ELCM Quarterly
December 1999 Issue

Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium (ELCM) Online News & Update

IN This first issue End of 1999 beginning of the last year of the 20th Century (2000)

 

  • World Magazine Cover article on JDDJ
  • Free Chat room server software
  • Minor ELCM Web site Navigation snafu
  • Welcome to Pastor Robert Whitehead
  • Property Notes (Considerations for ELCA congregations seeking to leave)
  • Reactions to our position on Word Alone focused Women in the Office of Word & Sacrament.
  • ELCM gets slivered ( or gets jagged)

 


World Magazine Cover article on JDDJ

World Magazine has done an excellent cover story on the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification that the LWF Lutheran Bodies signed with the Roman Catholics in Augsburg Germany on Oct. 31, 1999.

The December 25,1999/January 1,2000 issue of World carries the Story and analysis. The main cover story is supplemented with a comparison of pro and con voices (2 pro and 2 con).

The Online version of World features the Story and can be accessed at the following URL address http://www.worldmag.com/world/home.asp. Since the new January 8 edition has been posted online you need to go to the archive button at this address and to look for the title of the cover story from the Dec. 25 issue which is entitled "Now no Condemnation"

 

Our Free Chat room Software

The folks at Digital Messenger (http:www.digitalmessenger.com) have provided free of charge a very fine chat room and message opportunity. You can access the free software for downloading at the top of the side bar menu links when you enter the ELCM web site. This software is very easy to install. If you wish to be involved in chat room dialogues on ELCM monitored topics and discussions be sure you list revroy@elcm.org in the list of contact screen names. We post here the link for the free download from the Digital Messenger folk: http://www.digitalmessenger.com/download/index.html This free software also gives the ability for those who are listed to be in contact via Instant messages (again at no cost) across the various Internet servers. It truly allows for distances and costs of travel in order to be in contact and discussion to disappear as barriers for organization, fellowship, and association .

Minor ELCM Web site navigation Snafu

Into everyone's life a little snafu will come or we could say "It is a great life as long as you don't weaken".

President Steward installed Netscape Navigator on the Office Computer in addition to the Microsoft Explorer and discovered that Navigator doesn't open all areas of the ELCM Web site. There are really only two links that for some reason will not open with Navigator (though all links open with Explorer. If you are using Navigator you may have already discovered this. The one link that Navigator does not open is from the Main Menu bar at the top of our site page (once you have entered the site). This is a rather crucial link. It is the Constitution of ELCM.

The Other Link from the Menu bar located at the top of the page that Navigator doesn't open is the "Brief ELCM History" link.

However there are two alternative roots for Navigator users. We have discovered that if you go first to the ELCM Bylaws link or to the Organizational Principle links you can then access the ELCM Constitution via the link on these pages. The links look identical to us so we are puzzled why the Link at the top of the Menu bar does not activate for Navigator (or at least for our version of Nav.)

The other route is to access our AOL Site and there you can open the ELCM Constitution and the ELCM Brief History with Navigator. If any of you know what is going wrong or suspect where the problem may be in our html work please let us know. At any rate here this item sets forth the alternative access routes if Thou too are having Navigator difficulty accessing these links.

Pastor Robert Whitehead received to the ELCM Ministerium

The ELCM General Conference Executive Board and a Special meeting of the ELCM general conference has approved the The Rev. Robert Whitehead from the South Central Pennsylvania area to membership on the Clergy roster of ELCM. Pastor Whitehead holds and Ed.B from Keene Teachers College, Keene, N. H. and a. B. D. from LTS Gettysburg, PA (when it was still ULCA). He brings with him some Seminary teaching experience having served as an assistant to Dr. Ralph Heim former Professor of religious Education at LTS Gettysburg. Truly it is a delight to recieve Pastor Whitehead to our ELCM Ministerium roster. He is married to a former assistant professor of Gettysburg College, Gettysburg Pa. and served on active duty with the United States Marine Corp.

Property Notes

One of the presenters at the Roseville, Minnesota gathering of the ELCA Word Alone folks shared with President Steward a copy of speaking notes that were used in the presentation concerning Property issues for congregations desiring to leave the ELCA. We post them here in the hopes that these might give direction for reflection by any who may be looking toward leaving the ELCA. The Word Alone folk are moving toward organizing their own organization and those who might wish to leave the ELCA but remain as part of the WA fellowship would need to consider these various areas. Any congregations wishing to leave ELCA and to unite with ELCM would also need to consider the same or similar issues. The presenter's notes coincide in many details with the conclusions that we ourselves in ELCM had reached regarding the matter of a congregation leaving the ELCA.

 

NOTES – ROSEVILLE CONFERENCE COMMENTS ON LEAVING ELCA AND PROPERTY OWNERSHIP – NOVEMBER 15, 1999

I am not here as an attorney and I am not here to give legal advice. Rather, I am speaking as a Lutheran layman regarding the issues to be considered by a congregation, especially with respect to procedures and property ownership, that is considering leaving the ELCA. I am not recommending that anyone leave the ELCA and not offering any conclusions, but I am simply identifying the issues and discussing the procedures, in general, that are involved.

There is nothing wrong or extraordinary about a congregation leaving the ELCA. The ELCA constitution and the ELCA’s model constitution for congregations both set out the procedures for terminating affiliation with the ELCA. These procedures are relatively simple and straightforward. In addition to these general rules set out in the ELCA constitution and in the congregational constitution, the congregation must be familiar with the applicable rules and procedures set out in the ELCA by-laws and in the congregation’s by-laws, continuing resolutions, and other documents dealing with property ownership and any financial obligations that the congregation might have to the ELCA. It is important to get these documents and to read and understand them.

It is important to keep in mind that ELCA congregations are separate legal entities that generally have the right to own and to operate their own property and to dispose of the property in any way they see fit. The ELCA constitution requires that congregations be incorporated, if that is legally possible. In Virginia, where I am from, churches cannot incorporate, so our congregation has trustees. In most states, though, you will likely find that your congregation is incorporated under the not-for-profit corporation laws of your state.

A congregation that wishes to leave the ELCA may do so following fairly simple procedures that are spelled out in parallel provisions if the ELCA constitution and the ELCA’s model constitution for congregations. First, the church must hold a special meeting of the congregation that is called for the specific purpose of voting on whether to leave the ELCA. (See ELCA constitution chapter 9.60, 9.62; and model constitution chapter 6.05). Be sure to follow all applicable procedures for calling the meeting. At the meeting, a resolution in favor of terminating affiliation with the ELCA must be approved by at least a two-thirds vote. If the resolution passes by the required vote, then the congregation is to notify the synod office and must consult with the synod bishop for a period of at least 90 days. Thereafter, if the congregation still wishes to leave the ELCA, it must call another special meeting of the congregation for the purpose of voting on leaving the ELCA. Notice must be given to the synod office and the bishop or other representative of the synod must be present at the meeting. In order to terminate affiliation with the ELCA, the congregation must vote by at least a two-thirds majority again to leave. If the vote to leave passes, then the synod is so notified. For former ALC congregations, that is all that is required in order to terminate affiliation with the ELCA. If a congregation was an LCA congregation, or was established as an ELCA congregation, then synod approval must be obtained also before the affiliation is terminated.

One point for consideration, though I will not state any conclusions at this time, is what happens if the synod refuses to give approval to termination of affiliation by a congregation, but the congregation then goes ahead and acts as if it were independent. That is, the congregation stops making benevolence contributions to the synod and calls pastors without regard to ELCA procedures or rosters. If a congregation were to make a call without following ELCA procedures and call an unrostered pastor, it would be in violation of the ELCA constitution and would be subject to discipline under chapter 20 of the ELCA constitution. Chapter 20 specifies that neither the ELCA nor a synod should bring a legal action over a disciplinary matter. Rather the disciplinary procedures of the constitution are to be followed. The disciplinary actions that can be imposed on a congregation are rather limited. These include, essentially, admonishment by the bishop, suspension, and expulsion from the ELCA. A congregation that is expelled from the ELCA under the disciplinary rules keeps its property. (Model constitution 7.02) Of course, legal action might be commenced against a congregation for some reason other than discipline, but to the extent that the actual issue is one of discipline, the discipline rules should be followed and litigation should not be commenced.

Important provisions regarding property are set out in chapter 9.70 of the ELCA constitution and in chapters 7.03 and 7.04 of the model constitution for congregations. Under these provisions, an ELCA congregation that leaves the ELCA in order to transfer to another Lutheran church body keeps its property. If the congregation leaves in order to become an independent church or to join a non-Lutheran church body, then it does not keep its property unless the synod grants approval for the congregation to keep the property. If synod approval is not obtained, then the dissenting minority that wishes to remain with the ELCA is considered the surviving ELCA congregation and keeps the property. In order to avoid this problem, the congregation can choose a Lutheran church body with which to become affiliated upon leaving the ELCA. A new church body might be formed to serve this purpose, or the congregation could join an existing Lutheran church body. This does not necessarily mean the Missouri Synod or the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Several other smaller Lutheran church bodies exist also, including a group in Pennsylvania that ordains men and women on an equal basis.

In evaluating property issues, be sure to know exactly what property you own. While people tend to think of buildings and land, a congregation likely has significant other property as well, such as furnishings, bank accounts, and trust funds and other invested funds. Know what all of this property is and be aware of any special conditions that might apply with respect to the congregation’s ownership of the property.

Be sure to consider terms of any mortgage debts that the congregation has. If the congregation has an ELCA mortgage loan on its property, then it should look into refinancing prior to acting on a decision whether to leave the ELCA. Financing with a Lutheran fraternal organization could have special conditions that are applicable if the congregation decides to affiliate with a non-Lutheran church body. If the congregation has a commercial loan, then changing affiliation will not likely be a problem unless the congregation engages in a strategy that would involve sale and possible re-acquisition of the property. This could trigger a due-on-sale provision.

Also, be aware of any financial arrangements or obligations that the congregation has with the ELCA.

In summary, leaving the ELCA and keeping ownership of congregational property should not be overly complicated if adequate advance planning is done. Get the necessary documents, such as the ELCA constitution (which is available on-line at the ELCA web site) and your congregational constitution. Review relevant by-laws and resolutions. Be aware of relevant state law provisions. Inventory your property. With these steps, the procedures and property considerations are manageable. Follow proper procedures and consult in a Christian manner with those with whom you must consult. Then proceed to decide whether to leave or whether to stay in accordance with your conscience.

Reactions to our ELCM position regarding willingness to receive Word Alone focus Women Pastors

We have a special section of the Web site devoted to the position that our ELCM General Conference Executive Board and the special session of the ELCM General Conference adopted concerning this issue.

We received notes from about 3 ELCA women thanking us for our stance. One, a Seminarian, indicated that she would be watching us closely in the future. Another, evidently also preparing for ordination in an ELCA program has written to ask if ELCM is aChaplaincyy enabling organization. Her husband is an ordained Pastor serving as a Military Chaplain. This latter enquirer has indicated that her husband will be getting us at ELCM the information needed for us to become a Chaplaincy enabling Church body.

The only other contacts from the ELCA end came from two Male pastors who while appreciative of our action then proceeded to quiz us on our stance vis. a' vis. "Inerrancy and Infallibility" of Scripture. Those words and the sense that Scripture is the Inerrant and Infallible Word of God (not merely the container of the Word) seem to be a barrier for many in even the Word Alone movement. We in ELCM will be very curious to see how "Word Alone" gets defined in the the months and years ahead.

The responses from the Missouri Synod direction has been much stronger. We have posted the very quick contact from the Assistant to Dr. Barry and the response of two Concordia, St. Louis Senior Seminarians. Needless to say these do not applaud our decision and position on the issue.

To access the page containing all the various "Women's ordination" issues go to the top menu bar upon entering our site and click on "ELCM Doctrinal positions & Praxis" then look for the appropriate category dealing with "Women Pastors and Women Seminarians".

It strikes us that Missouri and others appear to have elevated this issue to Creedal status - though it certainly does not appear in any of the Ecumenical Creeds nor in the B. O. C.. It is often argued that women in ministry was an issue in the early church especially regarding the Montanists and Gnostics but it is never explained why if this was such an issue the Creedal formulations from Scripture nowhere zero in on the subject.

ELCM gets slivered (or gets the jag)

Finally there is a frequent commentary taking place among some ELCA WA folk that regularly refers to "not wanting to become just another small Lutheran Sliver or Splinter group". Several WA ELCA writers have declared to the effect " that there simply are no other Centrist Lutheran alternatives" available.

That kind of gives us a jag.

Here we in ELCM really have tried to be of a centrist and Confessional Lutheran Stance over the eight years of our unofficial and now official existence. Of course we use the words "Inerrant and Infallible" and perhaps that is viewed as precluding us as being any different from the much more right wing Lutheran Church bodies.

Plus we are very tiny and small. More and more it sounds like that which is small and tiny is viewed as marginal and not worth linking up with. So we have started a web site page that intends to look at the Biblical images of that which is small, weak, regarded as refuse, etc. and how the Biblical witness is consistent to the effect that this is precisely what the Lord uses to work his work. You can access this page from the small fish on the welcome page as you enter the site. If you would like to contribute some articles to this developing page please send them on the revroy@elcm.org.

We have begun the page with a focus on the Christmas Gospel. Out of little Bethelehem Ephrathah comes the one born to be King of Heaven and Earth. He comes not in might and power or strength of numbers but as a babe in a stable manger. That is hardly the "Theology of Glory emphasis" even though the Angels sing "Glory in Excelcis" but is more in line with the "Theology of the Cross" focus as in "Christ was born to Save, Christ was born to Save !".

Well that is all for this initial issue of ELCM Online. May each of you have a truly Blessed Celebration of our Lord's Nativity and we look forward to discussion and contact with you in this coming final year of the 20th century (The year 2000). January 1, 2001 marks the beginning of the secular 21st Century contrary to all the media hype.

Blessings in Christ !

Alpha

Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium (ELCM) Online News & Update - January 29, 2000

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IN this our Second issue, The first issue of beginning of the last year of the 20th Century (2000)

  • Introducing out newest Ministerium Member

     

  • Applicant for licensed Lay Catchetist/ Lay Minister/ Seminary Track pushes us to consensus on degree credentials.

     

  • Word Alone Network Constituting Convention update.

     

  • AOELS

     

  • Comments on our ELCM.Org Site from site visitors.

     

  • The Charismatic issue

     

  • Esteemed friend of ELCM is online editor for Lutheran Commentator

     

  • New Mission to begin in Queens, New York

     

  • Recognition or non recognition or ELCM by ELCA.

     

  • Military Chaplaincy enabling for ELCM has been enabled

     

  • Evangelical Lutheran Free Conference scheduled

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    Reminder of Our Free Chat room Software

    The folks at Digital Messenger (http:www.digitalmessenger.com) have provided free of charge a very fine chat room and message opportunity. You can access the free software for downloading at the top of the side bar menu links when you enter the ELCM web site. This software is very easy to install. If you wish to be involved in chat room dialogues on ELCM monitored topics and discussions be sure you list revroy@elcm.org in the list of contact screen names. We post here again the link for the free download from the Digital Messenger folk: http://www.digitalmessenger.com/download/index.html

    This free software also gives the ability for those who are listed to be in contact via Instant messages (again at no cost) across the various Internet servers. It truly allows for distances and costs of travel in order to be in contact and discussion to disappear as barriers for organization, fellowship, and association.

    Another location for chat room meetings with the capability of live voice interaction is at our Centrist Lutheran Yahoo Chat room . You need to register to join Yahoo but it is free and then as you access the Centrist Lutheran Club area you will notice a "Chat room" area for Centrist Lutheran Club members. The installation of the Java Script and Java applets are free. As our ELCM Ministerium and Congregational rosters continue to grow we will be setting appointed times for meetings of ELCM members in these chat room areas. Other Times will be set for discussions with those having interest in ELCM.

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    Welcome to Pastor Mark D. Isaacs

    The Rev. Mark D. Isaacs was officially certified and received as a rostered member of the ELCM Clergy Roster on 9 January 2000. He officially resigned from the ELCA Clergy roster upon receiving notification of ELCM approval of his application for Clergy roster membership in a letter to the Metropolitan New York ELCA Synod Bishop dated January 12, 2000. Pastor Isaacs was extended an Official Call as an ELCM Rostered Pastor by St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, Rhinebeck, New York (a nominal but now inactive ELCA congregation) by unanimous vote at a duly called and very well attended meeting of the St. Paul congregation on Sunday January 23, 2000. ELCM President, Rev. Roy A. Steward was present as an invited guest to witness and to attest to the vote and Official Call of the congregation.

    Pastor Isaacs is a 1992 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He received his BA from Westfield State College in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1980. At present he is completing S. T. M. degree work at LTS, Philadelphia PA and is now a Ph.D Doctoral candidate (History, Religion, and Theology at Trinity Theological Seminary, Newburgh, IN with accreditation through Liverpool University, UK.

    He has been editor in chief (86-88) of the Business Times, Rocky Hill, C. T., Feature Editor (85-86) of the New American magazine, Publishing and Managing Editor (82084) of On Principle, and Research Economist (80-82) for the American Institute for EconomResearchrch, Great Barrington, Mass. Pastor Isaacs has over 350 published articles. In addition to pastoring the St. Paul Congregation he currently serves as an adjunct Professor at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York lecturing on Business Ethics.

    We count ourselves in ELCM to be very fortunate to have Pastor Isaacs join our Clergy Roster. President Steward has written the Metro New York Synod/ ELCA Bishop and expressed the hope that if there are any more pastors of the high quality of Pastor Isaacs who are viewed as no longer fitting in with the ELCA that the Bishop please encourage them to apply for membership in ELCM.

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    Track two of the ELCM Seminary program receives its first applicant

    We have prepared for two tracks leading to ordination in ELCM. The first would follow the traditional four years of college and four years at a Seminary with each student being mentored throughout the traditional degree process by one or more ELCM pastors.

    Our second track provides for 2nd career persons to prepare for ordination while actively engaged in serving congregations or in the establishment of Mission efforts. This track follows the model put in place by H. M. Muhlenberg and his associates where Lay Catechists were trained by and mentored in preparation for ordination. The applicant need not have a College degree to begin this track but needs to demonstrate some basic awareness of our Lutheran Confessional understandings. Our recent applicant is of this orientation. He comes to us from a Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod background.

    The first applicant to our track #2 approach to Seminary training and eventual ordination pushed us in ELCM to examine whether we would emphasize an academic degree basis for ordination into Word and Sacrament Ministry.

    The Ministerium of ELCM decided to recommend to the General Conference that indeed we should have a degree basis for all Ordained ELCM pastors.

    The advent of the Internet has made available some non traditional means of obtaining accredited degrees and this has fit very well with our Track #2 approach. The ministerium has thus approved the application of our first Track #2 candidate provided He agree to enter the academic degree program provided by Trinity College/ Theological Seminary while serving year to year as a licensed lay Catechist/ Lay Minister mentored and supervised by one of our ELCM Pastors.

    It is anticipated that the ELCM General Conference will adopt the recommendation of the ELCM Ministerium. The Trinity College/Theological Seminary is located in Newburgh, Indiana and the information on the various academic offerings is available on the Internet at http://www.trinitysem.edu .

    Trinity is in the Reformed tradition but we are not worried by that as our Mentoring approach will provide the Lutheran element in the training of our future pastors via this and the track #1 approach. In fact it is quite likely that our future pastors in ELCM will emerge from this approach of study much more Lutheran in their understandings than many or most who attend various Lutheran Seminaries (especially those of the ELCA variety). Those of our future pastors following the traditional academic track will be encouraged to attend a Lutheran Seminary that is truly focused upon the Lutheran Confessions while still being mentored by one or more of our ELCM pastors.

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    Word Alone Network friends schedule March Constituting Meeting

    Our friends in the ELCA who have launched the Word Alone Network effort will be holding their constituting gathering in Mahtomedi, Minn. March 26-29. Our ELCM President is considering attending the meeting as an observer.

    As of this issue a second round of meetings by ELCA Word Alone pastors and congregation representatives has begun throughout the USA. To date 50 meetings have been scheduled in 23 States.

    The Constituting gathering will try to put together a basic structure which will support those who are "Word Alone in focus" who wish to remain within the ELCA and to work for reformation from within to undo the damages already done to the ELCA as a Lutheran Church body and also to support those persons, congregations, and pastors desiring to leave the ELCA.

    Many issues will need to be discussed as the Word Alone Network takes shape. There appear to be wide divergences in understanding even over the term "Word Alone" and once this is dealt with there will be wide differences on other doctrinal points and understandings. We in ELCM wish our Word Alone friends well as they work through the many issues ahead. We hope that we will be able to be in close fellowship with the Constituted and developing WA Network that emerges.

    Our ELCM President shared the following concerns with WA leaders RE: the model of voting being offered by many in WA effort.

    From a distance some thoughts on your questions a la ELCM in response to the questions posed to your Word Alone 2nd round gatherings.

    Question # 2 needs a good bit of definition which likely can only take place after you have somehow formed an official organization. "Word Alone" especially needs to be defined IOV.

    It strikes me that questions #1 and #3 are integrally related. Faithfulness to the Confessional Lutheranism (freedom from Historic Episcopate, etc.) and structuring so that basic political power is not gradually taken from the congregation appears connected to us.

    We have observed first hand a number of systems since our years in ELCA and in following until the formation of ELCM.

    I haven't accessed a lot of your discussions of late but have seen some pieces that give the impression that you are moving toward the American Democratic model of representational formulas for congregations based on size and toward the Robert's rules of order Majority/Minority principles.

    In our view that is exactly and precisely where the leaking away of the congregational authority takes place and suddenly voila' the organization has developed a centralized control system at the expense of the congregations and parish pastors before any realize it has happened.

    I would hope you folks will look at our "ELCM Consensus in light of Scripture and in light of the Lutheran Confessions" model a bit more. We believe this is as good a guarantee against loss of congregational political control and also a guarantee against loss of the Confessional Lutheran stance by the wider body.

    Im not angling for you all to join ELCM but it seems to me that the formula of governance that we have put together as a result of our 8 + years of learning and observation might be adapted or adopted by you folks.

    All congregations are treated equally and Consensus in light of the Scripture and in light of the Confessions is central. This could make adoption of things a slow process but any who have lived in the ELCA (as we have) know that this is not such a bad thing.

    If you all adopt the representational formulas for congregations AND the Robert's rules of order "Majority/ Minority decision making premise" I fear you will ultimately replicate a system similar to the one that has foisted so much nonsense upon the congregations and parish pastors.

    So for what it is worth there is a bit of warning from the learnings of your mustard seed, sliver, splinter, etc. sister ELCM. I will copy this to a few of your Word Alone folk.

    Blessings to you all in your efforts to think through the many areas and to take a firm stand.

    Sincerely yours in Christ,

    Pastor Roy A. Steward

    ELCM President

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    Re-connect with AOELS friends

    We had opportunity these past weeks to re-connect with our friends of the Augustana Orthodox & Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The AOELS was formed by former LCA/ Augustana folk who left the ELCA following the struggle over the control of Pensions by the ELCA. Advent Lutheran Congregation in Roseville, MN under the Pastoring of Pastor Thomas and Pastor Matthew Basich was the focal point of the effort to defend the integrity of the Pensions of Pastors and Church workers.

    Attorney Lynn Basich and her father Pastor Thomas and brother Pastor Matthew have been very helpful to congregations and pastors seeking advice and counsel regarding how to get out of ELCA. Though AOELS is not on the Internet or accessible through Email they report that they have assisted 71 congregations to date in looking at their alternatives and some of the legal dimensions involved in leaving the ELCA.

    Our ELCM has put members from the Word Alone Network in touch with not only the AOELS but also with another former LCA/ ELCA group that has successfully left the ELCA with the property and assets of the congregations. The other group is the very conservative Lutheran Confessional Synod (LCS). Any wishing legal guidance may contact the LCS Bishop, The Rev. Randy DeJaynes of Illinois via Email at LCSBish@aol.com.

    The AOELS folk can be contacted by calling Advent Lutheran Church in Roseville, MN at 651-633-3232.

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    Comments from Site visitors to ELCM.org

    Peace be with you!

    I am curious about your 'Centrist' Lutheranism.

    I never saw the point of super liberal Lutheranism - If there is no resurrection of the flesh, why bother with church? Seems politics and the United Way would be more efficient ways to spread social action.

    Likewise, I never saw the point of super conservative Lutheranism - If there is a resurrection of the flesh, why can't it manifest with more love and less crucifixions of people over peripheral doctrines.

    I guess I am curious about what you consider to be 'Centrist' positions on the major Lutheran doctrines and practices.

    Thanks for your response and time.

    Very interesting. It looks like you folks really are trying to be centrists.

    If I understand you correctly, the creation issue is primarily that God made the creation for a purpose...how exactly he did this is irrelevant...kinda like the Lord's Supper issue. Funny how the super conservatives will condemn the Calvinists for explaining the 'how it happens' of the Lord's Supper yet proceed to do the exact same thing with the creation issue! Nice stance!

    Your sola scriptura/all of the scriptures doctrine really got hashed out in the women pastor issue it seems. Nice work! I I've mulled over that issue a good while myself...your conclusion is very unique!!!

    I assume having word alone women pastors looks like a way to be faithful to the women prophets-apostles-teachers texts without negating the male authority texts?

    I see it this way:

    The church bestows these positions: bishop, priest, deacon(ess). The Spirit bestows these positions: apostle, prophet, teacher-pastor, evangelist. Some individuals function with both a church bestowed position and a Spirit bestowed position while others function with one or the other or neither.

    more later,

    Sorry, had to go take care of my infant.

    So I guess my point about the church and Spirit bestowed positions (ministries) is that the distinction and relationship seems so obvious to me yet no one seems to get it. The Didache describes the church ordained working alongside the Spirit ordained.

    Does one have to have an M.Div degree to be a pastor in an ELCM church?

    I have always wondered what happened to the catholic part of the Evangelical Catholic (Lutheran) movement of Luther. It seems to me that in order to really espouse the 'traditional' aspects of Lutheran practice (Liturgy, infant baptism, clerical robes, etc etc), Sola Scriptura needs to be understood in a more historical light than the sola scriptura of American Fundamentalism. In other words, it was a needed doctrine at the time to break with the medieval Roman works righteousness based on 'tradition'. Perhaps to understand Scripture as the gem of the whole tradition would be a better way to look at it? The baby would not have to be thrown out with the bath water that way! In divorcing tradition, we lost the 'communion of saints' among other things.

    May the Spirit guide you into deeper fellowship with Christ in your journey... Sometime between 1st and 2nd Epiphany

    Dear Rev. Roy?

    You have an interesting web site. I hope its not taking too much of your time.

    As a Lutheran web 'guru' are you aware of any Lutheran church that posts its weekly worship on the web in 'real audio'?

    I'm a NAmerican Lutheran living in remote remote northern Japan. My worship opportunities are very very limited and further restricted by the fact that in one of the neighboring churches the pastor does not believe in the words of the Apostles creed. His Christmas sermon was about the spiritual search of Malcolm X. I will not take my wife and daughter there.

    My dream preferences would be:

    1. SBH second or third setting

    2. Complete SBH propers

    3. Complete 'connectedness' between hymns, lessons, sermon and propers. A thematic whole.

    4.Use of the Prayer of the Church SBH pg. 6ff

    5. A total posting of the service down to the announcements, Mrs. Smith's or Schmitt's cough and little Johnny's misbehavior or crying.

    The language of faith and especially that of worship is 'aural' in its meaning and its power. Printed sermons do not really carry the same effect. Radio or ministries such as the "Lutheran" hour good as they are sound too much like a performance as well as not really grounded in the Church year and lectionary. I would like the 'feeling' of being there. Attendance at such a site would be supplemental to and not in replacement of our attendance at the monthly Episcopal Eucharist where I can hear echoes of the 'service' in a language I do understand.

    Sincerely, Thanks for repeating your previous post, as well as for the encouraging words. Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier - budgeting my computer time is a bit of a problem!!

    I just looked over some of the ELCM material, and will make note of the site as a future resource. For the time being, though, I don't think we're the best match. I am very appreciative of what God is doing in the charismatic streams of His Church today. I want to be where the best the charismatic stream meets the best of the evangelical stream. While I pastor a church that maintains the liturgical character to its morning services, we're just now adding a non-liturgical service in the evening, and early indications are that it is going to help our evangelistic efforts dramatically. I don't claim any lineage to the pietists, but would probably be classified as such by many, and have great respect and admiration for the movement, such as I've seen. Anyway, three of the treasures that are close to my heart are three things you mentioned the ELCM is not, so it doesn't look likely that I'll be heading your direction.

    I continue to pray that the Word Alone network will move in the direction that I see most of Christianity moving - thoroughly ecumenical (in a healthy sense), solidly biblical (with the confessions as a helpful secondary resource), and with the breath of the Spirit infusing our life together. That's where I hope to be headed, in any case, and am actively searching for traveling companions.

    Thanks for asking!! God's powerful blessings upon your ministries.

    hello

    I've done a little more reading at your web site and another you had a hand in.

    Do you have an Internet or email contact with the Augustana Ev. Orthodox Lutheran Church people, who you describe as a little to the right of the ELCA and a little bit to the left of where you are at.

    I also think that many Lutherans who could be termed 'pietist' which sometimes has a pejorative meaning and sometimes a positive meaning are folks who honestly struggle with what it means to " live under Him in his Kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness". Unfortunately the language they have available to talk about this struggle is not so precise and they can get trapped when they are cross examined about it.

    Sincerely

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    The Charismatic/ Church Growth/ Pietism issue revisited

    This was an area that our founding pastor and congregations knew very little about until we spent a time of trial membership in TAALC. We then were pushed to give the matter a good bit of reflection and study. There are a great many in both ELCA and in LC-MS who are of this orientation. The perception is that LC-MS has a bit more of the orientation but many within ELCA bent upon Church Growth have increasingly turned toward appealing to people via emotion in worship or in attempting to satisfy perceived needs. The following is the note that our ELCM President sent in reply to the accurate discernment of a site visitor of our position on these matters.

    Appreciate your reply and your thoughts. We are not opposed to the charismatic as it practiced in mild doses but have seen the direction that can take a la the TAALC experience. It tends to become very judgmental very quickly regarding salvation and usually without meaning to do so.

    All of the Charismatic Lutherans we have encountered have been very much into lifting up the Word Alone and Jesus Alone but really the "experiential" seems to be also lifted right up there next in the ordering and that can very quickly make the individual and his or her feelings the center. I hope you and your folks can guard against that.

    One of the congregations associated with us is much more into that direction and has a good bit of Praise service focus. The liturgy though re-worked into a pretty contemporary format is still recognizably Lutherian though. We really leave this finally to the local congregation and pastor though in our documents do provide a strong word of caution but advice is the only authority given to the ELCM. As we grow our positions will be continually examined and perhaps we will somewhat ameliorate our present advisement if such would receive a consensus in light of Scripture and in light of the Confessions.

    The Lord's Blessings and our good wishes to you and your people as well as to the Word Alone effort

    In Christ

    Roy Steward

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    Esteemed friend of ELCM is online editor for Lutheran Commentator

    The Rev. Dr. C. H. Schmutzler has begun writing a weekly article for Lutheran Commentator (Online). You can find the link to L. C. on the side bar menu of our ELCM web site. Dr. S (often refered to as the Recusant) was named Online Editor of L. C. and his various articles are being archived in what is known as the "Collective Silence". These are very thought provoking one and all. If you haven't checked them out, please be encouraged to do so.

    Dr. S. is the Pastor of the successor to The Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlenbergs first Congregation in America which is now known as Old Zion (Der Alte Zion). Dr. S. conducts worship in German each Sunday at the Philadelphia PA location of Old Zion Church.

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    New Mission to begin in Queens, New York

    Our new ELCM Licensed Lay Catechist/ Lay Minister is preparing to launch our newest ELCM Mission congregation effort in Queens, New York.

    Pastoral supervision of the effort will be provided by our newest Ministerium member, The Rev. Mark D. Isaacs. As the New York State effort gets underway with two congregations we are looking toward the organization of a New York Synod of ELCM.

    Since the ELCA Metro NY Synod Bishop has indicated that they do not recognize ELCM we have jokingly thought that perhaps we aught to establish a new ELCM Mission in or near the Church Center , Riverside Drive, New York headquarters of the ELCA Metro NY Synod.

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    Recognition or non recognition or ELCM by ELCA.

    Does a Lutheran Church Body need to be officially recognized by the ELCA or one of its Synods in order to truly be another Lutheran Church Body?

    This has been the suggestion from remarks by one of the ELCA Synod Bishops. But it is of course a false suggestion.

    A duly constituted Church body which has been formed by incorporated congregations that emphasizes the Canonical Scripture as the only source and norm of faith and practice, which emphasizes the enter Christian Book of Concord of 1580 as a correct exegesis and exposition of the Scripture from the Quia stance can be argued to be more truly Lutheran than a church body which views Scripture as only "containing the word of God" and which holds to only the Augsburg Confession and Small catechism of the Christian Book of Concord as primary Confessions and this in the Quatenus understanding.

    Being "another Lutheran Church body" (as referenced in the ELCA constitutions) truly is not dependent upon recognition from the ELCA. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognizes the "Lutheran Church-ness" of ELCM, and so do other Lutherans even though ELCM is not in Fellowship with them. AAL and LB desire to sell Policies to our ELCM members and so clearly they recognize that we exist. Then too on a growing number of Internet directories ELCM is listed just below ELCA separated in some cases from ELCA by only the ELCIC.

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    Military Chaplaincy enabling for ELCM has been enabled

    We now have received the paper work needed to submit to the US Military to obtain the status of being a Chaplaincy enabling organization. All that is now required is to have a pastor who is a chaplain or who desires to be a Military chaplain become a member of the ELCM Clergy Roster. At that time we would submit the required paper work and documentation along with the name of the Pastor (s) and thus become a Chaplaincy enabling Lutheran Church body.

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    Evangelical Lutheran Free Conference scheduled

    Finally we publicize the news about an upcoming Lutheran Free Conference sponsored by Evangelical Lutherans ( not by Evangelical Catholics). ELCA Word Alone Pastor Brad Jenson of Duluth, MN has been a leader in this effort as has been our ELCA friend from Virginia, Attny William Drew. The following note by Pastor Jenson shares the specifics of what has been developing in this area. It looks very good to us and likely some of us from ELCM will attempt to attend and to become part of the effort.

    Perhaps you read about Gerhard Forde and Jim Nestingen calling for a "Confessional Congress." It will happen this summer. It's called the first annual "Free Conference for the Lutheran Confessions." It will meet at Augsburg College in Minneapolis from August 7-9(and, possibility, into the 10th). The purpose of the Free Conference is a continuing education event focusedd on the Lutheran Confessions which will take up major issues of confessional interpretation affecting the life and mission of Lutheranism.

    There will be presentations from some of the best Lutheran scholars around. In one sense, it will be like the "Call to Faithfulness" conferences in the early 1990's only instead of being organized by the Evangelical Catholics, it will be organized by Evangelical Lutherans.

    My personal hope for this annual conference is that it becomes a "can't miss" event. In other words, if you're serious about the Lutheran Confessions, you just won't be able to miss attending the Free Conference. It will be the first thing every year that you plug into your schedule for continuing education.

    I'm not sure that this is exactly what Forde and Nestingen had in mind. But if they want Chicago to organize a "Confessional Congress," I'm convinced they would be disappointed in the results. So, it's better to go with a Free Conference.

    This week, articles of incorporation were filed with the State of Minnesota. The Board of Directors (more modestly known as the planning committee) are as follows:

    Dr. Charles P. Aurand
    Term Expires: September 1, 2003
    Concordia Seminary
    801 DeMun Ave.
    St. Louis, MO 63105

    Mr. William K. Drew
    Term Expires: September 1, 2003
    5653 Mt. Burnside Way
    Burke, VA 22015
    Dr. Mark Grandquist
    Term Expires: September 1, 2002
    St. Olaf College
    Northfield, MN 55057

    Rev. David Grindberg
    Term Expires: September 1, 2001
    St. Mark Lutheran Church
    1614 W. 5th St.
    Storm Lake, IA 50588

    Rev. Peter V. Gundersen
    Term Expires: September 1, 2002
    Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
    1000 Quincy St.
    Hancock, MI 49930

    Ms. Barbara A. Hinton
    Term Expires: September 1, 2001
    1545 Buckingham Drive
    La Jolla, CA 92037

    Dr. Gordon S. Huffman, Jr.
    Term Expires: September 1, 2002
    Trinity Lutheran Seminary
    2199 E. Main Street
    Columbus, OH 43209

    Rev. Bradley C. Jenson, Vice-Chair
    Term Expires: September 1, 2003
    Kenwood Lutheran Church
    324 West Cleveland
    Duluth, MN 55811-2373

    Dr. James M. Kittelson, Chair
    Term Expires: September 1, 2003
    Luther Seminary
    2481 Como Ave.
    St. Paul, MN 55108

    Dr. David A. Lumpp
    Term Expires: September 1, 2003
    Concordia University
    275 North Syndicate St.
    St. Paul, Minnesota 55104

    Rev. Julie A. Smith
    Term Expires: September 1, 2002
    Augustana, Bergen, and Swede Home Lutheran Churches
    P.O. Box 38
    Clarkfield, MN 56223

    Dr. Mark Tranvik
    Term Expires: September 1, 2001
    Augsburg College
    2211 Riverside Ave.
    Minneapolis, MN 55454

    Ms. Barbara S. Weigel
    Term Expires: September 1, 2003
    73 Bay Drive
    Annapolis, Maryland 21403

    Alpha

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    Post Mahtomedi/ Pre Easter April 7, 2000 Issue

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    IN this our Pre Easter 2000 Issue

      - ELCM is open to Temporary Memberships by those wanting time to decide their direction.
      - Preparations: Seminarian Ordinations and for Official Calls to establish Mission congregations.
      - President's Inter - Lutheran contacts on journey to and from and during Mahtomedi Convention.
      - Editorial Amendment to Article I of ELCM Bylaws
      -Word Alone Network Constituting Convention assessments.
      - Book Review by Pastor Isaacs
      - St. Paul Wurtemburg, Rhinebeck NY: First Vote results and reactions & Other congregations leaving ELCA
      - ELCM Home schooler page Linked to ELCM Web site.
      - Check out our Collage page
      - Coverage in "The Vine and Branches"

       

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    Reminder of Our Free Chat room Software

    The folks at Digital Messenger (http:www.digitalmessenger.com) have provided free of charge a very fine chat room and message opportunity. You can access the free software for downloading at the top of the side bar menu links when you enter the ELCM web site. This software is very easy to install. If you wish to be involved in chat room dialogues on ELCM monitored topics and discussions be sure you list revroy@elcm.org in the list of contact screen names. We post here again the link for the free download from the Digital Messenger folk:

    http://www.digitalmessenger.com/download/index.html

    This free software also gives the ability for those who are listed to be in contact via Instant messages (again at no cost) across the various Internet servers. It truly allows for distances and costs of travel in order to be in contact and discussion to disappear as barriers for organization, fellowship, and association.

    Another location for chat room meetings with the capability of live voice interaction is at our Centrist Lutheran Yahoo Chat room . You need to register to join Yahoo but it is free and then as you access the Centrist Lutheran Club area you will notice a "Chat room" area for Centrist Lutheran Club members. The installation of the Java Script and Java applets are free. As our ELCM Ministerium and Congregational rosters continue to grow we will be setting appointed times for meetings of ELCM members in these chat room areas. Other Times will be set for discussions with those having interest in ELCM.

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    Welcome to Robert Bowrosen as the newest member of the ELCM Ministerium!

    Robert is a native of Queens, New York and has been approved for licensing as a Lay Catechist/ Lay Minister of ELCM in association with the Mission Congregation effort of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Queens New York.

    Robert is employed by the New York City Transit Authority and will be engaging in Studies through our ELCM Track #2 Seminary program leading to eventual ordination into the Office of Word and Sacrament Ministry. Robert joins ELCM out of a Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod background.

    In accord with our track #2 Seminary program, Pastor Mark D. Isaacs has agreed to serve as the mentoring pastor for Robert during his studies and his Tent making Mission Planting work.

    An AFLC congregation, Word of God Lutheran Church or Brooklyn Park, MN that has received Mission support from two of our ELCM congregations has graciously sent the new Grace Lutheran Mission congregation a goodly supply of SBH Hymnal for their worship and devotional use.

    Robert Bowrosen, coming from the LC-MS background was not familiar with the Red SBH book and upon first hearing of it mentioned only as SBH engaged in speculation with his wife as to what SBH meant. The shared that they hoped and prayed that it did not stand for "Southern Baptist Hymnal".

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    Track two of the ELCM Seminary program receives its 2nd applicant.

    A Lay leader and member of Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Duncansville has expressed intent to apply for approval to enter Studies leading to ordination into the Office of Word and Sacrament in ELCM. This will now give us two Students enrolled in our track two ELCM Seminary Studies.

    This is a most encouraging development as ELCM gets underway in its first year of life. As the numbers of our ELCM Seminarians increase this will not only be an encouragement to congregations worried over where to find future pastors but will also allow us to hold regular Seminars on the Internet and in centralized locations for our ELCM candidates for ministry.

    Our Second Seminarian would be mentored by Pastor Roy Steward and would enable the expansion of additional missions to take place in Central Pennsylvania.

    To Recap from the last issue of ELCM Online: We have prepared for two tracks leading to ordination in ELCM. The first would follow the traditional four years of college and four years at a Seminary with each student being mentored throughout the traditional degree process by one or more ELCM pastors. Certainly we would hope that in the future we would be enabled to create our own ELCM Seminary but until the means would be provided we believe we can work train up pastors via other existing Seminaries in conjunction with regular mentoring.

    Our second track provides for 2nd career persons to prepare for ordination while actively engaged in serving congregations or in the establishment of Mission efforts. This track follows the model put in place by H. M. Muhlenberg and his associates where Lay Catechists were trained by and mentored in preparation for ordination. The applicant need not have a College degree to begin this track but needs to demonstrate some basic awareness of our Lutheran Confessional understandings. Our recent applicant is of this orientation. He comes to us from a Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod background.

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    Assessment and Observations of Word Alone Constituting Convention

    by Pastor Roy A. Steward, ELCM President

    I left Pennsylvania by Auto very early on Thursday March 23 and made a several visits in Michigan and Wisconsin on my journey to the Mahtomedi, MN Word Alone Constituting Convention. I arrived in Stillwater, MN on Saturday March 25 after journeying for a little over 1,200 miles. Pastor Robert Whitehead arrived in Stillwater on Friday March 24 and then joined me for our various events while we were in Minnesota.

    On Sunday March 26 Pr. Whitehead and I attended morning worship at Advent Lutheran Church in Roseville, MN and then I preached the Sermon at the 1:00 P.M. Worship service at Word of God Lutheran Church (An AFLC Mission congregation that ELCM congregations have given Mission support ), Minneapolis.

    The Word Alone Convention began on Sunday Evening March 26 and continued until Wednesday Noon on March 29. Pr. Whitehead and I attended all of the sessions together until Wednesday. Pastor Whitehead's Plane left for Pennsylvania on Wednesday morning and I attended the final sessions of the WA Convention.

    Following the conclusion of the WA Convention I then began the Auto trip east to Pa and made several visits in Wisconsin and in Ohio on the return journey arriving back in Pennsylvania in the afternoon on Friday March 31.

    It was a long trip but many wonderful connections were made. Folks I had known only as Screen names from across the US are now names with faces and persons with whom I have had conversation and discussion. I look forward to attending similar future gatherings as an ELCM observer, Lord Willing.

    Picture of approximately one third of the WAN Assembly. Truly an impressive gathering of people.

    It truly was a very fine Word Alone Convention. In many ways it is most encouraging to be witness to not only the birth of the Word Alone Network that will be taking a stand within the ELCA but also to see so many Lutheran Christians (Laity and Clergy) becoming concerned with re-capturing the emphasis of God's Word Alone and re-discovering the Lutheran Confessions.

    The attendance of Laity from all around the U.S.A. was very impressive and encouraging to this observer.

    The Word Alone effort is truly becoming a movement and movements that include such a large number of the laity are not easily stamped out. The more stamping that takes place the more the sparks begin to spread. This will truly be a dilemma for those who have had their way with a broad and hidden agenda.

    I include here some of what I viewed as strengths of the Word Alone Convention and Weaknesses. Others may have understood these differently but from this outsider looking in on the discussions, of those we in ELCM regard as very close relatives, the following are what I think I observed, heard, and read.

     

    Observed Convention Strengths

      1. Large attendance from congregations and Pastors from 25 states (1500 seating capacity Sanctuary was filled to capacity at the opening and held up at over 1000 throughout the conference).

      2. Impressive and encouraging number of Lay leaders in attendance.

      3. Very fine speakers, presenters, and preachers.

      4. Tremendous facilities for the holding of the conference with the encouragement that some very large congregations are indeed supportive of the effort.

      5. Lots of opportunity for mingling and individual discussion during breaks and in Small group discussions.

      6. The warmth and friendliness of the attendees (Delegates and Observers).

      7. Good audio & visual (Power point) management of the Convention.

      8. Good Chairing of the Convention by Interim Board leaders.

      9. A solid and very realistic assessment based on the CGR was set forth by Madson and Grindal.

      10. A clear and blunt setting forth of the need for action to match talk presented by Schmutzler

      11. A very good mix of former ALC (laity & clergy) and former LCA (laity & clergy). It was clear that this was not just an upper mid western movement.

       

    Picture of the WAN Convention assembly from a slightly different angle.

     

    Items and Areas this observer viewed as Convention Weaknesses (with some commentary).

      1. Very little time provided for open discussion among the delegates from the Floor of the Convention as to the direction of WAN.

      2. The November 1999 WA gathering approved a two prong focus. However at the Constituting Convention only one of the previously approved two prongs was open for discussion, debate, and action. Speakers and Interim Board Leaders seemed to have had an agenda of presenting only the Prong focus for staying in to work for change from within. Subsequent news releases were all focused on the desire of WAN to stay within the ELCA . All of this may have simply happened by default without a planned agenda but it struck me as very curious.

      3. Related to #2 above, the Convention appeared to be managed in a very ELCAesque (ALCesque/LCAesque) manner with Robert's Rules of Order being the dominating and control tool. This observer is a veteran attendee of LCA and ELCA Conventions/ Church wide assemblies and to the eyes of such veterans these factors stand out.

      4. Evening times that could have been utilized for open floor discussions were used only for worship. There really ought to have been time for more free for all discussion.

      5. There was perhaps too much worship time. We certainly cannot hear the Word of Good too much and daily worship and prayer is very important for a Convention intended to be centered upon the Word Alone but for those having traveled long distances the worship times were a bit lengthy and perhaps could have been shortened so that more time could have been focused upon discussion and debate of basic issues - 2 Prong focus, definition of Word Alone, Benevolence redirection, etc.

      6. The scheduling of blunt no nonsense speaker Schmutzler at the very tail end of the Convention when many had already left for home ( a tactic often used by ELCA Convention-meisters and predecessors LCA, ALC Convention managers whereby controversial items are postponed until the tail end of the convention or assembly when it is easier for those controlling the Convention or Assembly to carry the issue as desired).

      7. The Speakers who were very good and who emphasized very solid points for the most part in concluding remarks all (with the exception of Schmutzler/Madson/Grindal) mitigated their main points and emphasized a common theme (by default or by design) of the 1 prong focus of staying in to reform from within.

      8. There was an apparent refusal to truly wrestle with the definition of "Word Alone".

      Someone had adopted or approved a very strange definition of Word Alone for the WAN brochure entitled "The 3 R's of the Word Alone Network". That definition is at some odds with the teachings of the Christian Book of Concord.

      The pamphlet was approved by the Interim WA Steering Committee but was never reviewed or approved by the Convention. It struck me as very strange that something as basic and foundational as defining "Word Alone" was not dealt with by the Convention.

      The phrase "Gospel" [ clearly separated from Canonical Scripture was emphasized], however, was used repeatedly during the Convention and that usage was certainly not in line with the Confessional Lutheran understanding that the Gospel is normed by Scripture.

      It would have been helpful to have heard a discussion of the rejection of the word "inerrant" as it regards "canon, creeds, confessions and doctrines" in contrast to the use in the preface to the Christian Book of Concord of the repeated word "Immutable".

      All such discussions from the floor of the Convention were avoided while an Interim Board in effect set forth and approved the doctrinal understandings of WAN.

      The inconsistency in this matter is curious as again and again the call was issued for folks at the Convention to introduce studies of the Christian Book of Concord (which is intended as exegesis of Canonical Scripture) regarding central Christian Doctrine which of course points always to Christ Alone normed by Canonical Scripture .

      Now I recognized that this was likely a way of avoiding internal dissent within the WAN movement. It is clear that many or most were aware that there are a number of fault lines within the WAN. But if the main unity factor is simply opposition to the imposition of the Historic Episcopate then one wonders why the use of "Word Alone"?

      9. Related to #8 it is my observation that there seemed to be an apparent unwillingness to discuss the underlying reasons for the crisis in the ELCA beyond the present issue of "Historic Episcopacy".

      The impression was conveyed that the main unity factor in WAN is opposition to the Historic Episcopate imposition rather than unity in the "Word Alone" (Sola Scriptura or Sola verba Dei).

      Here as with point 8 the unwillingness to discuss other factors of the crisis in ELCA may have been avoided so as not to fracture an initially frail movement.

      10. It seemed to me that Convention Worship was overly heavy on the "Contemporary" style especially given the context expressed by so many of "reclaiming the Lutheran Witness". Luther's Liturgical style and innovation was very conservative by contrast when it came to Worship changes.

      This may be just a matter of taste, as friends have suggested, but on the other hand the medium truly often becomes the message especially if one is only talking about "Gospel" that is not seen as "normed by canonical Scripture.

      11. The bulk of the Attendees at the WAN convention were from the upper Mid West. This was very apparent during a roll call of attendees from the various States.

      Subsequently, when the elections were held for membership on the official WAN Board those nominated from other parts of the United States that were outside the upper mid West by and large were not elected.

      With a few exceptions all the elected to the newly elected WAN board members were from the upper mid west. Other areas of dense Lutheran population such as Pennsylvania, for example, had no persons elected to the Board even though there were nominations of Pennsylvanians nominated for Board membership.

      12. Related to # 11 of this section, those WAN members located in the upper mid west have a strong built in support system for one another and this will allow them the luxury/ and security to stay in the ELCA while openly working from within their respective Synods without encountering the degree of risk that has been visited upon and will afflict those pastors and congregations in Synods predominantly pro-CCM.

      It appeared that this factor was the basis or common ground for the WAN Convention focus upon only one of the two prongs that had been set forth in the earlier November 99 WA Roseville, MN gathering.

      I don't want to be overly harsh on this point, however, as it simply could have occurred by default and seems to have been somewhat of a surprise to the Convention planners according to WAN friends.

      13. Reality appears to be , to this observer at least, that even given wholehearted support & success of the upper mid west Synods to oppose the CCM that even this [ a successful upper mid west block effort] would not be sufficient to overturn the CCM implementation at an ELCA CWA.

      14. In my opinion and observation the very best that can realistically be hoped for (and I don't believe it is reality to thing that the very best will occur given the history of things) would be compromise of the compromise proposal known as the Common Ground Resolution (CGR).

      Thus after an exhausting and futile political process those tired of the effort will then be faced with the same basic choice they have NOW namely, the choosing of total submission or of leaving.

      15. Those submitting (which will be the bulk of the ELCA unless I am proven wrong in my assessment) will then have set the precedent or helped set the precedent for the subsequent issues arising from the real core problem that will be introduced by a hierarchically and bureaucratically strengthened ELCA officialdom. Once the praxis of submission is set then other very controversial issues will have much easier sailing as they are proposed and then adopted by the ELCA system. Lord Grant that I am wrong in this observation and assessment! Amen.

       

    Some Thinking out loud (or in Print)

      1. As I have reflected on the Convention I believe I see the dilemma that is faced in trying to implement a two prong approach as adopted by Word Alone folk at Roseville in November 1999.

      How does a group of ELCA folk begin a new Lutheran Configuration that can receive congregations and pastor, ordain Seminarians to special mission call or to Call in congregations, etc. and still stay an active and legitimate force within the ELCA?

       

      A possible ELCM help

      We in ELCM, who are tiny and with no power pretensions have offered ELCM as essentially the initial temporary 2nd prong - a safe haven for pastors, congregations and Seminarians.

      At this point we have organized only our national expression of ELCM which is currently functioning as the non geographical synod. As pastors and congregations from a state would desire temporarily to join ELCM they could organize as WA Synod in waiting with their own leaders and then if and when something forms from the Word Alone Network effort they could transfer as a Synodical group into the WAN generated church body.

      We in ELCM would have that understanding up front.

      Congregations and Pastors are beginning to leave the ELCA and to go through colloquy to join other Lutheran Bodies. These are very good groupings but as individual congregations and pastors move in that direction they will essentially be lost with perhaps a few exceptions to any future WAN derived grouping whereas we would stress the temporary safe haven understanding in ELCM and would hope to be in ongoing very close relationship with whatever grouping would form from WAN .

      Thus Ordinations of Seminarians could take place under the temporary safe haven of ELCM. Our constitution calls for a Dean to be the officer normally doing the ordaining but the General Conference would certainly approve having others of WAN serve as the officiants with or without an ELCM Dean present. ELCM ordained seminarians could then accept official calls to ELCA congregations with a precedent set already by (of all congregations) the former ELCA congregations in San Francisco, CA. Or ELCM ordained pastors could be extended a special call by the ELCM General Conference Executive Board to serve as Mission developers. As Benevolences are received these could be earmarked for Salary support to these various newly ordained Pastors.

      Certainly all of this would need to be worked out in detail but truly we would offer ELCM for this service fully understanding that it would be a temporary safe haven arrangement for all choosing that category. At any rate it is something we propose. If the ECUSA can suspend its ordinals we in ELCM can suspend some of our Constitutional provisions for those desiring the temporary safe have category.

       

    Down the Road.

      1.Looking down the road I believe most of us in ELCM would not be locked in to remaining ELCM if a WAN derived grouping would organize around basic principles with which we in ELCM could agree. A WAN derived group being larger we of little ELCM would, I think, be willing to look at a merger or absorption again if the organizational principles would be in harmony with our basic principles.

      If there were areas were we had ongoing differences then we would still be very interested in some sort of Joint Synodical arrangement with a fairly like minded WAN derived grouping.

      2. In my reflecting I see the wisdom [ by WAN] of trying to work within the ELCA as long as possible until either kicked out or so totally blocked that the only choice is total submission of leaving.

      Truly there are a very large number of lay folk who really have not heard of what has been going on much less the implications of the various ELCA actions, such as :
      Formula of Agreement;
      JDDJ;
      and CCM e
      tc.

      An incredible number of pastors for a variety of reasons have kept their congregations very much in the dark on these issues.

      Thus the desire to educate, educate, educate the laity of the congregations is a wise approach in my view.

      3. I understand, I think, the fault lines within WAN and the desire not to bring those fault lines to earth quake status at this time but eventually if it becomes impossible to stay within ELCA those fault lines will need to be dealt with beginning with defining what exactly is truly understood by "Word Alone".

      As more people study the Christian Book of Concord that will indeed, in my view, begin to bring many of these issues to the surface at future WAN gatherings.

      It is my suspicion that some who are at the point of leaving the ELCA NOW are pushed in that direction by definitions that have not received WAN Convention approval such as several printed in the pamphlet "The 3 R's of the Word Alone Network".

       

    Well for now the above are some of my observations and thoughts growing out of the Mahtomedi, MN WAN convention.

    Pastor Whitehead and I were very warmly welcomed and received and we are deeply appreciative. Many now know that a little band now exists primarily in the North East known as ELCM and we are very grateful for the friendships and acquaintances that we have been enabled to make.

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    St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wurtemburg, Rhinebeck New York

    has voted to seek to preserve its 240+ year heritage by leaving the the ELCA. St. Paul Congregation held a special congregational meeting on February 27, 2000 and the members of the congregation casting valid ballots voted unanimously to leave the ELCA and to join the ELCM.

    The second vote of the congregation is scheduled for June.

    Pastor Mark D. Isaacs had resigned from the ELCA Clergy roster in early January upon being received to the Ministerium roster of ELCM. The St. Paul congregation held a duly called congregational meeting on January 23, 2000 and unanimously voted to extend and official Call to Pastor Isaacs to be their Pastor even though they continued to be officially an ELCA congregation and he was a rostered ELCM pastor.

    Since January the St. Paul congregation has shown rapid growth to the point where the congregation anticipates needing the 3 balcony areas of the church Nave for worship seating.

    While the Mahtomedi WAN Convention was in session the congregation received letters from the Bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod and from the ELCA Hudson Conference Pastors of the same Synod. The Conference pastors requested in their letter that St. Paul Congregation reconsider its action. They were joined as signatories by several former pastors of St. Paul's.

    The Letter from the Synod Bishop requested a meeting in May with the St. Paul Council and advised that he would be accompanied by a Synod Council representative.

    St. Paul has ceased all remittance of Benevolence to the Metro New York Synod as well as all participation in Conference or Synodical events.

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    Congregations voting to leave ELCA since January 2000

    St. Paul's of Wurtemburg, Rhinebeck, New York is being joined by other congregations (former LCA and former ALC) who have voted to leave the ELCA. The vote by St. Paul was 100% unanimous based on all valid ballots cast.

    St. Paul's Lutheran, Napoleon, Ohio voted to leave the ELCA in order to join with the AALC on February 13. This was their first vote and was overwhelmingly in favor of leaving. The Pastor like the Pastor of St. Paul Rhinebeck, preceded the vote by joining the AALC and being called as an AALC pastor to the congregation.

    Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Northwood, North Dakota took their first vote to leave the ELCA on February 20. The vote was 86% in favor of leaving.

    St. Luke Lutheran, Traer, Iowa took their first vote to leave the ELCA on February 13. 76% of the congregation voted in favor of leaving. The congregation took the vote even though they were without a pastor.

    Grace Lutheran, Morris, Illinois took their first vote to leave the ELCA since the beginning of the year.

    St. John Lutheran, Ambridge PA has taken their first vote to leave the ELCA since the beginning of the year.

    United Lutheran Church, Manteca, California took its first vote to leave the ELCA and has joined the AALC. United Lutheran Church, Laurel, Nebraska had scheduled its first vote to leave the ELCA on April 9.

    With the basic decision made at the Mahtomedi Word Alone Constituting Convention to try to stay within the ELCA to work for reform, education and change through resolutions in Synods and the election of Bishops who will not support the Historic Episcopacy it appears that there will be a good number of other pastors and congregations who will be moving toward acting to leave ELCA before the CCM requirements go into effect upon the approval of CCM by the Convention of the ECUSA (Episcopalian Church - USA).

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    ELCM Bylaws Editorial Amendment

    Pastor Mark Tiede of WAN was reading over our ELCM organizational principles and came across an error that needed correction. Under Principle #10 item f. He discovered a misprint. The current item reads:

     

      "Elected and Called "Deans" throughout our ELCM structures shall be given the task of pastoring other pastors and the General Conferences within the respective prescribed jurisdictions but it shall be a basic principle that they shall do so without the "Organizational Power" that has again and again in church history proved so frequently destructive and hurtful to the Mission of the Church. [The only authority of a Dean is to be the Word of God and its exposition in the Lutheran Confessions. ] This shall also be the only authority basis of General Conferences and Officers of ELCM, its member Synods, and member Districts."

    We have bracketed the segment above that needed correcting. Many thanks to Pastor Tiede for pointing this area out to us! The bracketed area above should now read (with the consensus approval of the pastors and congregations of ELCM):

     

      "The Deans only authority and power comes from God's Word and the exposition of the Word as set forth in the Lutheran Confessional writings."

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    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY BOOK REVIEW: Frank C, Senn, Christian Liturgy: Catholic and Evangelical, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997), xx & 747 pages.

    by Rev. Mark D. Isaacs, Pastor ELCM St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Wurtemburg 371 Wurtemburg Road Rhinebeck, New York

    I love history of all types. Some people’s brains are wired for mathematics, others for art or music, others for science, and others for dance or physical movement.

    My gray matter is hard wired for all concepts historical. For some reason I tend to understand things if I can see them bracketed and presented within the context of historical narrative, and within the framework of great historical movements such as the Medieval Scholasticism; the Reformation, Protestant Scholasticism [Orthodoxy]; Pietism, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Modernism, and Post modernism.

    As a result, I am here to praise Frank Senn’s masterful historical tome. Senn’s book, Christian Liturgy, is sweeping, detailed, and huge. It costs $55.00; it must weight about seven pounds; and it requires a major change in lifestyle to read, reflect, and digest. I have been reading --and studying-- my copy since December 1998.

    Senn’s book is a detailed historical survey of Christian Liturgy from the Early Church [the Patristic Period] down to the present day. Senn’s book is a virtual encyclopedia of Christian worship that you will want to use and reuse for the remainder of your career. Senn’s book gives the reader a deep sense of historical perspective that provides a high level of immunity from the most recent worship fads and trends.

    Senn’s book stands in line with Luther’s Reed’s great classic [and now dated] The Lutheran Liturgy first published in 1947. Reed revised and updated his book in 1960 to help educate Lutheran worshipers about the red Service Book and Hymnal of 1958.

    When the Lutheran Book of Worship was published in 1978 Senn and Philip H. Pfatteicher agreed to produce a history and a commentary on the LBW. Pfatteicher’s useful –and somewhat dry-- Commentary on the LBW was published in 1990. Pfatteicher’s book is an excellent resource which provides guidelines for specific services. In contrast Pfatteicher’s Commentary Senn’s book is a sweeping historical overview that can and should be read cover to cover. Thus, the two books compliment one another.

    If you are a Lutheran clergy person, or a worship planner or a lay leader, Senn’s book is a must read. My wish is that Augsburg Fortress could get the price down so that every Lutheran Church could buy a copy --and use it. Along with the LBW, WOV, and Pfatteicher’s works Senn’s book could spark and sustain a real liturgical renaissance. Knowing why we do what we do --liturgy as the work of the people-- deepens and enhances our worship busting us out of the LBW Setting One Sunday grind that many of our churches have been caught in since 1978.

    Senn’s book is as much about the future as it is about the past. After reading Senn’s book I feel confident that we Lutherans have the Lectionary, the tradition, the full rich liturgy, the depth and the breath to fill our people with the full substance of Word and Sacrament. Most American Protestants --mislead by shallow emotionalism, bogged down with Decisional Theology, and caught up with the latest worship fads and trends [e.g., Praise music, the Church Growth Movement, etc.]-- in the long run leave you longing and searching for more substance. Senn’s magnum opus certainly provides the substance that potentially could lead the Church back to the joy and the wealth of the traditional Christian liturgy!

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    Presidents Inter Lutheran contacts on the trip West, North, Southeast and East (to and from Mahtomedi)

    A series of highlights in my the trip to attend the WAN Convention was the opportunity to stop and visit with folk from a variety of Lutheran traditions. There were meetings along the way with:

     

    • ELCA Lay leaders unable to attend the Mahtomedi gathering,

       

    • With and Independent Lutheran Pastor and his growing and expanding Non denominational congregation (which is composed of 90% former Lutherans);

       

    • With the folk of a tiny AALC congregation that has its own church but no pastor and who have been meeting for years in the church listening to a weekly refreshed tape recorded service and Sermon from a large Lutheran congregation in Iowa (they sing along with the liturgy and the hymns and then listen to the lessons, Sermon, etc. and insert their own prayers;

       

    • with lay members and a leader of the LMS-USA;

       

    • with dear friends of the AOELS;

       

    • with many of the officers of the AALC who were in attendance at the Mahtomedi gathering;

       

    • with the little Mission congregation of the AFLC in Minneapolis that ELCM congregations have given mission support, together with their pastor and several leaders in the AFLC;

       

    • and finally with a member of the CLC who likes the Centrist Lutheran Stance.

       

    ELCA of course stands for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
    AALC or TAALC stands for the American Association of Lutheran Churches or sometimes called the Association of American Lutheran Churches;
    AFLC stands for the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (or is it Churches);
    AOELS stands for the Augustana Orthodox & Evangelical Lutheran Synod formed by those who won the freedom for pastors to withdraw Pension funds from the ELCA.
    LMS-USA stands for the Lutheran Ministerium & Synod - USA;
    CLC stands for the Church of the Lutheran Confessions;
    And of course ELCM stands for the Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium of North America.

    With the groups that were from the former ALC or LCA and the present ELCA background President Steward raised the possibility of establishing a consortium of synods for exploring areas of joint effort, exchange of information about call opportunities, etc. This would not be an attempt to merge the various groups and would allow each to maintain the special concerns that led to the respective formations and polities. All of the above mentioned groupings with the exception of CLC have come out of the ALC/LCA or ELCA and represent a spectrum of Moderate to Middle Conservative. It would be hoped that a group emerging from the WAN movement might also be included in such a consortium.

    From the initial feelers there seemed to be interest in a Consortium.

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    Additions to our Web site links

    -We think we have figured out how to do a map link where in the different areas of the map or in this case a "Reformation Collage" are link-able to other parts of our site. Check it out and let us know if it works for you. It is listed at the top of the side bar link scroll area as ELCM Collage.

    -Members of Faith Lutheran who have been avid home schoolers and have been doing a terrific job at educating their children now have set up a web site. In fact the kiddos of these home schoolers know the Small Catechism inside and out and are on their way to a better than average understanding of the entire BOC. The introduction of the Catechism by Luther was certainly intended to be used in home schooling. At any rate our ELCM home schoolers now have a Web page and that is linked to the ELCM site from the side bar scroll-able link area. Check it out ! Pastor Steward recently served as a Judge for a Home School History and Science Project fair held in the Altoona PA. Area. He reports on what he viewed as truly impressive work by the large number of home school students taking part in the event.

    -We have added the Web site of "Abiding Word Ministries" to our links of other Lutherans that we recommend. Abiding Word Ministries is produced by former LCA and now AFLC pastor David Barnhart. They produce a publication entitled "The Vine and Branches" and have been a great deal of help over the years to many seeking to know about the various trends in Lutheranism and of the options available for pastors and congregations. Our link to Abiding Word is also located in our scroll-able side bar link area.

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    Post Easter/ Pre Ascension-Pentecost Issue of ELCM Online: May 19, 2000

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    ELCM President Journeys since March

    Pastor Steward has made two journeys since March 23. The first was an overland round trip by Auto to Mahtomedi, MN via Michigan to the UP of Michigan and then across Northern WI to Minnesota. The return trip was via Southern WI to Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. On this trip President Steward visited with ELCA Lay members, ELCA Pastors, the Pastor and family of an Independent Congregation, TAALC members, LMS-USA members, AOELS leaders, AFLC pastors and members, and a member of the CLC. These contacts with Laity and Clergy together with acquaintances made during the Mahtomedi WAN Convention are viewed as very helpful.

    On May 7 President Steward began a second trip of visitation. This was not nearly as lengthy but nonetheless covered a good portion of Eastern and East Central Upstate New York. On this journey Pr. Steward met with ELCA lay members at various locations and with the leaders and pastor of one of our New York ELCM congregations. As with the first journey so also this 2nd journey is viewed as very helpful.

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    Pastor Robert Whitehead Impressions of the WAN Convention held at Mahtomedi on March 26, 2000

    Over all, I was impressed with the Word Alone conference, particularly with the large attendance of laity.

    Other factors:

    .1. they did not establish a support system, financial, spiritual, etc., for pastors who would be punished by presiding bishops.
    2. Neglected to form a committee to study the church constitution to finds means and measures for the defeating CCM from within.
    3. [Failed to] Establish guide lines for congregations and, or, pastors who elect to remove themselves from the [ELCA] church roll.
    4. [Did not establish the ] Procedure for "recalling" a bishop and REMOVE him from office
    5. [Appeared to be ] Using seminarians as test material in "ordination" without some support for them to find and serve congregations outside of the ELCA.
    6. [Failed to] Establish a profile of congregations willing and able to withdraw from the national church [ELCA].

    [Pastor Whitehead attended the WAN Convention with President Steward as an ELCM observer. He also attended and participated with Pr. Steward in visits to AOELS leaders and with AFLC pastors and members.]

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    Reopened Reflections and Conversations about Women on the ELCM Clergy Roster

    Shortly after the organization of ELCM the pastors and congregations of ELCM determined to make ELCM available as a "Temporary Safe Haven" for any and all Lutheran congregations and pastors who might need such. Our view was that an emergency situation could well develop and we determined to provide a safe haven for all ELCA Lutherans who might need such a place. As part of our concern to provide a Temporary Safe Haven it was decided that ELCM needed to make provision for "Word Alone focused Women pastors" and congregations served by Word Alone focused women pastors. It was also our desire to provide a Temporary safe haven for Word Alone focused ELCA Seminarians. We took our ELCM action to allow for Women Pastors and Women Seminarians who would be Word Alone in focus shortly after our September 1999 Constituting and organization as ELCM.

    Since taking our action to provide a Temporary safe haven for ELCA Word Alone focused pastors and congregations it has become more and more clear that ELCM is unlikely to receive any application for membership by Word Alone focused women pastors. Therefore since no applications have been received for Temporary Safe Haven membership in ELCM by Word Alone focused Women pastors and/ or by congregations served by Word Alone focused Women pastors and since The Seminary Graduation time for current Seniors has arrived with no applications to ELCM for Safe Haven by Word Alone Focused Women Seminarians we in ELCM have begun a re-examination of our position on the matter. We have seen notification of the ELCA WordAlone Network (WAN) Board of Directors action to begin their own "Association of Congregations and Pastors" as the 2nd prong of their efforts. This would in effect become a new Denomination for ELCA congregations and pastors feeling they no longer can remain in the ELCA. This new WAN Association will thus provide the safe haven that we in ELCM attempted to make available. We are still hopeful that down the road we will be able to have a fraternal connection with the congregations and pastors of the WAN Association but it is our desire to be faithful to Scripture and so with a substitute for our emergency Temporary Safe Haven now being put in place by WAN we will again open reflection on the matter of "Women in Ministry".

    Some, indeed likely most, in ELCM favor returning to an earlier proposal known as "Grand mothering". This proposal would allow for the reception of women who have already been ordained into the ELCA but who are Word Alone in orientation. These would be Women pastors specifically making application to join ELCM with a congregation. Under this proposal any "Word Alone in focus woman pastor serving congregations" could be received onto the ELCM clergy roster and continue to serve that respective congregation. No ordination of Women by ELCM would, however, occur. In the place of the praxis of ordaining Women there would instead be an ELCM program for the training and "consecration" of women to serve as "Deaconesses". It is posited that provision for Deaconesses as an office for women desiring to do public ministry would be much more in line with the clear Biblical witness.

    This matter is only under discussion at this point in time, however. In order to change the previous ELCM positions allowing for Word Alone focused Women pastors and for the ordination of Word Alone focused Women Seminarians a consensus support from all ELCM pastors and congregations will be needed. We are not intending to rush to a decision but will take a close look at the writings of men like Dr. C. H. Little ( Seminary Professor of ULCA days) et. al. The matter at any rate has now been reopened for consideration in light of the action reported from the ELCA WAN Board of Directors. Comments and thoughts pro or con from all on our mailing list are very welcome.

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    Thoughts on the Women in Ministry Subject

    (from a friend of ELCM who comes from the same Eastern US Colonial New York Ministerium tradition as the President of ELCM. He writes his comments to our President)

    "I'm sure that you have heard most if not all of the Lutheran theological arguments against women pastors, so I won't repeat them now. Some of the arguments coming out of the Lutheran Church are not, in my opinion, Lutheran arguments, but are instead Roman Catholic arguments or Greek Orthodox arguments. The Lutheran arguments are summarized most basically in one of the chapters of C. H. Little's DISPUTED DOCTRINES.

    I'll make two small points and then move on to another subject. I think that when you apply the Galatians passage to the question of women in the public ministry in the way that you do, you are not using that passage correctly. The sedes doctrinae for the doctrine of the public ministry should be those passages that address the subject of the public ministry. Passages that address other topics should not be used to obscure the clear intent of the passages that address the topic under discussion. So, while Galatians might very well have something to say, in a general sense, to the discussion of the public ministry, it is not on an equal footing with those passages that address the subject explicitly. That's the principle Luther was following in his exegesis of the applicable passages. He wasn't trying to "balance" what Saint Paul said in Galatians or anywhere else with what St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy. He was simply trying to take it all into account, in its proper context and with careful attention to what St. Paul was saying in each place.

    Second, have you given thought to promoting the restoration of the office of Deaconess, with a full and vigorous use of that office, as an alternative to ordaining women as pastors? There may very well be a legitimate yearning on the part of many women to serve the church in some form of "public ministry" which would not necessarily be THE public ministry. You can say, "Sure, we ordain women. We ordain them to the office of Deaconess." Much of what you say about the historical evidence for women serving in various capacities would be addressed by a restoration of the office of Deaconess."

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    Southern Baptist Convention adopts an approach very similar to the Grand mothering proposal before ELCM.

    Southern Baptists Take Pastor Stand by RICHARD N. OSTLING AP Religion Writer

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The Southern Baptists, America's largest Protestant denomination, have drawn up a proposed statement of belief declaring that women should no longer be ordained as pastors. The statement, released Thursday, will come up for ratification at the denomination's annual meeting June 13-14 in Orlando, Fla. The text reads: ''While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.'' A footnote cites biblical support in 1 Timothy 2:9-14 (''I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent'').

    The estimated 1,600 current Southern Baptist clergy women would be allowed to continue to serve, but the text opposes future ordinations.

    Passage of the text is likely, said the Rev. Molly Marshall, who was a faculty member of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville,KYy., until her 1994 dismissal. She said the action ''signals a long, repressive period.''

    For the Baptists, the document is not a ''creed'' but a statement of generally shared principles. Though local congregations and individuals are not bound by its tenets, the text can affect hiring decisions.

    Besides the male-pastors-only language, the Baptist convention platform includes changes on such issues as abortion, homosexuality and mercy killing, in line with the strong conservative shift in the denomination, which has 15.8 million members in nearly 41,000 congregations.

    In 1998, the Southern Baptists declared that a wife should ''submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.'' That was the last straw for about a dozen congregations that quit the denomination.

    The chairman of the committee that drafted the new statement was the Rev. Adrian Rogers of Memphis, Tenn., whose election as the Southern Baptists' president in 1979 began the denomination's rightward move.

    The Rev. Addie Davis of North Carolina was the first known Southern Baptist woman to be ordained, in 1964, said Sarah Frances Anders, a retired sociology professor at Louisiana College. However, Davis could not obtain a Southern Baptist post and joined the American Baptist Churches. Ordinations are conducted by local congregations, and the national denomination keeps no records by gender. But Anders has documented ordinations of 1,597 women, of whom about 100 are pastors leading congregations. The rest are associate pastors, chaplains or educators.

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    Church Structure analogy - Funny but sadly all too true !

    MAJOR U.S. RESEARCH UNIVERSITY DISCOVERS NEW ELEMENT!

    The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by investigators at a major U.S. research university. The element, tentatively named Administratium, has no protons or electrons and thus has an atomic number of 0. However, it does have 1 neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons, and 111 assistant vice neutrons. This gives it an atomic mass of 312.

    These 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons. It is also surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

    Since it has no electrons, Administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every reaction it comes in contact with. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would have normally occurred in less than one second.

    Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons, and assistant vice neutrons exchange places. In fact, an Administratium sample's mass actually INCREASES over time, since with each reorganization some of the morons inevitably become neutrons, forming new isotopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to speculate that perhaps Administratium is spontaneously formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "critical morass."

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    New York update

    St. Paul's voted by unanimous vote in February to leave the ELCA in order to unite with ELCM. They receive their consultation from the ELCA Metro Synod Bishop at the meeting of the St. Paul Council on May 25, 2000. The Congregations council invited the Bishop to submit a pastoral letter if he so desired which they would then send to the voting members of the congregation. A date specific was set for receipt of any such letter but none was forthcoming. A Second Official vote by the congregation is scheduled for Sunday June 4 and is anticipated to be strongly affirmative of leaving the ELCA in order to unite with ELCM. The Congregation reports that there has been very little contact from the Bishop's office or anyone else in the Synod since their unanimous decisions to call an ELCM pastor to be their pastor and to leave the ELCA. A letter was received from the pastors of the Conference to which the congregation had been a member urging the congregation to reconsider its decision. Since taking the action to call an ELCM pastor and to leave the ELCA the St. Paul congregation has begun the largest congregation in its immediate Mid Hudson New York area. It has been showing rapid and steady growth in membership while neighboring congregations have been in steady membership decline and dwindling attendance. In areas adjacent to the St. Paul vicinity there are large numbers of congregations that have not been able to obtain pastors to fill a call. A goodly number of these have been encouraged to form large multi-parish arrangements served by one pastor. This often is a prelude to closing the congregations in order to build one new church. St. Paul, however, stands as a light set upon a hill as to what can be accomplished when a pastor is called who clearly preaches and teaches based upon Scripture alone and upon the Lutheran Confessional understandings. Parts of the present St. Paul building date to 1760.

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    Work begins to produce Brochures and Pamphlets for ELCM

    One of the persons visited with during President Stewards overland trip to Mahtomedi, Minnesota was and is a very talented computer literate techy. He has produced several sample brochures for ELCM on various positions and topics that are touched upon in the official ELCM Web site information. In the weeks ahead we will be working on fine tuning these and our ELCM publications board will be in action. We are not sure what to call our Publications but the name our Techy advisor suggests is "Muhlenberg Publications". Perhaps we could combine Berkenmyer and Muhlenberg together in a harmonious title for our publications or we could reach back even further to the names of some even earlier Lutheran Pastors in the America's.

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    Right in line with Predictions

    Some have been predicting that the CCM or Historic Episcopacy push is but the beginning of a much wider agendum and so right in line with this there has now come forth the action of the Greater Milwaukee Area Synod of the ELCA regarding the Blessing of Same Sex Unions.

    The text of the Greater Milwaukee Synod Resolution on same-sex unions:

    " 1. Recognition and Blessing of Relationships

    WHEREAS the Greater Milwaukee Synod is a Reconciling in Christ Synod, making public affirmation that gay and lesbian people are welcome in our congregations and are invited to participate fully in congregational life and ministry; and

    WHEREAS God creates us to be in relationship with one another as expressed in scripture and that both scripture and society sanction faithful committed and monogamous relationships in which human sexuality is only one dimension of human intimacy and relationship; and

    WHEREAS gay and lesbian Christians already experience God's grace and love through such relationships; and

    WHEREAS the ELCA has neither affirmed or prohibited committed same gender relationships in the past; and

    WHEREAS Lutheran churches in Europe, notably the Lutheran Church of Denmark and the Lutheran Church of the Netherlands, recognize and bless same gender relationships; therefore be it

    RESOLVED, that a committed relationship be defined as one where there is love, quality, faithfulness and endurance and mutual uplifting of spirits; and be it further

    RESOLVED, that the Greater Milwaukee Synod recognizes and affirms the blessing of such committed same gender relationships by pastors of this synod after counseling with the couple seeking such a blessing."

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    Signing off of the Augsburg 7 WAN Listserv

    The volume of Email's was becoming very large and the content was becoming very depressing to read. So many cling to the notion that there is somehow a way to change the ELCA from within; So many others posting to this particular WAN Listerv seem to like the ELCA the way it is with the exception of the decision to adopt the Historic Episcopacy. It was emphasized that the correct spelling of the movement is "WordAlone" and not "Word Alone". This came through as an effort to move away from The Word of God Alone as the normative basis for the Gospel. So much that our observers witnessed at Mahtomedi seemed to be verified again and again by the various posters on theAugsburg 77 listserv. One of the good things about attending Mahtomedi was to see who was speaking from the podium and from the floor of the WAN Convention. A very large proportion of those speaking there were the same persons who post a good bit on the listserv. And so having eyes to see and ears to hear and believing that those eyes really saw what they saw, read what was truly printed, and that the ears really heard what was spoken with all of it forming a whole It came time to drop off the listserv for it was becoming very depressing. All in WAN are wished well and we hope something will form with which we in ELCM can be in close fellowship but since getting off the listserv the mood has lightened on this end. Faith comes through hearing the Word Alone (notice the spelling). "Heaven and earth will pass away but the Word of our God will endure forever ! Amen." or another way of expressing the same is "God's Word Alone will endure forever". The Word of God is not the manger that the Baby Jesus outgrew. The Word of God is embodied in Jesus who fulfills it all! He does not abolish any of it but fulfills it. The Scripture norms the Gospel.

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    Seminarian Report

    Our first ELCM Seminarian has begun his studies via the track #2 program via the Trinity Seminary, Newburgh IN program. He reports that before he applied for our Seminary Study program he had taken correspondent courses through the Moody Institute program but that those can not even begin to compare with the Reading, writing, and study program that he has now been enrolled in as part of the Trinity program. Some have charged (falsely) that the Trinity program is simply a "diploma mill" but from our Seminarian report such is definitely not the case. We of course new that it was a high quality study program before we considered it for our track #2 approach but it is always good to have this affirmed by those who are in the program and who have had some basis for comparison. One of our pastors who graduated from an ELCA Seminary has been involved in PhD study through Trinity and has remarked that he has learned much more through the Trinity program than he did through all of his 4 years at the ELCA Seminary. The neat part of this Trinity Seminary program is that it allows men to study for the ministry at a most affordable cost and doesn't require them or their spouse to be uprooted from their day jobs. The study can progress at the Students own pace and through the licensing for Lay Ministry a Seminarian can be involved in ministry throughout out his time of study and preparation for ordination.

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    September 7 is the 1 year Anniversary of the Constituting of ELCM

    In just 3 months our tiny mustard seed Centrist Lutheran Synod will be one year old. It is hard to believe how quickly the time has passed by. Our Official Web site was begun in November of 1999. Until we grow a bit larger the National General conference of ELCM which is scheduled to meet in convention every third year will continue as the non geographical ELCM Synod. Once larger clusters of congregations form in the various adjoining States or Provinces we can then organize specific geographical member Synods. At present it is looking as if Pennsylvania and New York will be the first states enabled to organize specific ELCM member Synods. Had WAN congregations and pastors taken us up on our offer to be the 2nd prong of their effort the congregations and pastors leaving ELCA could have formed their own ELCM Synods under their own chosen leaders in a number of the Midwestern/ Western States. That possibility now however seems to be fading with the decision by the WAN board of Directors to begin their own association of Congregations and pastors leaving ELCA.

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    ELCM Web site updates

    - Our ELCM comparison with other Lutherans has received some editing and sharpening and is now located in a more visible position on our Doctrine and Praxis page.
    - Grace Lutheran (Queens) Mission has added information on its page
    -St. Paul's, Rhinebeck has an expanded link connection with a home page set up in Rhinebeck, New York. These pages give more information about St. Paul congregation and about the St. Paul Pastor, The Rev. Mark Isaacs.
    -Our Collage page links has been having some difficulties. It is visible but the links don't seem to work. Web servant needs to do more study of Mapping.
    -Additional Scripture passages are about to be added to our Ichthus (fish) link relative to God using that which is small or even nonexistent to work his work as in "He hath humbled the proud in the imagination of their hearts and lifted up them of low degree" etc.

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    President Steward Availability

    Pastor Steward is available to speak about ELCM and will visit whenever invited to meet with pastors and/or groups of concerned Lay people and/or with congregation study committees and /or with congregations. Simply Email Revroy@elcm.org and get telephone information or set up a visit date. We are blessed to have members of the Church Boards (Councils) who are willing and able to lead worship while Pastor Steward is traveling.

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    ELCM is ready, willing and able to accept liked minded pastors and congregations to preserve, protect and defend the historical articles of faith that make us Lutheran.

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    Benevolence Support areas we recommend

    World Mission
    - Ukraine Lutheran Church (ULC) St. Sophia Seminary

    American Mission
    - Grace Lutheran Mission Congregation (Queens, New York).
    - Word of God Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, Minnesota).
    - ELCM Direct Support to Seminarians studying for ordination.

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    September 2002 Edition (Pre First National Triennial General Conference/ Synod)

    November 2002 Edition

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