This blog started as a collection of resources for those seeking more information on the decline of the ELCA. It has now evolved into a blog the ELCA's shallow attempt to destroy our Church after we chose to sever ties with them.
"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
A Lutheran pastor from Philip and the four Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations she leads have been told by their bishop that they are in violation of church law for affiliating with another Lutheran association and withholding funds from the South Dakota synod.
The Rev. Frezil Westerlund said Friday that she was notified of ELCA Bishop David Zellmer's "censure" on May 5. The four congregations she serves -- Philip, Long Valley, Midland and a rural church -- each voted to join the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ. The LCMC opposes the new ELCA policies for homosexual clergy and same-sex marriage that were adopted last year. The LCMC churches also voted to withhold parish support from the synod and national church headquarters because of that decision and redirect it to charitable agencies of their choice.
The national church headquarters announced in January that the ELCA will not allow congregations to be members of more than one church body. Bishop Zellmer could choose to discipline a congregation for affiliating with an additional church body, and Zellmer announced in April that he would do so.
Nearly 200 ELCA congregations have joined LCMC since the ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted in August 2009 to change ELCA teaching and policy to permit pastors to be in same-sex sexual relationships. The significant number of congregations joining LCMC may explain the ELCA's new tough stance against dual church body affiliations, said the Rev. David Baer of Whitewood. Baer estimated that 11 congregations in South Dakota have joined LCMC.
Zellmer is traveling outside of the country, but his assistant, the Rev. Bill Tesch, said Friday that estimate is high. Similar letters went out to a few other churches, in addition to Westerlund's, he said.
Tesch said the letter was not a censure of Westerlund or the churches, but rather a letter informing them that their dual membership puts them in violation of ELCA church constitution. He said the LCMC is defined as a denomination, not an association. The bishop will consult with the synod council in the near future to determine any further action against ELCA congregations that continue their LCMC affiliation.
"It's not a censure. It's not a threat. It's a letter of information," he said.