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Author Topic: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?  (Read 30005 times)

Keith Falk

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2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« on: August 11, 2007, 03:19:31 PM »
To what extent do you address the '07 CWA in your congregation tomorrow morning?  Or your next newsletter... or next week... or whatever else.  With the potential of folks waking up to headlines of "Lutherans OK pastors in gay couples"... what, exactly, do you say?  Thanks in advance for your help... I'm 13 months into my first call, so any advice on points like this is appreciated!
Rev. Keith Falk, STS
Peace, Edmond, OK

Mel Harris

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2007, 04:16:26 PM »
To what extent do you address the '07 CWA in your congregation tomorrow morning?  Or your next newsletter... or next week... or whatever else.  With the potential of folks waking up to headlines of "Lutherans OK pastors in gay couples"... what, exactly, do you say?  Thanks in advance for your help... I'm 13 months into my first call, so any advice on points like this is appreciated!

I think that it is important for pastors of ELCA congregations to address some of the things that have happened at the churchwide assembly at their service(s) in the morning.  It seems to me to be the honest thing to do.  To not do so could very well be seen as trying to hide something; especially as headlines about assembly actions are already out there and will likely be seen by many members and by many of their friends and neighbors.  I also think the assembly should be reported on in congregational newsletters, at congregational council meetings, etc.  Just what I will say tomorrow morning, and how I will say it, is something that I have been thinking and praying about, particularly since the substitute resolution was approved this morning.  Thinking and praying about this will likely keep me awake much of tonight.

A quick news search yielded these headlines:

"Lutherans to allow pastors in gay relationships" -- Reuters


"Gay clergy OK'd by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America" -- Chicago Sun-Times


"Lutherans Urged to Accept Gay Clergy" -- Associated Press


How do you speak to these headlines tomorrow at church?  How would the ELCA pastors want the LCMS to present this?

Kevin Jud - LCMS Pastor

I would hope that pastors of LC-MS congregations will try to explain that the ELCA is a church body divided by and struggling with very controversial issues, and encourage the members to pray for their fellow Lutherans who are in the midst of these struggles.

Mel Harris 

ex-revklak

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2007, 04:19:44 PM »
Well, don't forget, the gospel is Christ saying, "Have no fear, little flock.  For it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."  Whose kingdom, though.... it will be interesting to see all the takes on this one.
David M. Klak
Non accipiam de domo tua vitulos. -- Still as true today as it was yesterday!

David Baer

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2007, 04:40:20 PM »
I'm working on a little half-sheet bulletin insert that would explain what happened and address concerns that might develop from news coverage.  Here's what I'm thinking.  If you can recommend changes to make this better, please share them.  If you want to borrow this, feel free to do so.


Explanation of ELCA Churchwide Assembly decision

Many of you have seen news coverage of the 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly which met Aug. 6-11 in Chicago.  News reports have implied that the ELCA has voted to accept clergy in committed homosexual relationships. There has been no change in official church policy.

The ELCA is in the process of developing a social statement on human sexuality.  A draft statement is being prepared and will be available for consideration in 2009. The Churchwide Assembly decided to honor the process of preparing a social statement on human sexuality by making no changes to church policy.

The Churchwide Assembly rejected two resolutions that would have changed church policy which requires clergy to abstain from sexual relations outside of a heterosexual marriage to allow pastors to be in “committed same-gender relationships.”

The Churchwide Assembly did approve a resolution asking that bishops refrain from disciplining those in “committed same-gender relationships” during this time of deliberation.

Official church policy has not changed.

Following is the text of the actual resolution approved by the Churchwide Assembly:

Resolved, that in an effort to continue as a church in moral deliberation without further strife and pain to its members the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining  those congregations and persons who call into the rostered ministry otherwise-qualified candidates who are in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship, and be it further

Resolved, that the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those rostered leaders in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship who have been called and rostered in this church.




I made changes to correct resolution text from "and" to "or" as noted downstream.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2007, 05:52:04 PM by David Baer »
David Baer
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Richard Johnson

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2007, 04:46:39 PM »
Yes, I think the way to approach it is to say that policy has not changed. Bishops have always had discretion; they've been urged by the CWA to exercise it more gently. The motion, technically, was little more than a "sense of the house" motion.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2007, 04:54:16 PM »
Following is the text of the actual resolution approved by the Churchwide Assembly:

Resolved, that in an effort to continue as a church in moral deliberation without further strife and pain to its members the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from and demonstrate restraint in disciplining  those congregations and persons who call into the rostered ministry otherwise-qualified candidates who are in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship, and be it further

Resolved, that the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from and demonstrate restraint in disciplining those rostered leaders in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship who have been called and rostered in this church.
While I haven't been able to follow the discussion as accurately as I would have liked; but wasn't it changed from "to refrain from and demonstrate restraint" to "to refrain from or demonstrate restraint"?
Brian Stoffregen
“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” ― Albert Einstein

ptmccain

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2007, 04:54:21 PM »
Respectfully, I believe that Richard's suggestion is not entirely accurate. While it is true that policy has not changed, it is also true that the resolution clearly asks bishops not simply to be "gentle" but to "refrain" or "demonstrate restraint" from taking any disciplinary steps against pastors and other rostered church workers in the ELCA who are in violation of the Visions and Expectations for rostered workers in the ELCA. In other words, while it is true that "policy" was not changed, the CWA, by majority vote, indicated it wanted bishops to "refrain" from enforcing that policy. I'm all for "putting the best construction" on the situation, but I believe that it is necessary to be accurate in what the CWA did. I hope that more than a few delegates who voted for this are going to wake up tomorrow morning, read the press reports on this and, hopefully, regret their vote. That's my hope and prayer.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2007, 04:59:46 PM by ptmccain »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2007, 04:55:18 PM »
... indicated it wanted bishops to "refrain" from enforcing that policy.
OR demonstrate restraint.
Brian Stoffregen
“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” ― Albert Einstein

Richard Johnson

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2007, 04:55:31 PM »
Following is the text of the actual resolution approved by the Churchwide Assembly:

Resolved, that in an effort to continue as a church in moral deliberation without further strife and pain to its members the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from and demonstrate restraint in disciplining  those congregations and persons who call into the rostered ministry otherwise-qualified candidates who are in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship, and be it further

Resolved, that the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from and demonstrate restraint in disciplining those rostered leaders in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship who have been called and rostered in this church.


While I haven't been able to follow the discussion as accurately as I would have liked; but wasn't it changed from "to refrain from and demonstrate restraint" to "to refrain from or demonstrate restraint"?

Yes.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

ptmccain

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2007, 04:57:17 PM »
... indicated it wanted bishops to "refrain" from enforcing that policy.
OR demonstrate restraint.

So, Brian, your view is that the ELCA CWA encouraged its bishops to enforce ELCA policies and the V/E?


legaleagle

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2007, 05:04:16 PM »
Respectfully, the ELCA has done great harm to Lutherans throughout the United States by its convoluted aqctions at this Assembley.

As for David Baer's insert sheet "Explanation..." I would think that the average, common-sense, layperson would simply say, "This is pure double-talk."

David Baer

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2007, 05:08:41 PM »
As for David Baer's insert sheet "Explanation..." I would think that the average, common-sense, layperson would simply say, "This is pure double-talk."

Yes, it is double talk. But that's what the churchwide assembly did -- double talk.

I'm trying to put the most charitable construction on my neighbor's actions.

 
David Baer
Whitewood, SD

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2007, 05:10:24 PM »
... indicated it wanted bishops to "refrain" from enforcing that policy.
OR demonstrate restraint.

So, Brian, your view is that the ELCA CWA encouraged its bishops to enforce ELCA policies and the V/E?
Yes, in exactly the same ways they have been enforced for the past decade or more.
Brian Stoffregen
“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” ― Albert Einstein

ptmccain

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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2007, 05:12:36 PM »
So, your interpretation is that the ELCA CWA merely formally recognized that some ELCA bishops have chosen not to enforce the visions and expectations for rostered ministry required in the ELCA?


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Re: 2007 CWA & Sexuality - What do you tell your congregation?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2007, 05:12:56 PM »
Does anyone remember the many synodical resolutions that cited the '05 assembly's resolution to find ways to live together as a legal justification for not enforcing policies or changing those policies altogether?  How do you think that this resolution will be used?

 

anything