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

Monday, May 10, 2010

Can you believe THIS!!! NI Synod says we still need their permission to leave

It looks like the NI Synod feels compelled to further  force themselves on us.

                           103 West State Street                                                              Phone: 815-964-9934
                           Rockford IL 61101-1105                                                            Fax: 815-964-2295

May 6, 2010
Ms. K__ M____, Church Council Secretary
Faith Lutheran Church
1611 41’st Street
Moline, IL 61265-3499

Dear Ms. M______ and Members of Faith Lutheran Church Council:

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am in receipt of your correspondence dated April 23, 2010 indicating your vote to leave the ELCA.

The constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America states that congregations of which the predecessor body was the Lutheran Church in America (ELCA Constitution 9.62g) must receive permission from the synod to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Because Faith Lutheran Church is a congregation formerly of the Lutheran Church in America, the Northern Illinois Synod must take action on Faith’s desire to leave the ELCA.

Therefore, we invite you, and any others whom you wish to accompany you, to attend the Northern Illinois Synod Council meeting on Saturday, May 15, 2010, 10:30-11:00 a.m. at the synod office in Rockford. The purpose of your visit would be to present your request and rationale for Faith’s desire to separate itself from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A presentation up to 15 minutes and then time for questions would be helpful for the synod council as they act upon your desire to disassociate with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Please contact my secretary, Ms Julie Lewis, by way of letter or email ( of your willingness to attend this meeting and sharing your rationale of Faith’s desire to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

In Christ,

Bishop Gary M. Wollersheim


Anonymous said...

Brings new meaning to "Let My People GO!"

g_erdner said...

Sad though it may be, the ELCA constitution does require synod approval for any former LCA or congregation that started after the merger that votes to leave. This should be a simple "rubber stamp" procedure. So far, only one congregation in Florida has been denied permission (they have over $5 million dollars worth of building and land).

Odds are, there will probably be no problem with you leaving. Simply telling the Synod Council that the collective "bound consciences" of over 2/3rds of the congregation won't permit you to stay connected with the ELCA. Even if the council does refuse permission, you then have the right to appeal to the synod assembly.

Meanwhile, whether they let you go or not, be sure to join another Lutheran body, as that is another requirement of the ELCA's constitution, and stop supporting the ELCA's ministries through your synod.

Continue to provide direct support to any and all ministries you feel worthy of supporting, including missions, seminaries, etc. Such direct support of projects to benefit God's people has nothing to do with your relationship with any national body.

And whatever happens between your congregation and the ELCA, never forget that what matters most is the Gospel rightly preached and the Sacraments properly administered. Don't let any organizational issues interfere with that.

Anonymous said...

Matthew 7 15-16
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.

Anonymous said...

@g_erdner, Faith-Moline, ... don't hold your breath waiting for a rubber-stamp response. One possible tactic (delaying or otherwise)is for a synod council to table action on a congregation's request to leave. I think it's happened with at least one N-IL Synod congregation and I wouldn't be surprised if it's happened elsewhere.

If the synod council hasn't acted, then there's no action to appeal.
I suppose that one could appeal a non-action/failure to act. But then, you'd have to actually go to synod assembly one more time.

g_erdner said...

I cannot disagree that some synods might engage in delaying tactics. At first, it appeared that most churches who followed the proper process to transfer their affiliation to another Lutheran body were treated with the sort of spirit of Christian love that was called for in the resolutions passed at the CWA. Sadly, it appears that in some synods that is no longer the case.

I believe the important thing to remember is that the only means of discipline that the ELCA has for a congregation that violates ELCA policies or rules is to expell the congregation. If a congregation's goal is to leave the ELCA, then there is nothing the ELCA can do to force a congregation to continue to have anything to do with the ELCA.

If a congregation dual-rosters with the LCMC or some other Lutheran body, all the ELCA can do is kick them out. If a congregation calls a pastor who is rostered with the LCMC or some other body, all the ELCA can do is to kick the congregation out.

The ELCA cannot force a congregation to make contributions to their synod. They can only kick them out if they don't. They can't force a congregation to accept an ELCA pastor, as the congregation still has the authority to write and sign their pastor's paycheck. They can't even force a congregation to allow an ELCA pastor access to the congregation's pulpit.

I would recommend to all congregations involved in any situation in which the ELCA attempts to block them from leaving to simply politely and non-confrontationally leave anyway, and not to worry about what the ELCA says about it. At the same time, hire a good lawyer, just in case.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I believe this, because it is true! It has been said all along that this is a requirement for a congregation previously belonging to the LCA. This constitutional provision for former LCA congregations can be changed only by the action of a churchwide assembly. No congregation, synod council or even bishop can change it. The idea, pressed by Faith's attorney, that if the synod council does not respond in time to constitutional changes they automatically go into effect, only applies to those parts of the constitution that can be changed locally (without an asterisk in the ELCA Model Constitution for Congregations). It does not apply to those sections which are a required part of all ELCA congregational constitutions. This has been stated several times in writing and in public meetings, but has been ignored by the leadership of Faith Church.

oneno said...

Anonymous, everyone now knows, there's "right" by the ELCA and then there's "right" by the Bible. You don't think that something like that would go without being noticed do you? Would they really want another black eye by trying some legal loophole mumbo jumbo. The overwhelming super majority spoke. Get over it. There's plenty of "real" ELCA churches who are on the brink of collapse that are more deserving of the ELCA's attention.

Bruce said...

Elsewhere on this blog, "anonymous," you will see what the real answer is to all this. "I know this to be true?" No, you don't. You've been totally certain from day one of all this that your knowledge of bysantine ELCA constitutional procedure would somehow vindicate your loyalty to the synod, and foil Faith's attempts to set itself free. I think if you look at what's actually happening in real life, you will see that all your posturing is just that: posturing. I wish you well, and God's love and grace, and I invite you to drop this nonsense.

Bruce said...

well, John, whether or not your phantom "third step" was necessary or not, the NI Synod finally woke from their slumber and faced up to reality and rubber-stamped Faith's departure from the ELCA. I think we can call off all this useless back-and-forth.

g_erdner said...

Bruce, "back and forth" like this is never useless. This isn't the first time a situation like this has come up, and it won't be the last. Bearing true and faithful witness is something that needs to always be done.