IN AMERICA LUTHERANISM Session Seven: The ELCA: Part
IN AMERICA LUTHERANISM Session Seven: The ELCA: Part One (1977 ~ 1988) Schedule Overview 1. 2. 3.
4. 5. 6. Moving to the New World (1600 ~ 1700) Lutheranism Takes Root (1600 ~ 1800) Becoming American (1700 ~ 1900) Remaining Ethnic (1700 ~ 1900) Lutherans Unite (1900 1962) Lutherans Divide (again) & Unite (again) (1962 1988)
7.The ELCA: Part One (1977 1988) Last Week in Review 1960s & 1970s A Redefining of Lutherans in a Changing America Addressing Social Issues in the Church (e.g., race, women, etc.)
Crisis and Split in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod The AELC The Course in Review Questions, comments or smart remarks? But first I have to tie up one
loose end! Worship Matters Again The Red Book developed in 1958 served many congregations in the LCA and ALC In 1965, the LC-MS led a call to form the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship to develop a new hymnal between the LCA, ALC and LC-MS
churches Worship Matters Again Led to the formation of the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978). Among other things, it included: Modern diction (no thees or thous) Gender-inclusive language (in
regard to people, not God) A three-year lectionary (RCL), shared by other churches Worship Matters Again Led to the formation of the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978). Among other things, it included: Three settings for the liturgy
Had a greater emphasis on baptism Emphasis on sharing the peace Emphasis on connecting worship to mission Worship Matters Again Confirmation re-tied to Baptism, and un-tied from Communion in 1970 New issue: how and where and when do
we teach young people the basics of faith? Bringing church and faith to the home Communion in LBW was the preferred option By 1990, 15% of ELCA congregations communed weekly. (Today, it is over 40%.) The AELC Seminex (Seminary in
Exile) established in February 1974 The majority of faculty and students walked out of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis Found a place at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago The AELC
The LC-MS limped along for a while with a broken appendage In 1977, three years later, and after many district Presidents had been disciplined for their relationship to Seminex students and faculty, this core group of students, professors and like-minded
pastors and congregations form the AELC The AELC The AELC was comprised of 150 churches at its inception Immediately, it moved to share fellowship with the ALC and the LCA as it saw that this was the way forward for American Lutheranism
The AELC The AELC elected Pastor Will Herzfeld as bishop. The first African American to serve in such an office in an American Lutheran Church. The AELC saw itself from the beginning as a temporary organization working to form a new church body, inviting the
ALC and LCA to begin talks of merger in 1978 The Formation of the ELCA The ALC and the LCA had been in discussion about possibility of merger for a several years at that point.
The death of General President of the ALC, Kent Knutson in 1973, The Formation of the ELCA The new Presiding Bishop of the ALC, David Preus Cousin of LC-MS President
Did not favor merger thought that altar and table fellowship was enough In 1981, a study showed that more The Formation of the ELCA Bishop of the LCA, James R.
Crumley, Jr. Shared the LCAs commitment to unity and ecumenism Was excited about the possibility of merger The Formation of the ELCA Commission for a New Lutheran Church was
formed in 1982 and met ten times over the next five years, holding open meetings across the U.S. Many issues and debates in forming one church, including Name of the church Location of national offices Pension plans Congregational property rights Inclusion of laity, women, minority races, etc. in the governance of the church
A New Church Commission for a New Lutheran Church Representatives from all three predecessor bodies came together to hash out details for a new church Tried to incorporate suggestions from others into their decisions New Name (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) New Headquarters (Chicago, IL) New Synodical and Regional Alignments
New Churchwide Units New Representational System A New Church The Commission seemed to try to win everyones approval Appeal for a Womens Auxillary Organization and a Churchwide Unit devoted to Womens issues The Commission created both
Appeal for representation from various races, genders, etc. led to the Representative Principle which affected every board, council, and staff in the new church. Representative Principle 60:40 Laity to clergy 50:50 Male to Female 10% People of Color or
Primary Language other than English A New Church Can the new church be all things to all people? Nobut they tried. The Formation of the ELCA The merger proposal that formed
the ELCA was put to a vote at each churchs national assembly on the same day, September 8, 1986 LCA 611 yes, 11 no ALC 897 yes, 87 no The Formation of the ELCA ELCA Constituting Convention held in Columbus, OH April 30May 3, 1987
Rev. Herbert Chilstrom elected first Presiding Bishop of the ELCA ELCA began its legal existence at 12:01 A.M. CST on January 1, 1988 The Formation of the ELCA When formed, the ELCA became the 4th largest Protestant church in the United States
Behind Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the National Baptist Convention ELCA began with: 5,288,471 members 11,133 congregations 17,052 pastors The Obstacles to Formation AL C
LC A AEL C The Obstacles to Formation Computer systems from the LCA and ALC were not compatible LCA used IBM while ALC used
Unisys New ELCA system not in place until August 1988, creating 8 months of data backlog The Obstacles to Formation Publishing Houses of Predecessor Bodies ALC = Augsburg Publishing House (based in Minneapolis)
LCA = Fortress Press (based in Philadelphia) Combine to become Augsburg Fortress (based in Minneapolis) Consolidating inventories and agreeing on works-in-progress proved to be a The Obstacles to Formation Synodical Organization LCA had 33 synods
ALC had 18 districts ELCA formed 65 synods 64 regional 1 extra-regional ELCA Church Governance In many ways, the issue of ecclesiology (i.e., the nature of the church) prompted the most visceral responses from people
across the church How do you combine two different governance models into one? ELCA Church Governance ALC LCA Bottom-Up model of
governance National church provided support and organization to congregations, but had little power in and of itself Congregationalist mentality led to suspicion of new
More Top-Down model of governance National church had some authority, but shared responsibilities with synods and congregations Prided itself on consistency of practice across the church Denominationalist mentality fit well with new
church structure ELCA Church Governance ALC LCA ELCA Church Governance
ELCA Church Governance Chapter 3. NATURE OF THE CHURCH 3.01. All power in the Church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ, its head. All actions of this church are to be carried out under his rule and authority.
ELCA Church Governance Chapter 3. NATURE OF THE CHURCH (continued) 3.02. The Church exists both as an inclusive fellowship and as local congregations gathered for worship and Christian service. Congregations find their fulfillment in the universal community of the Church, and the universal Church exists in and through congregations. This church, therefore, derives its character and powers both from the sanction and representation of its congregations and from its
inherent nature as an expression of the broader fellowship of the faithful. In length, it acknowledges itself to be in the historic continuity of the communion of saints; in breadth, it expresses the fellowship of believers and congregations in our day. Who Has Authority in ELCA? CONGREGATION SYNOD
Pastor? Who Has Authority in ELCA? YES! ELCA Church Governance A good summary of this sentiment comes from Rocky Mountain Synod
Bishop Jim Gonia Everything you do [as a congregation], you do on behalf of this whole church; and this whole church has a vested interest in everything you do. ELCA Church Governance
The issue of authority in the Church has still not been resolved adequately for many ELCA members Has led to many divisive debates, especially surrounding the issue of Full Communion relationship with the Episcopal Church Can pastors ordain other pastors, or must it be a bishop?
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