Lutheran Girls Kick Butt: Writing for the Houston Chronicle, Jason McDaniel reported on January 26 that the Concordia Lady Crusaders of Tomball, Texas overcame a 10-point half-time deficit to beat Westbury Christian (the Lady Wildcats) 56-41. Neither team shot well, but the Lady Crusaders' stifling defense held Westbury Christian to eight points in the second half. The victory was the Lady Crusaders' first win over Westbury Christian in at least a decade.
Concordia coach Matt Neidigk observed:
You always have to get over that hump, and so now � and especially because we�re so mentally strong � that we�ve won, the kids should have more confidence.
Westbury coach Reed Sutton commented:
They just kicked our butt. They played harder, they played tougher, they played with more passion � they were just better than us.

About Face in Northeastern Iowa: On Saturday January 30, the Synod Council of the Northeastern Iowa Synod voted to rescind the two resolutions (A Resolution on the Bound Conscience of the Northeastern Iowa Synod with Respect to Changes in Ministry Policies and A Resolution in Opposition to the Actions of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly) the council adopted on November 14, 2009.
The measure to rescind the "Bound Conscience" resolution passed by a vote of 10 to 3 with 1 abstention. The measure to rescind the second resolution passed by a vote of 9 to 4 with 1 abstention.
Iowa's state motto is: Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.

Swartling: No Dual Rostering: In a January 19 memo, ELCA Secretary David Swartling responded to "questions regarding the meaning and implications of being on a roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as an ordained minister and as a congregation."
In particular the memo addresses the issue of dual rostering: ELCA pastors or congregations who are rostered with another church body as well. Secretary Swartling summarizes his interpretation of the ELCA's governing documents on this issue:
As indicated below, the governing documents of this church expressly preclude dual-rostered status on the part of rostered ordained ministers. With respect to congregations, although an express prohibition does not exist, the governing documents of this church do not authorize congregations to join an additional church body. It is clear that a congregation cannot meet the criteria and expectations for congregations as specified in the governing documents of this church if it affiliates with another church body.


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    With respect to individual rostered leaders, Secretary Swartling cites Chaper 7 of the ELCA Constitution and comments:
    Nothing in Chapter 7 provides or imples that an ordained minister of this church also may be admitted to or maintained on the roster of another church body.
    In some respects, this is a novel interpretation of the ELCA Constitution. In March, 1999, Jean Caffey Lyles reported in The Lutheran on the plight of six congregations that maintained affiliation with both the ELCA and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). A resolution adopted by the 1998 LCMS convention called on the congregations to choose one affiliation and threatened to oust any congregations that had not made a choice by mid-January, 2000. According to Lyle's report, the ELCA was willing to tolerate the dual memberships at that time:
    ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson told the LCMS news organ Reporter that dual congregations don't pose a problem for the ELCA, though official documents don't provide for them. "Concern for the spiritual needs of congregations sometimes requires unusual solutions," he said.
    One of our far-flung reporters, suspecting that Secretary Swartling's memo might present difficulties for ELCA pastors and congregations who are affiliated with the Central Great Lakes Synod (CGLS), tracked down CGLS Bishop Thorvald "Wally" Noe-Effingway (who is in retreat at an undisclosed location preparing for the March 6 Run On Water from Bayfield, Wisconsin to Madeline Island and back).
    Reporter: Bishop Noe-Effingway, do you think that ELCA pastors and congregations who have joined Central Great Lakes Synod are in violation of the ELCA constitution?
    Bishop Noe-Effingway: Well, I'm not really sure. Is everything that is not commanded forbidden or is it the other way around?
    Reporter: Are you concerned that nothing in the ELCA constitution authorizes clergy or congregations to affiliate with fictional organizations?
    Bishop Noe-Effingway: What?

    Our reporter did note, however, that the Central Great Lakes Synod is now offering a rostered leader membership.

    Bail Denied: In Malawi on January 28, Judge Rowland Mbvundula denied bail to Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza who are charged with "gross indecency" for solemnizing their relationship in a traditional rite of engagement. The two men have been held in prison since their arrest on December 28, 2009. In his ruling, Judge Mbvundula expressed concern for the safety of the two men:
    In the current circumstances, the state is validly concerned about and interested in the applicants' safety and justified to be wary of releasing them into the community, at least for the time being.
    Mauya Msuku, lawyer for the couple, argued that safety should "not arise at all since the two were or had been staying together and carrying on as husband and wife prior to their appearance in court".
    The couple has entered a plea of not guilty. The trial will resume on Wednesday, February 3.

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