When the founding 2 Congregations and 1 Pastor organized ELCM
there was a conviction that the Lord would work through the effort. This page puts faces on those whom the Lord has raised up to be present and future leaders of ELCM. We are still a mustard seed Synod but truly the Lord has caused an considerable increase in our Mustard seed size and personnel. Sola Dei Gloria (To God alone the Glory)!
ELCM has grown
from an initial presence in PA to a current 17 U.S. States and 2 Provinces of Canada..
A Concern Expressed over the ELCM basis of organization.
From several directions we heard word of concerns that the basis of ELCM was still primarily the current president. One of the remarks indicated the sense that the president was a very nice person but was an older pastor and raised worry over what might happen to ELCM as an Organization if some-thing should happen to the president. A quick look at this page will show that the base for ELCM continues to broaden in very significant ways, not only geographically but also in the age make of the Ministerium. The Lord is raising up new leaders. SDG.
The New ELCM Mission Congregation planned for an area located just west of Springfield in Houston, OH
which was to be named: Hope Lutheran has not come to pass. Many efforts at missions do not come to pass. We remain open to many new mission possibilities but reality is that many efforts will not become planted. The Layman, Mr. Jerome Schmidt, a very fine and dedicated Christian, who was leading the effort and who had intended to make application to be a licensed Minister through ELCM for the effort had second thoughts after some of the members of the effort declared that they wanted no connection with Luthers Catechisms. The Augustana Teaching Catechism that is approved by ELCM was sent to the mission leader to be used as a basis for his teaching and preaching in the mission effort but upon distribution of the Catechism (which is referenced by Holy Scripture for every segment) one of the members of the group reportedly threw their copy into a garbage can. Another said they would not allow there family members to attend a church that based its understandings upon the teachings of the Small Catechism. It was good to discover these things before a Mission effort was launched. Clearly a number of those seeking to be part of the proposed mission were opposed to the truly Evangelical (Lutheran) understandings. Those opposed to the Small Catechism as set forth with Scripture references in the Augustana Catechism clearly desired a Fundamentalistic orientation. We continue in prayer that an ELCM Mission may become a possibility in the Houston area.
Mr. Jerome Schmidt a dedicated Layman who explored leading an ELCM Mission congregation effort in the Houston, OH area is pictured with President Steward in the home of Forest & Melba McMaken, Piqua OH. The ELCM President made the visit on the return from his January trip west to Chicago.
Proposed Official Call as Assistant Pastor withdrawn by two congregations.
Faith Ev. Lutheran Congregation, Duncansville PA and Barley Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, New Enterprise, PA both have affirmed the unanimous action by the Official Board (Council) of each respective congregation to withdraw a pro-posed consideration of an Official Call to the Rev. William Hartmann to be Assistant to the Pastor and Mission Development Pastor for the two congregations. Attempts were made to dissuade the Hartmanns from coming to PA because of the economic realities of the area and because the congregations would not be able to pay any salary. No Official Call had been prepared or extended and yet the Hartmanns moved to the Northern Blair County area of Pa from DeBarry, Fla. Difficulties became apparent during a time when Pr. Hartmann supplied the Pulpit while the Pastor was on vacation and out of town to attend meetings in the Midwest. In discussions that followed Pr. Hartmann declared that he had no intention or desire of being an Assistant to the anyone. He conveyed this declaration to members of the Congregations and to the Pastor. Based upon this declaration, the Boards of each congregation unanimously acted to cease any further consideration of extending an official call to him for service in any capacity to the congregations. Board actions were posted to the congregations for a required 30 day period and the congregations affirmed the actions of the respective Boards. Rev. Hartmann is currently without any call within ELCM or to any ELCM approved Ministry. The door has been left open for him to request consideration for Call by the Executive Board of ELCM but to date he has not pursued that avenue of Call.
Penta rostered pastor and congregation resign from 4 rostered memberships in : ELCM, AFLC, LCMC, and ALD.
The Rev. Jeffrey Iverson and his congregation, Word of God Lutheran Church , Brooklyn Park, MN applied to and was received as a rostered member of ELCM in August 2002. Rev. Iverson had given the impression that he and his congregation were no longer members of the LMS-USA (Lutheran Ministerium & Synod USA) and of the AFLC (Association of Free Lutheran Churches) but that they were members of the Augsburg District of LCMC (ALD & LCMC). A joint agreement with the Augsburg Lutheran District is being proposed in which pastors would choose which body they wish for their primary membership. The discussion of that proposed agreement with ALD of LCMC evidently caused Pastor Iverson to decide that he and his congregation should have membership in only one Lutheran Church body. He thus sent out a letter of resignation for himself and his congregation from ELCM. In that letter it was then that we discovered, to our surprise, that he and his congregation had held membership in 5 groupings. The Faith and Barley congregations sent Rev. Iverson and his Mission congregation a good sum of Mission aid as they attempted to become planted. In ELCM, Congregations and pastors are allowed to hold dual memberships but we ask and expect that the respective pastor and congregation be up front in sharing their various memberships and we expect that ELCM either be either the primary body of affiliation or at the very minimum that ELCM be given equal active standing in active affiliation. Dual membership has been viewed primarily as an arrangement for congregations or pastors seeking to leave another affiliation or for pastors and congregations that are members of another grouping with whom ELCM has no official bilateral agreement.
During their sojourn wanderings and search for a truly Centrist Lutheran Church Body the Faith and Barley Congregations and Pastor Steward had been members of the LMS-USA. Pastor Steward was LMS-USA Synod Chairman at the time of Rev. Iversons Ordination. LMS was intended to be very much like ELCM but moved away from the consensus to governance by majority Clergy and a lock step Middle Conservative Orientation.
German to English translation work Continues
Pastor John Cobb reports that he continues the work on translations of meditations based on Job, chapters 1-12, from German into English. These meditations are from "Gott ist fuer uns" (God is for us) published by the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in Germany and are intended as help for Christians suffering under serious illness.
Further, he continues the work on translating "Nacht und neuer Morgen" (After the Darkness; Daybreak) which is a portrait of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia. This Finnish-background Church body has just recently (1997) established fellowship with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
Dr. Cobb reports the interesting finding that when most of the pastors were executed and the Churches in Russia were without male pastors that the practice of licensing women to lead worship and to preach in the absence of any male leaders was adopted.
In another piece of news Dr. Cobb reports that the Canadian ELCIC (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada) which is the Canadian equivalent of the USAs ELCA appears to be in the process of selling the property of its sole remaining Seminary at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Evidently the Church Seminary property will be sold to a larger Canadian University and the Seminary will then have use of facilities on the campus of the University. The trend appears to be to amalgamate with other denominations and to sell off any specifically historical Lutheran identity in order to begin to blend in with others in an ecumenical effort that increasingly looks toward eventual merger. The Saskatoon Lutheran Seminary is well over 100 years old and the property and buildings of the Seminary were acquired and erected by generations of faithful Lutheran parishioners who made significant sacrifices in order to create a visible and concrete Lutheran presence in central Western Canada. The other Canadian Lutheran Seminary had been located at Waterloo, Ontario and the property of that Seminary was sold in a similar move a number of years earlier. This process may soon begin to appear in the US as Episcopalian, Reformed, and ELCA Seminaries begin to merge their efforts.
St. Thomas Congregation
has voted unanimously to declare itself "In Statu Confessionis" with the ELCA and the NorthEastern Ohio Synod. Click on the picture of St. Thomas to go to the St. Thomas Web site. Click here to view the statement unanimously adopted by the Congregation.
St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church is a former congregation of the LCA which merged with the ALC and AELC to form the ELCA. The Congregation adopted a Status Confession-is resolution concerning its cur-rent membership in the ELCA in February 2002. A congregation can adopt such a document and then call an Evangelical Lutheran pastor of its own choosing. In effect the congregation has declared the Church Body to be guilty of false teaching and departure from the Evangelical Lutheran foundations. The Congregation can thus proceeded to ignore the rules and procedures of the Church body it has found to be guilty of aapostasyand false teaching.
St. Thomas Congregation has been and continues to be served by Rob Taylor who is an ELCM Licensed Minister approved for Ordination. The congregation was originally an LCA Mission and went through a long series of terrible pastorates which resulted in the congregation almost being forced to close its doors. Robbie F. Taylor came to St. Thomas as a Licensed Minister before he was a member of the ELCA. At the time of his initial calling he held membership in a Presbyterian Church. Under Robs Ministry the St. Thomas Congregation has steadily experienced growth and an increased ability to stand on its own. The members of the congregation have been very concerned with the drift of the ELCA away from the Biblical and Confessional Witness. The above mentioned resolution declares that the congregation views the ELCA and its North East Ohio Synod (NEOS) as having departed from the Biblical and Confessional foundations. St. Thomas voted by a unanimous vote of its membership to extend an official Call to Rob Taylor who is rostered with ELCM to be their pastor and he has accepted the official Call.
A Proposed Agreement of Cooperation between ELCM and ALD
has been edited several times and has been posted for ELCM leaders (Pastors and Lay leaders) to review and to propose changes. The General Conference Executive Board has approved the Agreement as it is posted in this issue and the ALD Joint Council is proceeding to present the Bilateral agreement to the congregations of ALD for their ratification and approval. It is hoped that if all in ELCM and in ALD are in approval of the proposed and adopted Bilateral agreement that it may be Officially signed either in June or later this coming Summer and thus establish official bilateral relations between ELCM and ALD.
Book Series on Experiences encountered
by those coming out of ELCA We have no desire to engage in any bashing of the ELCA but a number of pastors have had truly horrible experiences in trying to come out of the ELCA and some of the pastors have expressed a desire to write a book about their experiences. Pastor Isaacs posted a truly delightful suggestion for a series of books that we could publish in a set of volumes. As some were writing about how to title a book about their experiences, Pastor Isaac posted the following note in reply to one of the pastors: I can't wait to read your book. The problem is, Stephen King has already written similar horror stories! Here are some potential titles: Carrie.. as Larry; Chicago's Lot; The Stand, Part II [The Darkman Returns as a Consultation Committee]; Silver Bulletin; The Dead Church Zone; Liturgical Dance Macabre; Cycle of the Were-Bishop; Misery [or My Life as a "Clergyhuman" in the ELCA]; Pet Seminary; The Shining Chancel Prancer; The Assistant to the Bishop's Crew; It [or the Transgender Pastor]; and The Lutheranknockers. And inspired by Alfred Hitchcock; Psychobabble; Dial L For Lutheran;
In MemoriumReverend Robert O. Whitehead died January 18th, 2003 in Hershey Pennsylvania. He was born on June 4, 1928, at Auburn, Massachusetts, the son of George F. Whitehead and Helen M. Stuart Whitehead.
Robert O. Whitehead was a graduate of Keene State College, Keene, N.H., with an Ed. B. Degree in Secondary Education. He returned to the college as a substitute teacher in the art department. He entered the United States Marine Corps and served during the Korean War. He then entered the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, PA, from which he earned a Bachelor of Divinity Degree. He was ordained into the parish ministry by the United Lutheran Church of America, the New York and New England Synod, in June of 1958. He served St. Luke Lutheran church of Queens, New York City, as Assistant Pastor and Director of Youth Ministry. He attended Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary as a doctrinal candidate.
In 1960, Pastor Whitehead served the Fayetteville Lutheran Parish, Fayetteville, PA. Under his guidance the parish was divided in 1962, at which time he elected to serve the Scotland-Greenvillage Parish, Scotland, PA. While serving this parish he was adopted as Chief into the Seven Indian Nations in honor of his charitable activities. In 1965, he was elected Pastor to St. Paul Lutheran congregation of Harrisburg, PA and in 1970 became the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran congregation of Hershey, PA. In November 1999, he became an active pastor and Dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Conference and Ministerium, (ELCM).
He served as the Assistant to the Professor of Christian Education at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg and was on the Synodical Board of education and Camping. He was also the director of Jr. Camps at Camp Nawakwa, Arendstville, PA. He served on the Salvation Army Board. He also held the office of Chaplain in the Marine Corps League for the Landis Macleaf Detachment, Chambersburg, the Department of PA and as the National Chaplain. He was a Life Member and Judge Advocate of the Bob Smith Detachment of Hummelstown, PA. He was also a Life Member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
He was active in many community functions as well as serving as pastor to the Augsburg congregation, Sand Hill, Hershey. He spearheaded the drive for the highway relocation in Scotland, PA as well as having a responsible role in defeating the relocation of State Highway 422 through the Sand Hill section of Hershey.
An active aviator, he assisted in the establishment of The Experimental Aircraft Association chapter in Gettysburg. He assisted the operation of the Custer channel Wing Co. of Hagerstown, Maryland. He became president of the Custer Channel Aircraft Company of Hagerstown. In 1985, he donated the CCW-5 aircraft to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum now on display in Reading, PA.
During his retirement from the ministry, he was active in the restaurant business holding positions from Chef to Corporate Chef, consultant and Chef de Cuisine instructor for the Central Pennsylvania Culinary School.
He is survived by his wife, Faye Elsa Luckenbill of Kutztown, PA and their sons families: COL Stuart and Doris Whitehead of Carlisle, PA and Jeffrey Whitehead and Maria Pepe of Oakland, CA. He has one grandchild, Alexander Jeffrey Whitehead.
The Service of Committal will be held at the convenience of the family, with military honors as arranged by the Fournier Funeral Home of North Woodstock, N.H. at the Woodstock Cemetery, Woodstock, New Hampshire.
A number of donations have been received for ELCM in Memory of Pastor Whitehead. We will be applying these to the ELCM Seminary efforts via the coming Clause Harms House of Studies.
Pastor Michael Vahles Father,
Thomas Nessler Vahle of Indianapolis, IN entered into the Kingdom on March 3, 2003. We rejoice at his victory through Christ Jesus.
News from St. Pauls Lutheran Church, Gaffney S.C.
The Church Council of St. Pauls has begun a study of the differences between ELCM and the LCMC. They and Pastor Lindler currently hold a dual membership in the two. The view of the Council is that the congregations should choose one of the Church Bodies for its sole membership. Pastor lindler requested that President Steward prepare a comparison of the differences between the two Bodies from the ELCM perspective. By clicking the hyper linked text of the last sentence you will be able to read the comparison prepared by the ELCM President. The Presiding officer of the LCMC is also being asked to prepare a comparison from the view of the LCMC. After the St. Paul Council has studied the two comparison presentations the Council will make its recommendation to the Congregation of St. Pauls concerning which Church body it recommends the congregation have for their sole membership. A copy of the comparison between ELCM and LCMC prepared by President Steward, and posted on the ELCMLeaders Listserv for Pastor Lindler and the members of the St. Pauls Council is reprinted in the March/April 2003 issue of "ELCM Quarterly." ELCM views the LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ) as a very fine Lutheran Association but there are clear differences in orientation between them and ELCM.
Two private Listserv discussion boards
have been set up on Topica.com . The one is for ELCM leaders and members. The 2nd is for ELCM members and friends who are interested in the formation of a nongeographical ELCM German Language Synod. Lay members desiring to be on the boards are welcome.
The St. Paul, Rhinebeck New York Luther League
will be attending a Confirmation Camp at the Missouri Synods Camp Sonrise [Lutheran Ministries] on Schroon Lake in Pottersville, New York (Lake George-Eastern Adirondak Mountains area) from August 4-9, 2003. Schroon Lake is located about 9 miles north of Lake George. The program is run by two LC-MS pastors. With our group there should be about 100 kids at the camp. The cost per kid is about $200. The Camp is geared for 7th and 8th graders. Older Youth can attend and would be listed as advisors. Youth of our ELCM congregations are invited to join the St. Pauls Luther Leaguers. Contact Pastor Isaacs to notify him of who and How many might be attending.
July 8 July 10
at Faith Lutheran, Duncansville is set as a meeting of ELCM Lay Leaders Institute (Choir, Youth Leaders, Womens Groups , etc.) and as a meeting time for the ELCM Ministerium Conference.
St. Pauls, Rhinebeck organizes a WELCM (Women of the ELCM) Circle.
Linda Isaacs, wife of Pastor Mark of St. Pauls sent us the following update on the organizational effort for the new St. Pauls WELCM. Linda writes as follows to President Steward: I wanted to give you a report on our official kick-off of WELCM here at St. Paul's this past Saturday. Twenty-three of us gathered at Mt. St. Alphonsus for an all-day retreat in Esopus, from 8am-4pm. This is an enormous building, built in the early 1900's for the Redemptorist Order on about 400 acres of choice property, sitting on the banks of the Hudson River. The two-point purpose of the retreat was to give our ladies a day away and to start a detailed study on women in the Bible and discover what can we learn from them.
Charlotte Michos gave a talk on finding the balance of mind, body and soul. Linda Cebrian did a one-hour presentation on the Biblical role of women.
Noreen Reilly spoke about being a Christian woman in the political forum and Linda Isaacs presented an outline of what the WELCM group can do in terms of short-term and long-term goals, studies, seminars, outreach opportunities etc.
Quarterly meetings will be held and each lady will choose a woman in the Bible to present to the group. Each meeting will include a study on one woman of the OT and one of the new. We have a list of about 16 women from each Testament so it will take a few years to get through it all.
The day went very, very well and was truly an inspiration for many of the ladies to get closer to their God through developing a relationship with their Bible! I took some pictures so I'll try to send some to you when they get developed. I'll also keep you updated with each meeting.
Growing Concern with Thrivent Chapters
Thrivent is the new Fraternal Life Insurance organization formed by the merger of Lutheran Brotherhood (LB) and Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL). ELCM congregations and Policy holding members are placed within Chapters (equivalent to the old Branches) The large Lutheran Church Bodies dominate and control the branches in the areas where they have the largest groupings of congregations. In many of the areas where ELCM congregations are located the new Chapters will be controlled and dominated by members of the ELCA. A portion of the profits from every policy contract are used by Thrivent to support Lutheran Churches. The various chapters distribute a good bit of these funds and other funds are distributed in the form of grants. Large grants are given to the large Lutheran Church bodies for Seminaries and other special efforts. However Lutheran Church bodies that are under a certain size receive no grants even though members hold significant policy and earn a good proportion of income for the Insurance Company. If a Chapter is controlled by ELCA congregations ELCM congregations are not likely to benefit.
The President has proposed in a letter to a Thrivent Representative that ELCM congregations be allowed to form their own Chapter.
ELCM 2002 Financial Report
ELCM General Conference Executive Board Actions
The Board had last met on February 16 and had approved Matt Harpster, Christopher Hurst and Tyler Dunlap for Ministerium Rostering. At the meeting on March 17 The board
I. reviewed proposals of the Roster Interview and Examining Committee
regarding future Interview Protocol and regarding licensure. After several amendments to the Committee proposals these were adopted.
Under Interview and Examining protocol a funneling process is adopted. The process will now consist of:
1. Background check with legal authorities 2. Submission of written application
3. Basic Psychological testing and evaluation
4. Interview of the candidate - after RIEC members have had opportunity to review and discuss the application and other materials for a minimum of two weeks. The normative inter-views shall be undertaken by the full committee but exception interviews may be conducted by the President of ELCM and/or by the President and one or two members of the Committee. In the exception process the full committee would still be expected to review and discuss the application and other materials.
5. Allowance of a period of one week for reflection and discuss-ion following the completed interview prior to the rendering of an RIEC recommendation to the General Conference Executive Board.
Under Licensure. Licensed Lay ministry or licensure for an ELCM Theological Educator would
1) be awarded for a limited period of time (renewable annually after one year by action of the Executive Board) on a case by case basis.
2)License renewal for Seminarians and Educators to be contingent on measured progress toward a licensee's predetermined goals, e.g. progress toward a M. Div degree or successful development and delivery of courses or curriculum modules. The exceptions would be those Licensed to serve a specific congregation or Mission who have no desire to pursue ordination.
3)Each licensee would be under official Call by the General Conference Executive Board and required to make quarterly report to the the Board. Those persons studying for eventual ordination would be assigned an ELCM pastoral mentor who would have primary responsibility for direction, evaluation, and pastoral support of the licensee.
II. Issued Official Calls and Appointments as follows:
1) To Licensed Minister Robbie F. Taylor approved for ordination to be "an ELCM Mission Development Pastor for Eastern Ohio and adjacent areas of Western PA."
2) To Pastor Russell N. Burr to be "Chaplaincy Enabler of ELCM for Military and Instutional Chaplaincies." Pastor Burr upon his acceptance of this call to be a member of the RIEC.
3)To Matthew Harpster to be "a licensed Minister and Theological Teacher/Professor of ELCM and to be a Mission Development Consultant of ELCM."
4)To Christopher Hurst to be "a licensed Minister Mission Developer of ELCM for North Dakota and adjacent States." The Rev. Dr. James Galezewski assigned to be Mentor to Christopher as he studies for his eventual goal of ordination as an ELCM pastor .
5) To Pastor Michael Vahle to be "an ELCM Mission Development Pastor at large."
6)To The Rev. Tyler Dunlap approved for ELCM Ordination and serving full time on Staff of St. Paul, Maumee OH to be "an ELCM Mission Development Pastor for Ohio and Adjacent States."
III. Voting Status for rostered pastors without Call in ELCM or in an ELCM approved ministry.
The Board acted to declare that the intent of the ELCM founders to be that voting pastors were intended to be those pastors under Official Call to either an ELCM ministry or to an ELCM approved ministry. The constitution provided for voting members, for associate members, and for provisional members. The question was raised as to whether a pastor without any official call retains the right to vote in ELCM? The present board of ELCM as composed of the founding members of ELCM thus constituted itself as the 10 year founders Constitutional oversight Committee and acted to clarify this matter as stated above.
a) Rostered pastors without official call in ELCM are granted voce but not vote at meetings of the Ministerium and the General Conference as well as concerning matters of decision posted by the Executive Board.
b) The ELCM Constitution and Bylaws be amended to clarify and reflect this ruling by the founders 10 year oversight committee (the current Executive Board) with the action to be confirmed by the next Triennial General Conference.
IV. RIEC Board vacancy replacement
A letter of resignation from the RIEC board was received from Mr. Robert Lykens. Bob expressed his uneasiness as a layman in sitting in judgment of ordained pastors and candidates for ordination. We accepted his resignation with regret.
The Executive Board acted to appoint Carol Campbell an active leader of Faith Ev. Lutheran to replace Bob on the board. If Carol accepts the appointment we will be nearing a full membership RIEC. Whoever is elected as the new Dean of Pastors would also become a member of the RIEC. This would give the RIEC a regular make up of 3 pastors and 5 Lay leaders.
V. Review of congregations, Missions, and pastoral situations.
The Board reviewed all of the current developments in congregations, missions, and pastoral situations as well as new candidate contacts.
Of special note:
1) the Study underway by St. Paul's, Gaffney
2) The coming ordinations for Rob Taylor and Tyler Dunlap
3) The establishment of an active WELCM (Women of the ELCM) and Luther League at St. Paul's, Rhinebeck.
4)Contacts with Ashland Seminary by Matt Harpster and plans for the credit course offering on the Lutheran Confessions.
5)Glen Proechel's return to the States from China.
6) The need for Tent making Mission pastors at Augsburg Lutheran, Hershey and Sola Scriptura, Flint 7)the Canadian German Immigrant Mission effort
8)the mission efforts in the Shenandoah Valley, West Chicago, Herron MI.
VI Inter Lutheran Discussions and actions
1) After the posting and feedback regarding the last edit of the proposed Bilateral agreement between ELCM and ALD. The Board acted to approve this edited document and to post it to the ELCM pastors and congregations for the required affirmation period after which it is considered adopted by ELCM and authorized for signature by ELCM officers.
2) reviewed the discussions on the "Claus Harms House of Studies" effort. President and Jim Galezewski to represent ELCM at a Constitution and bylaws task force meeting at Zion Lutheran, Oshkosh WI. Issues to be dealt with at that meeting in the proposed Constitution and Bylaws are:
(a) decision making method (ELCM insists on Consensus in light of Scripture and in light of the Confessions - not compromise able)
(b)development of an impasse clause
(c)How to add new church bodies or large congregations from other Church bodies
(d)determination of the size of the board and procedures for enlarging the board (present interim board consists of 4 regents from each body [ELCM and ALD] and one regent from the LCMC congregations [Zion, Oshkosh])
(e)Biblical and Doctrinal foundation (Hermeneutical [Interpretive tools and methods] approach[es]) We seem to be in fairly close agreement but when it comes down to putting the precise wording into constitutional and bylaw form there we may run into some differences.
VII Reviewed the establishment of and participation on the two Listserv areas for ELCM: ELCMleaders and ELCMGermanLSynod.
Pastor Glen and Maryse Proechel
with friend Thor are pictured above in a Photo taken in December 2002. Glen is nearing the secular retirement age and he and Maryse will be returning to the USA via Europe in the coming year. Glen has been working with in Mission efforts in China over the past several years. He had been active in Mission efforts among German Language folk in Siberia prior to his effort with Missions in China. Glen and Maryse own a home in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota. They will be returning to Red Lake Falls following visits with family members living in Europe.
Denver Colorado ELCM Mission begins with reception of its first Baptized member.
Pastor Anthony Striffler of Denver, Colorado, reports that he recently Baptized the first person to be Baptized into Christ at the Exempla Lutheran Chapel in 39 years. In addition to serving as Chaplain at Exempla, Tony will be working to gather together an ELCM congregation in the Denver area. Tony holds the newly Baptized Christian. The news of a Baptism is very fitting to place on the same page as Obituary notices. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? ..in order that .we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3ff)
Pap Pap Steward
is the title that the President of ELCM answers to these days from a laddie and lassie who are very special to him. In this picture Pap Pap Stewards 3 year old grandson holds firmly to the cross worn by his Pap Pap. A very good lesson: Hold on to the Cross of Christ!
A Bishop of a Lutheran Church body Synod is reported recently to have remarked to a Church council President that He has no problem with ELCM but that he does have a problem or concern with Roy Steward. That was of course a subtle effort to smear the President of ELCM by insinuation that something is amiss with the President. Bishops and leaders of that particular church body have had a habit and a record of smearing, by insinuation and out-right falsehood, the good names of those who have taken stands based upon solely Scripture and the Confessions.
When a Bishop, who never met or talked with Roy Steward says: It is Roy Steward with whom I have a problem or deep concern, what is he really saying? What is he, the Bishop, really attempting? The Answer: to discredit!
The truth : Roy Steward is a sinner but so also is the Bishop. The truth: Roy Steward has been willing to say: here I stand upon Gods Word (The Scriptures) and upon the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Bishop by contrast speaks many things (cheap talk) but has in fact acquiesced to the unbiblical stances and un-confessional practices of his denomination. Our President has deep concern with any who go along with Apostasy.
Even a 3 year old child knows that it is much better to cling to the Cross! It is always best to cling to Gods Word alone. This is the message that Pap Pap Steward teaches!
From the President of ELCM
Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is a joy to report that ELCM continues to grow and expand. We have added a number of younger pastors and leaders to our fellowship. This is very encouraging to me as on who is becoming an older pastor.
Some have worried that Roy Steward is the only spark plug in ELCM but it is increasingly clear that when I can not continue to hold forth there will be a selection of very capable of candidates to choose from who will be able to continue ELCM as a centrist Evangelical Lutheran Church alternative option . Indeed, ELCM now has a number of spark plugs hard at work to keep the Centrist Lutheran alternative option engine running. Sola Dei Gloria.
When discussing what would occur should my health give way and the Office of President become vacant, one of our sharp young pastors thoughtfully replied: Well, we would call a special meeting of the Ministerium and the General Conference, We would hold a very nice funeral or Memorial service, and we would then elect a new President. How-ever, we probably move the Holy See out of Altoona. The last part of the remark was startling since I have never seen Altoona as being A Holy See. Although ELCM was founded by 2 congregations and one pastor we are truly living up to our definition as a Synodical federation, fellowship, and association of centrist oriented Evangelical Lutheran congregations and pastors. This Synodical federation, fellowship and association of congregations and pastors is solidly in place! It is an alternative Lutheran Church Body Option and there is far more than only one leader!
Some, trying to discredit us, describing us as an ELCA break away group but truly we are not such. It is true that some of our pastors and congregations come from the ELCA but it is also true is that we have pastors and members who have come to us from other Lutheran back-grounds also. This gives us a different mix from the groupings that are mainly centered around 1 or 2 issues that have left the ELCA.
Others have worried that we will dead end like so many of the other smaller Lutheran Church bodies formed over the years. I believe that ELCM has two components in place that will guard against the forces that normally cause movements dead end. The two safeguards for ELCM are:
(1)We reject majority and super majority rule believing these Polities pull a group to one extreme or another on a variety of matters. When pulled to an extreme position , then dead ending results. Our Consensus model is a safeguard. However, Consensus, that seeks to develop Lock Step orientations for all of its members, can also lead to a dead end .
(2) Our second ELCM safeguard is developed with the latter in mind. This safeguard is the Organizational emphasis, already firmly in place (which can be changed only by achieving consensus of all) in which ELCM rejects the notion that everyone needs to be in Lock Step orientation on all matters. We have intentionally built in an allowance for a span of views (moderate to middle Conservative) as long as all views are based in a high view of Scripture. Thus ELCM thus offers a uniquely Centrist Lutheran alternative Option.
Blessings In Christ!
Pastor Roy A. Steward.
The Rev. Dr. Oliver Olson
Was one of our keynote speakers at the September 2002 Triennial General Conference. His remarks drew from a paper he prepared ("Luther's Catholic Minimum")in opposition to what he viewed as the clearly un-lutheran efforts resulting in the Green Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW). Dr. Olson noted the efforts to undermine the traditional Biblical Lutheran understandings which were at work even in 1958 when the Red Service Book and Hymnal was prepared. Several of our ELCM congregations continue to use the SBH Hymnal for Worship and most who came from the former ALC and LCA Churches had great familiarity with the Red. SBH.
The Red SBH is still available from the Store house of Augsburg Fortress Publishing House located in Minnesota. Many of the congregations of ELCM use the Green LBW Hymnal. Dr. Olson is recommending that congregations look at the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary Hymnal that is published in Mankato, Minn. by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
A new Hymnal has also been published know as The Service Hymnal:A Lutheran Homecoming. This is a Red Hymnal and is based upon the old SBH. In reviewing the SH we noticed that it replicates several of the areas to which Dr. Olson presented his very clear objections. A Historical piece in the TSH also praises the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in October 1999 at Augsburg, Germany. Most of us in ELCM viewed this signing as a significant selling out of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification which is as Luther emphasized the Doctrine upon which the Church stands or Falls.
Before our exposure to solid teachers such as Dr. Olson many of us had a rather uncritical view of some of the various liturgies and Hymnals. It appears that now , because of Dr. Olson and others that even our Lay members are much more guarded. Lay leaders in addition to the Pastors are much more careful to check out the theology of Liturgies. This truly is as it should be. It is a privilege to print the text of Dr. Olsons word of opposition to the Lutheran Book of Worship in this issue of the Quarterly. The effort to introduce the LBW was conducted by the ILCW.
Dr. Olson also drew on materials from the first volume of his Biography, Matthias Flacius and the Survival of Luther's Reform during his various presentations.
To read Dr. Olson's paper on Luther's Catholic Minimum click on the highlighted title at the beginning of this article.