Here is a brief summary of what has happened so far. Offer a correction if you think any of this is not accurate.
Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin was going through the process of trying to leave the ELCA.
At least one of the pastors stated that others were interfering in the ministry of the congregation.
They failed to get a two thirds majority vote to leave the ELCA.
The synod bishop informed them that they would hold a special service of the congregation in which he would preside and the pastors of the congregation would assist him.
The congregation council decided not to hold the special service the bishop had scheduled for them, and that service was not held.
The congregation council voted to affiliate with the LCMC in addition to being a congregation of the ELCA.
With the encouragement and support of the synod bishop, some of the members stopped attending services at Grace Lutheran and formed a worshipping community called Amazing Grace which held services in the building of another congregation.
The congregation council of Grace Lutheran moved those who had stopped attending their services from the list of voting members to the list of associate members.
Some of the members of Amazing Grace Lutheran sued Grace Lutheran.
The circuit court judge ordered that Grace Lutheran could not hold their annual meeting, or elect new officers until the case was settled.
Grace Lutheran complied with that order and continued on with the officers who had been elected previously.
The synod decided that Grace Lutheran could not be affiliated with the LCMC and that those who had been moved to associate member status were still voting members of Grace Lutheran.
The circuit court judge agreed with the synod.
Grace Lutheran complied with that order.
The synod bishop removed the pastors of Grace Lutheran from the clergy roster of the ELCA.
The synod decided that those who had continued to attend services at Grace Lutheran had been disloyal to the ELCA and had to be moved from the list of voting members to the list of associate members, and that the keys to the property of Grace Lutheran had to be handed over to the members of Amazing Grace Lutheran.
The circuit court judge agreed with that decision of the synod.
The leaders of Grace Lutheran complied with that order and handed over the keys to the property to a representative of the synod and those who had been members of Amazing Grace.
A representative of the synod told the employees of Grace Lutheran that they had a certain amount of time to remove any of their personal property from the property of Grace Lutheran.
The Grace Lutheran building is now locked up and not being used by anyone.
Those who were members of Amazing Grace, who are now the only voting members of Grace Lutheran, held a Sunday Service in the building of another congregation.
A number of those who by the order of the court are no longer voting members of Grace Lutheran held a Sunday Service, Sunday School and a meeting in a funeral home chapel. At that meeting they voted to form a congregation that would be affiliated with the LCMC and asked the former pastors of Grace Lutheran to continue serving as their pastors. They are calling this congregation they are forming Saving Grace Lutheran.
As of now, the only voting members of Grace Lutheran are those who were members of Amazing Grace. Since the voting members of the Grace Foundation are the voting members of Grace Lutheran, those who were members of Amazing Grace also control the ministries and property of that large foundation. (It is possible that the orders of the circuit court judge, enforcing the decisions of the synod, may be appealed to a higher court.)
I doubt that many think this is good for the reputation of that synod or the ELCA.
Many of you have probably read something about the legal battle between Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, WI and the ELCA. Here is a good rundown of all that happened. This was posted on a Lutheran message board. (see here)
5/2/2013 03:35:52 am
Just a sickening turn of events. It is painfully obvious to me that the bishop of the big formerly lutheranish church is consumed with enforcing evil, and destroying the unity of the people of Grace. There is no "peace that passes all understanding" there. G
5/2/2013 05:58:13 am
A very fitting name(Saving Grace Lutheran Church)
5/2/2013 06:02:48 am
Well, false doctrine divides the church. I'm not horribly surprised by what the ELCA is doing, I've seen it a few times now. I would hope that Saving Grace would have wanted to be affiliated with a Synod that is a bit more confessional than the LCMC, but that's neither here nor there. Really sorry to see ELCA continue to drag the name "Lutheran" through the gutter.
5/2/2013 08:39:16 am
The leaders of the ELCA have only two interests. One is re-making the church to fit the political and social standards of todays society and the other is money. It is sad that the average pew sitter in the ELCA has no knowledge of where their leaders are taking them.
5/4/2013 10:33:34 am
More from Don Kriefall on Amazing Greed's collusion with a predatory ELCA bishop to dispossess Grace Lutheran:
5/7/2013 02:41:23 pm
I am one of the 1700 members... and was for close to 40 years. We are going to be o.k. God's church is not the "bricks and mortar" of that building on 2nd Avenue.. it is His people.
Rev Kris Snyder
5/11/2013 08:56:29 am
Again not surprising actions from the intolerant tolerant. The ELCA here in Iowa intentionally plants an "authorized worshiping committee" in a community divided by previous congregational splits. Why keep doing this? What possible good does it serve ?
5/11/2013 10:49:24 am
Maybe it's things like this that explain why Mahatma Gandhi once said "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
5/15/2013 02:22:04 pm
The ELCA must enjoy paying lawyer fees. While at Seminary I worked for Augsburg Publishing House, which is owned by the
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