All Things New!: Behold, I Make All Things New! is the theme of this year's Lutherans Concerned (LCNA) retreat at Holden Village, September 28 through October 1. Leaders of the retreat are Rev. Ruth Frost and Rev. Richard Andersen of Third Act Ministry in Minneapolis. The retreat is an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered Christians and friends to gather as a community to explore the renewing and transformative power of God's grace in our lives and in our communities.
For more information, contact John Eric Rolfstad at johneric@comcast.net.

'This Church' and God's Church: On the other hand, Lutheran Core will be sponsoring an all-day event on September 28 at St. Mark Lutheran in Lindenhurst, IL to discuss the recent Churchwide Assembly and begin planning for the next legistlative biennium. Featured speakers include Dr. James A. Nestingen, Dr. Robert Benne, and Pastor Paull Spring.
For details, see the Event Brochure.

Through the Looking Glass: We are pleased to report that Pastor Paull Spring of Lutheran Core attended the Goodsoil Worship sevice at Churchwide. As you'll learn from his comments below, he did not appreciate the service, and indeed, (worship planners take note) declared it to be "not inclusive at all."
But nevertheless, he was there, experiencing first-hand one of the unique opportunities offered by ELCA Churchwide Assemblies: a face-to-face encounter wtth other Lutherans who may not share your opinions. Here are Pr. Spring's remarks:
I attended a non-assembly service that was sponsored by the Lutherans Concerned/North America and Goodsoil folks, two groups calling for approval of homosexual behavior. To call it a service would be a disservice. It was really more of a rally in celebration of a lifestyle that runs counter to the Biblical paradigm for marriage and the family. The texts for the creed and the Lord's Prayer were not the ones in our hymnals. References to God were thoroughly gender neutral. It was not an inclusive service at all, but a quite exclusive occasion to celebrate who "we" are as over against who "they" are.
(Excerpted from "Some Reflections on Chicago 2007".)

Memo from Gerry: And while we're on the subject of "homosexual behavior", Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick (or "Gerry" if you're Pres. Bush), President of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) felt compelled to send a memo to the entire LCMS on the subject of the "2007 Churchwide Assembly Action" (meaning the resolution adopted to encourage restraint in resorting to disipline for rostered leaders in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship").
Dr. Kieschnick is troubled:
News of this action troubles me greatly and is causing serious concern and consternation among the members and leaders of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS). We in the LCMS hold firmly to the conviction that, according to the Holy Bible, homosexual behavior is "intrinsically sinful." We are deeply disappointed that the ELCA, by its decision, has failed to act in keeping with the historic and universal understanding of the Christian church regarding what Holy Scripture teaches about homosexual behavior as contrary to God's will and about the biblical qualifications for holding the pastoral office.


Extravagance (Luxuria): Who says Lutherans don't know about Luxury? When you want to indulge yourself, nothing else says extravagance as boldly as the Official LutheranConfessions.com BASEBALL CAP!

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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.


    ...The potential implications of decisions such as this for future LCMS-ELCA relations have been discussed in previous meetings involving leaders of the LCMS and the ELCA. In addition, I stated in my official greetings to the 2007 ELCA Assembly on Friday, August 10, "For the sake of our mutual witness and service together, the implications of such action, should it be taken, would need to be addressed, fraternally and evangelically."

    AWOL in Helsinki: In 1986, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) approved the ordination of women to the church's pastoral ministry. More than 20 years later, however, a significant number of the church's male pastors are unreconciled to cooperation with their female colleagues. According to a 2006 survey, approximately 2% of the denomination's clergy oppose working with female pastors in worship. The church is currently investigating incidents in which a male pastor scheduled to serve at the altar with a female pastor has failed to report for duty.
    In 2006, the ELCF Conference of Bishops proposed that this conflict be addressed through pastoral discussion and guidance from the respective bishop, asserting that church workers are required to carry out all duties of their assigned positions. The Bishops also noted that the 1986 resolution was a "guiding recommendation" and not a "legally binding ordinance."
    When the ordination of women was approved, the ELCF also adopted a resolution stating that those opposed to women's ordination should be free to work in and be ordained by the ELCF. That resolution calls all church members and officers to joint responsibility in overcoming difficulties caused by the change, with the aim to protect the unity of the church.
    ELCF Archbishop Jukka Paarma expressed deep disappointment: "The exclusion of female pastors cannot be accepted." If pastoral discussion fails to resolve the conflict, the church may be forced to resort to sanctions.

    Finland by the Numbers: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) has almost 4,400,000 members (about 82% of the country's population).
    The Church and its parishes employ over 21,300 people, and parish clergy number is around 2,200, that is, one pastor to approximately every 2,000 parishioners.
    Two thirds of the church's personnel are women. Currently the proportion of women clergy in the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church is 32% or 720. All church offices are also open to women, including that of bishop.
    Cemetery maintenance workers comprise more than 20% of the ELCF's work force (more than twice the number of pastors the church employs): nearly all the cemeteries in Finland are owned by the Lutheran Church.

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