Last year Exposing the ELCA posted a report concerning the battle that was waging between the ELCA and St. John Lutheran Church in Summerfield, Florida. (see here)
Here is an update from a member of the congregation:
In Sept. or October 2012 I wrote to you about a Central-Florida church whose pastor had been defrocked by the FL-Bahama Synod. The hypocritical reason for doing this (plus a host of other charges that were dropped) outraged the vast majority of congregants, who refused to obey the Synod ruling. They answered by dual-affiliating with the bible-centered ELCM, which granted a provisional rostering of the pastor, and then voted by super majority to keep him as their pastor. This action provoked no response from the Synod for several months until a minority of 40-50 members wanted the associate pastor to take his place, she was a recent seminarian and this was her first church, and she was 100% ELCA. That did not happen and she resigned some months ago. Appeals to Chicago Hdqtrs. and Tampa bishop to reconsider feel on deaf ears, his sin was too terrible to be forgiven. However, a homosexual pastor in the pulpit since 2002 in the Ft. Lauderdale area, 7 years before the 2009 approval of such pastors, seemed not a big deal to the ELCA hierarchy, he was after all in a committed monogamous relationship. What has since transpired in the past 6 months is this: The minority requested adjudication with the bishop and concerned parties. It was discovered that a minority delegation held a meeting with the bishop BEFORE the scheduled adjudication, the church council then declined to attend the adjudication meeting, it appeared to them that the outcome was already decided. Then a member of the congregation minority filed a lawsuit stating that the ELCA is a hierarchical church, the majority's action was unconstitutional and demanded the church be turned over to them. Their numbers have since dwindled to a mere handful, with most joining other area churches. There is no possible way they could keep the church viable and it would surely close. I guess the church and the bequeathed $2 million dollar, lake-front property would become the property of the ELCA. Now the GOOD NEWS, On July 2, 2013, the court DISMISSED the suit, stating the plaintiff had no merit and was not authorized to file a suit. He has 20 days to appeal the decision. Since the Synod has let him do the dirty work and spend his own money, it remains to be seen if they will go on any further. The Synod Council deferred all authority on the Executive Committee to handle the matter. The bishop retires on Aug. 31, 2013. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit has taken an interest, there have been many unusual and fortuitous things that have happened since this all started, and we all thank God for his help. Our situation closely parallels the church in Eau Claire, WI., and we hope they succeed. We must fight the good fight for our Lord, no matter the outcome. God is in control, the final victory will be His.
Update II - An appeal of the dismissal was granted with a Aug. 11, 2013 deadline.
I will let you know when I hear more.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Former ELCA seminary student and former ELCA member who is fed up with the ELCA's consistent mockery of God's Word.
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Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. - Ephesians 5:11