Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lutheran CORE: Reconfiguration Timeline

Shrimp here, with the latest from Lutheran CORE. Shrimp out.

October 29, 2009

Greetings in Jesus’ Name:

"God is reforming the churches of the Reformation . . . The question for us is not so much whether we ought to re-vision Lutheranism in North America, but rather how will we respond to this clear invitation to re-vision Lutheranism in North America," Ryan Schwarz of Lutheran CORE Steering Committee told the Lutheran CORE Convocation September 25 in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, Indiana.

The next day, the 1,200 Lutheran CORE members at the Convocation unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing a process "leading toward a possible reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism." The Lutheran CORE Steering Committee was charged with developing a recommendation for action. Having been entrusted with overseeing this process, we want to keep you informed as to what is happening and how you can be involved in shaping the future for Lutherans in North America.

A timeline for reconfiguration has now been developed, the detail of which is below. In short, a major statement of the direction of reconfiguration will be published by the Steering Committee following its meeting on November 17-18, 2009. A design for reconfiguration will be created and published by February 2010, and that design will be presented for adoption and implementation to the 2010 Lutheran CORE Convocation, which will be August 26-27, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio.

Seven working groups are being formed. They will address various aspects of the life and work of Lutheran CORE and the work toward reconfiguration. The Vision and Planning working group, chaired by Ryan Schwarz, will serve as the lead unit in developing the reconfiguration proposal. Information on the groups and an application form for those who feel called to serve are available online at

Literally dozens of regional groups and gatherings have been organized post-Fishers. The Steering Committee has prepared a short list of discussion questions for such meetings, seeking input for the reconfiguration process. These questions are available on our website, If you are organizing a regional gathering, please download the questions and plan to provide your group’s ideas for the reconfiguration working groups.

This is an exciting time for faithful Lutherans in North America as we discover the future God has in store for us. A summary of the timeline for our common work over the coming months follows:

Nov 2, 2009 -- Lutheran CORE and WordAlone Network leaders meet for preliminary conversations

Nov 17-18, 2009 -- Lutheran CORE Steering Committee meeting, followed by public statement on reconfiguration

Dec 2009 -- Initial meeting of Vision and Planning Working Group

Early Jan 2010 -- Consultations with partner renewal movements and congregational members of Lutheran CORE

Mid Jan 2010 -- Meetings with movements and Lutheran church bodies that are not a part of Lutheran CORE

Late Jan 2010 -- Preparation of draft proposal by Vision and Planning team

Early Feb 2010 -- Review by Lutheran CORE’s Advisory Council, the theologians and church leaders who advise Lutheran CORE on significant issues

Mid Feb 2010 -- Final review by Steering Committee and publication of recommendation for review by Lutheran CORE members and partners

Mar 2010 -- Constitutional Working Group begins work on constitutional amendments required for implementation of reconfiguration design

July 2010 -- Proposed constitutional amendments published for review by Lutheran CORE members and partners

Aug 26-27, 2010 -- Lutheran CORE Convocation considers recommendation on reconfiguration and proposed constitutional amendments

Please pray for all those who are involved in this process that God might show us His plans for the future of Lutheranism in North America. Also please pray for all those ELCA members, pastors, and congregations who have been hurt by the actions of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. This is a difficult time for many, but it is also a hopeful time as God is calling the faithful to stand together and to work toward the future He is giving us.

Your servants in Christ,

Lutheran CORE Steering Committee
  Bishop Paull Spring - Chair
  Pastor Mark Chavez - Director
  Pastor Scott Grorud
  Pastor Rebecca M. M. Heber
  Pastor Kenneth Kimball
  Pastor Victor C. Langford III
  Mr. Ryan Schwarz
  Pastor W. Stevens Shipman - Secretary
  Pastor Paul Ulring
  Pastor Erma Wolf - Vice Chair


Anonymous said...

This is one of the saddest things I have seen since the Missouri Synod split. Once again Lutherans are working very, very hard to make God's house smaller! I remember the instruction to love God with all my heart and soul and my neighbor as myself; I don't remember the instruction to condemn others and fight amongst ourselves. In fact, the only people I remember Jesus getting angry at were the ones using God's name to inflate their importance and belittle others...not that there's any relevance here, hey? What an embarrassment for us, in front of the community and God as well.

Clam said...

Interesting, I thought that as Lutherans we affirm that the church is the community of believers gathered around Word and Sacrament. If so, then how exactly does Lutherans reorganizing earthly structures (ie the left hand kingdom) for clearer proclamation and more effective ministry constitute making God's house smaller?? Sounds very much like visible church = true church to me.


Anonymous said...

If it works like it did last time, it does it by clearly identifying the "other" and enabling their blanket rejection (perhaps because of a "confessional crisis"). I grew up in a Missouri Synod church. Thanks to geography, I currently attend an ELCA chruch and have been told by the pastor of the church I was baptized and confirmed in that I am no longer welcome to commune with my parents when I go home, because of disagreements between the two national organizations. I'm sure God is as happy about that as I am.

The victim-speak that led to the LCMS mess is loud and clear in this blog post. EG.."please pray for all those ELCA members, pastors, and congregations who have been hurt by the actions of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly..." Who is moving to reject their fellow Christians here, the synod assembly? Are they the ones using the exclusive language? Why not a prayer to resolve the conflict in the spirit of love and fellowship while working in Christ's service? That's the one I chose to say.

Anonymous said...

Wow, powerful comments. Would be nice to hear some sort of a rebuttle from those on the other side, but from following other similar blogs, no one has an answer. How easy it is to condemn others for what we "think" God would approve or disapprove of. Who is the real sinner here?

Marshall Hahn said...

Having been to the CORE Convocation in Fishers, Indiana, where the plans were begun for this "reconfiguration", I am pleased and hopeful with what I see unfolding. And contrary to the dismissive comments above, the spirit at Fishers and what I perceive here is one of hope for the future. The focus is not on division and condemnation, but on encouragement and a desire to create room for a faithful, orthodox Lutheran witness, whether within the ELCA - as many are committed to remain - or outside the ELCA - as others feel called to do. I look forward to seeing and participating in what CORE can become.

Marshall Hahn

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for Marshall that he found hope and inspiration at Fishers for a more faithful Lutheran future. What exactly does this future look like? How many people can we exclude from God's house before there is no one left? Once again, left only with more questions and less answers.

Marshall Hahn said...

Two very good questions, stated anonymously. What will it look like? Wait and see. Or, come and see. How many people CAN we exclude? I am in the ELCA. And right now, we, in the ELCA, are doing a pretty good job of excluding a whole lot of people - more all the time, from what I can see. Particularly judging from the proposed changes to ordination standards that have been put forward.

Marshall Hahn

Anonymous said...

I am arriving late to this discussion but here are my thoughts.

There is no rule on the books now that Excludes anyone who would likely fall under the CORE umbrella.

There is no institutionalized rule that prohibits are directly excludes any one who could be called orthidox or confessional.

So how can the those who like Mr. Hahn delcare they are being excluded have a claim unless they ae choosing to self-exclude?

The good ship ELCA...

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