- This is a new update to a story Exposing the ELCA has been following regarding the court battle for control over Bethel Lutheran Church in Holdrege, Nebraska. (see previous articles here, here, and here)
On Friday, February 14th Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church (LCMC) learned that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against Bethel's Council members, named as defendants, had filed a Notice of Appeal with the Phelps County District Court, appealing the decision of Judge Harder to grant the defendants' Motion to Dismiss. In January 2014, Judge Harder dismissed the lawsuit filed by a small minority of Bethel's members which sought to nullify the current Constitution and Bylaws of Bethel, invalidate Bethel's affiliation with the LCMC, declare Bethel affiliated with another Lutheran denomination, have Pastor Jamie Strickler declared ineligible to serve as Bethel's pastor, and other related actions. Judge Harder determined that she did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the case given the 1st Amendment issues involved on the face of the plaintiffs' complaint.
This matter will now go to appeal before the Nebraska Court of Appeals with a future date for oral arguments to be determined. The appeal is Aldrich v. Nelson, Court of Appeals No: A-14-000143. As developments occur, we will keep Bethel's members, supporters and friends informed.
Please pray for Bethel as we continue to be the church and to do its work in Holdrege. We will not allow this lawsuit, which is contrary to Scripture's instruction that Christians should not sue each other in court, to effect what we are called by the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) to do. Please also pray for the plaintiffs that they may repent of their actions and together they and Bethel may be reconciled, ending rifts between families who have worshiped together for generations. Please also pray that by Bethel standing firm on Scripture, God will allow other congregations to gain their freedom without having to endure the harassment that we have endured here in Holdrege.