June 2012 Update on Grace Lutheran Church - Eau Claire, WI
The following paragraph is by Dean Kallenbach about Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, WI.
Friends, below is an update provided by Anne Carter, president of Grace Lutheran Church of Eau Claire to her congregation providing an update regarding the lawsuit filed against the congregation by former members who joined an ELCA Synod Authorized Worshipping Community calling itself Amazing Grace, but claiming in the lawsuit to be Grace Lutheran ELCA.
Yesterday Grace's attorney, Jay Heit, filed a "Third Party Summons and Defendant-Third Party Plaintiffs' Answer" in the lawsuit filed against Grace Lutheran Church by Amazing Grace ELCA, Inc. When the lawsuit was originally filed in November, Grace had three ways to respond: 1) Accede to the demands presented; 2) Move to dismiss the suit; or, 3) Answer the claims. As you all know, our motion to dismiss the suit was rejected by Judge GaleWyrick; and yesterday we answered the claims made against Grace. We also, at this time, had the right to counter-sue and enjoin other parties in the suit. We have enjoined the ELCA and the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin. This gives us the right to have answers to questions regarding decisions made about ELCA policy. We can also clarify the procedures used and the timetable of the adjudication brought against Grace and the Synod Council's decisions against Grace.
There are basically two parts to the document. The following briefly describes the contents of those two parts. (The phrases in quotes are taken directly from the Answer. A full copy of the Answer is available in the church office for your review.)
Defendants' Answer and Affirmative Defenses
Counterclaim and Third-Party Claim
WHEREFORE, it is requested:
1) That the case of the Plaintiffs be dismissed;
2) That damages and costs be awarded on the counterclaims of the Defendants;
3) That the appropriate declaratory relief be granted upon the allegations of the counterclaim and Third Party Complaint;
4) That punitive damages be awarded;
5) Any other relief deemed appropriate.
This is the first step in a very long process. The ELCA and Northwest Synod of Wisconsin will be served within the next two weeks. They have 45 days to respond. Both parties are to try and agree upon a mediator by mid-July 2012. If there is no agreement, both sides will offer nominations and the court will choose. Discovery will begin in August.
Again, these are just the bare facts. The lawsuit will be discussed again at the Council meeting on Tuesday, June 26.
Thank you for your continued support. Please continue to pray that God's will be done through all that is happening at and for Grace. Friends in far off places have already begun reaching out to offer help. We are not alone. We stand together for something bigger than all of us.
We stand together in the name of Jesus.