30 April 2009

Irritated

Yes, irritated. Today was our Spring SID Pastoral Conference. Among the things that I found irritating:

The Synod's CCM has apparently declared our SID convention resolution declining to participate into that money pit "Fan into Flame" as null and void.

The District Pastoral Conference did without opposition adopt a resolution telling Faith Lutheran Church of St. Louis, which has crossed the Mississippi River and planted TWO satellites in Southern Illinois, that we are deeply offended that they have done this without consultation or collaboration with our pastors, parishes, and laity. Now, the SID Pastoral Conference speaking with united voice telling Faith congregation that they're acting in a most unchurchly manner didn't irritate me - that was great! What irritated me was finding out WHERE Faith got the funding for this invasion of the Southern Illinois District and planting a "satellite" right in Edwardsville. You guessed it! Your Synod ABLAZE funds at work. They got a $50,000 grant to pull this off. Best of all? A friend of my son's mentioned to him that he really needs to try this new church. Why? "It's totally unlike a Lutheran Church, dude." RIGHT. I say, let them plant away, but they shouldn't be getting a dime from Synod for this.

And do you appreciate the irony? Here the President's appointees on the CCM chastise SID for NOT participating in a funding program that gives money to a "Lutheran" church in Missouri to plant "satellites" on this side of the river that folks don't even recognize as Lutheran! Gotta love it.

You know, irritated is, after all, probably a tad mild to describe the emotion of the moment.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Herb have any say in the matter? It's one thing for a church to "plant" in its own back yard, so to speak. But setting up a church in Edwardsville?
Don't they know that there are plenty of LCMS churches in Edwardsville and the surrounding area already?
Seriously, though, are they going to "plant" sattelite churches in Springfield if CID doesn't get with the program and follows suit to not fund "Fan into Flame"?

Mark

Elephantschild said...

St. John's Ellsville has a "satellite" campus 23 miles away in Washington, MO. I suppose they would say that it's not a new church plant, but just a "different campus."

When I look at Faith's website, that's how those IL locations are portrayed: as different venues.

I suppose that's the get-around: "We're not planting NEW churches, we're just expanding."

But a difference that makes no difference is no difference at all, as Rosebrough says.

It's not like that area of the country is under-served by either LCMS churches or churches, period.

Anonymous said...

Pr. Weedon is irritated? It takes a lot to do that, I must say.

My prescription? Go take two aspirin, be sure to read a little Edward Abbey, and get a good night's sleep.

Pr. Tom Fast

William Weedon said...

Jen,

Amen!

Mark,

Herb's words have been steadfastly ignored by Faith's pastors. People have even been known to say that SID has no problem with what Faith is doing; we wanted to go on record that that was a lie. We DO object and we object strongly.

William Weedon said...

Pr. Fast,

It takes very little to do that, sadly. But this has really got my dander up. ESPECIALLY after what my son told me.

Anonymous said...

Pr. Weedon,

Edward Abbey has some pithy sayings that are both fun to read and worth pondering. I found one of them at the link I am posting below. But there are a lot more where that one came from.

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/edwardabbe104709.html

Enjoy!

Tom

Anonymous said...

Ach! The link to Edward Abbey's quote didn't paste properly. Sorry. So here's a better link to get you started. Much food for thought.

http://quotationsbook.com/quote/18024/

Tom

Anonymous said...

Okay, so that's the only Edward Abbey saying I've ever heard. And I wouldn't actually recommend him for reading. But the quote seems so...appropo.

Just funnin' a little.

Tom

Todd Wilken said...

"The Synod's CCM has apparently declared our SID resolution declining to participate in Fan into Flame as null and void."This is Orwellian. The truth is whatever they say it is.

TW

Todd Wilken said...

Hey, I just thought of something.

The CCM can't initiate action. Their decisions (or semi-divine pronouncements) must be in response to a submitted question (usually from a District President).

So, who submitted the question that prompted the CCM to declare the SID's decision null and void?

Sandra Ostapowich said...

The cross-district satellite planting is happening out west too. An LCMS PLI church in Fort Collins (RMD) has attempted to begin a satellite in Cheyenne (Wyoming) - where there are already 2-3 LCMS congregations. As far as I know, that hasn't gotten very far. Go figure. ;)

Father Hollywood said...

"The Synod's CCM has apparently declared our SID convention resolution declining to participate into that money pit "Fan into Flame" as null and void."

How does this work, and what does this mean? They can't *force* you to participate. So, what exactly is "null and void" here? I mean, you all passed the resolution. It is what it is. It simply describes the reality in your district, doesn't it?

Maybe your district needs to declare the CCM "null and void."

Rev. James Leistico said...

William,
You failed to mention two more irritating things - Herb didn't find out about the question to the CCM, nor its ruling until the Council of Presidents Meeting this month. And second, apparently in the ruling our action was compared to convention action by those districts wanting to officially and openly practice open communion.

Larry, in effect their ruling ends up being sort of null and void, doesn't it? So SID can't officially say as a district that we will not do Fan Into Flame. But SID didn't say we would participate either. In the end, we'll participate in the adiaphoristic program as much as some districts participate in the doctrine of closed communion.

Todd, Herb said he has his suspicions who asked the question of the CCM. I note that our convention happened only 2 months ago, so that question and decision came real quick...

William Weedon said...

I was opined that perhaps we should get involved with Fan into Flame, request money for a mission start, and begin a LUTHERAN church over in Missouri literally across the street from Faith (which is exactly what they've done at the Columbia Satellite - across the street from St. Paul's Columbia, which, I think is our District's oldest parish and is led by a fine pastor and truly serves its community in outreach. Only thing is, they insist on that silly thing about being LUTHERAN).

Anonymous said...

Didn't a St. Louis congregation once open a "church" at Bottleworks (a brew pub) which was only one block from Concordia Lutheran Church in Maplewood? I seem to recall that. I don't know if it's still there or not.

BTW, I highly recommend Bottleworks. Get a pint of Schlafly's Oatmeal Stout and an order of their sticky toffee pudding. A combination that can't be beat. I'd be more than willing to sit through a religious powerpoint presentation for that.

Bottleworks is located only a hundred yards from where I lived when I was a seminarian. It opened well after I graduated. I've often opined to my wife that if it would have been there during my seminary days I would have ended up either a raging alcoholic or a top flight theologian.

Past Elder said...

Translated out of churchese, sounds like a way to put LCMS churches to their liking where there are LCMS churches not to their liking.

No doubt they'll be good at counting noses. I wonder who counts the people who want a church where you know it's a Lutheran church. and never come back or never show up in the first place.

Mike Bryant said...

Are these new congregations part of the SID now or are they still considered as MO district churches with their Mother congregation?

Also, I seem to recall that when we were in fellowship with the ALC, there were agreements about planting churches in areas where a sister church already existed? Or was that Synodical Conference days? Either way, it's hardly "walking together" to be planting churches that are bound to take sheep from congregations already in the area.

William Weedon said...

You're remembering the old comity arrangements, Michael. They did sort of fall apart, but this is not between separate ecclesiastical jurisdictions, but within the same jurisdiction - yet one more example of what ails us: "They have turned everyone to his own way" and "each man did what was right in his own eyes."

Todd Wilken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Wilken said...

Sorry for the length of this comment, but when actions as egregious as Faith Oakville's and the Missouri District President's are involved, things get comlicated.

Months ago, I asked several constitutional questions about the Faith Oakville's satellite congregation in Columbia, IL (nine miles north of my house):

Regarding Aritcle XII, 6 of the Synodical Constitution:

"All officers of the districts have the same rights and duties as those outlined in this Constitution for the officers of the Synod but only insofar as these apply to the district and only within the boundaries of their districts."1. Is the Missouri District President asserting that he can exercise the rights and duties of his office outside the boundaries of the Missouri District and within the boundaries of the Southern Illinois District? If so,

2. is the Missouri District President claiming this exercise only within the boundaries of Southern Illinois, or within the boundaries of other the districts contiguous to the Missouri District (Central Illinois, Iowa East, Iowa West, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Mid-South), or is he claiming this exercise within all the other 33 geographical districts of the LCMS?

3. Is the Missouri District President asserting that the Missouri District is a non-geographical district?

4. Is the Missouri District President asserting that the boundaries of the Missouri District extend into or overlap with the boundaries of the Southern Illinois District?

5. Is the Missouri District President proposing that the boundary between the Missouri District and the Souther Illinois District be realigned to include Columbia, Illinois within the boundary of the Missouri District? If so, has the Missouri District President initiated the process set forth in bylaw 4.1.1.3 of the LCMS handbook?

"The Synod decides when and whether a district shall be formed, divided, realigned, or merged with another or other districts, or dissolved; determines the boundaries of a district; and approves the name of a district.
(a) A proposal calling for the formation, division, realignment, merger, or dissolution of a district or districts may be initiated by a national convention of the Synod or the Board of Directors of the Synod.
(b) Such proposals shall
(1) be submitted to the President at least six months prior to a convention of the Synod;
(2) be produced in consultation with the Department of Planning and Research;
(3) include a substantiated description of the nonviable aspects of the current district(s) on the basis of general principles of viability adopted from time to time by conventions of the Synod, and shall specify the problems or factors which make the adoption of the proposal advisable or necessary;
(4) provide evidence that the proposed change is the best of the options available;
(5) provide a specific and realistic development plan for the proposed district(s), including detailed proposals for staff personnel and financial operations; and
(6) be the object of an evaluation prepared by the Board of Directors of the Synod and submitted to the convention."

Also the regarding Synodical Bylaws 2.12.1.4 and 2.12.1.5,

"A missionary or chaplain serving under a call by the Synod shall hold membership in the Synod through the district designated by the missionary or chaplain if approved by the president of that district after consultation with the Board for Mission Services and the president of the district through which membership is currently held.

An individual member of the Synod who is serving an agency other than a congregation or district and other than a missionary or chaplain serving under call by the Synod shall hold membership through the district designated by that person if approved by both the president of that district and the president of the district in which the agency is located, but shall be subject to the ecclesiastical supervision of the president of the geographical district in which the agency is located. When all voting members of the agency are members of a non-geographical district, membership shall be held through that district."

6. Is the Missouri District President suggesting that the staff of Faith - Illinois South are missionaries of the Missouri district, sent to the Southern Illinois District? If not,

7. is the Missouri District President asking that the president of the Southern Illinois District exercise ecclesiastical supervision over the staff and congregation of Faith - Illinois South?

In other words, how does the incorporation of Faith - Illinois South in Columbia, Illinois fit within, abide by, and uphold the sections of the LCMS Constitution and Bylaws cited above?

Not unexpectedly, no answer has been forthcoming.

TW

Mike said...

This is inappropriate at best, schismatic at worst. I'm dumbfounded that MOD would not afford SID AT LEAST the same deference the synod would afford a sister synod. Cooperative church planting should be the least of what is expected - yeah, demanded.

I realize this is probably a question for the CCM, but Does the SID intend to excercise ecclesiastical authority and doctrinal supervision over these congregations?

This reminds me of all the trouble over Rev. Stephanski's mission in Arkansas. Why was that instance so high profile and this one has not been?

Rev. James Leistico said...

fwiw, it's been reported to us in the SID that Mo. District Pres. Mirly is also not in favor of what Faith-Oakville has been doing in Illinois and has met with their pastor and people, with no result.

William Weedon said...

Todd,

You should address those questions to the CCM!

J.G.F. said...

Ugh! How irritating! I see this stuff going on with Ablaze all over the place. I guess Ablaze is an apt description of what is happening..... destruction spreading like wildfire. The latest thing out here is TCN or whatever it's called. Get rid of your church council, put together a "vision group" and change everything for the sake of change.
I am disgusted with both our Synod and our Country right now.... God bless the SID for standing up to this.

saxoniae said...

Mirly is also not in favor of what Faith-Oakville has been doing in Illinois and has met with their pastor and people, with no result. That's how he deals with us in the Missouri District too. At least he's consistent.

Tim

Past Elder said...

If you can pack a convention with delegates, you can pack a district with parishes. Same skill set.

Meaghan said...

I have a few interesting points to add...

I have spoken with this same "friend" of David's about the new satellite church as well. The group currently meets at an Edwardsville middle school every Sunday morning to watch a live broadcast of the church service at Faith Oakville. They have hosted a number of social events thus far, including a barbecue in which anyone who brought a guest received a $25 gift card. This friend has bounced around among various churches and denominations over the past few years and has actually sent his daughter to one of the Lutheran grade schools in Collinsville. He seems to be fairly acquainted with typical Lutheran worship and liturgy, and described the church's service as "remarkably un-Lutheran". In fact, the only part of the service that resembled Lutheran litergy (according to our source) was when the Lord's Prayer was spoken and the pastor said "Peace be with you". He claimed that many of the church's current members were former Lutherans who disagreed with the old LCMS (for one reason or another) but were drawn to the church's freestyle attitude.

My dad (Larry Barringer) and Pastor Marty (both from Trinity in Edwardsville) were the two representatives who met with the vicar assigned to this satellite program and the district presidents of both Southern Illinois and St. Louis. The meeting was apparently frustrating and rather counterproductive, because Faith Lutheran sees no wrong in what they are doing. In fact, at the time of the meeting, they had no idea it upset other churches. They have no current intentions of discontinuing its efforts.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

If a church and it's pastors disregard their ecclesiastical supervisor, disregard the synod's bylaws, then whouldn't those pastors and church be removed from synod altogether?
Let's hear a CCM ruling on this one.
Secondly, if Mirly didn't approve their "expansion" and their grant money from "Ablaze", then the obvious question is: who did?
(as if I don't already know the answer to that one).
Again, what's to stop them from doing the same thing in CID, Iowa, or any other district for that matter?

Mark

Anonymous said...

Meaghan said:
"They have hosted a number of social events thus far, including a barbecue in which anyone who brought a guest received a $25 gift card."

Just in case anyone missed it.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Weeden may have missed hearing that they actually contacted Metro East Lutheran High School about the possibility of renting their gym for "services". Thankfully they were politely refused!

Matt Phillips said...

This is what happens when we disregard theology when hiring consultants and imitate whatever seems successful among American Evangelicals. These are essentially franchises for the home church. It has become very common for American Evangelical churches to set up satellite campuses with recordings or live feeds from the home campus. It is also borders on cultic, or at least, a cult of personality. Why watch a recording or live feed from the home church? It's usually because the "Senior Pastor" at the home church is the person in-demand. I would rather just receive the entire service live via webcast and never leave my house. I know some churches have already begun doing that.

Anonymous said...

You know we're going to here a lot of hullabaloo this summer about what is wrong with the ELCA. And we're going to pat ourselves on the back that we believe in a six day creation and we believe Adam and Eve are historical persons and we believe homosexuality is a sin, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. But we have our own problems. About that there is no doubt. Now, I'd rather have our problems than their problems, but NOT if it means we use their problems as a smokescreen to avoid dealing with our own. This, imo, is what happened to a certain degree in the synodical controversies of the 70's. We ought not let it happen again. We need to deal with our many controversies theologically and forthrightly. Just because we dont' believe in evolution and believe in traditional marriage and believe in the inerrancy of the Bible doesn't mean we are inerrant as a synod, that's for sure.

Yet there are many fine pastors and laymen in the LCMS who understand this and are quite well prepared to lead us to finally deal with matters that should have been dealt with years ago. I do pray that our synod will soon determine to make use of them.

Pr. Tom Fast

jwoelmer said...

The real question is ... "What is the faithful form of worship?" Until the LCMS answers this question, we will continue to have problems. The CG/PLI crowd and the Ablaze people firmly believe that their contemporary form of worship is the correct one and they are bold in planting their type of worship elsewhere.

Well, should it be the other way around? We -- a confessional Lutheran congregation -- have mission starts in the backyard of other LCMS congregations. We have faithful Lutherans from other towns coming to us and saying, "Plant a Lutheran church in our town that uses the hymnal."

Again, it's a question of liturgy ... a discusion the LCMS doesn't want to talk about.

Let's start a Mission Society that plants faithful Lutheran congregations using money that would have been sent to Synod.

Pr Jim Woelmer

gnesio-lutheran said...

"Let's start a Mission Society that plants faithful Lutheran congregations using money that would have been sent to Synod."

I wonder if Ablaze(TM) grant money will be available to accomplish this? Aren't mission starts what its all about?

Anonymous said...

Here are some issues which need to be discussed in the lcms. These questions were actually put to the lcms back in the early 70's. We have the problems we do today in part because these were never addressed. Of course, the lcms was busy addressing other issues. Let me repeat, though, these questions were put to the synod in the early 70's. The folks who asked these questions were prescient, it seems.

1. What is the relationship between the Divine Service and the mission/outreach of the church? Where does evangelism/outreach fit in the life of the church?

2. Is the authority to forgive/retain sins with the Word of God relegated to the Scriptures, or is this authority given to pastors to exercise in church and world? How does pastoral authority relate to Biblical authority?

3. Are the churches works of mercy simply set ups for evangelism, or do they have an integrity of their own quite apart from evangelism? Is bait and switch, which is so prevalent now, appropriate as an exclusive strategy?

(Of course, there are also issues which have arisen since the 70's, such as the so called "lay ministry." These issues, too, need to be addressed.)

In any event, I am pleased and filled with a good deal of optimism due to the fact that we have some great pastors and laymen well prepared to begin to deal with these, and other issues.

Tom Fast

Anonymous said...

The CCM has posted their opinion. It can be found at http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CCM/CCM%20Minutes%20April%203-4%202009.pdf

The question was brought to them via email by "a pastor of the Synod" not further identified on March 18 2009.

To understand the opinion it is important to realize that a district is an "agency" of the Synod.

The concluding paragraph reads: "In circumstances where the Synod has adopted a resolution calling for action or participation by a specific agency of the Synod, or by all its agencies, the agency is not at liberty to ignore that resolution. Any attempt by the agency to pass a resolution calling for the agency’s disobedience of such resolution is without authority and thus should be considered null and void. Under such circumstances, the matter should be brought to the attention of the President of the Synod, who is charged under Bylaw 3.3.1.2: “The President shall oversee the activities of all officers, executives, and agencies of the Synod to see to it that they are acting in accordance with the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod.”

That last sentence sounds rather ominous.

John

Rev. James Leistico said...

beings as how the President was not only present, but also spoke at the microphone against adoption of the substitute resolution (though never saying what SID was doing was unconstitutional), I think he's aware.

Anonymous said...

Last first:
Pr. Leistico,
Our SP uses cat's paws; he seldom speaks for himself in public. (People have observed that the "questions from the floor" at different conventions are strangely similar.)

If Missouri thinks it's a non-geographic district, two can play that game. There are churches down here that do not, by belief and practice, belong in Texas district.
I shall suggest to my Pastors that we consider applying to SID. :)

We may at some future time need you to lead us out of this Sodom-and-Gomorrah!

GOD bless you all in SID.
Helen