Specifics on LCMS Lawsuit Against Church Ladies Released

Editor’s Note: The LCMS via the California-Nevada-Hawaii district has sued a church in California for the church property worth millions. We introduced this story a few weeks ago but then dropped it because it was hard to tell who was in the right. The following story contains quotes from the depositions. We recommend you be careful about drawing conclusions about this but it appears to be significant enough that our readers should be aware what is going on. This is  from a bulk  e-mailing  by “Reclaim News.” Comments of clarificaton from our readers with legal knowledge would be greatly appreciated. We extracted the legal filings at the time by clicking here.

November 16, 2009

Depositions Show LCMS Mission Funds Paying for Suit against “Oakland Four”

He may not be the God of the Council of District Presidents but He is still the God of orphans and widows.

Transcripts of depositions of California-Hawaii-Nevada District LC-MS verses Sharon Bowles, Mary-Ann Hill, Portia Ridgeway, and Celia Moyer of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church Oakland CA reveal that LCMS mission funds are being used to pay for District legal fees. Under cross examination plaintiff Ron Lee admitted that the District was paying his legal fees as well as the legal fees of the other defendants.

District Executive David Sauer admitted that he intervened and took sides in an internal church dispute that had nothing to do with the female pastor issue. In fact, both Sauer and Dr. Newton agreed that they told the congregation in February of 2006 that they could keep using the services of visiting Episcopal Priest, Rev. Dr. Katherine Ward, “for the time being.”

The 222 page deposition from District President Newton records that Synodical Attorney Sherri Strand had to remind Newton to give a verbal response when asked by Attorney Paul Nelson about the district’s desire to remove Rev. Katherine Ward from Our Redeemer.

Nelson: “. . . not forcing congregation to make quick decision.”

Newton: “Correct.”

Nelson: “Is that consistent with what you remember saying?”

Newton: (nods head up and down.)

Ms. Strand: “You have to verbalize.”

Newton: “Yes, I’m sorry, it’s correct.”

Exchanges like these show why Nelson is eager to take this case to trial in March of 2010.

This is an amazing exchange in view of the fact that the Synod sued Our Redeemer for its property because Ward had been hired (not called) by the congregation. The suit was filed after Ward had already been gone for nearly a year. Newton acknowledged they didn’t pressure the congregation to get rid of Ward.

During Sauer’s and Newton’s visit to the congregation, Portia Ridgeway reports that both Sauer and Newton took Communion from Dr. Ward.

Sauer admitted that he quietly formed a “committee” comprising the plaintiffs and another woman, of whom only Ron Lee had any official role in the church, to pursue an unsuccessful recall petition to remove one of the key trustees for the church (Sharon Bowles) for entirely trumped-up reasons that had nothing to do with church doctrine. Ron Lee acknowledged that the real reason was because Bowles was pressing for an accounting for the unexplained depletion of church funds (an estimated $100,000).

This same “committee” then secretly went around the entire Church Council trying to convince the congregation to remain a member of the LCMS even though the District had no intention of ever providing a candidate to be a permanent replacement to their former minister.

According to CCM ruling 267 (May 2004), a district president can gather any number of members and call them the real church in order to maintain control of the church property.

Newton and Sauer both acknowledged that no actual candidate for a permanent pastor was ever presented, or has been offered to Our Redeemer since 2003—seven years after their former pastor left.

What actually took place is that Ron Lee encouraged the congregation to hire a woman Episcopal Priest so the District could claim a doctrinal reason for suing the congregation, and gain control of its property.

Sauer admitted that there was never any intension to supply the congregation with an LCMS pastor, which was the real reason Our Redeemer left the Synod.

Currently, Our Redeemer is being served by two layman of the congregation who take turns reading a sermon on Sunday Morning. No local LCMS pastors will cross the district’s ban on our Redeemer and serve as a guest preacher.

After listening to District President Newton’s deposition, defendant Portia Ridgeway reported she had never seen a minister tell so many lies. I told her that is because she hasn’t met the other LCMS District Presidents. District Presidents don’t consider anything that must to say for good of the “greater church” a lie. “The greater church,” is their own term for themselves.

At first Newton insisted that he had seven candidates lined up to serve at Our Redeemer but then he admitted that he never showed Our Redeemer a list of candidates—spoken like a true LCMS District President. Newton claimed that he has no recollection of Our Redeemer ever asking for a pastor. In fact, the depositions show the Newton suffers from a profound and persistent memory loss.

As the depositions came to a close, Attorney for the LCMS, Sherri Strand reported that it had all been a miscommunication. From our view that’s about a $400,000 miscommunication for the Synod and $280,000 worth of miscommunication for the defendants. The tab is still running.

The up-coming trial in March of 2010 will send this case into seven figures. The Synod can’t afford to quit and they have endless mission funds to continue the suit.

The defendants are trying to raise $10,000 to depose Kieschnick before the trial date. It sounds like a bargain. For $10,000 there will be an opportunity to ask possible questions such as:

President Kieschnick, why did you write: ‘Further, the LCMS has not paid any legal fees in connection with this lawsuit, which was filed neither at my direction nor with my awareness’?”

President Kieschnick, isn’t Sherri Strand the chief legal counsel for the LCMS who reports all legal activity in the LCMS to the Board of Directors?”

President Kieschnick, if the Synod is not involved in the suit why do the letters “LCMS” appear in the list of plaintiffs?”

President Kieschnick, aren’t districts a source of LCMS mission funds?”

The $10,000 needed to depose Kieschnick includes airfare to St. Louis, lodging, and transcription. Tax deductible donations can be sent directly to a new dedicated account. Donations of any amount should be sent to:

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church,

Account number 0536971270,

Bank of America

4054 MacArthur Blvd.

Oakland CA 94619

Please send only checks and place the account number in the memo line. All donations to this account are tax deductible. For more information and eyewitness information to the depositions contact Dr. Sharon Bowles at [email protected]

This writer is in position of about 875 pages of deposition transcripts from Ron Lee, District Executive Rev. David Sauer, and District President Dr. Robert Newton.

Nothing is going to convince the LCMS that they are wrong except a judge and we can be certain the Synod has the money to finance endless appeals.

When Newton was questioned about suing these four ladies after the Synod had adopted Resolution 8-02A “To Affirm Christian Resolution of Disputes” he responded that the Synod was free to sue them because they were no longer members of the LCMS. In other word, the 2007 Convention gave the Synod the right to sue anyone who isn’t in communion fellowship with the Synod.

Few LCMS laypeople understand that the Council of District Presidents regards themselves and their office as the “Mission of the Church.” Like Ananias and Sapphira, Resolution 8-02A and CCM-267 give the COP license to deceive people about ownership of church property.

In the 1960’s the LCMS was overrun with liberals who denied that the Bible was the inspired, inerrant, infallible, Word of God. Now, 50 years later, they have been replaced by whose who would never be so foolish as to allow religion to separate them from money.

President Kieschnick’s latest plan to sell the Fort Wayne Seminary (which raises its own funds) will follow the recent sale of KFUO FM for $18,000,000.

If you want to meet the “Oakland Four” log onto interview with “Oakland four” on YouTube.

‘Oakland Four’ Sued by LCMS – Interview by Rev. Cascione (first half)


‘Oakland Four’ Sued by LCMS – Interview by Rev. Cascione (second half)


About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Specifics on LCMS Lawsuit Against Church Ladies Released — 45 Comments

  1. So, let me get this straight. So, resolution 8-02A, now gives the LCMS, Synod, BOD, or basically, any district, Pastor, elder, or member of Synod as such
    (remember laity don’t count, we are not members, yet… ck Scott’s newest article)
    the right to now file a suit? Aren’t these women being sued, privately, as individuals, not as a congregation?

    So, hypothetically, if one cheeses off, a pastor, elder, or district president, or any member of a congregation, one could be sued? By the full weight & resource of our Synod?!
    Ah…is it just me or does anyone else see a connection between what Scott just posted in his new article & this little nugget of news? I do believe we have an answer for the new language referring to laity. They are setting legal precedent (or attempting to) to obtain ability to file legal suit against those who oppose Synod, District, or Synod members, or anyone with a claim to Synod!

    Whoa, this is getting mighty…dark mighty quick. They are attempting to lock the doors w/their members & servants of Christ, inside to keep them from speaking out, speaking up, or leaving! If that is the case, which it certainly appears to be, why would I send a ck w/my name, address, & phone number for them to see? If they can’t take Paypal, I can’t/won’t send. If that be the case, which it appears to be, why would I retain membership in such a church who has departed to the point of: serve, speak not, or we sue you?!!!! I am no slave, Christ came to free me from such as this!!!

    This is IDOLATRY!!! The Synod has replaced Christ as Lord & replaced Him, with the idols of money & power!!!! And they are willing to enslave it’s lambs w/threat of suit to do it!!!! May God be slow to anger, mighty to save, and quick to defend His own!

    I do believe, this would be reason nummero uno for using “nicknames” at this point. I was not blowing smoke when I said I was afraid of being open to a suit, apparently. I know what happenned in our last church. Under this new resolution & w/this new case, I had just cause to be wary! Tread lightly folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  2. . . . O merciful God, bring these men to repentance for the harm they have done Your church! Likewise, forgive your children at Our Redeemer for submitting to a female pastor contrary to Your Word, and preserve them in faith in You during their trial.

    Lord and Father, although we deserve nothing from You, look upon us with mercy and send us godly leaders! Surely it is Your righteous will that your servants live in peace with one another and, being motivated by the understanding of Your gracious Gospel, work to further Your Kingdom and not to tear it down.

  3. Zant,
    My dear friend in Christ! These women, have repented of their error!!
    Has the Synod repent of theirs? No! They have not! Their intent, is to set legal precendent, as the Episcopal Church has done in CA. Idolatry, in money & in power!

    Nothing those elderly women possess, is theirs, it was given from Above! As is anything, this Synod, thinks they possess, you cannot can’t count nor claim that which is not yours. It is why there is a case in CA.

  4. Does anything surprise me anymore regarding the behavior of the district presidents, the PotS, and others who want to be somebody other than faithful parish pastors or faithful Lutheran layfolk? No. “There was no king in Israel and every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (judges 17:6) seems to be modus operendi for the LCMS. Sad, very sad.

  5. I find numerous aspects of this “report” distressing. (I am talking about the report, not about the actual lawsuit.) First, there is the claim that there are “quotes” from the deposition. The only one I see is a partial quoted answer to an unknown question then followed up with 5 lines that are regular and normal usage in a deposition. This is like taking the question to Jesus in Matthew 21, not looking at the question asked, nor most of the answer, and just saying: Jesus said: “Go throw yourself into the sea.” Not acceptable in theology, not acceptable in a court of law, but evidently acceptable to publicly attack an individual(s). As for reminding someone to give a verbal response, go read a couple hundred depositions at random and you will find that asking for a verbal response is normal and regular. If this deposition is so horrid, let us see real and full quotes placed in their context.

    Then, with the final statement at the end that should conclude the article, the author brings in the accusation that the Presdient of the LC-MS plans to sell the St. Wayne Seminary? That one concluding sentance with no basis or mention in the whole article is the conlcusion to the lawsuit article?

    I could go on but this is not an article to give information, this is an article to inflame passions and pursuade people on the basis of fear (the synod. could come sue you and take you church away) and emotion. Let’s go to reasoned dialouge, facts, and logic instead.

  6. Oh to be, Sherri Strand, legal counsel for the LCMS. She’s going to retire early & live rather well, and soon!

    The change in legal counsel after the lawsuit filed, for voter fraud; being in business still, after an investigation for violation of not for profit laws, by the State of Missouri; the suit involving Issues, Etc; and now suing little mature ladies in CA. In order to see a pattern of human behavior, you must look at a human’s past patterns of behavior. My goodness, what a pattern of past, these vile people, who sit in the high places do have!

    No wonder Texas asked advice here at BJS, to write out Synod’s claim to property. Don’t know Texas law, but I don’t think that will work at this point.
    Is it right to do so, no. That property, from the chancel to the door, is not the member’s or the Synod’s, it is Christ’s. You can not fist-hold what is not yours. It’s not wise to re write the bylaws or constitution, while an active case, has yet to be decided, in the US legal system, pertaining to property assets. Word to the wise, that can be disputed in court. Companies do that, to hedge a bet to keep “personal or business related” assets from foreclosure. It doesn’t work for them, it won’t work for a congregation, at leastn ot at this point in judicial US law.

    The question for us all here at BJS, is now:
    How much are you PERSONALLY willing to risk, to fight for the Sola’s which this Synodical Church has abandoned?
    “Goods, fame, child & wife, let these all be gone, they have yet nothing won”. Ya never start a fight your not willing to finish, no matter what you lose, even if it be your livelyhood, winning or loosing ain’t the big bit. It’s not about being right, but doing what IS right. “Whomsoever, is willing to leave…”

    Give them the earthly & worldly play things they ask for. In the doing, as they think they gain, but.. they really loose all! AS THEY NOW EXPOSE THEMSELVES FOR THE APOSTATES THEY ARE.

    Funds & earthly power, is the best they can hope for, as they have departed where True Hope comes from! And where is that folks?!

    These women are fighting, basically, for exposing a fraud, perpetuated in a not for profit entity! $100K in a congregation that size, tends to be missed! Eeee gads, how do we hid the paper trail to where that $$ went? We’ll file a civil suit under the bylaws set forth in our constitution. Yes, in matters where the LCMS feels it “owns” property, they can file a suit, the wording is already there. The precepts of legislation are already on the books. Why…is it there at all or being proposed to all Convention, again, referring now to laity?

    These women, may stand to loose everything, but…in the doing, expose PK, the BOD, Synod & it’s districts, for the minions they are. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. And the district & Synod are willing pay 7 figures for the privilige, to a worse steward of money (CA) than they are. Eating a bit of crow & repenting sin, isn’t that bad, rather uplifting. In a foul taste sort of way, but hey, you seasoned it & prepared the dish, from the get go. You should partake of the first plate.

    They speak, but do not preach. They instruct, but not as to the Lord, but as of the things of men. Does anyone have a camel & a needle handy?

  7. As distressing and disturbing as the lawsuit is, this is not an “article.” Everyone really needs to head Pastor Rossow’s admonition that “We recommend you be careful about drawing conclusions” because this is worst attempt at “journalism” I have read in a long time. And, for the record, I think that the District’s attempt to take the church property is totally wrong.

    But, as a lawyer who takes many depositions, let me say that the shocking quotes from the deposition are about as shocking is waking up and finding out the sky is blue or that snow is white. He had to be reminded to verbalize his answers – wow. And how about this gem of a paragraph:

    After listening to District President Newton’s deposition, defendant Portia Ridgeway reported she had never seen a minister tell so many lies. I told her that is because she hasn’t met the other LCMS District Presidents. District Presidents don’t consider anything that must to say for good of the “greater church” a lie. “The greater church,” is their own term for themselves.

    So much for the 8th commandment. This paragraph is a classic example of exactly why Jack Cascione and his Reclaim News are doing more harm than good.

  8. Kevin makes a good point. Releasing hints and brief phrases from a deposition, with little context doesn’t say much. Of course, building the hype before a trial is practically legal SOP, as one can see by going back a couple of years to the publicity and fund-raising activities for the abortive attempt at a lawsuit by some members of the LCMS Board of Directors.

    Now there’s nothing wrong with hype, per se. But some are a little skittish from past experiences and are waiting to see if the noise is coming from firing blanks or armor-piercing ammunition.

  9. Kevin & Carl,

    Thanks for your words. It helps us to keep this in perspective. It is hard to say at this point what exactly is going on.

    If it is true that President Newton took communion from a priestess, that is certainly distressing.


  10. Should have added Joe to that last comment. Wise words. I called an attorney last night just to make sure that it was possible that depositions could be made pulbic and he assured me that it happens.

    It will be interesting to see where this all goes.


  11. Joe,
    Can I ask you a question? It’s been a fair bit, since I dealt w/this. 12 years to be exact. Is it possible, if this suit is decided in Synod, LCMS or the District’s favor…will it be possible for a synod, DP, pastor, elder, or “Synod Member” to file civil suit against an opposing party? If proof provides, synodical “assets” or what is deemed to be such, areinvolved?
    Can one be sued for such? If legal precedence is set in CA court? That would be a yes or no.
    Is it possible, should this case be won by LCMS & District? (Recorded plantiff’s) Yes or no.

  12. Um….what? There is so much messed up about this case that frankly I don’t even totally understand what’s going on. Why is the LCMS suing the 4 ladies? How did an ECUSA priestess get involved? If Newton took communion from her, is he going to be disciplined? Why wouldn’t the district allow an LCMS pastor? This is strange.

  13. “Currently, Our Redeemer is being served by two layman of the congregation who take turns reading a sermon on Sunday Morning. No local LCMS pastors will cross the district’s ban on our Redeemer and serve as a guest preacher.”

    I’m wondering how true this is. I’m also wondering if there is any LCMS pastor out there who would be willing to walk into a situation like this and, if there were, would the congregation be willing to cease and desist their departure from the synod (though it’s only part of the congregation who wants to depart and have laid claim to the property, according to the legal documents). It would be great to see this resolved without going to court. Sheep need a shepherd. Sinners need the cross.

  14. Bethany,

    Let me try to summarize. If anyone can correct any of the following or add to it please have at it.

    1. A church in the San Francisco area that sits on a multi-million dollar piece of land started to dwindle in membership.

    2. They lost thier pastor.

    3. The district refused to help them with a call list. (This is interpreted as Cascione that they want to sell the land – he may be right.)

    4. There is very little male membership left therefore we have the “four church ladies” running the show.

    5. There was a male president of the congregation but he left the congregation.

    6. The four ladies hired an Episcopal woman pastor to do services.

    7. The district president got hooked up with this guy and is claiming that he is the confessional minority of the congregation. Since most LCMS parish constitutions say that in a property squabble the property goes to the confessional minority, the district is using the synod attorney to sue the ladies for the property.

    8. Because the synod atorney is to report all actions to the LCMS Board of Directors it is odd that President Kieschnick claims that he knew nothing of this lawsuit.

    9. Former LCMS pastor Jack Cascione got involved and helped the ladies see the error of hiring an Episcopal priestess. He got them to confess their sin of false ecumensim.

    10. The trial is now in the deopistion phase and based on the above post there is some very interesting and problematic things coming to light.


  15. Dutch,

    I guess I just do not know enough about that to put it on the list. Where does it fit? Who is alleging that who took the 100k?


  16. “Ron Lee, acknowledged that the real reason, was because Bowles was pressing, for an accounting for the unexplained depletion of church funds, (an estimated $100,000)
    It’s listed in the article above.

  17. The question is, if allegations, state that 100K is missing, froma congregation that size…why isn’t Synod investigating that?! Was it taken from a designated fund, from many funds or accounts? If a congregation, so small as they, allege that 100K is missing, and called for an audit, & received a civil suit instead, the question is why?

  18. The issue of what the LCMS can or cannot do re church property will be decided (or should be) by the language of the constitution. My congregation’s constitution currently states that the property stays with the faction that continues to remain with the LCMS. Not ideal and will be looked at in the future. Some say it stays with the confessional group (not good from a legal standpoint – no judge will want to judge doctrine and could easily find that it is a non-justiciable question and dismiss any case leaving titled muddied. Or the judge may decide he has to judge doctrine – also not good). I would suggest that all constitutions state that in the case of a split the property goes to whatever group or entity the congregation decides by one last vote of the voter’s assembly. Legally, it is the cleanest easiest option.

    “8. Because the synod attorney is to report all actions to the LCMS Board of Directors it is odd that President Kieschnick claims that he knew nothing of this lawsuit.”

    This assertion still bother’s me. May be it is my lack of knowledge of the corporate form of Synod, but aren’t we making an assumption here? Aren’t Districts set up as separate legal entities? If so, then they can take legal action without Synod’s involvement. And, there would be no duty to report it to the BOD. (Whether they should or not is a different issue). And, Ms. Strand is not “the synod attorney.” She is an attorney in private practice who is currently under a retainer agreement with the Synod – this does not preclude her from being hired by a District (if it is a separate legal entity) and it does not necessarily mean that the President was aware of what was going on. I think there is a strong chance that new something was up, but Ms. Strand is hardly a smoking gun linking this all back to the purple palace. This is what we need some actual investigation about. Just because a District takes an action is it not true that the Synod – knew, sanctioned or was involved with that action.

  19. Sorry, last sentence should read:

    Just because a District takes an action IT IS not true that the Synod – knew, sanctioned or was involved with that action.

  20. Joe,

    Once again your clarification is quite helpful. I will be more careful in the future with this item.

    I would add this, now that he knows, I would hope President Kieschnick would invovle himself as the chief supervisor of doctrine and practice in the synod to make sure that this volatile situation is handled properly.


  21. I really think that something very wrong is going on in California. I just think that we have to very careful to get it right. We can’t give LCMS, Inc. the ability to deny accusations because the are technically incorrect. We need someone to methodically analyze these issues and refrain from the hyperbolic nonsense that usually comes from Cascione.

    To this:

    “I would add this, now that he knows, I would hope President Kieschnick would invovle himself as the chief supervisor of doctrine and practice in the synod to make sure that this volatile situation is handled properly.”

    I say Amen Brother. That is the real question. So now that you know, what are you going to do about it. Do you think the District’s actions are good, right and salutary or have they erred?

  22. More importantly, why would the district/synod want the property SO badly that they would resort to such tactics to get it from the remaining congregation, who, through their desperate actions, obviously still desire to remain a congregation in that area?

    Do they want to see a congregation fail just to sue for the property and get money?
    Sounds like a set-up for failure to not provide a list of candidates to pastor a congregation.

    And, isn’t suing the brethren anti-Scriptural? a la Acts 18?
    Why did this matter have to be taken to the secular courts?
    Seems as if church property disputes should be settled by the congregation’s constitution.

  23. P.S. It would be worth the $10,000 to depose Kieschnick.
    To boot him out of office altogether would be priceless.

  24. We need to also be aware that under the “model congregational constitutions” I believe it must be stated that property will remain with the LCMS–otherwise the constitution will not be accepted.

  25. A word of caution: Read the court documents painfully boring at they may be. (The url reference is in one of Cascione’s segments but I can provide it if absolutely necessary.
    The issue is less about the property than it is who is the rightful “leadership” of Redeemer. As I understand it, that’s what Lee and Plaintiffs are suing to obtain. Some property issues are inevitably involved, of course.
    But Nobody is clean in this mess.
    As to what Kieschnick knew and when he knew it…reasonable inquiry. As to what he’s going to do about it…reasonable inquiry.
    As to Sauer and Newton’s communion practices…I won’t touch that one with a ten foot Czech…I’m in Sauer’s Circuit too!

  26. I strongly urge you to link back to the previous posts on this issue, which included usable links to the court filings by both sides to the lawsuit. The information posted above has no links to source materials, and includes significant hearsay (not heresy, hearsay) while excluding statements of value for continued idle chatter such as this from many parties to the dispute on all sides. Sometimes, sadly, no one is in the right, but light must be shined on the truth and in context with a modicum of the facts. I expect more from the Brothers of St. John the Steadfast.

  27. So done. I’ve added a link to the original post, as well as a link to the site I put up from extracting all the legal filings at the time.

    Again — read Pastor Rossows intro at the top of it, part of it which is listed below:

    We recommend you be careful about drawing conclusions about this but it appears to be significant enough that our readers should be aware what is going on.

  28. It really is irresponsible to include Cascione’s muddled, half-truth reporting on the BJS site, even with Pastor Rossow’s caveat or Norm Fisher’s extra links (to 10,000 pages of legal briefs, if you really want to know the truth). Why not include a story from the National Enquirer about the three-eyed hyena, along with a caveat that “we recommend you be careful about drawing conclusions . . .” BJS can do better, much better.

  29. This account is worthless. I bet the synod official also admitted he was under oath before he failed to verbalize his answer! Scandal!

    Seriously,it would take an attorney several hours of reading to figure out what’s going on here. Without that, posting this does nothing except create additional division and add to distrust. I’d take it down.

  30. This is significant for the LCMS, but not outside it. In Time magazine, in 08, Time magazine ran an article entitled, The Epsicopal Property War. You can find it here:

    This is what happens when a denom, is “in flux” or a state of “division”. They & the congregation that has departed, for whatever the reason, jockey for the property. This is a “divorce”.
    Ironically, California, it the locale, of quite a few cases for them at the moment. This, too, can & most likely will also occur w/ELCA, if congregations choose to depart. Why would we think the LCMS is any different, when Synod already looks outside the denom for theological input & instruction amongst other things? This isn’t something that is a hush, hush, sort of thing. The LCMS is just following suit (no pun intended) as other denoms.

  31. Okay, link just loaded & is error. Just type in the name of the article, & it goes through. Sorry about that.

  32. Seriously, indeed Boaz. Please let us not get into the “shoot the messenger” game.
    It is not those who report actions who are gulty of division but those who act contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned. who cause division and offenses.
    Norm has posted the links which will lead you to the link to the Alameda County Court documents. You oughta read ’em for yourself. If you don’t want to wade through the Cascione YouTube stuff, lemme know by posting here and I’ll post the very lengthy direct url.

  33. Boaz,

    You wrote, “Seriously, it would take an attorney several hours of reading to figure out what’s going on here.”

    Or, leaders of the LCMS and of the CNH District can explain what they are doing. That would save a lot of time, don’t you think?


  34. Joe Olson :
    I really think that something very wrong is going on in California. I just think that we have to very careful to get it right. We can’t give LCMS, Inc. the ability to deny accusations because the are technically incorrect. We need someone to methodically analyze these issues and refrain from the hyperbolic nonsense that usually comes from Cascione.

    Indeed. Shouldn’t this be kept in mind with everything?


  35. Editor. post 29,

    “It really is irresponsible to include Cascione’s muddled, half-truth reporting on the BJS site”
    At least Cascione is doing something about this situation. If it wasn’t for him, how many of us would know about this atrocity.

  36. Sherri Strand is just one woman. But I have seen the entire LCMS Board of Directors fit behind her skirt.


  37. Like I said before Todd, “oh to be Sherri Strand, she can retire early & soon”. How can so many suits be filed, including the one over voter fraud, and the cry “solas or we depart” not go up?

  38. The tendency of our synodical and district leaders to hide behind the lawyers is a bad sign, regardless of the particulars of this case. I would expect this of businessmen and company men, but not of churchmen. It also allows the lawyers to act, apparently without the knowledge or direction of their clients.


  39. I would love for someone to answer a question for me. If disputes, are to be settled w/in Synod, & Synod is now relying on an attorney to itigate or act as arbitrator, what does that say?
    PK was right in saying he was no theologian, but HELLO…if he isn’t, & is the President, what in the world does that make Sherri Strand? THE BLOOMIN PRES & BOD DEPENDS ON HER TO SETTLE DISPUTES & FOR DIRECTION…IN THEOLOGICAL & CHURCH MATTERS!!! Where, is this, apart from our foundations mind you, WHERE IN THE BLOOMIN WORLD IS THIS IN SCRIPTURE, ya know, that part of our grandfather’s church we call Sola Scriptura?

  40. I’m trying to sort through what information I can trust in the report above. Can someone verify some of the following?

    A) DP Newton actually said that they did not need to immediately remove the Anglican priestess,

    B) Newton actually received the host & cup from her hand,

    C) After the congregation asked for a pastor, their request was denied.

    If possible, I’d like more than, “It appears to be true.”

    Thank you.

  41. “5. There was a male president of the congregation but he left the congregation.

    6. The four ladies hired an Episcopal woman pastor to do services.” — Pr. Rossow’s summary

    Early on Reclaim News said that the male president (Ron Lee) hired the Episcopal female, and only told the members a year later that it should not have been done. Thereafter, he left the congregation and has been trying to regain control (presumably from outside) with the help of the District office.

    There is a lot to wonder about here, but if the District refused to help with finding a Lutheran Pastor to serve a vacancy (at least), that’s a good place to begin, IMHO.

    $100,000 would come second.

    [If the church left the LCMS, it’s really not the CNH’s business thereafter.]

  42. Helen, again, you so rock! The things that make ya go hmmmm…….
    This church is not entirely populated by women, is it? Is it a Lutheran type convent of female membership? If LAYMEN, men, are doing services & sermons, I think not. Where were they, & honoring their “accountability & responsibility under Sola Scriptura?
    Denying a church a Pastor, an independant audit called for MISSING 100k, in a congregation that small? And the magical Synod fairy, waves the wand & a lawsuit is filed, me thinks, someone, somewhere, got it, took it, & now is protesting much too much, in order to protect much, LIKE THEIR RESPECTIVE POSTERIOR. If ya take the Sacrament, with grins & giggles from ANOTHER DENOM’S WOMAN PASTOR, ya don’t really have a leg to stand on. But hey, what do I know, this ain’t my church, no wait, not my father’s church,
    no wait… When will “talk” stop & action start?

  43. Dutch,
    It looks like the women care enough to put up the money to defend against the lawsuit…
    or maybe they are the ones who asked about the $100, 000 and suing was meant to shut them up?

    It gets curiouser and curiouser…. also more and more expensive!

  44. Helen, ah yes, the missing 100K. If it is missing, is it just me or wouldn’t that be…kind of important? Helen, this is getting curiouser & curiouser…but this is no looking glass I’d want to walk through. 4 women…one elder…& two laymen reading the sermons.
    There are only two men in this congregation, & where were they in 2003, 2004, 2005….etc.
    This is going to be very interesting. If I lived in that district, & it is in open court, I think I’d take a day & listen to testimony.

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