Skip to comments.Ariz. Megachurch Cuts Ties with ELCA
Posted on 09/28/2009 6:55:20 AM PDT by rhema
A megachurch in Glendale, Ariz., unanimously voted Sunday to cut ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and will be joining the smaller Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.
At a congregational meeting following worship, Community Church of Joy voted 129-0 to terminate its affiliation with ELCA as the churchs vision, values and mission are no longer aligned with the nations largest Lutheran denomination, according to the Rev. Walter P. Kallestad, senior pastor of the congregation.
"There is such a different direction that the ELCA has chosen, a path they're traveling on, and we really believe that it just was not consistent to where God has called us, said Kallestad, whose congregation was the 10th largest in ELCA with 6,800 baptized members.
And so were parting, he told the ELCA News Service.
On its website, Community Church of Joy cited three documents to help make clear the reasons for the congregation's actions. One document is on ELCAs policy toward Israel, which the church says is not supportive of the nation.
Another is about Holy Scripture, which ELCA claims in its social statement on homosexuality cannot be used in isolation as the norm for Christian life and the source of knowledge for the exercise of moral judgment.
Community Church of Joy noted how ELCAs website states that the writers of the Bible sometimes provide differing and even contradictory views of Gods word, ways and will.
They also pointed to a number of argumentative comments in the Lutheran Study Bible, including misleading translations and its silence on Apostle Pauls comment on homosexuality as sin.
Lastly, the third document noted activities taken by ELCA promoting homosexual clergy.
Last month, during the triennial gathering of ELCAs chief legislative body, delegates voted 559-451 to approve a resolution allowing gays and lesbians in life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships to be ordained.
Delegates also adopted a new social statement on human sexuality with exactly the number of votes (676 or two-thirds) needed to pass it. The statement, which emphasizes two principles trust and bound conscience addresses a spectrum of topics relevant to human sexuality, including social structures, cohabitation, sexual exploitation, abuse, and homosexuality.
"I was praying that [Sundays vote] would be a clear direction from the congregation," said Kallestad, who will be resigning from ELCAs clergy roster to be consistent with the congregations decision.
Sundays vote follows an earlier one that took place in June 28, when 185 members voted 174-11 in favor of disassociating from ELCA. In a separate vote that same day, members decided by a 98 percent margin to align the church with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), an association of 179 congregations in the United States "rooted in the Lutheran Confessions.
Started by the WordAlone Network as an alternative for local churches who no longer felt that they could remain in ELCA, LCMC currently has congregations in 37 states and 8 countries.
According to LCMC's website, 10 churches have voted to join LCMC in the past six months.
For your information.
Lutheran PING!, please!
The ELCA “house” version of this news item may be found at:
(Note the truly bogus and arrogant URL title. The ELCA will get worse and worse until its members get the point that the Most Holy Spirit is making for them!!!!)
Ping for later
[St. Paul Pioneer Press story 9/25/09] "On Wednesday, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson wrote in a pastoral letter to church leaders that he is "disappointed" that some people are encouraging congregations and members to take actions that "will diminish our capacity for ministry." He warned that such actions could affect the denomination's ability to start churches, send out missionaries and rebuild communities after disasters."
ELCA Statistics 1988 2008 % change
Churches 11,120 10,396 -6.5%
Baptized membership (millions) 5.25 4.63 -11.8%
ELCA new mission starts 50 25* -50%
Global missions (millions)$18 $15.6 -13.3%**
Global missions executive staff 22 25 +14%
ELCA missionaries 471 180*** -62%
* 2007 figure
**actual decline is greater when the $15.6 million is discounted for inflation
***48 were one-year young adult missionaries
Freedom of religion and freedom of association are a beautiful thing.
>> Membership and donations deserting faux Christianity is the only way they’ll get the message. And maybe not even then.
Maybe not is right - the masses of the departed faithful in the Episcopal church have created a commercial real estate empire that is unstoppable. Our little church in suburban Colorado has enough rental property income that it allowed an arrogant nutcase of a “priest” and her tribe of vestry sycophants to run off 300 families over a period of 11 years. She was just recently deposed.
If this is a Megachurch, how come the vote was only 129-0? Or am I reading it incorrectly?
* as of August 19, AD 2009, a liberal protestant SECT, not part of the holy, catholic and apostolic CHURCH.
No, you read it correctly. Even the ELCA link in post #3 provides the same information along with additional vote breakdown.
The 6900 figure includes all baptized members. Not all baptized members are eligible to vote. Still, the 129 figure seems considerably short of a plurality for a church with 6900 baptized members.
Because only the Deacons voted.
As I recall, Community Church of Joy had a massive loss of membership when the founding pastor left. To some degree it had become a personality cult. Also, there were many (former) members who were there purely for fluff and entertainment. The church coined the phrase "entertainment evangelism" in the early 1990's and held nationwide seminars to impart their style-without-substance to other congregations. The remnant congregation wanted something more substantive, more traditional, and more solidly grounded in scripture and confessions. The unanimous vote does not surprise me in the least.
These are the lucky ones. Others end up under the wrecker's ball due to lack of funds and/or interest in saving them. It is sad, like the old Soviet Union.
But there is a bright side. Humble congregations who still teach Christianity are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. The building are much smaller. Usually simple frame structures. One in our area was even a converted barn. Another an abandoned warehouse. One of the megachurches near where I live (seats around 3000) has gone from one service on Sunday to two.
Politically, the megachurch is very conservative, but their "hellfire and damnation" brand of Christianity just isn't my cup of tea.
Meanwhile, the mainline structures downtown which still survive are doing so with dwindling congregations and/or by leasing their parking spaces on the weekdays.
It’s probably the number of church council members who voted. There’s a good chance, however, that a congregational meeting was held and they had a lot of imput from their members.
In a separate vote that same day, members decided by a 98 percent margin to align the church with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), an association of 179 congregations in the United States “rooted in the Lutheran Confessions.
I missed this on my first post. Apparently they did get the opinion of the congregation before the council (or elected leaders) voted. Sorry about that.
ELCA doesn’t own the property of its member congregations. So this is a loss for them on every front, and probably a huge gain for LCMC.
That was my first guess, but I couldn't fathom a church council with that many members. How would they get anything done?
As for Deacons, IIRC from my time in the ELCA, they don't have such a position.
Oh, never mind. I should have kept reading.