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Holy Mother ELCA.
Grace Lutheran sued by estranged members - Leader-Telegram: Front Page:
By Christena T. O'Brien Leader-Telegram staff | 4 comments
Nearly 70 members of Grace Lutheran Church, including a former pastor and former council presidents, are asking an Eau Claire County judge to intervene in a dispute over church affiliation.
The group — through a civil suit filed this week in Eau Claire County Court — is asking a judge to declare that the longtime Eau Claire church remains solely affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and must be governed in a manner consistent with the church's constitution and the governing documents of the ELCA.
The Grace Lutheran Church council voted last April to also join the more conservative Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ after a vote to disaffiliate with the ELCA failed.
The Rev. Rolf Nestingen, a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, was surprised when he learned of the suit Wednesday afternoon.
"We're just absolutely caught off-guard here," he said.
Since pro-ELCA members have chosen to worship at a synod-authorized alternate worship site at First Lutheran Church known as Amazing Grace, which was formed earlier this year, "it has been calm and peaceful here," Nestingen said. "We had thought that maybe they had decided they can no longer affiliate with us, and they are no longer here."
The civil suit — which names Grace Lutheran Church-LCMC and the members of the church council as defendants — seeks to have the court review the constitutional provisions of Grace Lutheran Church and determine that recent decisions by the current church council, including dual affiliation with the LCMC, are unconstitutional.
The suit also asks for an immediate injunction prohibiting Grace-LCMC from exercising authority over property and assets belonging to Grace-ELCA. Specifically, the 68 plaintiffs, who include the Rev. Gordon Thorpe, a former pastor at the church, and Mitch Piper and Dawn Sands, former church council presidents, object to the following:
The current church council's action to ignore the outcome of an April 3 vote to disaffiliate from the ELCA. The vote — prompted by a church member's petition claiming the ELCA had been "drifting theologically" from scriptural teachings — required a two-thirds majority to begin terminating Grace's affiliation with the ELCA and join the LCMC but only received a simple majority.
However, two days after the vote, the council voted to also affiliate with the LCMC — a move which was unconstitutional and not permitted by the ELCA, according to Bishop Duane Pederson of the ELCA's Northwest Synod of Wisconsin.
At the time, council President Anne Carter said the council's action was an effort to keep the divided congregation together under one roof, so parishioners could study both the ELCA and LCMC and make a decision as a united family.
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bruce-church (https://bruce-church.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "Grace Lutheran sued by estranged members - Leader-...":
Evidently, Grace Lutheran (ELCA) in Eau Claire was 52 votes shy of the two-thirds it needed in the second vote to break away from the ELCA. However, the church council then must have decided to join the more conservative LCMC anyway, thus occasioning the lawsuit over procedures:
A majority of Voters at Grace Lutheran (288) wanted to break away, however the final tally was 52 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to approve a final vote.