Update on ULC Eviction hearing

June 7th, 2012 Post by

The past two days have been filled with courtrooms for ULC and the MNS District.  The latest news is that each party has until 4 PM tomorrow to file any more briefs.  The Judge may take until Monday to render judgment in the case.

 

A reminder to all of you that the Minnesota South District Convention is happening June 14th-16th.  Pray for the delegates as it appears they will have to discuss these matters on the floor.

Delegates to the Convention – you may not agree with me on the ULC situation theologically or even politically – but please consider the case by plain reason.  What was the purpose of the money raised to purchase the property?  Was it to fund others or was it to fund ULC?

Who has caused this division?  Does your District need more hurt and greater divisions?  Who has refused to talk and be open?  Who refused a higher offer (if this was about money, they made a bad choice financially)?  Why was the higher offer refused (was it because ULC would have been allowed to stay and worship in a new facility)?

Just using your common sense reasoning – how does it look when a District has to evict one of its own congregations – which it is supposed to exist to serve (remember that congregations are the basis for Synod, Synod [and her Districts] serves congregations)?






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  1. Pastor Ted Crandall
    June 8th, 2012 at 03:02 | #1

    “Just using your common sense reasoning – how does it look when a District has to evict one of its own congregations – which it is supposed to exist to serve (remember that congregations are the basis for Synod, Synod [and her Districts] serves congregations)?”

    I would add to that list of pointed questions:

    Who is refusing to delay the decision in order to give the congregations’ delegates in convention an opportunity to discuss the matter BEFORE it is decided? (Remember, the officers of Synod (and her Districts) are supposed to be servants of the congregations.)

  2. Matthew Mills
    June 8th, 2012 at 10:55 | #2

    Thanks for the update Pastor,
    Fight the good fight!
    -Matt Mills, ULC ’85

  3. “LC-MS Quotes”
    June 8th, 2012 at 12:30 | #3

    Dr. Robert Preus (1924-95)…

    We are not a republic of districts. We are one church which divides itself arbitrarily into districts. And the districts are totally under the Synod. They have no autonomy whatsoever.

    “Happenings in St. Louis, 1974″
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, IL
    1976

  4. Lumpenkönig
    June 8th, 2012 at 14:46 | #4

    @“LC-MS Quotes” #3

    How about instituting the “Loesch Plan”.

    (Refer to post by Jeremy Loesch, reply #3)

    http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4504.0

  5. June 8th, 2012 at 19:09 | #5

    Popular quote by Charles Porterfield Krauth; still relevant:

    “When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages of its progress are always three. It begins by asking toleration. Its friends say to the majority: You need not be afraid of us; we are few, and weak; only let us alone; we shall not disturb the faith of others. The church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we ask only for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions. Indulged in this for a time, error goes on to assert equal rights. Truth and error are two balancing forces. The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality. It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth. We are to agree to differ, and any favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship. What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental. Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential. Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the church. Truth and error are two co-ordinate powers and the great secret of church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them. From this point error soon goes on to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy. Truth started with tolerating, it comes to be merely tolerated, and that only for a time. Error claims a preference for its judgments on all disputed points. It puts men into positions, not as at first in spite of their departure from the Church’s faith, but in consequence of it. Their recommendation is that they repudiate that faith, and position is given them to teach others to repudiate it, and to make them skilful in combating it.” From The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1871. Second Augsburg Edition, 1978, pp. 195-96.

  6. Win
    June 8th, 2012 at 20:46 | #6

    @Lumpenkönig #4

    “… but the district is not the church.” This from Jeremy Loesch. It’s about time that we own up to this truth–Jeremy has hit on something that is one of the best-kept secrets in the LCMS. Identifying the district with the church results in all kinds of mischief: It’s up to the district to preach the gospel, administer the sacraments, fulfill the Great Commission, etc. etc. NO! The district system came into being in order that visitation of the congregations would continue, as it had become impossible for the SP to visit an increasing number of congregations. The DP’s with the assistance of the circuit counselors still have that as their primary responsibility. Visitation is done to ensure that the congregations are faithful to be the church were they are: saints gathered around Word and Sacraments.

    When the districts realize that they exist to ASSIST & ENABLE the congregations to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments faithfully, thus fulfilling the Great Commission, then good things will begin to happen: present disciples will be fed and nourished while new disciples will be made. In closing the ULC, the Minnesota South District is not only thwarting the Great Commission, but also denying the very reason for its existence.

    Finally, let’s remember that the Great Commission is NOT the Material Principle and that “making disciples” is NOT about making NEW disciples only. ALL disciples are served by the Great Commission, which is ultimately accountable to Justification, the true Material Principle.

  7. Lumpenkönig
    June 8th, 2012 at 22:14 | #7

    @Win #6
    How then, can the structure and function of the district be redefined?

    IMHO, the districts pose the greatest threat to the success of the Koinonia Project.

  8. June 8th, 2012 at 23:06 | #8

    Lumpenkönig :@Win #6 How then, can the structure and function of the district be redefined?
    IMHO, the districts pose the greatest threat to the success of the Koinonia Project.

    First question: How to define the structure and function of the district. The structure (loosely) and function (very specifically) of the districts are defined by the Synod Constitution. From what I have seen (and I’ve seen plenty), what has happened is that both structure and functions have been hijacked. The system has been perverted such that the DP’s are often, but not always, into power and politics, and many Boards of Directors have lost sight of their primary function: as left-hand Kingdom Servants of the Right Hand Kingdom. Many district staffs are all too often engaged in promoting themselves, and have become hyper-focused on programs of one sort or another, and in raising funds to keep the staff employed (ostensibly for “Mission”). I’m willing to bet that a poll of all the staff of all the districts, would result in 90% of them not knowing why the district exists.

    Second question: I have to think about this one. Perhaps you have some ideas on the subject. I’m not sure how that all fits together.

  9. “LC-MS Quotes”
    June 9th, 2012 at 07:21 | #9

    Dr. Robert Preus (1924-95)…

    If a district refuses to support the Synod of which it is a member and which created it as a district–when congregations are consciously giving money to the mission enterprise and schools of the Synod –it is an utterly immoral and tyrannical thing to withhold that money. And the first thing I would do if I were the pastor of a congregation would be to send it directly to the Synod in order to offset that type of tyranny.

    “Happenings in St. Louis, 1974″
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois
    1976

  10. Pr. H. R. Curtis
    June 9th, 2012 at 11:45 | #10

    But then what would have Dr. R. Preus said if the case would have been a faithful district with a faithful district president serving under an unfaithful Synod president? What if a district today stands against “lay ministry”(as SID, CID, WY, and MO have just passed resolutions) but the Synod continues to support it?

    It’s easy to tell the districts to get in line when you think the Synod is being faithful. But one also wants a buffer between us and an unfaithful Synod.

    The Constitution and bylaws right now allow for a lot of latitude for DPs to run their districts. That’s neither good nor bad: theologians and DPs and Synod Presidents are good or bad. . .

    +HRC

  11. “LC-MS Quotes”
    June 10th, 2012 at 07:32 | #11

    Dr. Robert Preus (1924-95)…

    “If our board of youth services and the board of evangelism would be abolished–now you think I’m saying something terrible there–but the work in evangelism and in youth is being carried out very well by our districts. And I don’t think we need anything here at the central headquarters. The districts are doing fine. This is a district type of thing. You can’t do it from St. Louis out in New England and California, obviously not.”

    “Public Forum of Presidential Candidates–Lutheran Church Missouri Synod”
    Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bridgeton, MO
    May 6, 1989

  12. George H.
    June 10th, 2012 at 22:13 | #12

    Win @ #6,

    “The district system came into being in order that visitation of the congregations would continue, as it had become impossible for the SP to visit an increasing number of congregations. The DP’s with the assistance of the circuit counselors still have that as their primary responsibility. Visitation is done to ensure that the congregations are faithful to be the church were they are: saints gathered around Word and Sacraments.”
    ———

    Yes, that was the ideal. But nowadays, at least in some districts, such visitations by some DP’s with the assistance of their circuit counselors amount to ANYTHING BUT ensuring a pastor/ congregation’s fidelity to Word and Sacrament Ministry. Rather, as many a pastor can attest, such visitations often amount to making sure the pastor is doing everything he can to implement any and every Church Growth model/strategy possible to “grow” his congregation numerically, along with then seeing that as much money as possible is flowing from his congregation into the district coffers. And if the visitation involves the elders, chairman, etc., it might even be to suggest they implement a yearly “performance evaluation survey” of the pastor by the lay “leadership” of the congregation, you know, to assess how “missional” he is on what amounts to a subjective, sociological basis (e.g., Winning personality? Friendly and loving = keeps everyone happy??, etc., etc.). This is going on, and arguably would have been going on increasingly had Kieschnik been reelected along with his Ablaze/Transforming Congregations initiatives. So, in light of that, many a pastor is glad NOT to receive such a visitation from their DP/Circuit counselor. Don’t get me wrong, any faithful (Confessional) pastor should pray for and welcome such visitations as you have idealistically described them to be about. But the reality is that in many districts such visitations are anything but focused around confessional parameters, or anything to do with what a pastor actually took his ordination vow to uphold, defend, and promote. In fact, they have much to do with contradicting/undermining those very vows. Just sayin….

  13. Lumpenkönig
    June 11th, 2012 at 10:13 | #13

    @George H. #12

    George H.: What you write should be shouted from the housetops!!

    What can be done to stop the ongoing harassment of pastors by the district presidents? Armchair generals, indeed! Is Pastor Harrison aware of this? Can the Synod bylaws be changed? Are there any pending Synod resolutions to address these issues?

    As it stands, LCMS congregations donate 10% of the offering plate in the name of “missions.”

    Of that 10%:

    2% goes to the Synod; and
    8% goes to the District.

    I would wager that 99% of LCMS laymen are blissfully unaware of the actions of these districts.

  14. “LC-MS Quotes”
    June 11th, 2012 at 10:33 | #14

    Church News and Comment.
    AT HOME.

    “At the sessions of a Lutheran synod particular emphasis was laid on the necessity of conserving the spiritual interests of the ever-increasing number of Lutheran students resident at our various State colleges and universities. It was pointed out that this might be done best by delegating this duty to the local pastors in charge of congregations in close proximity to these various institutions. Assurances were given that university authorities would gladly welcome such efforts.”

    The Lutheran Witness
    July 1912

  15. helen
    June 11th, 2012 at 10:39 | #15

    @“LC-MS Quotes” #11
    but the work in evangelism and in youth is being carried out very well by our districts.

    Oh, right! Like inviting a protestant woman “pastor” to play a large role in our state youth gathering.
    [Her title was downgraded to "song leader" in the programs, when a storm gathered, but she was still a "pastor" where she came from, and her role in events was not changed, as far as I could tell.]

    We could do without “youth directors” at District level, too, IMHO.

  16. John Rixe
    June 11th, 2012 at 14:56 | #16

    Save University Lutheran Chapel (ULC)

    Pastor Kind is holding an open Q and A Session at University Lutheran Chapel on Thursday at 4:00 for any delegates to the MNS Convention who have questions about the sale of our chapel or the future of campus ministry at the U of M. If you’re in Southern MN, please help spread the word to your delegate.

  17. George H.
    June 11th, 2012 at 20:14 | #17

    Lumpenk @ #13

    “I would wager that 99% of LCMS laymen are blissfully unaware of the actions of these districts.”

    —-

    Actually, if only it were that they were “unaware.” Unfortunately, the problem, as someone posted elsewhere on another thread, is that a majority of our laypeople are resolutely apathetic, don’t want to made aware. That is why districts bods like MNSouth are so increasingly aggressive in what they’re doing to the ULC’s out there: They know the majority really don’t care enough to stop them.

  18. Pastor Ted Crandall
    June 12th, 2012 at 04:45 | #18

    @George H. #17
    “They know the majority really don’t care enough to stop them.”

    There is also an innocent naive trust of church leaders. Many people in the pews, if you tried to tell them of the evil being perpetrated by these district officials, would dismiss you as a conspiracy theorist.

    This same trust allows the evil ones to remove good men from call lists — and place child molesters instead.

  19. Warren Malach
    June 12th, 2012 at 12:59 | #19

    Is there any news from the court since yesterday’s hearing?

  20. Dana Kind
    June 12th, 2012 at 13:15 | #20

    @Warren Malach #19
    No news yet.

  21. Win
    June 12th, 2012 at 16:35 | #21

    @George H. #12

    Of course, you’re right, and you have amply demonstrated my point that both the function and the structure of the districts have been hijacked. “It ain’t your grandfather’s church” is not good news.

    For those of you who have the gumption, ask your circuit counselor, or better, a member of your Board of Directors to show you the complete budget for your district. Oh, you don’t know who your Board of Directors are? Shame! After you find out who’s who (whom?) and you get your hands on the budget, then read it over and see where the money is going. If you don’t like it, you can do something about it.

    While I’m rambling, I wonder if, in the interests of stewardship, the Minnesota South District gave any thought to Stewardship of Souls. Just wondering……

  22. helen
    June 12th, 2012 at 19:36 | #22

    @Win #21
    get your hands on the budget, then read it over and see where the money is going. If you don’t like it, you can do something about it.

    I asked about that. Someone said, “You can get it, (sort of) but good luck with figuring out where the money is really being spent.”

  23. Win
    June 12th, 2012 at 20:58 | #23

    helen :
    @Win #21
    get your hands on the budget, then read it over and see where the money is going. If you don’t like it, you can do something about it.
    I asked about that. Someone said, “You can get it, (sort of) but good luck with figuring out where the money is really being spent.”

    You need to get a budget that shows how the money was spent in the previous year, and the proposed expenditures for the coming year. This stuff is not secret, and unless there’s all kind of real skulduggery going on, the figures should be readily available. There’s absolutely no valid reason that you can’t get the numbers. The treasurer normally has to allocate salaries to various budget items–for instance the DP’s compensation might be allocated to administration, missions, synod work, and congregational visitation, among other things. However, you can still get a pretty good idea of where the money is going. All the minute details are not there, but you can still get quite a bit of information.

    This ULC affair is a great tragedy. An ominous cloud of mistrust hangs over the whole business:Charges and countercharges, injunctions, accusations, rumors, just to mention a few. I have followed it from the distance of my district: it has a profound spiritual dimension, and is extremely painful and frankly frightening to witness. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood….”

  24. Dana Kind
    June 19th, 2012 at 11:21 | #24

    We are being evicted on Monday, June 25. Our last service will be Sunday, June 24:(

  25. John Rixe
    June 19th, 2012 at 15:37 | #25

    @Dana Kind #24

    Many thanks to the Lord for the blessings of this marvelous facility for 62 years.  Also, many thanks to you, your son, and David for faithful service during these stressful and sad months.  

    “Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere; ”  (Psalm 84:10)

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