If they think we have it wrong, then they should state things more clearly on their website or better yet, make at least one of their written documents more understandable to the common man! All of their slick non offensive universal wording and ambiguous statements intended to lure the unchurched has came back to haunt them. They are giving us a very favorable slant in the paper and 90% of the comments on the online version are very favorable. The ELCA has enough Churches, they can surely let God have this one.
Friends in the West and Southwest Conferences,
Grace and peace.
I am writing because I would imagine that the recent articles in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus are driving you crazy and are causing you more headaches with some of your people. Please know that I am keeping you in my prayers, and that we are working on these issues through Pastor Clark, Pastor Nordby and Conference Dean Pastor Conway. I am grateful for the good statements made by Kai Swanson and Larry Conway in the newspaper.
As you know, the information cited by Mr. Dalfanso completely misrepresents any official position or doctrine of the ELCA. He is referring to something written by Carl Braaten years ago designed to underscore the power of God’s grace. (Please see the attached.) As I remember Professor Braaten, he would be one of the last theologians to deny the virgin birth, hell, and salvation through Jesus Christ.
Maybe this would be a good opportunity to get out the Constitution(s) of the Church and go through it with the Congregational Council or the adult Sunday School class. I think you might find especially helpful: the confession of faith, the nature of the church, and the statement of purpose. Look to the Synod web site under resources if you can’t find your constitution-www.nisynod.org/constitution.
If you are moved to write an editorial to the newspaper, I would encourage you to do so. Local feedback helps. Please be careful not to be defensive or overly crabby. I have written a brief response, it probably won’t be published.
You may have heard that Faith Lutheran Church in Moline held a congregational vote November 1 to leave the ELCA. The vote failed. However, votes to join LCMC and discontinue Mission Support both passed. The latter two votes should have been ruled out of order, but they were allowed to proceed. Also, St. Matthew in Galena held a vote to leave the ELCA. That also failed.
During the Bishop’s Hour at this year’s PLC, I gave “Ten Reflections on Leadership During Stressful Times.” They are attached, perhaps they might be helpful.
Please don’t hesitate to telephone me or any Synod staff member if you need anything or just to talk.
Thank you for your faithfulness, service and leadership.
Bishop Gary Wollersheim
Rev. Dr. Gary M. Wollersheim
Northern Illinois Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
103 West State Street
Rockford , IL 61101