Monday, January 28, 2008

Jen Again: Is She or Isn't She?

Shrimp here. Cap'n Bill beat us to posting the article below in part due to Shrimp's fishing around to find out just who were those "three retired bishops" participating in Jen Nagle's out-of-the-ordinary "ordination." Nothing (at least so far) appears on the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries web site. Not even anything on the updated Salem English Lutheran Church site.

But we did find this ELM press release over on the web site of the Human Rights Campaign (" the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization"). Who says church and politics don't mix?

The retired Bishops are (the press release, please) "Bishop Emeritus St. Paul Area Synod Lowell Erdahl, the Rev. David Brown, and Bishop Emeritus of Southwestern Minnesota Synod Darold Beekmann." Not identified anywhere in any of the publicity was the Synod that did not grant Rev. Brown "Bishop Emeritus" status, but a bit more sleuthing enables Shrimp to congratulate the ELCA's Northeastern Iowa Synod for that bit of wise inaction.

But there's still more, if you know where to look (and, of course, Shrimp does). The folks at Lutheran (True) Confessions report some 500 in attendance, including about 100 vested clergy, and further write:
The laying on of hands, which so often happens in two separate movements (first by clergy, and later by the laity) was done in one movement with the whole congregation filling the aisles, hands on the shoulder of the person in front in a great chain of connection.

And of course, there was a sermon, a powerful sermon delivered by the The Reverend Angela Denise Davis, a blind, lesbian, African-American woman ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Her text was the Epistle for the day (Acts 10) and the message was: "Listen to the Spirit in Joppa, do God's work in Caesarea, knowing full well there will be fallout in Jerusalem."

We looked for local luminaries, but being from out of state, we were unable to identify any. We can neither confirm nor deny attendance by Bishop Craig Johnson.

We did hear that there was one Minneapolis Area Bishop's Assistant in attendance who did not vest and, unprepared for the unconventional laying on of hands, seemed reluctant to reach out a hand to the shoulder of the next person lest this be misconstrued.

At the reception following the ordination we met The Reverend Susan Engh, ELCA Director of Congregation Based Organizing.
Rev. Davis seems to meet every quota -- blind, lesbian, black, woman, Disciples of Christ (with whom the ELCA is not in any sort of fellowship) -- except the peanut butter and jelly sandwich (which we've decided must be ELCA-GLBT for "kitchen sink").

Oh, and then there's this from a bit later in that same edition of Lutheran (True) Confessions:
Once More With Feeling: A quick look at the Minneapolis Area Synod web site will tell you that Ms. Jen Nagel is a member of the Synod Council.

As of January 19, Jen Nagel is now Rev. Jen Nagel. Although Jen has been called to Salem English Lutheran Church, one of the Synod's congregations, we doubt that the synod will recognize the ordination (most of the time, at least) because Jen is rostered with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and not with the ELCA.

The Synod's constitution stipulates that, among the eight "at large" members of the synod council, four will be clergy and four will be lay people. If Pr. Nagel is an "at large" member of the synod council (we don't know), we wonder how the synod will reckon her membership. This has been a point of contention in other synods where ELM-rostered clergy have been denied the opportunity to run for synod council. (See The Clergy Conundrum.)
Shrimp alerts you that that last web link is to a YouTube video from the last Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly, where a silly-hatted Bishop Mullen (in the chair) engages in conversation with GLBT advocates "Pastor" Jeff Johnson and Pastor Robin Hartwig, apparently as to when in the Sierra Pacific Synod is a pastor a pastor vs. when is a pastor a lay person. Shrimp would try to say more about that confusion, but where we are we don't have high-speed broadband internet access to watch the whole show.

Shrimp out.

No comments:

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...