Now What: The whole Ecclesiastical Trial circus slipped quietly out of Atlanta on Wednesday, January 23. The hearing committee has fifteen days to issue a decision which consists of Findings of Fact and a Determination (what should be done). After the hearing committee delivers a verdict, the accuser and the accused have 30 days in which to file an appeal. An appeal committee is appointed and material documenting the appeal is submitted. The appeals committee renders a decision with 60 days of receiving all the documentation for the appeal.

Memo to St. John's: If there's still some money in the defense fund, we hope you'll consider getting the complete transcript of the trial proceedings. The record exists, there's always a court reporter, but in previous trials, the reporter's record hasn't been transcribed, and if you want a transcript, the ELCA will ask you to pay for transcription. Please do

We May Have Been Wrong: And we'll be the first to admit it. No one at ELCA headquarters rushed to deny the $100,000 price tag we put on the disciplinary hearing for Pr. Bradley Schmeling, and frankly we were surprised that the ELCA team included two counsel


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    and two "facilitators", and of course, we forgot all about the need for door wardens. So in retrospect, we think the cost of the trial is somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000.

    Did you notice: That no one covering the trial in Atlanta spotted any censured gay clergy (we know of at least three representing two different synods) sliding into or out of the hearing rooms in Atlanta? There are partnered gay clergy serving ELCA congregations whose bishops have issued letters of censure rather than insist on a full ecclesiastical trial to have them removed from the clergy roster. The absence of these folks in Atlanta makes us think there may be some strings attached to those letters of censure.

    At Least One: It's still early, but we hear that there's already one Synod Assembly that will vote this year on a memorial requiring the ELCA to make a full disclosure of the cost of any disciplinary proceedings against partnered gay clergy. The proposed measure would also impose an annual spending cap on the church's enforcement of it's ban on partnered gay clergy. We hear the proposed resolution is modeled on our suggestion.

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