" we have the kind of top-down, we-know-what-the-doctrine-is-and-we'll-tell-you-what-to-believe authority system that some have desired. Bishops with power. Synods who can proclaim what is doctrinally pure.
    Call up your memories of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and sing along, (words slightly altered):
    Traditionalists gonna be singing the blues all night
    Goody, goody
    The fuses went out on their barrel of dynamite
    Hooray and hallelujah
    Ya had it coming to ya
    Goody, goody for them, goody, goody for us
    I hope you're satisfied you rascal you.

Now don't start! It's a joke.

As one of my seminary professors used to say, "I'm joking, but not much."  Another way of saying it is that some people are more honest when they are joking than at any other time.  Your slip is showing, Charles.
David Charlton  

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Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1084 on: May 01, 2013, 08:20:04 PM »
Am I glad that the synod and the ELCA "won" in the Eau Claire situation? Yes. Why wouldn't I be?
For three years here, people have been blowing horns and tossing confetti (in proper liturgical color for the season) every time a church pulls out of the ELCA.
Why not give me a chance to whoop-de-doo a bit?

DCharlton

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1085 on: May 01, 2013, 08:22:54 PM »
No, but I also have not seen a need for any ELCA congregation to leave the ELCA. Any congregation and pastor can continue to do what they have been doing from 1988 to 2009 after 2009.

Do you mean that pastors can still take part in illicit ordinations, that congregations can still call people not on the ELCA roster, that bishops and synods can still declare their intent to ignore ELCA policies? 

Or do you mean that congregations and  pastors can still preach, teach and perform weddings in accordance with a strictly heterosexual understanding of marriage?  That depends.  In the state of Wisconsin, a judge has determined that the synod council has the final say on what a congregation can and cannot do.  So, if the synod council says you can't practice as you did from 1988 to 2009, then you can't.  At least in Wisconsin.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

DCharlton

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1086 on: May 01, 2013, 08:25:21 PM »
Am I glad that the synod and the ELCA "won" in the Eau Claire situation? Yes. Why wouldn't I be?
For three years here, people have been blowing horns and tossing confetti (in proper liturgical color for the season) every time a church pulls out of the ELCA.
Why not give me a chance to whoop-de-doo a bit?

You miss my point.  If you think we didn't know you felt that way for the last three years, you have only been fooling yourself.  I also think by protesting that you were only joking, you simply underlined your true feelings.  It's nice to see you drop the pretense of neutrality. 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 08:27:57 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1087 on: May 01, 2013, 08:33:05 PM »
No, but I also have not seen a need for any ELCA congregation to leave the ELCA. Any congregation and pastor can continue to do what they have been doing from 1988 to 2009 after 2009.

Do you mean that pastors can still take part in illicit ordinations, that congregations can still call people not on the ELCA roster, that bishops and synods can still declare their intent to ignore ELCA policies?


It still happens quite often. in my opinion, every time a pastor/council authorizes a lay person to preside at communion. That is a function we have given to the ordained. It is a function only for those with a valid call.


I disagree with you that any bishops and synods ignored ELCA policies. They took the "may" language in our policies seriously.


 9.23. In accord with constitutional provision 9.21.d. and bylaw 9.21.01. and without invoking the provisions of Chapter 20, a congregation that maintains as its pastor an ordained minister who has resigned or been removed from this church’s roster of ordained ministers or that calls as its pastor one who has not been approved for the roster of ordained ministers may be removed from the roster of congregations of this church by the Synod Council upon recommendation of the synodical bishop.


They do not say say, "They shall be removed from the roster of congregations."

Quote
Or do you mean that congregations and  pastors can still preach, teach and perform weddings in accordance with a strictly heterosexual understanding of marriage? 


Yup.


Quote
That depends.  In the state of Wisconsin, a judge has determined that the synod council has the final say on what a congregation can and cannot do.  So, if the synod council says you can't practice as you did from 1988 to 2009, then you can't.  At least in Wisconsin.


The synod has never had control over who pastors married. I have never submitted the names for a marriage to my bishop for his approval. Although I have never done one, there were pastors officiate at same-gender rites long before 2009.
"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]

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1088 on: May 01, 2013, 09:00:22 PM »
The synod has never had control over who pastors married. I have never submitted the names for a marriage to my bishop for his approval. Although I have never done one, there were pastors officiate at same-gender rites long before 2009.

That may have to change...  In "hierarchical" Churches, the Bishop APPROVES the marriages.  And yes, this is the practice in TEC...

Because in a hierarchical Church, the Pastor is not a "free agent" nor even a "representative" of the local congregation.  In a hierarchical Church, the Pastor/Priest is an agent of the Diocese and the Bishop.

It's kind of funny...  If the Judge is going to rule that the ELCA is a hierarchical Church, THEN you need to surrender your freedom to perform weddings and confirmations.  Your parish should also hand the deed to their property over to the Synod.

IF...  the ELCA is a "hierarchical" Church body.

Just saying.  These rulings HAVE MEANING AND IMPACT.

And, for the record, I'd be in favor of such a move....  IF our Bishops will also submit to mutual discipline and accountability.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
 

DCharlton

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1089 on: May 01, 2013, 09:07:20 PM »
I'd like bishops that understand Article XXVIII.
David Charlton  

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Coach-Rev

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1090 on: May 01, 2013, 10:22:09 PM »
Am I glad that the synod and the ELCA "won" in the Eau Claire situation? Yes. Why wouldn't I be?
For three years here, people have been blowing horns and tossing confetti (in proper liturgical color for the season) every time a church pulls out of the ELCA.
Why not give me a chance to whoop-de-doo a bit?

Because its a hollow, straw man, shallow victory.  Churches that depart carry on, relatively whole and with a renewed sense of mission and ministry.  Grace has been permanently destroyed, regardless of whatever "good" might ultimately come from it.

You wanna whoop-de-doo?  Then do it with a church that fails to leave and agrees to carry on with the ELCA, NOT with a church that has just been gutted and dismantled by a greedy and power-grabbing synodical bishop and council. >:(

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1091 on: May 01, 2013, 10:23:47 PM »
Pastor Charlton writes:
I also think by protesting that you were only joking, you simply underlined your true feelings.  It's nice to see you drop the pretense of neutrality. 

I comment:
What pretense of neutrality?
I have never claimed to be neutral. I am a pastor of the ELCA and I support it and its policies. I don't like all of them, but none of my dislikes cause me to flee from the ELCA.
I am not neutral. I favor the ELCA and I support the people who stay in it and live responsible in our fellowship.
I am not neutral. I do not like it that some have left us. But I wish them well in their new church bodies.
I am not neutral. I do not like people who spread lies about us, disrespect our called and elected leaders, and assume that everything the ELCA does is rotten.

P.S. This silly musing that a couple of court decisions on property matters means that ELCA bishops are now free to take any property they want and tell pastors who they can marry raises the level of paranoid whining to a new high.

Pastor Ken Kimball

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1092 on: May 01, 2013, 10:30:41 PM »
Am I glad that the synod and the ELCA "won" in the Eau Claire situation? Yes. Why wouldn't I be?
For three years here, people have been blowing horns and tossing confetti (in proper liturgical color for the season) every time a church pulls out of the ELCA.
Why not give me a chance to whoop-de-doo a bit?
Really?  67 members, who don't even have the wherewithal to worship in the church building given them by judicial fiat?  1700 former ELCA members now gone and worshiping as an LCMC congregation?  A lengthy winning streak of such victories...and the ELCA will be lucky to muster a million members and 3,000 congregations in ten years time.  Such is the price of progress.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1093 on: May 01, 2013, 10:35:20 PM »
You know, Pastor Kimball, that every situation is not as hard-boiled as the one in Eau Claire. Congregations voted successfully to leave and have left peacefully. Votes to leave have failed and the congregation has stayed. Some synod councils granted the exiting congregations the possession of their buildings; sometimes it did not work that way.
It seems to me the Eau Claire situation is being loudly tub-thumped because it gives people a chance to say how (fill in your own adjective or invective) a synod council or bishop is.
But it is wrong to project that particular situation on to every aspect of ELCA life as some here seem to be paranoid about doing.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #1094 on: May 01, 2013, 11:05:03 PM »
This thread is getting tedious as people's true colors show. Simmer down. I'm going to shut it down. If there are any new developments in the Grace case, feel free to start a new thread about it.