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Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Bishop Stephen S.Talmage, Grand Canyon Synod ELCA, sent a letter to synod pastors stating that Shepherd of the Hills, Fountain Hills, AZ was removed from synod rolls, December 11, 2010 because of their dual affiliation with the LCMC. Their pastor, Steve Bergeson, resigned from the ELCA clergy roster as well.

It is quite amazing that ELCA congregations across the country are being held to the constitution of the national church body when it comes to voting. Yet, the rules for congregations holding dual membership in other Lutheran bodies are enforced differently from synod to synod. Literally hundreds of ELCA congregations now hold dual membership in the LCMC and/or the NALC. The ELCA's lack of uniformity in imposing penalties on congregations could provide a good legal argument in court if and when the ELCA tries to keep congregations from leaving with their property.

1 comment:

  1. This is interesting to see how this is playing out.

    When the congregations of the McConnellsburg Lutheran Parish, McConnellsburg, PA were removed from the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA in February of 2010, in the letter from the secretary of the synod, we were informed that dual rostering was not permitted and any congregation of the ELCA that joined another Lutheran church body would face such "Disipline" by being removed. The claim was doing so violated the part of the congregation being an "interdependent part" of the ELCA and the Lower Susquehanna Synod by belonging to another church body. Calling a pastor from the ELCM and voting to join the ELCM probably brought some of that about.

    I do agree that this does set forth a rather interesting legal problem down the road for other dual rostered congregations who are not permitted to leave when others were removed for being dual rostered.