The Forum’s Marino Eccher reported today that the Hawley Lutheran Church voted Sunday to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Read that story here. Talk about it here.
Below is a press release sent by Rev. Jeff Teeples, pastor at Halwey Lutheran.
“At a special congregational meeting on Sunday December 19 Hawley Lutheran Church has voted to disaffiliate from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Our final vote passed by a 80% majority (239 for and 60 against). We are confident that God has led us as a congregation to this outcome for the sake of our mission. We are a group of sinners saved by grace and we are not perfect or even close. It grieves us that people have associated our decision to leave the ELCA with intolerance, contempt and bigotry, because these attitudes are not the attitude of Jesus who we follow and love and not the attitudes we teach or would want to exhibit. The decision to disaffiliate from the ELCA unites us to stand upon the Bible as the final authority in all matters of our faith and life and to proclaim Jesus as the Savior of the world. We look forward to being part of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and to serving our Lord, community and world into the future as we have in the past.”
“Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) applauded the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of federal legislation that invests $4.5 billion in child nutrition programs,” according to an ELCA press release.Â ”The legislation was approved Dec. 2 during the lame-duck session this week, as Congress prepares to adjourn for the holiday season.”
“ELCA members across the country were part of a coordinated effort to pass the bill. Top leaders of several Christian denominations, including the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, wrote to U.S. House leaders earlier this week, urging the legislation’s adoption. Hanson also spoke about the legislation in a Nov. 1 meeting faith leaders’ meeting with President Obama in Washington.”
“‘This bill is an exciting victory for hungry children. After a largely gridlocked year, passage of this bill is a positive sign that Congress can work together in the best interests of Americans,’ Hanson said.”
A North Dakota church recently left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, expressing concern about the ELCA’s attitude toward biotech farming. There has been concern on the part of some that an ELCA statement on genetics, which is currently in the draft stage,Â condemns GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Â But Bill Rindy of the ELCA says, “The draft does not condemn GMOs.”
Mark Hanson, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will field questions at a webcast town hall meeting at 4 p.m. Central time Nov. 21. If the format of previous virtual town halls is followed, Hanson will take questions both from a live audience and online.
Participants can follow conversations on Facebook or tweet about the event using the hash tags #ELCA or #BishopHanson. Submit questions and watch the forum at http://www.ELCA.org/townhall on the ELCA website. Images and transcripts in English and Spanish are available on the website, as well as the opportunity to watch previous webcasts and monitor dates for future forums.
A tool kit is available at http://www.ELCA.org/townhall to help congregations host a viewing party with electronic and technical assistance, social media opportunities and more.
Mark Hanson, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has submitted a video for the “It Gets Better” video essay on YouTube.com, an effortÂ designed to support and encourage gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender young people.
“Iâ€™ve listened with pain and shock to reports of young people taking their lives because theyâ€™ve been bullied and tormented for being different, for being gay or perceived to be gay, for being the people God created them to be,” Hanson said. “I can only imagine what itâ€™s like to be bullied for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”
The European American Lutheran Association (EALA) will hold its first biennial meeting Oct. 28-30 at the Wyndham Milwaukee Hotel and Conference Center, Milwaukee. The EALA is the newest and one of six ethnic associations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
“The purpose of the EALA is to dismantle racism, white privilege and white power by recognizing and confessing our individual and corporate sin and addressing institutional racism in the church,” said Kathy B. Long, EALA president, Redmond, Wash. “We want to walk with our brothers and sisters of color together.”
A mid-year budget reduction of $4.2 million in current fund spending by the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has helped the churchwide organization maintain a balance of income and spending for 2010 through Aug. 31, said Christina Jackson-Skelton, ELCA treasurer.Â However, in a report to ELCA leaders, she expressed concern about continuing declines in mission support income to the churchwide organization, down $5 million so far this year.
“What we have here is a classic case of schism â€” a formal division or separation in the Christian church …
“So now the NALC becomes, in the eyes of this magazine, one more Lutheran denomination. Just as the staff follows major events in the life of the LCMS, the same will be true with the NALC. The Lutheran won’t give it any special coverage just because of its heritage. This group, like Elvis, has left the building.”