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

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Church group says Zion ELCA vote fell short

Church group says Zion ELCA vote fell short
CLEAR LAKE — The Northeastern Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is disputing Zion Lutheran Church’s vote in December to leave the denomination.

In a news release on Friday Rev. Steven L. Ullestad, bishop of the Northeastern Iowa Synod ELCA, declared that the two-thirds vote needed was not achieved.

The December vote at Zion came in reaction to a resolution adopted by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August that would allow gay pastors in a committed relationship to serve congregations.

Prior to that, gay pastors had to commit to being celibate in order to serve.

According to the news release, 366 church members attended and registered during the Dec. 13 meeting, which meant a majority vote of 244 was needed to meet the required two-thirds majority.

Zion members voted 238 to 119 to leave the ELCA, which was exactly two-thirds of the 357 members who voted.

“They must be confused or something,” said Rev. Dean Hess, senior pastor at the Clear Lake church, in response to the allegations. “All of those numbers are wrong. I don’t know where they got those.”

“We reported the numbers that were actually there, so I’m at a loss,” he said.

Church member Randy Reid, who was against leaving the ELCA, said there had been questions about the vote the past several weeks.

“It appears there continues to be a lot of opposition to people who were opposed to leaving the ELCA,” he said. “I’ve heard that they’ve actually confronted people within the church who were supporting the ELCA. It’s been uncomfortable since the elections.”

Carole Roth, church council president, was unavailable for comment Friday night, but was quoted in the news release as saying “We don’t see it (the vote) as invalid. From our standpoint, we don’t see a conflict.”

“We have counted all the votes, and we have a count of the voting members present: 357 voting members present, with 238 affirmative votes, 119 negative,” she is quoted in the news release.

Roth said in the news release she didn’t know where Ullestad got the numbers he cited.

She also said that she expects the congregation’s leaders will discuss the bishop’s letter, which disputes the numbers, next week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pastor Hess contends that their vote was legal, and followed their constitution to the letter.