John 3:21

John 3:21
"It is the nature of all hypocrites and false prophets to create a conscience where there is none, and to cause conscience to disappear where it does exist." Martin Luther

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Suggestions for consultations with the Bishop


Consultation with the Bishop

Recently, some ELCA Bishops have instituted their own non-constitutional policies and procedures regarding the "consultation" process required of congregations that have taken their first vote to leave the ELCA.  In a heavy-handed attempt to control the process of disaffiliating with the ELCA, they are subjecting congregations to pressure from multiple individuals (synod staff or conference representatives), and are misleading congregations to act contrary to their local constitutions by forcing them to meet with a panel of consultants.

Congregational leaders should be aware that the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations – and most local Constitutions state:

"C6.05. c. The bishop of the synod shall consult with this congregation during a period of at least 90 days."

The constitution does not say "consult with the synod" or "synod staff" or "consultation committee" or "conference representatives." Every congregation that submits to a bishop's consultation has the right to insist that it be just that:  a consultation from the bishop, and the bishop alone.  Anything more than this goes beyond the legal provisions of the constitution, and is not required.

Note: In cases where congregations are forced by their Bishop to violate the requirements of their own local constitution, the Pastor and/or Council President should make the congregation aware of this misconduct on the part of Synod officials prior to meeting with any synod representative.  We also recommend copies be retained of all written correspondence (both email and postal) that "require" unconstitutional meetings, along with the text of any recently created "synod consultation policies" for evidence in subsequent legal proceedings.
Posted by Pastor Steven King from the "Faithful Transition" blog

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