"UPDATE ON FEBRUARY 26, 2012, MEETING
As you should all be aware, on Sunday, February 26, Grace Lutheran Church met in a special congregational meeting to determine a response to Synod Council demands resulting from an adjudication process brought against Grace by Amazing Grace ELCA, Inc. The motion that was unanimously passed (236-0) at that meeting was a successful first vote to disaffiliate from the ELCA. A second vote to disaffiliate is scheduled for May 30, 2012.
This week a letter was sent to Bishop Pederson and the Synod Council informing them of the meeting and the vote. Today an article was published in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram concerning that vote. I take this opportunity to challenge the claim that the vote was somehow "improper".
Each church has its own constitution which is its primary governance. The ELCA Constitution 9.52 states: "The governing documents of congregations recognized at the establishment of this church shall continue to govern such congregations." The ELCA also has a Model Constitution for Congregations that is updated periodically by the churchwide organization. When a church (such as Grace) updates its own constitution, it is required to include updates made to the Model Constitution. But a church is not required to update their constitution when and if any changes are made to that Model. That means that while the ELCA changed the rules regarding disaffiliation in the Model, we are not mandated to change our constitution to match the Model. We have rules regarding disaffiliation. Our rules do not require a 30-day notification to the bishop of our intent to vote to leave the ELCA. Our Constitution is our primary governance; and our vote is, therefore, valid and binding. Our Constitution requires notification to the Bishop of the results of the first vote, and a consultation with the Bishop within the 90-days before our second vote. The notice has been sent, and a consultation will be negotiated.
Within the court order, the congregation was instructed to review the recommendations of the Synod Council and discern a response. The "spirit" of the court order was met with a resounding vote to move away from the ELCA.
If anyone has any questions, please contact me.