Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Many have asked for resources that can be used to help introduce the Common Confession to congregations and to encourage discussion on key issues of faith. Sharing ministry resources is one of the things we encourage churches of the association to do together.
To that end, we intend to make available a simple seven-part Bible Study on the scriptural foundations of the Common Confession. The study will be based on scriptural texts, with a question and discussion format. Our intention is not to write a scholarly thesis, but to provide materials that can be used to get pastors and laity talking about important theological issues, based on the Scriptures and Confessions, and how they apply to life in the Church today. The study will be made available on the LC3 website as soon as it is completed.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
JOINED LC3 WITH OFFICIAL LETTER:
1) Redeemer Lutheran - Fridley MN
2) Faith Lutheran – Hutchinson MN
3) Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity - New Rochelle NY
4) Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit – Manahawkin NJ
5) Our Savior’s Lutheran – Columbia Falls MT
6) St. Matthew’s Lutheran – Beaverton OR
7) Calvary Lutheran – Golden Valley MN
8) Immanuel Lutheran – Fresno CA
9) Zion German Lutheran – Brooklyn NY
10) Brooklyn Park Lutheran – Brooklyn Park MN
11) Peñasquitos Lutheran – San Diego CA
12) St. Paul’s Lutheran – New Braunfels TX
13) American Lutheran – Milbank SD
14) Olivet Lutheran – LaCrosse WI
15) Trinity-Bergen Lutheran – Starkweather ND
16) St. Timothy Lutheran – Hudson IA
17) St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran – Evart MI
18) St. James Lutheran – Philadelphia PA
19) Old East Paint Creek Lutheran – Waterville IA
20) Old West Paint Creek Lutheran – Waterville IA
21) Trinity Lutheran of Minnehaha Falls - Minneapolis MN
22) Prince of Peace Lutheran – Spokane WA
23) Christiana Lutheran – Salisbury NC
24) St Paul Lutheran – Salisbury NC
25) Elim Ev Lutheran – Ogden UT
26) Albion Lutheran – St James MN
27) St John’s Evangelical Lutheran – Los Banos CA
28) Urland – Cannon Falls MN
29) Wangen Prairie – Cannon Falls MN
30) Holy Cross – Maple Lake MN
31) First Lutheran – Pipestone MN
32) St Michael – Canton MI
33) First Ev – Kirkland IL
34) Norway Lutheran – St Olaf IA
35) Marion Lutheran – St Olaf IA
36) Christ the King – Hutchinson MN
37) Our Savior’s – Tyler TX
38) Highland Lutheran – Decorah IA
39) Holy Trinity Ev – Abington PA
JOINED VIA EMAIL OR PHONE CALL:
40) St. Peter’s – Stendal IN
41) St John’s – rural Starbuck MN
42) American Lutheran – Rantoul IL
Friday, February 10, 2006
You may also notice a new look to this site. A new template was chosen better to match the main LCCC site. This site is now linked to serve as the “News & Discussion” page off the LC3 Home page.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
In this diagram, the three "R's" (Reform, Renew, Reflect) are represented by three delivery trucks, which describe the work of the three organizational entities that are now in development: the Lutheran Churches of the Common Confession, the Lutheran CORE, and the Lutheran Theological House of Studies. The WordAlone Network is represented as a dispatcher's station, keeping the trucks in communication and coordination with each other.
Some of the concepts that are incorporated into this image include the following:
1) Action Orientation, rather than Structural Orientation
Instead of creating a static "pyramid"-style design of structure and hierarchy, the trucks symbolize motion, action, and flexibility. Each truck is independent of the other, yet they serve in a cooperative and coordinated venture. The emphasis is on the "delivery" of ministry.
2) Distinctiveness of Purpose
Instead of an "over-lapping circle" depiction of the various groups (which has led to some confusion in terms of ‘who is a member of whom’), this description seeks to clarify the purpose and function of the different ‘trucks’ as distinct ministry areas in relation to one another. The LCCC is a cooperative association of congregations, working together in mission and ministry. Lutheran CORE is an alliance of reform groups and individuals, who seek to have an impact of the policies of the ELCA. The Lutheran Theological House of Studies is intended to providing sound biblical and confessional instruction for the next generation of Lutheran pastors.
3) Coordination of Information
Due to its existing organization and resources, the WordAlone Network is currently in the best position to serve in a coordination role within the over-all movement -- providing communication, staffing, and networking between the three areas of work. This “dispatcher” role stresses functional support (alongside), rather than a hierarchical position (above). It also allows for an organizational distinction to be maintained between WordAlone itself, and the "trucks": LCCC, CORE, and LTHS. In terms of leadership, each truck has its own "drivers" (steering committee) and sets its own course. However, even as they remain distinct entities, communication and coordination allows them to work together in a common mission.
4) Less Joining, and More Doing
The diagram is intended to move away from the questions about whether people have to "join" another organization (you don't "join" a truck, you go somewhere in it). Taking part in the three ministry areas has less to do with membership, and more to do with a mission task.
There is a built in freedom in this model: some people may choose to spend all of their time in one truck, while others may spend time driving in different trucks. A given truck-driver may not want to spend any time at all in the dispatcher's station, while others may decide that coordination is an important part of what they want to do. This design allows for participation in whatever ways an individual or congregation feels comfortable.
If you are concerned that the ELCA is becoming another Generic Protestant Church, are in the Northeast and you are free on Feb. 18th, read on.
Signing the Common Confession places you in a specific group of churches within the ELCA---a very good thing. It identifies you by what you believe and with whom you share that belief. As this presence of faithfulness grows one church at a time, visible by their posture, i.e., living under the authority of God's Living Word then renewal and reform will result if God so wills it in the ELCA.
Churches need to primarily be about their calling and not in isolation from other faithful churches. They also engage in political reform.
What is our good Lord commissioning us to do? Remember that even Luther, in all his efforts for reform, engaged primarily in teaching and preaching the faith--writing, translating the Word for the common folk, putting the Small Catechism into their hands. A faithful example of effective witness and work that we can learn from.
You are invited to an informational meeting about the two new groups formed in November for the reform and renewal of the ELCA. There will be a brief presentation by Pr Steve Shipman of the steering committee for Lutheran CoRe and Pr Eric Swensson of the steering committee of Lutheran Churches of the Common Confession with time for questions and discussion. Perhaps the most important aspect of this meeting will be the connections that can be formed or strengthened between us who desire to create change rather than leave the ELCA at this time.
We will meet th e18th from 10am until 1 or 2 PM. We will provide a lunch of sandwiches, etc. Here is the address and phone of our host, Pr Boyer.
RR 4 Box 4293 Stroudsburg PA 18360 (570/992-4085)
Rev Ralph A Boyer IV, pastor (570/992-6601)
If you want directions, email Eric Swensson.
Lutheran CORE - Lutheran Coalition for Reform
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This letter is our invitation to you to become a part of Lutheran CORE (Lutheran Coalition for Reform). Lutheran CORE is a coalition of pastors, lay people, congregations and reforming groups. We seek to preserve within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America the authority of the Word of God according to the Lutheran confessions. Our intention is to remain within our church and to work with congregations, individuals, and other reform-minded groups for the reform of our own church.
Among a host of issues within the ELCA today, there are three that trouble us most deeply. These are: the need to affirm the authority of the Word of God within and throughout our church; our concern to elect leaders - both synodical and churchwide - who will guide us in faithful witness and mission; and our profound concern over changes in doctrine and practice regarding marriage and sexuality.
As a Lutheran Coalition for Reform, we are committed to raising up leaders at all levels of our church who share our convictions regarding Biblical authority and confessional loyalty. We are committed to working for a consistent implementation of Vision and Expectations throughout the ELCA, one that will provide a ministry of oversight and discipline for all rostered leaders within our church.
Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Reform) is closely allied with the WordAlone Network for mutual support. However, Lutheran CoRe is a broad based coalition and is open to those individuals and congregations who do not choose to affiliate with the WordAlone Network. Lutheran Core also supports the Lutheran Churches of the Common Confession, whose aim is the renewal of congregational ministry and mission.
Our goal as Lutheran CORE is to work for the reform of the ELCA, and to serve as a channel of cooperation among the various reform-minded groups and with reform-minded congregations and individual pastors and lay people.
We hope and pray that you will be a part of our reforming effort. This letter is, in fact, our invitation to you to do so. A copy of the Common Confession and the purpose statement of CORE is appended to this letter. We seek your endorsement of these two documents, since they are basic to what we are about as a coalition.
We seek your financial support, as you are able. Checks may be made out to the WordAlone Network, with a memo "Lutheran CORE", and may be sent to the WordAlone Network, 2299 Palmer Drive #220, New Brighton, MN. 55112.
Most of all, we seek your prayerful support for our church and its leaders, as well as for our coalition and its ministry.
If you wish to become part of CORE's ministry, we ask that you let us know. All you need to do is to send a note, indicating your intentions, to either WordAlone Network, firstname.lastname@example.org or to Paull E. Spring, 956 Stratford Court, State College, PA 16801, email@example.com.
Lutheran CORE is planning an initial gathering of supporters for April 30-May 2 at Calvary Lutheran, Minneapolis. This gathering wil be a part of the annual WordAlone convention. Next month we will contact you about our plans for this event.
We thank you for your concern for the reform of our church. May God's Spirit nurture us with his Word and sustain us with his power and grace.
Steering Committee for CORE:
Mark Chavez, Andover, Minnesota
Steven Shipman, Watsontown, Pennsylvania
Mark Graham, Roanoke, Virginia
Paull Spring, State College, Pennsylvania, chair
Scott Grorud, Hutchinson, Minnesota
Erma Wolf,Brandon, South Dakota
Ken Kimball, Waterville, Iowa
Paul Ulring, Columbus, Ohio
Russ Saltzman, Kansas City, Missouri
The Common Confession
We are people who believe and confess our faith in the Triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We trust and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
We believe and confess that all human beings are sinners, and that sinners are redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God alone justifies human beings by faith in Christ - a faith which God creates through the message of the Gospel. As ambassadors for Christ, God uses us to speak his Word and build his kingdom.
We believe and confess that the Bible is God's revealed Word to us, spoken in Law and Gospel. The Bible is the final authority for us in all matters of our faith and life.
We accept and uphold that the Lutheran Confessions reliably guide us as a faithful interpretation of Scripture, that we share a unity and fellowship in faith with others among whom the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, and the sacraments are administered in accordance with the Gospel.
We believe and confess that the Holy Spirit makes all who believe in Jesus Christ to be priests for service to others in Jesus' name, and that God desires to make use of the spiritual gifts he has given through the priesthood of all believers.
We believe and confess that the marriage of male and female is an institution created and blessed by God. From marriage God forms families to serve as the building blocks of all human civilization and community. We teach and practice that sexual activity belongs exclusively within the biblical boundaries of a faithful marriage between one man and one woman.
We believe and confess that the church is the assembly of believers called and gathered by God around Word and Sacrament, and that the mission and ministry of the church is carried out within the context of individual congregations, which are able to work together locally and globally.
The Purpose of CORE
1. Encourage individual reform-minded congregations, laypersons, and pastors.
2. Support and offer coordination for the various renewal groups within the ELCA.
3. Address significant synodical and churchwide issues. Such issues may include, but are not limited to, leadership in the ELCA, global missions and pioneer evangelism, marriage and sexuality, the orthodox naming of God, and ELCA polity matters (quotas, three expressions, delegation/representation).