Friday, July 22, 2005

Lutherans Concerned reports from Winnipeg

The ELCIC National Convention is being held July 21-24, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. This report filed by publicity officer of Lutherans Concerned.

Shrimp here: Lutherans Concerned, of course, has every right to be a visitor at the ELCIC convention. That they are posting reports from there should clue their theological opponents into some dynamics. First, there is a history of border crossings (to be sure, the reporting group is named Lutherans Concerned North America, a fact many have probably overlooked, and now the timing of these two sets of recommendations on normalizing homosexual relations is even clearer--yet the point I want to make is that there is more to it than that]. Think about what has been said before about the appearance of Bob Childs at LC and other synodical "gay awareness events" and the GLBT presence not only at the churchwide Council meeting; the presence of their papers in "recommended readings"; as well as the presence of their people on synodical as well as churchwide councils. Also, we see the head bishop of ELCIC was at the Churchwide drafting of the three recommendations last March; with Hanson present to preach at the closing of the ELCIC we see another "border crossing" which may point to what may be a real future for Lutheranism in North America ...

Here is the Lutherans Concerned report:

"Attending the ELCIC National Convention are Emily Eastwood, Executive
Director LC/NA, Sharon Lee Ellingsen, Vice-Chair LC/NA, Phil Soucy,
Director Communications LC/NA, and Lionel Ketola, LC Canada, along with
other members of LC/NA.

The National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
opened with a prayer at 2:30 pm on July 21, 2005. Prior to that there was
a Delegate Orientation of administrative matters, chaired by the National
Bishop, Bishop Ray Schultz Among the administrative matters of interest
to and LC/NA were:

* Bishop Schultz reported that, due to a clerical error at the National Church Office and at the Office of the Alberta Synod, the entire list of voting members with addresses was released to an organization, Take A Stand, who then used the list to send a letter advocating for their position against the blessing of same-gender relationships. Bishop Schultz stated that the unauthorized release of the list was regrettable, offensive, and a violation of Canadian law, and he apologized to the
Convention. The person who made the release is no longer an employee of the ELCIC.

* In the letter, Take A Stand asked that those who agreed with the position to oppose local option for same gender blessings wear an enclosed 'Take a Stand on the Word of God' red ribbon during the National Convention. National Bishop Schultz as the Chair said that he was ruling that the wearing of any partisan logo, emblem, or slogan which could be construed as demonstrating a position on the issue was banned from the Convention Hall itself and the Worship services that were part of the
official agenda of the Convention. Thus, the so-called 'red ribbon' as well as rainbow icons/logos and any such advocacy paraphernalia were banned. Such emblems can be worn outside the convention hall and during meals. When the session was ended and delegates headed to dinner, many again displayed their 'red ribbons.'

In the Q&A at the end of the Delegate Orientation, a questioner rose to demand from the Bishop Schultz the written documents that spoke of the policy he was using to rule against wearing the 'red ribbons.' "Sir, I don't know you; you don't me; I don't trust you." The questioner's tone of voice was steely, confrontational, and disrespectful by any standard. Bishop Schultz said that it was a decision of the Chair. The questioner said, "So, Sir, there is no documentation." Almost without waiting for a response, he continued "Sir, it's a simple question." Bishop Schultz
moved on to the next questioner. Later, Bishop Schultz returned to the subject by saying that the ban was completely consistent with the ban of electioneering in the precincts of a polling place, and that it was a decision of the Chair to extend that principle to all of these advocacy materials.

The Convention was officially opened following this administrative session. The Convention is governed by Bourinot's Rules of Order, not Robert's. The general principles of Bourinot are:

* Proper opportunity is afforded to all concerned for an expression of
* Rights of a minority are respected.
* Clear decisions are reached
* Proceedings are governed by an assessment of the issues rather than by
personality factors.

Two other incidents are of interest to and Lutherans Concerned:

* During the discussion of granting Seat and Voice to various Special Visitors, like Bishop Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Bishop Schultz asked that the Youth Convention be given Voice and Vote, but that because it was not a resolution on the agenda, the vote would have to be unanimous. Eight of 377 delegates raised 'red cards,' objecting to the grant, and it failed. Those familiar with those who raised their red cards said they were predominantly from those opposed to same gender
blessing issues.

* During the Bishop's Report, a questioner rose to ask about an article in The Anglican Journal, June 2005, on pg 9 that said that Bishop Shultz had gone to Ottawa to meet with Members of the Canadian Parliament on the subject of same-gender marriage. She noted that there was no mention of this in the Bishop's Report and that she wanted to know who exactly, which MPs, the Bishop had met with and what the nature of the discussions were. She wanted the Church office to issue a document covering this meeting. The Bishop said that there had been no such meeting. He had met with MPs in March, but that had been on economic issues. She said "So, the
Anglican Journal is wrong; are they going to issue a retraction?" To which he responded that he didn't know what the Anglican Journal was going to do.

The first ballot for the election of a National Bishop was held. Bishop Shultz is able to stand for re-election."


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