Author Topic: Bergendorf Quote  (Read 8852 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Bergendorf Quote
« Reply #60 on: July 23, 2007, 01:19:11 PM »
Which brings us back to the original question -- why does the bishop think that ELCA congregations cannot affiliate with LCMC?  If it's just because the ELCA secretary says so, maybe the questions should be "Why does the ELCA secretary think that ELCA congregations cannot be affiliated with LCMC, given that the ELCA's governing documents don't seem to rule it out?" and "How does this get cleared up?"
A logic I would use -- and I don't know if the situation is present is exactly what has happened, nor if it is the logic bishops have used -- is:

(1) Our rule, from the Manual of Policies and Procedures for Management of the Rosters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are clear about clergy:

No Dual Roster Membership: An ordained minister of this church who enters the ordained ministry of another church body, or who joins a religious group or congregation of another church body (except as provided in 7.41.17.), or who serves a group schismatic from this church or from a congregation thereof, shall cease to be a member of this church. The ordained minister’s name shall be removed from the roster of ordained ministers by the bishop of the synod, who shall report the action to the secretary of this church and to the next Synod Assembly.

so if a clergy joins LCMC and in the mind of the bishop, they have joined another church body and/or serving a schismatic group, that pastor is removed from the roster of the church.

(2) The ELCA Constitution is clear about congregations who are served by non-rostered clergy:

9.21. This church shall recognize, receive, and maintain on the roster those congregations which by their practice as well as their governing documents: ...
d. agree to call pastoral leadership from the clergy roster of this church in accordance with the call procedures of this church except in special circumstances.


and

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.

Thus, with the two-step process, and the rules from two guiding documents, it does fall within the rules do allow bishops to remove the clergy and the congregation when the pastor affiliates with LCMC.

However, I note that the Manual uses "shall" language concerning clergy. The Constitution uses "may" language concerning congregations. Thus, bishops can argue that in some cases, they may not remove a congregation who is served by a non-rostered clergy. We have three or four of those in our synod.
"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]

plateman

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Re: Bergendorf Quote
« Reply #61 on: July 24, 2007, 03:48:54 PM »
Brian,

   As a former member of the congregation in question and as one who was baptized and confirmed in this church, it saddens me to witness what has occured.  Let me provide some historical perspective.

    East Union was a member of the LCA before the merger.....and quite frankly, there was little discussion or angst about the merger....we did not go "kicking and screaming".  The former minister retired and after being without a minister for over a year and after being rejected on a first ballot, the current minister was called.

     Very shortly, thereafter, there were sermons speaking against the ELCA - a particular sermon dealt with an advertising campaign by the ELCA.  In 2005, the partner church was convinced to join the LCMC and voted in favor of leaving the ELCA and joining the LCMC by a unaminous vote.  The vote at East Union was haphazard at best (I'm trying to be kind).  Ballots were passed out and voting was begun before the discussion was finished.  It is not certain that all votes counted were cast by members and the exact vote total has never been announced to the congregation - just an announcement that the vote to join the LCMC had passed.  When a question was asked at the congregational meeting on the ELCA's viewpoint, it was quickly dismissed (while voting was taking place) in that they had heard from the LCMC and that was all that was necessary.  The congregation was assured several times by the minister that dual rostering of congregations was allowed by the ELCA.....although the congregation had nothing from the ELCA (the ELCA was not asked).

     If the question about dual rostering of congregations had been allowed to be researched (rather than the railroading of the vote), it would have been found that Secretary Almen had addressed this issue in a memo dated January 4, 2002 to the synodical bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  His interpretation (and since that is his job....it is the only intepretation that matters at this point) is that ELCA congregations may not affiliate simultaneously with the ELCA and any of the 21 U.S. Lutheran Church Bodies (the LCMC is listed as one of the 21).

     When the new bishop took office, she sent a letter to the minister stating that the congregation could not be dual rostered AND that an ordained minister of the ELCA could not be dual rostered.  Her letter indicated a need for a meeting to occur between herself and the minister to discuss his roster status and she gave him a month in which to make an appointment to discuss.  He refused stating that he was "too busy".  The bishop removed the minister from the roster after the deadline had passed and so now the church is still an ELCA congregation without an ELCA minister.  There will be a vote take to determine whether this church leaves the ELCA.

     I can't tell you how much damage this has done to the church that provided me my faith foundation.  There are several people that feel very strongly about remaining with the ELCA and it has turned into a battle of family members against each other.  The pain that many members of this church are going though is enormous....there are people who have been members of this church for over 60 years that feel they must leave if this congregation votes to leave the ELCA.  I pray for this congregation every day....I pray that the people who became so disenfranchised by the leadership of this congregation will find comfort.  One may think that a small congregation with few members (approximately 40-50 members each Sunday) really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of God's kingdom.....to me, it's what matters the most.  Thanks for allowing me to provide a different perspective on this issue.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Bergendorf Quote
« Reply #62 on: July 24, 2007, 05:20:50 PM »
Dear "plateman" -
I am sorry for the trouble your congregation has experienced. It sounds as if a pastor with hostility toward the denomination which he had agreed to serve allied with members to alienate the church from the ELCA, perhaps even by methods that were suspect. And now the push to leave the ELCA alienates others. I'm sure it feels as if your church was "hijacked" by a special interest group that was ill-advised or intentionally ignored procedures that could have been more fair. It is too bad when that happens, especially on the congregational level. And, yes, even small churches are valuable in the kingdom of God. Keep your prayers going.

ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: Bergendorf Quote
« Reply #63 on: July 24, 2007, 06:41:31 PM »
Brian,

   As a former member of the congregation in question and as one who was baptized and confirmed in this church, it saddens me to witness what has occured.  Let me provide some historical perspective.

    East Union was a member of the LCA before the merger.....and quite frankly, there was little discussion or angst about the merger....we did not go "kicking and screaming".  The former minister retired and after being without a minister for over a year and after being rejected on a first ballot, the current minister was called.

     Very shortly, thereafter, there were sermons speaking against the ELCA - a particular sermon dealt with an advertising campaign by the ELCA.  In 2005, the partner church was convinced to join the LCMC and voted in favor of leaving the ELCA and joining the LCMC by a unaminous vote.  The vote at East Union was haphazard at best (I'm trying to be kind).  Ballots were passed out and voting was begun before the discussion was finished.  It is not certain that all votes counted were cast by members and the exact vote total has never been announced to the congregation - just an announcement that the vote to join the LCMC had passed.  When a question was asked at the congregational meeting on the ELCA's viewpoint, it was quickly dismissed (while voting was taking place) in that they had heard from the LCMC and that was all that was necessary.  The congregation was assured several times by the minister that dual rostering of congregations was allowed by the ELCA.....although the congregation had nothing from the ELCA (the ELCA was not asked).

     If the question about dual rostering of congregations had been allowed to be researched (rather than the railroading of the vote), it would have been found that Secretary Almen had addressed this issue in a memo dated January 4, 2002 to the synodical bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  His interpretation (and since that is his job....it is the only intepretation that matters at this point) is that ELCA congregations may not affiliate simultaneously with the ELCA and any of the 21 U.S. Lutheran Church Bodies (the LCMC is listed as one of the 21).

     When the new bishop took office, she sent a letter to the minister stating that the congregation could not be dual rostered AND that an ordained minister of the ELCA could not be dual rostered.  Her letter indicated a need for a meeting to occur between herself and the minister to discuss his roster status and she gave him a month in which to make an appointment to discuss.  He refused stating that he was "too busy".  The bishop removed the minister from the roster after the deadline had passed and so now the church is still an ELCA congregation without an ELCA minister.  There will be a vote take to determine whether this church leaves the ELCA.

     I can't tell you how much damage this has done to the church that provided me my faith foundation.  There are several people that feel very strongly about remaining with the ELCA and it has turned into a battle of family members against each other.  The pain that many members of this church are going though is enormous....there are people who have been members of this church for over 60 years that feel they must leave if this congregation votes to leave the ELCA.  I pray for this congregation every day....I pray that the people who became so disenfranchised by the leadership of this congregation will find comfort.  One may think that a small congregation with few members (approximately 40-50 members each Sunday) really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of God's kingdom.....to me, it's what matters the most.  Thanks for allowing me to provide a different perspective on this issue.

Obviously a former member who was not privy to much first hand.  Allot of accusations and little to no accuracy.

Rob Moskowitz
« Last Edit: July 24, 2007, 06:54:21 PM by ROB_MOSKOWITZ »

Charles_Austin

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Re: Bergendorf Quote
« Reply #64 on: July 24, 2007, 08:37:54 PM »
Rob Moskowitz writes:
Obviously a former member who was not privy to much first hand.  Allot of accusations and little to no accuracy.

I wonder:
Ah, but perhaps the poster was a member during the time of the "troubles". Or perhaps the poster is related to members. There are a lot of "perhaps" to consider. I doubt that you could be considered a disinterested party, objective and accurate in every detail. But I sense that this online forum would be a terrible place to rehash the sad incidents in a particular congregation being led out of the ELCA to the consternation of some of its members.

ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: Bergendorf Quote
« Reply #65 on: July 24, 2007, 08:50:36 PM »
Rob Moskowitz writes:
Obviously a former member who was not privy to much first hand.  Allot of accusations and little to no accuracy.

I wonder:
Ah, but perhaps the poster was a member during the time of the "troubles". Or perhaps the poster is related to members. There are a lot of "perhaps" to consider. I doubt that you could be considered a disinterested party, objective and accurate in every detail. But I sense that this online forum would be a terrible place to rehash the sad incidents in a particular congregation being led out of the ELCA to the consternation of some of its members.

Of course declaring that people are "being led" says allot about those folks in said congregations.    As I think is the tone of the poster as well.

Just one example of the accuracy?   What "advertising campaign" is he referring to?   ELCA?

Its Probably best to view it in the argument you usually apply to other anonymous posters

Rob Moskowitz
« Last Edit: July 24, 2007, 08:53:41 PM by ROB_MOSKOWITZ »

Deb_H.

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Re: Bergendorf Quote
« Reply #66 on: July 24, 2007, 09:06:59 PM »
I'm sure it feels as if your church was "hijacked" by a special interest group

Likewise, there are many of us who feel as if our church (congregation or national church) has been hijacked by (a) special interest group(s)...
CCM, sexuality, LOGA, seminary professors teaching other than confessional Lutheranism, creeping Calvinism or Borg-thought...

We generally tell people that we didn't leave our church, it left us standing where we had always been while it went off on some tangent somewhere.  When the presiding bishop speaks about "two irreconcilable but equally valid interpretations of scripture," that is eventually what is going to happen in the ELCA in many many congregations across this country.  If one is fortunate, there is another congregation closeby and the membership can do a shuffle between them.  If not, there might be new congregations forming, some inside the ELCA or LCMC, some outside the national structure (house churches).  That's how it's done in foreign missions, it can be done here too.

Everyone has to get past the idea that "I've been a part of this church for 60 years."  That church has only been part of the ELCA for 20  years.  The church of your childhood went away with the merger.  You've maybe attended church at that building for 60 years, but a building is not the church.  It's sad to leave the building, but sometimes, in order to recognize what church IS, it could be necessary.

Debbie