Saturday, February 2, 2013
The ELCA asks nothing of its congregations...
I copy part of an article by the Rev. Ronald F. Christian, a retired ELCA pastor, member of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Fairfax, Va., and formerly active in synodical and Lutheran social justice work. He writes...
Why do they leave?
Church defections a puzzle
When The Lutheran arrives in the mail, invariably I read the obits first (I am a retired pastor).
Recently, however, another page has been of great interest—the list of congregations that voted to leave the ELCA. Many of the congregations are well known to me.
Many of the pastors who lead these congregations are well known also. So I've been asking "Why?" Why do they leave? There is no real cause for departure—just a desire, it seems, to "take a stand."
The ELCA requires nothing of congregations. A congregation will not be removed from the roster for lack of giving, lack of diversity in membership, lack of a youth ministry, lack of mission activity, lack of social work in its community, lack of Bible studies, wrong vestments or secular music on Sundays.
It is possible to be removed if a congregation votes to disavow the constitution of the ELCA and the congregation's own documents of affiliation with the ELCA. But then it has removed itself from the family.
So, again, why?
Without trying to smug or dismissive... the one sentence that stuck out to me (highlighted above) is perhaps its own compelling reason to go... A church body that requires nothing of its congregations is like a congregation that requires nothing of its members... hardly worth joining and certainly worth leaving!