(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!!!
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