Hermeneutic Circle: For those among our readers who are not already familiar with the work of the Grateful Dead we offer this helpful pointer to the lyrics of the song from which this issue of Lutheran (True!) Confessions takes its title, New Speedway Boogie. The song was written following the disastrous free concert at Altamont Speedway on December 6, 1969. The Grateful Dead first performed the song on December 14, 1969:
One way or another, this darkness got to give.

One Step Done...: Without a great deal of fanfare, the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality had it's final meeting January 23 -25. The ELCA News Service reports that the task force "finalized" its work on two documents: a proposed social statement on human sexuality and a report that includes "recommendations on ministry standards regarding possible changes to policies that preclude pastors in committed same-sex relationships from the ELCA clergy roster."
The documents will be released to ELCA rostered leaders on February 18, 2009 and to the general public on February 19, 2009. Both the social statement and the recommendations will be considered by the August, 2009 Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis, August 17-23.

...And Another Begun: On February 3, Lutheran CORE published two sample "Super Majority Resolutions." The resolutions argue that a two-thirds vote be required for changes to policy and practice regarding rostering ordained leaders:
Any motion to come before this Churchwide Assembly regarding changes in this church’s current policy and practice for the rostering of ordained ministers, diaconal ministers, associates in ministry, and deaconesses shall require a two-thirds vote by the assembly for adoption.
We are not parliamentarians and will not comment on the aptness of these sample resolutions.
At its November, 2008 meeting, the ELCA Church Council recommended that a two-thirds vote be required for adoption of a social statement, but declined to impose the same requirement on implementing resolutions.
We feel compelled to note that if the policies and procedures in question are Vision and Expectations (V&E) and Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline, neither of those two documents was adopted by a churchwide assembly in the first place. Both were enacted by the ELCA Church Council.

Enthronement: The enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia took place at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on February 1, 2009. The Local Church Council of the Russian Orthodox elected 62-year-old Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad on January 27. He succeeds Patriarch Alexei II who had led the church from 1990 until his death on December 5, 2008.
The Official Web site of the Moscow Patriarchate described the event:
At the entrance to the cathedral, the elected Primate of the Russian Church was met with bread and salt.
The archpastors, pastors, monastics and thousands of laymen gathered at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria Theodore, His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania, His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland, His Beatitude Metropolitan Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and delegations of all Local Orthodox Churches attended the enthronement.
Present at the Cathedral were Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chairman of the Russian Government Vladimir Putin, heads and representatives of authorities of other countries in the territory of the canonical responsibility of the Russian Church, and representatives of non-Orthodox communities...
At the Little Entrance, the clergymen sang the troparion and kontakion for Pentecost instead the troparia of the day.
The two eldest metropolitans who are permanent members of the Holy Synod, namely, His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine and Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, stood at the nominated Patriarch's side.
Having turned eastward, they bowed three times together with the Patriarch, and, taking his arms, brought him to the Patriarchal throne. Then they turned westward, and His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir said, 'The Divine grace, which healeth that which is infirm, and completeth that which is wanting, and always careth for its holy Orthodox Churches, seats our father, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of the great city of Moscow and All Russia on the throne of the holy Primates of Russia, Peter, Alexy, Jonah, Makary, Philip, Hermogen and Tikhon…' Saying 'In the name of the Father. Amen. And of the Son. Amen. And of the Holy Spirit. Amen', the eldest metropolitan seated the nominated Patriarch Kirill on the Patriarchal Throne three times.

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    His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine proclaimed Axios (Greek 'worthy') that was echoed many time by the clergymen in the sanctuary, the choirs of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, of the Laura of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius, the Moscow Sretensky Monastery, of St. Nicholas Church at the Tretiakov Gallery, and by all the worshippers.
    After that Patriarch Kirill was vested in the patriarchal liturgical garments. Two panagias and a mitre were placed upon him.
    Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus said the Great Litany; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna - a prayer to God the Almighty. When the protodeacon was saying the Great Praise, in which all Primates of the Local Orthodox Church are mentioned, the Primates present at the church came out from the sanctuary to bless the worshippers.

    It is not known at this time how many Lutherans were in attendance.
    In a letter congratulating the Patriarch, Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko voiced the LWF's eagerness to continue to work together with the Russian Orthodox Church "toward better mutual understanding and common action to address the needs of our hurting world."

    Consecration: On January 17, the Rt. Rev. Jana Jeruma-Grinberga (pictured) was consecrated as Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain (LCiGB). She is the first woman to head the church.
    About 300 people attended the service, which was held at St Anne's Lutheran Church in London.
    Bishop Jeruma-Grinberga was consecrated by her predecessor, the Rt. Rev. Walter Jagucki. He was assisted by the Most Rev. Elmars Rozitis, Archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad, and the Rt. Rev. Jon Baldvinsson, Bishop of Holar in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland.
    Other Lutheran bishops participating in the service were the Rt. Rev. Antje Jackelen, the Bishop of Lund (Sweden), who preached; the Rt. Rev. Matti Repo, the Bishop of Tampere (Finland); the Rt. Rev. Alex Malasusa, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania; and the Rt. Rev. Ilona Fritz, Lutheran Bishop in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.
    The General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, represented the worldwide Lutheran community and assisted in the distribution of Holy Communion.
    Bishop Jeruma-Grinberga was the senior pastor of St Anne's Lutheran Church in London until July 2008. She was ordained in the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Great Britain and served its parish in London before taking up the post at St Anne's, which is a congregation of the LCiGB. She is a director of the Lutheran Council of Great Britain (LCGB), which represents 10 national Lutheran churches that have congregations or chaplaincies in Britain.
    The LCiGB has congregations worshipping in Amharic, Chinese, English, Oromo, Polish, Swahili and Tigrinya. It is the only church affiliated to the Lutheran Council of Great Britain that has its bishop and full church administration in Britain. The other LCGB churches are under the jursidication of a bishop or church office in their home country.

    All Are Welcome on Groundhog Day: The ELCA News Service reported on the Lutheran connections to the annual celebration of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, PA. ELCA member Bud Dunkel is a past president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, and was for years responsible for hoisting the Punxsutawney Phil (pictured), the Prognosticator of Prognosticators, to predict when winter might end. Two ELCA congregations, First English Lutheran and Mount Zion Lutheran, host the Groundhog Luncheon providing soup, sandwiches, desserts, and beverages for some of the tens of thousands of people who come to Punxsutawney each year. The ELCA News Service release quoted meal organizer Shirley Reitz who noted that the celebration is an opportunity for Lutherans to demonstrate Christ-like hospitality:
    We make a point to welcome everyone.

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