Convocation Venue Change: The venue has changed for the September 25-26 Lutheran CORE Convocation. Originally scheduled for Christ the Savior Lutheran Church in Fishers, Indiana, the conference will now be held at Holy Spirit Parish at Geist, Indiana. Geist and Fishers are suburbs of Indianapolis.
When the number of registrations exceeded the capacity of the original site, organizers were forced to find a new location. When registrations reached 1200 on September 14, space limitations prompted organizers to close registration.
The Lutheran CORE web site advises that a DVD recording of the proceedings will be available for purchase.
What Does This Mean?: On September 18 the ELCA News Service published a news release titled Two San Francisco Congregations Weigh Possible ELCA Reinstatement. The release describes discussions that are underway at both First United Lutheran Church and St. Francis Lutheran Church about rejoining the ELCA. Both congregations were expelled from the ELCA at the end of 1995 for having called and ordained Pastors Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart, and Jeff Johnson in 1990.
The news release noted that the congregations were expelled for violating standards that the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted to change.
However, it is not yet known how the assembly's intention will be implemented, and both First United and St. Francis (like many ELCA congregations) are curious about the details. Pr. Nancy Feniuk Nelson, assistant to Sierra Pacific Synod Bishop Mark Holmerud, will preach at St. Francis on October 4 (the festival of St. Francis). She will also participate in an Open Forum and meet with the congregation's council.
It is not a foregone conclusion that either congregation will pursue rejoining the ELCA. Pr. Susan Strouse voiced the conditions under which First United might consider reinstatement:
[T]he policy would need to change, but there would also need to be some recognition of the wound that had occurred. There has to be more than a "Come on back." from the ELCA.
The ELCA news release does not say if there has in fact been a "Come on back." from the ELCA.
Miss America At LCMS Seminary: On Oct. 15 Miss America 2009 Katie Stam will visit Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ms. Stam will speak in the Sihler Auditorium at 2:30 and 7:30.
Ms. Stam is a native of Seymour, Indiana and a member of Seymour's Immanuel Lutheran Church. She is on a national speaking tour to promote the Miss America organization and her personal platform of community service. Ms. Stam is the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network and is also the official spokesperson for Zerosmoke.
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Seminary president Dr. Dean O. Wenthe commented:
Our entire culture benefits when role models exhibit the virtues that inspire and stimulate persons to contribute their best efforts for the welfare of their neighbors, their community, and their country. Miss America 2009 Katie Stam is such a role model. The seminary is delighted to host her and to invite the community to hear her.
Ms. Stam has studied at The University of Indianapolis. Our reporters indicate that there is no truth to the rumor that Concordia will award her an honorary Master of Divinity degree. She is the first Hoosier to be crowned Miss America.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the seminary at 260-452-2250.
On November 21, Ms. Stam is scheduled to speak at the 2009 Lutheran Church Extension Fund Fall Leadership Conference in Tampa, Fla., during the LCMS president's prayer breakfast.
Martin Marty at ELCA Seminary: On September 23, Rev. Dr. Martin E. Marty will be the featured speaker for the Founders' Day celebration at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) in Berkeley, California. Dr. Marty's remarks will address the issue of building Cultures of Trust.
Dr. Marty is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he has taught for thirty-five years. Dr Marty has also held the Donnelley Stool of Bibfeldt Studies and is custodian of the Bibfeldt Foundation. He is the author of over fifty books.
We have been unable to confirm the rumor that PLTS plans to present a tiara to Dr. Marty.
Foundersí Day will also offer an opportunity for the PLTS community to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the founding of Christ Seminary - Seminex. In 1974 a majority of the faculty and students walked off Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in a courageous act of dissent. By forming a "Seminary in Exile," they provided a powerful witness to women and men of faith. In 1983, Seminex dispersed its faculty to other seminaries, including four who came to PLTS.
Here Ya Go: We wonder who knows that Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) came to the ELCA's defense when a derogatory editorial cartoon appeared in the web edition of a Wisconsin newspaper on September 4.
A report of the incident (Cartoon Defaming LGBT Lutherans Removed After GLAAD Outreach) appeared recently among the snapshots of recent GLAAD work:
The cartoon shows a male couple dressed in street clothes and adorned with piercings kissing and groping in front of a Lutheran church. One man inexplicably wears a sleeveless shirt that reads "Gay Clergy." A female character shouts, "Get a room" at the men, and a Lutheran minister is illustrated gesturing at the Church and answering, "Here ya go!" The cartoon inappropriately sexualizes LGBT clergy members and undermines significant advances in equality for LGBT Lutheran clergy.
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