Wednesday, July 01, 2009

What A.R.E. They Thinking, Still?

Shrimp here, with an update on this post from a year ago.

A.R.E is A Renewal Enterprise, the outfit whose managing partners include disgraced former-ELCA pastor Kelly Fryer and her life-partner, who also serve as synodically-blessed"co-pastoral leaders" for the ELCA congregation that wanders around the Chicago Loop. Last year we noted that Ms. Fryer was pretty busy speaking about "renewal" at several Synod Assemblies in the ELCA and ELCIC. Remember that her experience of "renewal" led to the ending of her marriage, entering a lesbian partnership with an old friend, and her resignation as an ELCA pastor and seminary professor, all while creating a couple series of "best selling" books for Augsburg Fortress.

For the 2009 Synod Assembly circuit, three ELCA Synods took the title of her No Experience Necessary Bible study series a bit too seriously by inviting Fryer to be Keynote Speaker:Shrimp has received reports that objections to Ms. Fryer's appearance were raised from the floor when the Agenda was presented for the I-K Synod Assembly's approval, with one voting member noting that the Holy Scriptures call her lifestyle "an abomination." Not only did the objection go nowhere, the next day Bishop James R. Stuck reportedly admonished the Assembly and apologized to Fryer for its "rude" behavior. As an preview of the proposed respecting of "bound consciences," Bishop Stuck reportedly said that everyone has agreed to disagree on this issue, so what had been said on the Assembly floor had been beyond the boundaries acceptability.

Of course, Kelly Fryer and A.R.E. do more that Synod Assembly keynoting. A.R.E. reports activities in the last year include:
  • designing and facilitating "a uniquely participative, multi-state process to help the people of the Central States Synod (ELCA) articulate a renewed and broadly owned sense of purpose;"

  • Developing and testing "an innovative process helping college students in the Western Mission Cluster" (that's the ELCA's Pacific and Luther seminaries) "develop a sense of their life’s purpose and direction;"

  • using "an asset-based, grassroots, deeply contextualized process to help the leaders of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod (ELCA) discern new strategic directions in which to focus their resources over the next several years;" and, continuing their international activities

  • conducting "teambuilding and leadership training events for newly appointed leaders in the redesigned structure of the Eastern Synod (ELCIC)."
So, what A.R.E. ELCA leaders in some Synods thinking? Apparently that discipline of ministers is capricious.

So, ELCA members, do you know what your synod benevolence dollars A.R.E. up to?

Shrimp out.

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