Does anyone deny that there is a conflict in the Minnesota South District over the dispensation of the University Lutheran Chapel property?
In the last edition of the Minnesota South District Reporter insert President Lane Seitz describes his own personal three-fold recommendation for resolving conflict. We ask him and the Minnesota South District Board of Directors to apply it in the current conflict between them and the University Lutheran Chapel Parish.
President Seitz has invented a clever and helpful “Three-C’s” method for resolving conflict:
- Conversation – Talk truthfully face to face with the person with whom you disagree.
- Confession – When we have misunderstood, lost our temper or sinned against another person we need to confess that sin and ask for forgiveness.
- Collaboration – Genuine Christian reconciliation involves seeking solutions to a conflict that are beneficial to everyone involved. It rejects a win-lose approach to conflict.
We may never know all of the ins and outs of the conflict between President Seitz and his Board of Directors with the parish of ULC and we do not need to but there has been enough publication of the situation that it is clear that President Seitz and the Board have not followed the “Three C’s” as closely as they could.
Has there been conversation between the parties involved? There has been some but it certainly has been lacking. First of all, the ULC has had to insert themselves into the decision-making process kicking and screaming all the way. (See the ULC website for documentation on how the parish has been left out of key points of the decision.)
Secondly, there have been numerous closed-door sessions of the board of directors at which the representatives of the ULC parish, including her pastor, Rev. David Kind, were disallowed from the conversation. Is there ever a time when a shepherd should be disallowed from a conversation that involves the future of his parish building? What is Lane Seitz and the Board hiding and what evil sway might Pastor Kind have over the Board that would make them fear his conversing on the matter according to Dr. Seitz’s own “Three-C’s” method of reconciliation?
Thirdly, when the closed-door, closed-conversation (contrary to the “Three-C’s method) was complete and a decision was made to sell the ULC property out from under the parish, there was no “Three-C” conversation but instead an e-mail sent from President Seitz to Pastor Kind at 5 AM the morning alerting Pastor Kind and the ULC parish of the fateful decision from the day before.
Has there been “Three-C” confession in this matter? I am in no position to call out any sort of sin in this situation. It is a crying shame for sure and there may have been sin committed to sell its building out from under a parish but I will leave that for others to decide. I do know this, the members of ULC parish feel violated and discern that an apology and a change of heart on this matter are in order.
Has there been “Three-C” collaboration in this matter? There has certainly been collaboration between the church growth gurus, including President Seitz and Mankato State campus pastor Monte Meyer, in the development of the new fangled method for campus ministry in Minnesota South and they might even claim attempts to collaborate with Pastor Kind and ULC but the end result is that the altar and pulpit which the ULC has used to faithfully administer God’s word and sacraments in the richest tradition of Lutheranism and the beautiful stone on which they sit are being sent to the Hennepin County Landfill. That does not sound to me like a solution that is beneficial to everyone. It sounds more like the win-lose solution that the “Three-C” approach is intended to avoid.
There is a win-win solution available. ULC wants its building and the district wants funds for its new-fangled approach to campus ministry. The people of Minnesota South and North and Lutherans from around the country can be asked to donate funds again to buy back the building from the Minnesota South District and the district can use those funds to support their new-fangled approach to campus ministry and a stable, growing congregation in the heart of the University of Minnesota campus can retain its place for preaching the Gospel. Just a few weeks ago the President’s office gave encouragement to ULC to start a capital campaign to “buy back” its building but before they could get five weeks into a three year campaign President Seitz and the Board of Directors sold the building out from under them. That is a win-lose proposition.
Is any of us perfect at the “Three-C’s?” I for one am not. I think they are good advice however, and try to follow them or something similar that I learned from the Peaemakers group, as best I can in my day-to-day life. We call upon President Seitz and his Board of Directors to re-read the latest Minnesota South insert to the Reporter and re-attempt a resolution to this conflict by better applying President Seitz’s “Three-C’s” for conflict resolution.
Here is the pdf of the President’s article.