Great Stuff — Tomorrow Will Tell

Great article found over on Pastor Ken Kelly’s blog, Priestly Rant:

 

CRMI’m not going to say it was a political move, but when the Chairman of Floor Committee 3 said this morning that he wanted to move through easier resolutions to spend more time on those that would be more contentious, requiring more debate, I thought that was a smart thing to do. When Floor Committee 3 re-convened this afternoon, I hoped, as did many of my colleagues, that 3-10A would be the first item of business, because 3-10Adirectly impacts the lives of men. Despite a motion by our brother in Christ, the Rev. Hans Fiene, and the best efforts of our other brother in Christ, the Rev. Chris Amen, the will of the body was neither to take up Resolution 3-10A nor to push back the Orders of the Day. Resolution 3-10A was read, the Chairman, the First Vice-President of Synod, the Rev. Herb Mueller, called time.

Despite all the resolutions and overtures, the sermons and the essays dealing with the topic of “walking together” or “baptized for this moment,” mercy is purely a function of the clock and the whims of a voting body, one of whom came to the microphone to ask what the difference was between a “Candidate” and a “Non-candidate.” His query however was not in order. Endless speaking on the authorized version of the Catechism was however in order.

Tomorrow is in the Lord’s hands and only he knows what will take place. Committee 3 is not listed on tomorrow’s agenda, and as I understand the process, the President of Synod could bring the Resolution to the floor. Whether this will happen or not remains a mystery. What is perhaps a greater mystery is how a church body can allow itself to devolve to the point of needing a resolution to act in mercy; or, how the same church body can tout its robust efforts at mercy nation and world-wide, while ignoring its own men; or, how this church body can allow its own Confessions to be ruled “hostile.” Every type of ministry within the LCMS has been heralded over the course of the past three days, from the Malaria Initiative to Lutheran Hour Ministries to Black Ministry. If back-slapping, congratulatory speeches, and motions of commendation were 2×4’s we could have built a stairway to heaven, and perhaps, perhaps, from that vantage point we would finally be able to look down and see those men whom we have forgotten and failed.

If Resolution 3-10A is not brought up, or fails, or is returned to the Floor Committee, Christ has simply abandoned the LCMS. 3-10A is certainly not a panacea, and while the few teeth that it has could have been sharper, its passage or defeat will send a very clear message to our men on CRM and those returning from overseas duty; quite simply it will say “You matter,” or “You don’t.” And let’s be very clear: we’re not talking about throwing a few dollars at these men, the way you might do a homeless person standing at a Wal-Mart entrance; we’re talking about returning these men to parishes and repairing an intensely politicized District placement process. We’re talking about compelling ecclesial supervisors to be more than political appointees and actually become shepherds of the men under their care. We’re talking about restoring dignity to these men that have in many cases been unjustly stripped from them. We’re talking about ‘hesed, a loving kindness.

3-10A, quite frankly, will demonstrate to parish pastors and the world, just exactly the extent and the degree institutional mercy. Will we ask the question of Luke’s lawyer: “Who is my neighbor”? Or will be quietly and lovingly pick up our brothers and their families, and set about the business of restoring them?

 

From page 244 of Today’s Business:

RESOLUTION 3-10A
To Appoint a Task Force to Study the Call Process for Returning Missionary and Military Chaplains and Other Rostered Church Workers without a Call

President’s Report, Part 2 (TB, p. 20); Overtures 3-24; 7-17 (CW, pp. 155; 255–256); Resolution 7-06 (TB, p. 150)

Rationale

In our life together as The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod there is great concern for professional church workers in candidate and non-candidate status who are without calls, including returning military chaplains and missionaries. Committees 3 (Life Together) and 7 (Structure and Ecclesiastical Matters) have become aware of the urgent need to address this issue with compassion.

However, the situation is not only urgent but intricate. Any solution needs to be one that upholds the doctrine of the call while taking into account any necessary bylaw changes and their ramifications. Precipitous action without more thoughtful consideration may result in an incomplete solution or unforeseen consequences.

For these reasons, Committee 3 is encouraging immediate action by district presidents and calling congregations to address the pressing human need of such workers. At the same time, the committee believes that a task force is necessary in order to recommend a comprehensive solution.

WHEREAS, Ordained missionaries and military chaplains have diverse experience and skills in preaching the Gospel to various peoples; and

WHEREAS, Ordained field missionaries and military chaplains serve in a temporary position which eventually comes to a conclusion and are available for and desire pastoral calls; and

WHEREAS, There are other categories of ordained and commissioned professional church workers who are also available for calls and service to the church; and

WHEREAS, It is poor stewardship that these gifts from God are not being fully utilized because a call has not been received in a timely manner; and

WHEREAS, As of January, 2013, 207 ordained and 611 commissioned church workers on candidate status, along with some on non-candidate status, were seeking calls; and

WHEREAS, Soldiers of the Cross exists to serve both active and inactive professional church workers and their families who are in need; therefore be it

Resolved, That each district president be encouraged earnestly to give specific and individual attention to LCMS professional church workers on both candidate and non-candidate status; and be it further

Resolved, That LCMS congregations be encouraged to give prayerful consideration to calling professional church workers who are on candidate or non-candidate status who desire a call; and be it further

Resolved, That the President of the Synod appoint a task force to address these matters; and be it further

Resolved, That this task force study the need for a placement process for returning military chaplains and missionaries; and be it further

Resolved, That this task force also study the candidate status and non-candidate status of all church workers to aid and encourage congregations and other entities in calling qualified candidates in a timely manner; and be it further

Resolved, That this task force include but not be limited to representatives from the Council of Presidents, the seminaries, and the Concordia University System; and be it further

Resolved, That this task force make a report and recommendations to the Synod no later than one year prior to the 2016 Synod convention; and be it further

Resolved, That the Office of National Mission be encouraged to continue its service through Soldiers of the Cross; and be it finally

Resolved, That synod congregations and their members be encouraged to give to the Soldiers of the Cross annual fund drive.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff — Tomorrow Will Tell — 19 Comments

  1. Play “spot the difference” from yesterday’s “Today’s Business”

    SUBSTITUTE RESOLUTION 3-10A
    WHEREAS, Ordained missionaries and military chaplains have diverse experience and skills in preaching the Gospel to various peoples; and

    WHEREAS, Ordained field missionaries and military chaplains serve in a temporary position which eventually comes to a conclusion and are available for and desire pastoral calls; and

    WHEREAS, There are other categories of ordained and commissioned professional church workers who are also available for calls and service to the church; and

    WHEREAS, It is poor stewardship that these gifts from God are not being fully utilized because a call has not been received in a timely manner; and

    WHEREAS, As of January, 2013, 207 ordained and 611 commissioned church workers on candidate status, along with some on non-candidate status, were seeking calls; and their families who are in need; therefore be it

    Resolved, That each district president be encouraged earnestly to give specific and individual attention to LCMS professional church workers on both candidate and non-candidate status; and be it further

    Resolved, That LCMS congregations be encouraged to give prayerful consideration to calling professional church workers who are on candidate or non-candidate status who desire a call; and be it further

    Resolved, That the President of the Synod appoint a task force which includes at least two pastors on candidate status to address these matters; and be it further

    Resolved, That this task force study the need for a placement process for returning military chaplains and missionaries; and be it further

    Resolved, That this task force also study the candidate status and non-candidate status of all church workers to aid and encourage congregations and other entities in calling qualified candidates in a timely manner; and be it further

    Resolved, That this task force include but not be limited to representatives from the Council of Presidents, the seminaries, and the Concordia University System; and be it further

    Resolved, That this task force make a report and recommendations to the Synod no later than one year prior to the 2016 Synod convention; and be it further

    Resolved, That by September 1, 2013, the Council of Presidents create and keep up-to-date a list of all ministers of religion (ordained) who are on candidate or non-candidate status and are eligible for a call which includes their names, addresses, and other contact information; and be it further

    Resolved, That by the same date the Council of Presidents create and keep up-to-date a list of all vacant congregations in the Synod; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Secretary of Synod mail the list of ministers of religion (ordained) who are on candidate or non-candidate status and eligible for a call to all vacant congregations of the Synod in October and April of each year; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Office of National Mission be encouraged to continue its service through Soldiers of the Cross; and be it finally

    Resolved, That synod congregations and their members be encouraged to give to the Soldiers of the Cross annual fund drive.

    Submitted by:
    Rev. Charles Lehmann
    Pastoral Delegate, Montana District

  2. The following boldfaced text appears to have been (shall we say) ‘suspended’ from the Resolveds of Substitute Resolution 3-10A:

    Resolved, That the President of the Synod appoint a task force which includes at least two pastors on candidate status to address these matters”

    Resolved, That by September 1, 2013, the Council of Presidents create and keep up-to-date a list of all ministers of religion (ordained) who are on candidate or non-candidate status and are eligible for a call which includes their names, addresses, and other contact information; and be it further

    Resolved, That by the same date the Council of Presidents create and keep up-to-date a list of all vacant congregations in the Synod

  3. I am not too familiar with the process, but it looks like the boldface was inserted to make it into the resolution that may (or may not) be considered. Also, it looks like there is a tenth resolved added:

    PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

    To Appoint a Task Force to Study the Call Process for Returning Missionary and Military
    Chaplains and Other Rostered Church Workers Without a Call

    AMENDMENT TO RESOLUTION 3-10A

    President’s Report, Part 2 (TB, p. 20); Overtures 3-24; 7-17 (CW, pp. 155; 255–256); Res. 7-06 (TB, p. 150)

    Line 31, add a tenth Resolved:

    “Resolved, That the Synod in convention direct $100,000.00 to Soldiers of the Cross.”

    Submitted by:
    Hans Fiene
    Pastoral Delegate, Northern Illinois District

  4. From the Twitter feed, it looks like it passed. Does anyone know which language specifically?

    2013 LCMS Convention @LCMSConvention
    Res. 3-10A re: call process for returning missionary, chaplains & others without a call, passes #LCMSConvention

  5. I cannot help but reflect on the second episode of the Star Wars saga where princess amadala says, “I will not let my people suffer at the hands of a committee. I vote for “no confidence” for the leaders of the senate. We need to act now!”

  6. I can’t help but think, and regret the fact, that a shepherd, is not a shepherd, without a flock, to shepherd. There are how many behind those sitting there, where the decisions, which should be made by/with prayerful consideration of whom first? We who sit in a pew, those who wait in the field in Miltary service, and those far away, in all the corners of His Realm. Are they really about our Heavenly Father’s business, or running “a” business?

  7. Hoping that Pr Hendrickson and Pr Noland will give us a summary of the most significant convention decisions.  It was kind of hard to follow.

  8. I was a lay delegate to the convention. 3-10A passed as listed above from page 244 in Today’s Business.

  9. @Harry Edmon #10
    I was a lay delegate to the convention. 3-10A passed as listed above from page 244 in Today’s Business.

    I see three possibilities above. So, skipping the whereasses…

    …just tell me if the resolution makes it any more likely that Jason Harris, or any ordained man in similar shoes, is likely to get an appropriate call out of it, in the next couple of months.

    If we can’t take care of our own, it’s rather hypocritical to send teachers around the world telling others how to do Lutheranism!

  10. helen :

    …just tell me if the resolution makes it any more likely that Jason Harris, or any ordained man in similar shoes, is likely to get an appropriate call out of it, in the next couple of months.
    If we can’t take care of our own, it’s rather hypocritical to send teachers around the world telling others how to do Lutheranism!

    Helen – nothing in the resolution will make it any more likely for Jason or others in his situation to be helped any time soon – but we are still hopeful that it will eventually do some good in the future. Perhaps it also provided some recognition of the situation so that others will pray, make attempts to offer encouragement to these men, and perhaps someone following all of our discussion will make the effort to actually match up some of the men with vacant congregations. One pastor Ken Kelly has worked very hard to start something outside of the system – that will actually help some of these men immediately. His new website is called Lost Pastors and it is at http://www.lostpastors.org/SitePages/Home.aspx

    I do not want to criticize the resolution because the committee worked very hard to have it presented to the floor. While it can be viewed as kicking the can down the road for three years, at least it was a good effort and may flame the dialog to help these guys.

    I think the situation Jason encountered was really a perfect storm. The timing was terrible – graduating and going forth in 2007 and then the economic fall of 2009 – then falling into the dreaded dark hole of CRM. Unfortunately that stigma of a complicated designation may well have ruined his career. It even caused him to be rejected as a career missionary – a year long process of recruitment, significant testing & evaluation, preparation and even several last minute trips to St Louis to get ready for the orientation. The week before he was to leave, he was called and told that becoming CRM made him undesirable and he was thus uninvited to his orientation – even though he was and is, working as a called worker/priest. It is not fair, but CRM does carry enormous harmful and negative implication.

  11. CRM is a ***ch.

    There is simply no other way to put it, Sports Fans. Been there, done there, don’t ever want to go to that Lutheran version of Purgatory again.

    I will not blame a soul . . . despite the events and actions that led to it. Given how Jesus reacted with the woman at the well, how could I? The Church is in the business of forgiveness.

    And that is all it is about, in the end.

    K2 is doing a yeoman’s job – he saw the need, and he went for it. While I am grateful 3-10A “passed” as it were, it kicked the can three years down the road, will cost God knows how many dollars in meetings and travel and hotel fees, to arrive at what we already know – we are consigning faithful pastors into oblivion. Yeah, to be sure, there are some bad apples – there always are in every walk of life. But there are also congregations that will chew up and spit out pastors without hesitation. I won’t speak to those I know who do; but I would like to go very positive. If any of you Weird Collar Wearers ever gets a call to St. John in Champaign, Illinois – take it and never leave! I’d be what ME is now, with a big grin on my face.

    Ah, the Lord leads us where He will, nonetheless. At my age I have come to realize matters will ALWAYS happen His way, painful though it may be for us neophytes who imagine we know the things of Heaven fully.

    Do what I have been doing – wrap a $20 or a check for the same in a sheet of paper, and mail it off to K2. You’ll never miss it – even I don’t at my salary. 67 cents a day – shoot, who can’t afford that?

    Who can’t?

    The guys out there who have to wait until 2016 cannot wait. The $400K in SOTC is but a smidgen of real need. I am not complaining, I am pleading. Beat me down if my theology is off-track, or I fail to pastor my flock. But even the Prodigal was welcomed home immediately.

    His Dad did not assign a committee to study the matter, instead . . . (Luke 15)

    “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

    Why do we hide behind the layers of administration or supposed perfectionism masquerading as this or that? Confessional DP’s could fix this matter in 6 months, tops. We don’t need yet another committee to kick the can down the road.

    It is one thing, to realize out here in the field, that when the fit hits the shan, the pastor is toast. It is quite another when the Church in full council/convention lets such matters slide into a committee for study. Translation?

    Pretty much – “Check with us in 3 years, guys.”

    Compassion? Those never having been through it will never understand . . . I DO understand.

    But it’s real, and it is the Church’s business now TO UNDERSTAND, not in 2016 or through some committee.

    Three years is little solace or help to those needing compassion like – yesterday?

    Cri de coeur – yah. Not sorry, though. Fix the prob. Period.

  12. helen :

    …just tell me if the resolution makes it any more likely that Jason Harris, or any ordained man in similar shoes, is likely to get an appropriate call out of it, in the next couple of months.

    in a word, no 🙁

  13. John Rixe: Hoping that Pr Henrickson and Pr Noland will give us a summary of the most significant convention decisions.

    I can’t speak for Pr Noland, but I can say that I do intend to write up a convention report. Maybe two–a quick one in the next day or so, and another more thorough article a little later on. I was too wiped out today, though, to write anything.

  14. @jb #13

    3-10a put the issue on the table. The key thing is whose hands is this in? In previous times it became a place for confessional pastors to go and die. Under this administration it is understood what is happening and put a tool in the hand of a true Churchman to begin to deal with the problem. While it may lack the convincing canines to ensure a quick and biting response, this resolution as well as many others do provide a series of smaller teeth that can also make a serious bite into the many issues we all hold dearly. The tools have now been placed into the hands of our current Praesidium which, by the way, are all men of sound confession.

    However, this should never take the place of needed efforts at the grass roots level to continue to make these issues known and do all that is available to address them.

    I’m sure Charlie will give us a fair and concise report and assessment of the convention.

    Rev. James Gier
    Pastoral Convention Delegate

  15. In my earlier thread #12 I mentioned a new website started and supported by Pastor Ken Kelly called Lost Pastors at http://www.lostpastors.org/SitePages/Home.aspx It is run by a civilian layman and works to match up CRM pastors who desire a call with vacant calling congregations. It was intended to be another way to help our pastors without calls, along with working with their DP’s. So many of the men have been CRM for 2 years and even longer. My son Jason is one of those men. Perhaps some DP’s are extremely busy and have no time to contact and help these men – I don’t know and cannot speculate. If there were not so many CRM, there would not have been any need for 3-10 and no need for the Lost Pastors website. But the need is real and just cannot wait for another three years while the task force is formed – not to mention all of the expense of getting the committee together, travel, lodging etc.

    It seems that at least some DP’s have taken notice. I hope that some of them will keep doing a good job as they have been and I know that some are very supportive and helpful. However, I read today that several DP’s have chosen to complain about the Lost Pastors site and I find this very disheartening. I learned about this complaint at Priestly Rant.http://priestlyrant.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/we-built-this-city-again/

    Why would anyone complain about this ? I don’t understand at all!! While calling congregations can ask their DP for available pastors, they do not have to. A congregation is free to call any eligible man they choose. Is this website some sort of threat? In what way? It is just another tool to aid in the calling process.

  16. Fr. James –

    I heah ya!“, as we say in Texas. I had everything set to go as a pastoral delegate, and then my bride fell and broke her hip first week of July and I spent the past week scrambling all over different sites online to get the news of the day during Convention.

    I know that 3-10A is “on the table” . . . but it being on the table just doesn’t feed many of the guys in the predicament. I believe, as he himself told me, Fr. Matt is trying to slowly turn the Big Ole Ship Missouri, but some things cannot wait for three years and a “possible” resolution.

    CRM is an issue that does not require “Convention” to solve. DP’s could fix the matter yesterday if they were “churchmen.” I do not say that lightly. A “churchman” FIXES problems within the Church. You and I do so as Pastors with our flocks or halfway die trying, do we not?

    Sorry, but the can got kicked down the road. I don’t know if your life has ever turned into a nightmare through CRM. I wish that upon no one. And I know, having been there, that 30 days is as worrisome or worse to those guys and their fams, than the 3 years Convention decided Synod and their appointed committee decided they needed to discuss the issue. I try to picture myself, the Bride on the sofa, hobbling to the toilet on her crutches and broken hip, and wondering what I would do if suddenly there was no income whatsoever! Fortunately, I have the advantages of several other “jobs” – all self-employed as well, which I can produce and do. But not every Weird Collar Wearer can do the same. Some invested their lives and entire savings or future credit to serve the Church, and many are hurting terribly. I make jack for a salary, but over my tithe – every payday – some bucks go out to those guys.

    Come, come . . . this could be fixed tomorrow, or next Thursday. It is not rocket science, it means stepping up and being true “churchmen.” These are not “those out there” (I am not saying you said that, James!) – these are the Brethren who literally have no voice.

    3-10A opens some doors, finally – I agree. But it need not push matters down the road until 6 months before the 2016 Convention.

    It can be fixed immediately. That it is not, or will not, is quite telling. Pax – jb

  17. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14

    This passage sure does sum up what I see happening to our men on CRM. Encourage them to wait on the Lord, speak platitudes, pass a resolution to look into this and report back in three years….while men are bankrupt, hurting spiritually, losing hope and dignity and feeling abandoned 🙁

    Sometimes I flee to Lamentations and Jeremiah when I am at my saddest – and most times I am comforted and very glad that what I see in the world today is really not that unexpected. But, seeing these things right inside my church is incomprehensible to me. God help my church!

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