Yesterday, I blogged about Hope Lutheran of Fargo. At Hope’s congregational meeting, the membership passed a resolution overturning the decision of the Pastor and the Council to withhold funding of the ELCA.
Turns out the same thing happened at St. Luke’s of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, according to a news report from the South Washington County Bulletin. In a comment to yesterday’s post, John Petty suggested, “yet another case where the pastor took the lead in opposing CWA [Church Wide Assembly] and fomenting dissension within his or her congregation.” John’s comment applies to the St Luke’s situation as well. According to the news report, the church council stopped funding the ELCA synod and national offices following a rant from the pastor:
In late August, when the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America met for its churchwide assembly in Minneapolis, St. Luke pastor Tim Housholder gave an impassioned speech to the group about his opposition to allowing gay clergy.
“I stand here finally on God’s holy word which calls homosexuality sin and calls all of those living out this lifestyle to the cross, not to receive tolerant love, but transforming and life-changing love,” Housholder said at the conference.
The news report indicated that the membership voted last Sunday at the annual meeting to partially restore congregational benevolence to the synod upon recommendation of the church council.
A second story that requires a follow up comes from the Northeastern Iowa synod of the ELCA. Just before Thanksgiving, this synod become a hot topic in the Lutheran blogosphere because the synod council passed a couple of resolutions that rejected the pro-LGBT decisions of the CWA. At the time, the Lutheran CORE website trumpeted the actions of the synod council as a harbinger of an anti-CWA groundswell. Turns out CORE was just a tad premature inasmuch as the Synod Council has now reversed course and rescinded its own resolutions.
Blogger friend Susan Hogan at Pretty Good Lutherans hosted a lively debate at that time, and she has reposted the discussion. The rescission was reported in a letter from the synod council vice president Karen Armstrong to the synod on Feb 1.
In her letter Armstrong wrote, “Our council received many responses to these (synod council) actions. There were some who misinterpreted our actions as being defiant of the churchwide decision, and even suggested that we had voted as a synod to leave the ELCA. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
She wrote that others were concerned that the synod council made decisions “that placed the council as a higher authority than the local congregation. There was also a concern that the synod council had placed itself as a higher authority than the churchwide assembly.”