Author Topic: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials  (Read 2023 times)

Richard Johnson

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Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« on: August 07, 2019, 11:13:32 AM »
The memorials committee brings report. The first is a recommendation "to encourage all synods and congregations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ELCA's ordination of women . . . and the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the ordination of women of color . . . and to call upon synods congregations and churchwide to recognize the need for repentance and continued examination regarding equity for ministerial leadership . . . to direct the Office of Presiding Bishop . . . to conduct a gap analysis of rostered women with a particular focus on the challenges faced by rostered women of color."

A clergywoman from New York (pronouns she/her/hers) moves an amendment that would also recognize tenth anniversary of ordination of LGBTQ etc. "All clergy are an intersection of identities and experiences . . . we need to reorient and challenge the ways some of these gifts are not fully valued." Vice president of Metro NY (pronouns she/her/hers) speaks in favor. Pr. Minneapolis (she/her/hers): "my wife and I are both ordained in the ELCA" speaks in favor. "I'm acutely aware that ten years ago I would not be able to be here. I would love to be a part of this commemoration." Young adult from Metro NY (she/her/hers) "We must recognize that until ten years ago we did not recognize all women." NO ONE speaks against. Voting. 824 to 75. And so a commemoration of ordination of women becomes yet another LGBTQ thing. Let's see how that commemoration flies in congregations. There is applause; PB Eaton reminds people not to applaud. "There are people who do not agree with the action; out of respect for their opinion, please do not applaud."  The wording of the amendment finally on the screen: "and the 10th anniversary of the ELCA's decision to remove the barriers to ordination for people in same-gendered relationships and recognize the diversity of gifts that women's ordination brings to this church."

Speaking in favor of the main motion by several . . . There is a procedural question about how this relates to the social statement--apparently something in the resolved that actually relates to the implementing resolutions. Anyway, with common consent the consideration is laid on the table until after the social statement discussion.

Next up a resolution on sanctuary. "To reaffirm the long-term and growing commitment of this church to migrants and refugees (reference to the AMMPARO strategy) . . .

Metro NY member (he/him/hers) moves amendment to declare the ELCA a "sanctuary church." VP of Metro NY in support (this time the vice president doesn't specify the vice president's pronouns, but presumably they the same as the last time the vice president spoke, but then one can never be sure of this). Bp. Tracie Bartholomew from NY against the amendment: there's no clear definition of what a "sanctuary church" might mean, and so this will be misunderstood. Member from SW Texas speaks in favor. Member from NW Wisconsin against ("if this is passed, is in incumbent on every congregation to provide sanctuary, even if members of the congregation feel this might be illegal or dangerous to their community?"). BP asks Secretary to respond; he says churchwide can't bind other incorporated entities, so congregations will make their own decisions. Bp. Rinehart Texas/Gulf Coast in favor: we too often talk in churchspeak; the sanctuary movement began many years ago, and everyone knows what it means. Member from South Carolina Synod (Hispanic immigrant pastor) "this is not about legal terms, but about the gospel. I am terrified. There is no day we don't wake up and think what's going to happen to us. This is an opportunity for our denomination to make a difference." Pastor from MN in favor "very bold statement, opportunity for us to continue to learn and speak boldly." Pastor NW OH (she/her/hers) in favor "We're already doing this as a church, it's important for us to say it explicitly." Member from Western Iowa moves previous question; bishop notes (with nudge from secretary) that there have been four speakers in favor and none opposed, which, under the rules, automatically calls the question.  Point of order: Can we pray before we vote? PB: "Yes of course." Vote on the amendment "to declare the ELCA a sanctuary church body" Yes: 718, no: 191.

Continued speaking on the main motion. Pastor from NTex/NLouisiana: "Can we include a definition of sanctuary church body?"  Bp. Riegel: "I was fully prepared to vote in favor of the memorials committee, but now I find I cannot." Notes legal issue: churchwide can't really provide sanctuary. Higgins road has only one shower, the one in the PB's office" PB notes there's also one in the secretary's office. Riegel: OK, I withdraw my concern, there's a 100% increase in shower facilities. But seriously, this is a legal issue, it would make Higgins road--since it IS the ELCA church body facility--a sanctuary facility and that's not realistic.  Motion to add LIRS to those who are called to "review existing strategies and practices" regarding sanctuary. Problem with voting machines. PB: I was at the ELCIC convention, and they had problems but found if everyone stood up and hopped on one foot . . . (laughter). Let's use the cards. Amendment to add LIRS approved with card vote.

NW Washington synod member (she/her/hers) member of a congregation that has been hosting a sanctuary seeker. Rule of law does not always protect people. Argument about shower is the "no room at the inn" argument, not appropriate. Be a prophetic church. Southeastern Synod member: "We keep using the words migrant and refugee, and these are different categories. We should be deliberate; to whom are we offering sanctuary?" Upstate NY member: we're using the word sanctuary, but there's a large part of our population we're leaving out who need safe places--the disabled, the mentally ill, etc. Member of memorials committee: I'm in the odd position of speaking against a recommendation I helped craft. The original memorial lifted up ways to address immigration, but with the amendment we've added ambiguity and created legal issues that we may not be able to handle. More speaking in favor. PB calls the order of the day, asks people in line to check in so they can return when memorial consideration resumes.

Moving now to first common ballot--this is the ballot for church council and various boards and agencies. They're not actually voting right now; the ballot is long and complex. But there are some explanations and corrections to be made. People have until 2 something this afternoon to turn in their ballots.

Moving now to the first ballot for secretary. PB summarizes responsibilities and qualifications for secretary (she doesn't say the thing about needing to be a member of a congregation of "this church"). As I wrote that, Lowell Almen (the ELCA's first secretary) stopped by and asked if I was having fun yet. I asked him if he might be a candidate. "Not a chance," he said. 

Oh, Bp Eaton just added the thing about congregational membership. I guess I'm still out. She's describing again how to vote, urging people to spell names correctly. This reminds me of the one time in my life I led the voting in a bishop's election. The ultimate winner was Robert Mattheis, but we had another pastor in the synod named Robert Matthias. Mattheis would have had the most votes on the first ballot, but a dozen or so (as I recall) voted for "Matthias" (most likely erroneously), and so I edged him out by a couple of votes. I immediately realized what had happened, but it was a heady moment nonetheless.

Credential committee: 932 voting members present. And they vote for Secretary. I suspect Bp. Riegel (one who has been talked about as a potential nominee) didn't do himself any favors by opposing the amended immigration resolution. (Or maybe he was deliberately trying to torpedo his chances, who knows?)

Announcements, and then recess for worship.



« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 11:33:47 AM by Richard Johnson »
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2019, 12:30:46 AM »
If someone were to seek sanctuary at Resurrection Lutheran Church, Godfrey, Illinois, he would would be asking me (as Pastor) to declare that civil authorities do not have jurisdiction on church property.  The legal principle being that this is God's territory -- and it is a legal, not gospel, principle -- and thus the church property is like an embassy in foreign territory.  I suspect Bp. Riegel is one of the few people in the room to actually understand this.  And, FWIW, I can easily imagine situations what I, as a parish pastor, would want to grant sanctuary to protect someone from an oppressive state.

I suspect that +Riegel also knows that there is no civil government anywhere (well, perhaps apart from the Vatican City, but only because there will be memories of the Pope declaring competing legal jurisdiction, usually to protect Catholic clergy from civil law) that recognizes Christian "sanctuary," and all have refused to do so since the emergence of the modern nation-state.  And, yes, that includes Common Law nations such as the United States.  Though it might make for an interesting case if someone sought sanctuary (on some other legal matter) in a church from a sanctuary state/city.

And it is a serious question that proponents clearly hadn't even considered: how does "the ELCA" provide sanctuary?  What competence does an ELCA Churchwide Assembly demonstrate to engage this discussion and make a decision in one morning?

kyrie elesion, spt+
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Charles Austin

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2019, 04:43:36 AM »
This is not a case of “legality”, Steven, it is a part of our church speaking to a critical situation. To parse the “legality “ is to miss the point. But you know that.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Just finished six great days in a beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with a bunch of friends and relatives. About 18 of us, and the young folks did all the cooking.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2019, 08:17:56 AM »
This is not a case of “legality”, Steven, it is a part of our church speaking to a critical situation. To parse the “legality “ is to miss the point. But you know that.

When the church is speaking to the state, when it is speaking of conscientious action that could bring police forces to the front door in an attempt to get inside, it is precisely a matter of legality.   Just as when the LCA adopted our "Conscientious Objection" social statement in 1968, and re-affirmed that statement in the "Peace and Politics" social statement in 1984.

To not "parse the 'legality'" is to be ignorant of what we are doing, of what we could be getting into.  I am almost certain you once knew that; you certainly should have. 

Unless, of course, it's really about virtue signalling.

Pax, Steven+
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Re: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2019, 08:59:38 AM »
OK Steve, we agree, sort of. But it's not only the legality.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Just finished six great days in a beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with a bunch of friends and relatives. About 18 of us, and the young folks did all the cooking.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2019, 10:14:41 AM »
OK Steve, we agree, sort of. But it's not only the legality.

Of course it isn't. 

Why do you so routinely on this forum argue against someone as if his brief comment on one aspect of a subject is a totally-inclusive discourse including everything he has thought and considered on that subject? 

Steven+
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Re: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2019, 11:29:29 AM »
I don’t know.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Just finished six great days in a beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with a bunch of friends and relatives. About 18 of us, and the young folks did all the cooking.

DCharlton

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2019, 09:59:45 PM »
If the ELCA had been as bold in offering sanctuary to Christian victims of genocide in Iraq and Syria while a Democrat was POTUS, it might seem less like virtue signaling.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2019, 10:25:56 PM »
If the ELCA had been as bold in offering sanctuary to Christian victims of genocide in Iraq and Syria while a Democrat was POTUS, it might seem less like virtue signaling.


I'm sure we would have if they were in our land and feared being deported. It is much harder for middle easterners to enter our country without documentation. They can't just walk in.
"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: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2019, 10:44:03 PM »
If the ELCA had been as bold in offering sanctuary to Christian victims of genocide in Iraq and Syria while a Democrat was POTUS, it might seem less like virtue signaling.


I'm sure we would have if they were in our land and feared being deported. It is much harder for middle easterners to enter our country without documentation. They can't just walk in.

You are wrong.  The Obama Aministration deported Iraqi Christians who were seeking asylum.  At the same time, it refused for 2 years to call what Isis was doing genocide. (Victims of genocide are entitled to asylum.)  Another reason given for deportation was that the Christian refugees had passed through other countries before entering the USA.  This is an excuse that Trump is condemned for using, by the way.

Obama deported Christian victims of genocide and the ELCA remained silent.  It makes todays advocacy seem less bold and more calculated.  Trump's record in regard to Christian refugees is poor as well.  Perhaps, seeing a chance to criticize Trump, the ELCA will begin to speak out on their behalf, but so far we remain silent.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 11:16:02 PM by DCharlton »
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Re: Wednesday morning plenary part 2: Memorials
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2019, 11:05:26 AM »
If the ELCA had been as bold in offering sanctuary to Christian victims of genocide in Iraq and Syria while a Democrat was POTUS, it might seem less like virtue signaling.


I'm sure we would have if they were in our land and feared being deported. It is much harder for middle easterners to enter our country without documentation. They can't just walk in.

You are wrong.  The Obama Aministration deported Iraqi Christians who were seeking asylum.  At the same time, it refused for 2 years to call what Isis was doing genocide. (Victims of genocide are entitled to asylum.)  Another reason given for deportation was that the Christian refugees had passed through other countries before entering the USA.  This is an excuse that Trump is condemned for using, by the way.

Obama deported Christian victims of genocide and the ELCA remained silent.  It makes todays advocacy seem less bold and more calculated.  Trump's record in regard to Christian refugees is poor as well.  Perhaps, seeing a chance to criticize Trump, the ELCA will begin to speak out on their behalf, but so far we remain silent.


When I googled "Did Obama deport Iraqi Christians?" every article was about Trump deporting Iraqis. In looking through three pages, the only thing bout Obama was an article about Trump undoing Obama's policies.


In doing a search on "Obama and Iraqi Refugees," it was much the same - one article saying that Trump's argument that he was just following Obama's policies was a lie.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 11:09:25 AM 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]