Local ELCA pastors and churches, one of them reportedly armed with information from the NW Synod of Wisconsin, are going public with their attacks against the Synod-ordered removed members of Grace Lutheran, who are now members of Saving Grace, an LCMC congregation. (see here if you do not know about this situation)
For clarity this congregation will be referred to as “Saving Grace” from now on.
The ELCA affiliated St. John's Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, WI posted a document on their church website about Saving Grace. St. John's Pastors Nate Aaseng and Christine Emerson signed the document which they claim was “based on information from our synod office.”
The St. John's document claims “those from (Saving Grace), etc.” are “attacking the ELCA.” And then refers to concerns Saving Grace has about the ELCA as “conspiracy theories.” (see here)
Then there are two blogs attacking Saving Grace authored by ELCA pastor Michael Rehak, which are posted on his church's website (First Lutheran in Eau Claire, WI). In one of Pastor Rehak's blogs he claims “the constitutions of Grace Lutheran Church, the NW Synod of WI, and the ELCA were deliberately violated and dismissed.” Pastor Rehak then accuses the members of Saving Grace of threatening and abusing ELCA supporters from their former church. He said, “No one dare minimize the depth of the abuse, threats – including personal, physical, and to the building, public humiliation, ridicule, and public demeaning that was directed toward individual members in fellowship, council meetings, in worship – from the pulpit, at funerals of friends, and out in public at stores or on the street. These hostile behaviors not only drove them into exile but have continued.” (read here)
In another blog by Pastor Rehak, called “The Presence of Christ,” he expounds on these accusations, reporting that ELCA supporters said they were “'Called names,' 'screamed at,' 'told to leave,' 'mocked,' 'yelled at,' 'told I wasn’t a member anymore,' 'declared worthless,' 'told I was the problem,' 'spit on,' 'threatened…' With such remarks, others would echo, 'So was I,' or, 'I heard that too…'” (see here)
ELCA Pastor Rehak wrote that these ELCA supporters from Grace Lutheran “were the presence of Christ in our midst,” but he conveniently fails to mention that suing their church and taking them to court is a violation of God's Word (1 Corinthians 6:1-7.)
The ELCA leadership in Wisconsin has shown their true colors with the lawsuit and currently with these attacks on Saving Grace. It shouldn't surprise us though, the ELCA has always been about rewriting God's Truth so it conforms to “their truth.” That is what is most important to them.
But God has been blessing Saving Grace. Here is an update from Dean Kallenbach:
“Just a little update from Saving Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. Just two weeks after forming (and less than three weeks after being expelled as members of Grace Lutheran Church by the ELCA), Saving Grace Lutheran Church has been forced to add a second Sunday morning service in order to accommodate the sheer numbers of people turning up at the funeral home chapel in which they are meeting Sundays. They also are holding a Saturday afternoon service at Faith Lutheran Mission Church, and are sharing a Wednesday night service with Faith.
“In addition, the TV ministry of the congregation lives on. Though not it the old timeslot of 10:30 Sundays (being used now by the small faction that was placed in power at Grace Lutheran Church by the ELCA), the Saving Grace broadcasts featuring the sermons of Pastor Rolf Nestingen and Pastor David Irgens now airs Sundays at 11:30 a.m. on WQOW-TV, Channel 18.
“I encourage you to check out their Facebook page 'Saving Grace LCMC.'”
Lastly, would you or your church be willing to support Exposing the ELCA in its ministry? It would be greatly appreciated. You can find information on how to do that on the right hand side of this page. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.
If you are unaware of what has been happening with Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, WI read this article for some background information. This article also reports on a new development. The article is titled "Synod Council: Grace leaders no longer eligible to serve."
(The following report came from Dean Kallenbach but I am not sure who wrote the first paragraph.)
Here is the response by the President of Grace Lutheran Church -- Anne Carter -- to the Synod Council's interpretation that the Council of the congregation needs to be removed. While this is addressed to her congregation, I am sharing it with her permission and awareness to keep you all in the loop, and to keep prayers coming on this matter.
Over the last few days we have received correspondence from both the Synod Council of the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin and the plaintiffs attorney, Drew Ryberg. Some of these letters have been contemptuous, insulting and condescending. I will not share them. These communications will undoubtedly continue until the hearing scheduled on April 23, 2013.
As we had anticipated, the plaintiffs still maintain that they have rights to the property and assets of Grace Lutheran Church. These communications reveal that the Synod Council supports those claims and is willing to defy the constitution and violate the autonomy of an individual congregation in order to take control of the property and assets of Grace. While the Synod has made claims that they are inclusive and will promote reconciliation and healing, those claims have been proven false. While there have been claims made that this lawsuit involved voting rights and affiliation, that pretense is gone.
The authority of the Synod Council resides with the NW Synod of Wisconsin’s constitution. That constitution does not give the Synod Council any authority over the assets, governance, property, pastoral call or membership of an individual congregation. The decision that was issued by the Synod Council on January 16, 2012, is final. It cannot be changed 15 months after it was issued. If the Council wishes for a different decision, it must re-initiate the adjudication process between Grace Lutheran Church and Amazing Grace ELCA, Inc. If it is not satisfied with our compliance of their decision, it must enter into the displinary process.
As our lawyers prepare for the hearing with Judge GaleWyrick, please continue to pray for them. Please pray for the judge and our judicial system. Please pray for God's will to be done.
Grace Lutheran Church is not a trophy to be won. The experience of Grace should not be a lesson for other churches to witness and fear. Grace Lutheran Church is a house of God. It is a place where Jesus Christ is loved. It is a place where salvation is taught, repentence is made and forgiveness is granted. It is a place of hope, laughter, joy, relationship, praise, prayer and adoration of a wonderful, merciful God. It is to be respected, honored and protected.
The people of Grace are strong, determined and focused. We have been richly blessed over these last months. May we honor our dear Savior now with confidence in His strength. May we remember His determination and focus as He went to Jerusalem to die. May we hold fast to the blessing of life with Him during these days of challenge and forevermore.
This weekend we celebrate a 'Spring Fling'. Please come to church and join together with good food and fellowship. Come to church and join in as we continue to sing with the heavenly host:
Christ Jesus is Risen! He is risen indeed!! Alleluia!!!
Here is another statement by Grace Lutheran's council president from Sunday.
My name is Anne Carter. I am the president of Grace Lutheran Church.This morning my comments are not aimed primarily at those here in attendance at Grace but to those who are worshipping with us on TV or radio. Yesterday there was an article in the local paper that was misleading at best and has caused confusion and fear. This is a complex issue. Some have said that I use big words that not everyone can understand. So I would like to address these concerns as simply as I can.A year and a half ago Grace was sued by a small group of people who left Grace, started a new church and then decided that they wanted to have Grace all to themselves. After the communications of this last week, we now know that ELCA leadership and attorneys fully support this take over attempt and are themselves after control of the assets of Grace. On Friday I sent a letter to the Synod Council protesting that they can’t change a decision that was made over a year ago. Please be assured that our attorneys are looking out for our best interests. I am sure that in this next week we will be receiving more letters so I will say nothing further at this time.There have been many stories told about what is going on at Grace. One of them is that Grace is closed; but, as you can see and hear, we are here having a worship service. Another is that Pastor Irgens and Pastor Nestingen are no longer pastors here; but, as you can see and hear, they are conducting our service this morning. I think that instead of asking what is the latest story being told about Grace, we instead ask why there are stories being told at all. Why do they want the Eau Claire community to believe that Grace is closed? Why do they not want the community to hear what our pastors are preaching? And most importantly, why is it that there has not been one ELCA pastor or congregation that has protested the treatment that Grace is receiving? If they can do these things to us, they will do it to them.Jesus tells a story in the New Testament about a rich man whose land produced a bumper crop. This man wondered what he would do with all his grain and all his wealth. He decided to build new barns and store up his crops. He decided to take his wealth and live the kind of life he wanted to live: to make his own rules and do exactly what he wanted to do. That night God said, ‘You smug, arrogant, proud fool. Your life is demanded of you.’ He was called to almighty God to give an account of his life.There are so many things that I don’t know. I don’t know why a journalist would only look at one side of a story before publishing an article. I don’t know why the leadership of an organization would not learn and understand the rules of the organization they are supposed to uphold. I don’t know why that leadership would support a ruling simply because they were told to do so; why they would sign something that they didn’t understand.I don’t know so many things, but I do know this: Everything we have, everything we experience, everything we possess is a gift of God. And one day each one of us will have to give an account to God for the life we live. On that day God will ask each of us to explain the choices we made. Every choice we make in this life whether big or small affects this world and affects God’s church. Every choice we make reflects where our true allegiance lies. I hope that when we give an account we can say with Joshua, we chose to serve the Lord.All glory goes to God the Father who through His Son has gotten us the victory: the victory over mendacity, ignorance, greed and cowardice. He has conquered death. If we choose Him, He will conquer anything.Hallelujah!
14 April 2013
(From Dean Kallenbach)
This note was forwarded yesterday to members of her congregation by Grace Lutheran-Eau Claire president Anne Carter. Please continue to keep Grace and its pastors in your prayers....
NEW DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
March 22, 2013
This afternoon both Pastor Nestingen and Pastor Irgens were informed by letter that they have been removed from the ELCA roster of clergy. Their removal is effective March 22, 2013. Bishop Duane Pederson removed both pastors. He reasons that both pastors have engaged in schismatic activity by allowing Grace Lutheran Church to dually affiliate with the LCMC. He also claims that they have defied the Synod Council's decision and the civil courts.
Bishop Pederson's actions do not meet the criteria for removal of pastors as outlined in the constitution of the NW Synod of Wisconsin.
Grace has been dually affiliated for almost two years. Bishop Pederson has been presiding bishop during that time. This fall he announced that he would not seek re-election and instead will be leaving March 31 for a new position.
No response has been determined at this time. 'But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
'But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.' Jude 17-21
Thank you for your continued prayers for Grace Lutheran Church.
(This update comes from Dean Kallenbach)Folks...a couple of days ago I shared the email that Grace Lutheran Church of Eau Claire (Wisconsin) president Anne Carter shared with her congregation breaking the news of the court decision that went against the congregation on Friday after protracted proceedings spanning nearly a year-and-a-half. Following is the address Anne made to the congregation during Sunday services, which fleshes out the ramifications (and the opportunities) the decision brings.Top o’ the Morning to Ya and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day,Friday afternoon Judge Molly GaleWyrick entered a decision with the court in the lawsuit filed against Grace Lutheran Church. I have met with our attorney and with Pastor Nestingen briefly to discuss the decision. The decision made by Judge GaleWyrick is 4-1/2 pages long. A copy will be available in the church office tomorrow if anyone would care to read it. As with any legal document, there are terms unique to the legal profession and may not be easy to understand. Before I tell you the specifics of that decision, I want to go over some of the timeline of this suit. In November 2011, Amazing Grace ELCA, Inc. filed suit against Grace claiming that dual affiliation effectively split Grace into two entities – one was ELCA and one was LCMC. The suit claimed that authority in the church resided with Amazing Grace who claimed ELCA loyalty. They asked the court to overturn the current Council and turn over control of the assets of the church to them. We had 30 days to respond, and on January 6, 2012, we filed a motion to dismiss the suit claiming that the courts did not have the right to impose membership or governance on a church body. Once the lawsuit and our motion were filed, we had to follow the schedule of the court and the authority of a judge.In the meantime, Amazing Grace asked Bishop Duane Pederson to arrange adjudication on their behalf. The bishop arranged for a hearing before the Consultation Committee which resulted in a decision by the Synod Council on January 16, 2012. Grace Lutheran Church was then involved in two separate actions. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that Drew Ryberg, attorney for Amazing Grace, brought the two together by including the Synod Council’s decision in the lawsuit and asking the court to impose that decision on this church by removing our Council, turning over assets, evicting us from this building, etc.So, to simplify and to paraphrase the decision:
Those directives briefly are:
- Judge GaleWyrick has ruled that the Synod Council's decision rendered on January 16, 2012, is final.
- The judge can make the four directives of that decision the Order of the Court and enforce them.
- Grace Lutheran Church has been referred to the Synod Council for guidance in the implementation of those directives.
The judge has ordered that Drew Ryberg draft an order in conformity with the decision and submit it to our attorney for approval. That is the court’s way of saying that the attorneys agree with each other about what the judge has ordered and write it up for her approval. After an order has been mutually agreed upon, the judge will sign it. That order is to be submitted by April 8, 2013. So, what does all this mean? I know that there are many questions. The court can only declare the directives to be final so we have to refer to the directives themselves to understand the practical implications of this decision. Will our Council be replaced? NO. The present Council was duly elected by Grace Lutheran members and will continue as our leadership. I have been recognized by the NW Synod as the president of Grace and will remain in that position. The Synod Council’s decision does not address our leadership. Do we lose control of our assets? NO. Our bank accounts still belong to Grace and will be maintained by present Council. The Synod Council’s decision does not address control of our assets. Do we have to vacate the building? NO. Despite the interrogatory that demanded to know our computer codes and the location of the keys to our building, we are not going anywhere. Will the pastors be forced to leave Grace? NO. Pastor Nestingen and Pastor Irgens were called by this congregation to serve God in this place and will remain our pastors for the duration. Will Amazing Grace members be able to vote on Grace matters? Yes. Those Amazing Grace members who are members of Grace Lutheran Church are currently classified as voting members. Their voting rights were restored last May in accordance with the Synod Council’s decision. Will Amazing Grace members be coming back to worship at Grace? I can’t answer that question. They have always been welcome here. It has been their choice not to worship here for almost two years. It has always been their right to choose a church that best fits their own personal desires and needs. Do we have to pay any monies to the ELCA to support their programs and policies? NO. There is no prescribed amount of money that a church must pay to the ELCA. We currently send no money to support the ELCA general budget. Will we always have to be an ELCA church? NO. The Synod Council decision reiterates our constitutional right to disaffiliate from the ELCA. This congregation has the right to determine its own future affiliation. If we are forced to be solely affiliated with the ELCA for the time being, does that mean that we owe some oath of fealty or loyalty to the organization? NO. We owe it something much bigger. We owe it the truth, and the truth is that leadership in the ELCA have been found guilty of embezzlement and fraud. The ELCA is involved in several lawsuits appropriating land and assets from congregations across the country. Long-standing ELCA institutions are in danger of collapse due to financial mismanagement. Scriptural divergences that used to be isolated have now become mainstream. Is this decision a bad thing? NO. We will soon be out of the jurisdication of the court and be able to plan and course the future of this church without interference. Were the last two years a waste? NO. Over the last two years we have seen that the warnings we made about the ELCA have come true. Over the last two years God has shaped us and molded us into a new church. We have come to a truer understanding of what it means to be in relationship with Him. And what kind of relationship is that? We are children of God who are members of God’s family here in this place called Grace. In this place we learn and study and grow and sing and give praise. We are disciples of Jesus Christ and with that comes responsibility. We are to be like the Christians in Berea who studied God’s Word to make sure that Paul was preaching the truth. We are to be watchdogs to let other ELCA members know the danger the church is in. We must call leadership to account. We must ask God’s people to repent. Most importantly, we are to continue to honor Jesus. Jesus is not myth. Jesus is not a metaphor. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises made to us at the beginning. Jesus is not an image of us. He is the face of the Father. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is through Him alone that we come to the Father, and it is through the Father that we receive forgiveness and salvation. We have had quite a journey, and it is not over yet. But hasn’t this been fascinating? We have been given a privilege not many people get: We have been given a front row seat to watch God in action. We are witnesses to His transformative power. He has changed us. He has brought His light into dark places. Is this over? The lawsuit, maybe. Or maybe this is just the beginning of a glorious and wondrous adventure with a loving Savior who trusts us enough to walk with us and allow us to work at His side.One thing’s for sure: This is the day that the LORD has made! We will rejoice and be glad in it!!Hallelujah!! Anne Carter17 March 2013
- That Grace terminate affiliations with LCMC or any church other than the ELCA.
- That Grace 's sole affiliation is with the ELCA. Affiliation with the ELCA may be terminated only as permitted in the governing documents of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
- That Grace restore to full voting membership all those voting members moved to associate member status.
- That Grace follow the criteria found in our constitution section *C8.02(c) to determine voting eligibility except that those who wish to remain affiliated with LCMC are associate members.
The ELCA makes great effort and invests a lot of money to partner with non-Christian religious entities. Not for the purpose of evangelism or helping others come to salvation only found in Jesus, mind you, but for the purpose of “understanding” each other. (See here, here, here and here)
If you do a search on elca.org for “understanding muslims” you find a plethora of information (over 580 results). Yet there seems to be another effort in the ELCA to demonize fellow Lutherans and Christians. (See here, here, here and here)
A recent newspaper article about a dual-affiliated church (ELCA and LCMC) provides more evidence of this. Bishop Michael Burk of the Southeast Iowa ELCA synod made many non-charitable comments about the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) association:
“Burk said the dual affiliation with the LCMC is ‘becoming a member of two groups that are opposed to each other.’”
Bishop Burk said that the dual-affiliated church’s council, “decided to join that body knowing that’s prohibited in the ELCA” and that dual-rostering isn’t allowed by the ELCA (a statement Burk later contradicts) “especially if the church body you want to join is schismatic body,” (referring to the LCMC).
“(The LCMC) wasn’t just upset with the ELCA and deciding to leave, but they were doing everything they could to disenfranchise the ELCA, to undermine everything that the denomination believes,” Bishop Burk said. (read here)
You should know, the LCMC is fine with churches being affiliated with the ELCA and themselves, but the ELCA is not fine with ELCA churches being affiliated with the LCMC.
What kind of denomination wants to partner with religious groups which boldly worship false gods yet, that same denomination, wants nothing to do with certain Christ-following persons and fellow Lutherans?
Below is a letter from St. Mark's Lutheran Church (Marion, Iowa) church council president and senior pastor indicating that this ELCA and LCMC dual-affiliated church has been removed from the ELCA roster of churches by the Southeastern Iowa Synod Council.
April 24, 2012
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you know, the church council has been in continuing conversations with Bishop Michael Burk regarding our denominational affiliation. It has been and continues to be our desire to keep you up to date. We were informed yesterday that on Saturday, April 21, the Southeast Iowa ELCA Synod Council removed St. Mark’s congregation from the roster of ELCA churches. St. Mark’s remains a Lutheran church, our building remains the property of St. Mark’s, and our congregation’s mission continues as before. We neither celebrate nor grieve the synod’s actions, but we desire to listen to those who may be hurting or confused as a result of these actions.
After the decisions of the ELCA church-wide assembly in 2009, our congregation spent much time studying our denominational affiliation. Our congregational votes to leave the ELCA ultimately resulted in St. Mark’s remaining part of the ELCA. To bring healing and unity to our church family, the church council held discussions with congregational members and Bishop Burk, and reviewed the precedent set by other congregations who are dual-affiliated. After these actions, the church council voted to join Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) while remaining in the ELCA.
Soon after St. Mark’s dual affiliation with the ELCA and the LCMC, the synod placed our congregation under censure and admonishment. In addition, Pastor Fruhling was recently removed from the clergy roster of ELCA pastors. The synod’s unprecedented action to remove St. Mark’s from the ELCA because of our dual affiliation is saddening and disappointing. We remain a distinctly Lutheran congregation in the Cedar Rapids area as a part of the LCMC, and we belong to no one but Christ.
St. Mark’s will continue to support and work with our brothers and sisters in the ELCA and remain faithful to our mission partners in the ELCA, such as CrossRoads Mission, San Lucas and Cristo Rey Lutheran churches in Texas and Mexico, and World Hunger Appeals, among others. Our focus remains on outreach and our mission is to share Christ’s love with others.
We will continue our pastoral call process and begin to look at constitutional updates that will be needed. While there are challenges ahead, there are opportunities for strengthening our witness as the body of Christ, and we are confident that St. Mark’s will move forward in mission for our Lord.
Yours in Christ,
Church Council President
Pastor Perry Fruhling
Previous article about St. Mark's Lutheran Church:- Dual Rostered Church Censured, Pastor De-Rostered By ELCA Bishop (see here)
The following is a letter from both the council president and senior pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Marion, Iowa. (elca.org lists St. Mark's average attendance at 961)
March 27, 2012
There is on body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6
Dear Partners of St. Mark’s,
As we continue our Lenten journey, we give thanks to God for calling us to the cross and into a deeper relationship with Christ, and for continuing opportunities for faithful service to Him. St. Mark’s church council last updated you in late November regarding denominational issues. That update followed the council’s resolution to dual roster with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Since then, we have continued conversations with our synod bishop, Michael Burk, in regard to our relationship with the ELCA.
In response to the council’s November resolution, Bishop Burk has placed St. Mark’s under censure and admonishment. Our council has continued conversations with the synod to fully understand what this means. The first indication of any change in procedures was that the synod office would not provide assistance to us in the pastoral call process. Our call committee, however, is continuing its work and has several excellent ELCA pastoral candidates with whom it is moving forward in conversations that may ultimately lead to a call. Each of the candidates is aware of our circumstances and is pleased to continue the interview process.
This past week we received word that Pastor Perry Fruhling has been removed from the ELCA clergy roster. While the ELCA actions are disappointing, we anticipated that there could be some ramifications to our council resolution. Pastor Perry was called and will continue to serve St. Mark’s congregation for years to come. Arrangements have been made to ensure continuity of his healthcare benefits and pension. Since Pastor Perry was called according to our constitution as an ELCA pastor, we have simply extended the provisions of that call going forward.
What follows remains in the hands of our local bishop and the Southeastern Iowa Synod Council. In our communication with the bishop, we have made it clear that we desire to continue our current relationship with the ELCA as a dual-rostered church. We continue as a congregation to generously support numerous faithful ELCA ministries.
Our application to affiliate with the LCMC has been accepted, and we remain committed to being part of a Lutheran church body. Regardless of any ELCA actions, St. Mark’s continues as a Lutheran church and ownership of our building remains firmly with our congregation. Our building addition gives St. Mark’s the unique ability to reach out to the community and continue to serve others. Our recent Christmas Eve services and Ash Wednesday service had record numbers of people attending. As a congregation of faithful servants to God’s Word, we will continue to grow.
We encourage you to pray for the ELCA, the LCMC and for all members of St. Mark’s as we move forward in serving Christ. As always, please call or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Yours in Christ,
Church Council President
Pastor Perry Fruhling
I received this update from a friend.
Much is happening with the confessional Lutheran movement in Wisconsin. Here are some highlights - please pray God's guidance and glory be demonstrated in each of these circumstances:
- Pastor Mark Richardson, service coordinator for the Augustana District of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, held an educational session about LCMC at Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire May 8. Nearly 90 people were in attendance. Another education session was held Thursday night as that congregation continues to move forward. You'll recall from earlier posts that Grace's council decided to affiliate the congregation with Lutheran Congregations in Missions for Christ two days after 56% of the congregation voted to extract itself from the ELCA (while an obvious majority, short of the 2/3 vote required to continue the disaffiliation process). At present, Grace is dual rostered for ELCA and LCMC. In the meantime, Grace has voted to withhold funding from ELCA, and continue to provide educational opportunities for the congregation about LCMC. Northwest Wisconsin ELCA Bishop Duane Pederson has established a new congregation (officially a Synodically Authorized Worshiping Community) two blocks away from Grace.
- Hope Lutheran Church of Ladysmith held its first vote to disaffiliate from the ELCA on Sunday, May 15. The vote resulted in more than 85% favoring to leave the ELCA, more than the two-thirds majority required to continue the process. The next step in the process will be a consultation with the Bishop Pederson. After at least 90 days and that consultation, the congregation may hold a second vote. If two-thirds or more again vote to leave and join another Lutheran organization at that time, the only ELCA congregation in Ladysmith will have removed itself from that organization. Despite the fact the Hope is early in its process, Bishop Pederson has already authorized another Synodically Authorized Worshiping Community in Ladysmith, called Walking in Grace. You may visit the website at http://walkingingraceelca.org/walkingingrace/.
- This Sunday is another big day at Hope in Ladysmith, as it will ordain a daughter of the congregation. Jody Becker invites anyone to attend her ordination at Hope at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The Bishop of the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) Paull Spring will preside over the service. Following the service, there will be a picnic in Hawkins, 20 miles east of Ladysmith. Rev. Becker, who received her Master of Divinity degree from Luther Northwestern Seminary earlier this month, has been called to serve Bethel Lutheran Church of Hawkins and Bethany Lutheran Church of Catawba, which are associated both with NALC and LCMC after leaving the ELCA last month. Rev. Becker has been serving both congregations while attending seminary for the past three years.
- Peter Rimmereid, another recent Luther grad, will be ordained on Sunday, June 5 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomer (ELCA), his home congregation. Two weeks later, Peter will be installed as pastor at Bethesda Lutheran Church (LCMC) in Dresser at it’s 10 a.m. service. The ordination Sunday will be the last in the pulpit at St. John’s for its long time pastor, Peter’s father Bruce Rimmereid. Rev. Bruce Rimmereid announced his resignation from St. John’s after the congregation failed in its effort to extract itself from the ELCA in a vote last month.
- There are new beginnings in Bloomer, however. A new congregation is forming, initially from people who were members of St. Johns, but made the decision they could not stay with their congregation if it was staying in the ELCA. They have held several organizational meetings, and have a steering committee dealing with key details, including incorporation and naming. The as-yet-unnamed congregation will have its first worship at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 22 at the Bloomer Senior/Civic Center on Duncan Road. Pastor Jerry Hibbard of Stanfold Lutheran in Rice Lake will be leading that initial worship.
- Faith Lutheran Mission Church, the first LCMC church in Eau Claire which formed in January of 2010, votes tomorrow on issuing a letter of call to its first pastor.
- Please be in prayer for a conference coming up this weekend in Waupaca sponsored by Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal) of Wisconsin. The conference entitled “Strength for Today..Bright Hope for Tomorrow…the Journey of Discipleship” takes place Sunday 2-5:30 p.m. The conference is for inspiration, learning, and mutual encouragement for all orthodox Lutherans in Wisconsin.
- Our friends in the Twin Cities Area Chapter of WordAlone/Lutheran CORE are having an open meeting Thursday, May 26 featuring Dr. Hans Wiersma, Asst. Professor of Religion at Augsburg College. Dr. Wiersma will speak on the subject, “Feathers and All: Luther, Lutherans and the Holy Spirit,” dealing with such questions as how Lutheran understanding of the Holy Spirit lines up with the Biblical witness, and to the understanding of others. The event takes place at Roseville Lutheran Church, 1214 West Roselawn Avenue in Roseville. If you’d like to learn more, call 612-889-5709, or e-mail email@example.com.
The Resolution of Revenge
By Rev. Cary G. Larson
In spite of numerous scriptural support from the Old and New Testaments for Christians to not to seek vengeance or revenge, as this is a matter for God and God alone, members of the ELCA’s Southeastern Minnesota (SEMN) Synod apparently believe that God needs some assistance.
On May 7th, the SEMN Synod’s assembly, entertained and voted on a resolution benignly titled “Resolution 2011-01:
ELCA Health and Benefits Program”. This resolution of revenge sought to recommend to the ELCA Church Council to seriously consider and adopt a policy of “removing from the Health and Benefits Program of the ELCA, clergy who have left the ELCA or encouraged their congregations or laity to do so.”
In the original form the Resolution of Revenge was recorded as follows:
WHEREAS, both the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) and Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) are encouraging congregations, clergy, and laity to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); and
WHEREAS, some clergy have violated the governing documents of the ELCA by encouraging their congregations to leave the ELCA;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 2011 Southeastern Minnesota Synod in assembly request that the ELCA Church Council consider removing from the Health and Benefits Program of the ELCA, clergy who have left the ELCA or encouraged their congregations or laity to do so.
The “whereas” paragraphs seemed problematic as according to the Synod’s own report, “During the discussion, multiple amendments to the resolution were brought to the floor, ranging from modifying phrases to revising language to striking all of lines 1-11. As discussion continued, Bishop Usgaard brought the discussion to a close in order that parliamentarian study could take place.” Lines 1-11 are the words prior to the “Therefore”.
According to one source that was present, during the lengthy preliminary discussion Rev. Sandy Rothschiller of the ELCA Board of Pensions (BOP) was granted the floor and advised against such measures as it hurts the BOP in the long run. Apparently this wisdom was ignored.
“Later in the afternoon, Bishop Usgaard was seen at the podium holding a copy of Robert’s Rules for Dummies, helping to lighten the mood, and he made a promise to the assembly that “We’re going to finish this.” Each proposal to amend the resolution was discussed, voted, and defeated, bringing the assembly back to the resolution as a whole. The debate continued. The resolution eventually passed as amended with a vote of 239 for, 129 against.” continues the synod’s report.
The resolution of revenge passed significantly after striking the words, “or encouraged their congregations or laity to do so”, of the original resolution.
It is interesting to note that while the wellness of dependents of clergy, including infants and children, could be grossly affected by this resolution, Bishop Usgaard took it upon himself to “lighten the mood” as the assembled synod delegates addressed this most serious issue.
The resolution of revenge as passed by the SEMN Synod of the ELCA clearly demonstrates that the patience within the ELCA is waning towards those, especially clergy, who disagree with the apostasies voted into play at the CWA09. Instead of practicing tolerance and grace, which the ELCA boasts as their cherished virtues, the proposed and adopted resolution clearly illustrates intolerance towards clergy who stand on the authority of Holy Scripture alone.
A reader sent this to me. For those that may be interested.
LCMC AREA WIDE WORKSHOP
Sunday, June 5th, 2011
Seward Ag. Pavilion
For more information see here