The steering committee of Lutheran CORE met last month in Columbus. We had a very positive and productive time together. We spent much of our time refining the goals and strategies for Lutheran CORE for 2006 and 2007. A copy of these goals and strategies is appended to this letter (below). These emphases provide clarity and direction for where we are going in Lutheran CORE, and we hope you share a sense of excitement and confidence in what we are about in Lutheran CORE.
As participants in Lutheran CORE, we do not wish to be complainers and nay-sayers. We seek, rather, to speak affirmatively for the priority of God's Word for the church. We call for fidelity in marriage, because marriage is a gift from God. We are committed to working with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at the beginning of a study process on the nature and interpretation of Holy Scripture. We seek to lift up the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the church's worship and Christian education. We want to listen to the prompting of the Spirit and elect persons to the leadership of our church who will reflect Biblical commitment and confessional loyalty.
The goals and strategies we have adopted, plus our support for the Common Confession, indicate who we are as Lutheran CORE. True, we are sometimes disappointed with our church. In many ways our church seems driven more by the day's cultural values, rather than by the authoritative witness of the Bible. We are often frustrated by some of the proposals and decisions of our church.
But, as Lutheran CORE, we are determined to work within our church and to labor for its reform. We strive to be a voice for the Word of God within the church. Lutheran CORE is a confessional and confessing movement within the ELCA. We have neither the desire nor the intention to leave the ELCA, but to stay within the church to which God has called us. And we are prepared to engage vigorously and confidently, over the long haul, for the reform of our church according to the Word of God.
It appears that, generally speaking, the synod assembly "season" was mercifully a peaceful time for our church. The Metro New York Synod rescinded its resolution from last fall calling for the exercise of restraint on discipline for rostered leaders not in conformity with ELCA policy. Only a handful of synod assemblies adopted resolutions favorable to the gay and lesbian agenda, and just as many synods refused to consider, or rejected, efforts to support the gay and lesbian agenda. A few synods took actions that reflect our concern for the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All synods elected voting members to the 2007 churchwide assembly in Chicago. We will be active in making contact with those persons. We will be introducing our mission to them, and we will be encouraging them to support the concerns and priorities we espouse.
We thank you for the support and encouragement that you give us in Lutheran CORE. It is a great comfort to us to know that you are with us. We ask that you continue to pray for us, for our church, and for our synodical and churchwide leaders. We ask that you speak with others about Lutheran CORE and invite them to be a part of this ministry. Others need to know who we are and what we are about.
We also ask that you support Lutheran CORE financially. Checks may be made out to "WordAlone Network" with a memo, "Lutheran CORE" and sent to WordAlone Network, 2299 Palmer Drive #220, New Brighton, MN 55112. As the churchwide assembly approaches, we will need significant funds to support our participation in that important event in our church's life.
We hope you can sense the confidence we have in Lutheran CORE's mission and ministry. Our hope comes from God, whose Word and Spirit sustain and empower us. But our hope is strengthened immeasurably by the support that people like you give us. We are not alone. And we are confident that God goes with us, as we strive for the reform of our church according to his Word.
Lutheran CORE Steering Committee:
Paull Spring, State College, PA, chair
Erma Wolf, Brandon, SD, vice chair
W. Stephens Shipman, Watsontown, PA, secretary
Mark Chavez, New Brighton, MN
Mark Graham, Roanoke, VA
Scott Grorud, Hutchinson, MN
Ken Kimball, Waterville, IA
Ryan Schwarz, Washington, DC
Paul Ulring, Columbus, OH