Pirate Christian Radio: After a few weeks of simmering quietly on the back burner, the controversy over Issues, Etc., the popular radio show canceled during Holy Week by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), moved back to the front of the stove with the May 28 announcement that the program will be resurrected on the radio and on a web site named Pirate Christian Radio.
Supporters are encouraged to make contributions to Lutheran Public Radio. In the interest of full financial disclosure (and perhaps a swipe at the LCMS which has struggled to justify canceling the show on financial grounds), the program's budget has been published. Stay tuned.
Another Call! Extrordinary?: Our far-flung reporters have taken us to task for failing to note that on May 4 Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Millstadt, IL. had a special congregational meeting to vote on extending a call to Pr. Todd Wilken to serve as Assistant Pastor. Pr. Wilken is the host of Issues, Etc. whose call was revoked when the show was abruptly canceled during Holy Week. The congregation voted to call Pr. Wilken, and the call documents were hand delivered the same day by Rev. Michael Krumm (pictured).
Pr. Wilken receives severance benefits from the LCMS and will accept the call when those benefits expire. The call allows Pr. Wilken to remain on the clergy roster and to be eligible for clergy benefit plans. We understand that the renewed radio show will be among his pastoral duties.
Regular readers know that we follow closely the calls that congregations extend to pastors rostered with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM), and we should be clear that Pr. Wilken and Trinity, Millstadt are not affiliated with ELM. However, we have the highest regard for Trinity because it has affirmed a pastor and a ministry that were unjustly deprecated by the larger church.
Learning About Sex Revised!: Concordia Publishing House has announced the availability of the 5th edition of Learning About Sex, a sex-education series for children.
Originally released in 1982, the series is intended to help children develop a godly, biblical understanding of human sexuality, and to assist parents in answering their children's questions. It was last revised 10 years ago.
New this year, each level of Learning About Sex is now gender-specific. Five books in the series come in separate editions for boys and girls. They are:
Why Boys and Girls are Different (for ages 3-5) by Carol Greene (item no. 14-2134 for boys edition, 14-2140 for girls edition);
Where Do Babies Come From? (ages 6-8) by Ruth Hummel (item no. 14-2135 boys, 14-2141 girls);
How You are Changing (ages 8-11) by Jane Graver (item no. 14-2136 boys, 14-2142 girls);
Sex and the New You (ages 11-14) by Dr. Richard Bimler (item no. 14-2137 boys, 14-2143 girls); and
Love, Sex, and God (ages 14 and up) by Rev. Bill Ameiss and Jane Graver (item no. 14-2138 boys, 14-2144 girls).
A parents guide, How to Talk Confidently with your Child about Sex (item no. 14-2139), also is available.
For more information or to order, contact Concordia Publishing House at (800) 325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.
We couldn't find a sex education series on the Augsburg Fortress web site.
The Witness of Ordained Women: A May 20 a news release from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) reported on the communique from a March 27 - 29 LWF consultation in Geneva on the witness of ordained women. Sloth Never Looked So Good: If you're going to do nothing, you might as well do it in style. Tell the world you aren't afraid to sin boldy by slipping into the Official LutheranConfessions.com T-SHIRT! Be the Life of the Party:
The communique, while acknowledging the church's progress in ordaining women, noted that there is more work to be done:
[S]ome churches do not want to discuss the ordination of women because they fear this may split the church or threaten ties with partners who oppose this. Churches need to have transparent processes of dealing with the differences that may be there. We believe that open discussions are needed in which local church members are made aware of the theological grounds for ordaining women, and not only the opposing perspectives. Furthermore, the actual experiences and effects that ordained women are having on the ministry and mission of the church throughout the world need to be heard by others for whom this may not yet be the practice. In the end, informed and open discussion is not likely to weaken but to strengthen the churchís self-understanding and identity.
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The communique called for member churches to report to the 2010 LWF Assembly their progress on the ordination of women and urged particular emphasis on the witness of women pastors as a sign of the church's ongoing reformation for Reformation celebrations planned for 2017.
Giving Concurrence: Meeting in London, Ontario, the Anglican Diocese of Huronís annual convention voted on May 26 to ask the bishop to give clergy permission to bless same-sex marriages, "where at least one party is baptized" and to authorize an appropriate rite.
According to The Anglican Journal, the margin in favor was 72 per cent in both clergy and lay houses (97 clergy in favor, 36 against; 227 lay people in favor, 87 against).
The diocesan bishop, Bruce Howe, said he "gave concurrence" to the motion based on the large percentage in favor, but he added that he intended to consult with other bishops before acting on the vote.
His ruling is in line with the bishops of the dioceses of Niagara, Montreal and Ottawa, that have held similar votes since the June 2007 meeting of General Synod. It was the first time the issue had come before the Huron synod. The diocese of New Westminster has allowed blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples since 2002; the diocese of Saskatoon rejected such a measure earlier this year.
Debate on the motion took two hours, with some 60 members speaking to the motion.
Beyond Clergy Exchange: The Moravian Church in America's Northern Province has secured a $250,000 loan from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Mission Investment Fund (MIF) as an extension of the full communion relationship between the two church bodies.
"The working out of the bilateral relationship is often talked about in terms of clergy exchange, and we frankly never thought that it would be viable in this arena," said the Rev. David L. Wickmann, president, Moravian Church Northern Province. In 1999 the ELCA entered into full communion with the Moravian Church in America."The MIF loan that was extended to the Moravian Church's Northern Province is an example of closer unity, cooperation, sharing in mission and discipleship. It is a wonderful example of what it means to be in full communion and to share more completely with one another for the sake of Christ's mission in the world," said the Rev. Donald J. McCoid, executive, ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations.
The MIF's primary mission is to provide low-interest loans to mission congregations to purchase land and construct church buildings, and to established ELCA congregations for renovation, expansion and relocation projects. The 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly amended the MIF bylaws to clarify that loans and investments could cross denominational lines of full communion partners. The loan to the Moravian province was finalized in April 2008.
"We take our relationship with the Mission Investment Fund very seriously and are going to be investing $250,000 into the Fund in one of their short-term investments," Wickmann said. "We'll probably keep that money there for a fairly long period of time just by way of saying we appreciate what the ELCA is doing for us."
Wickmann acknowledged that the investment is equal to the loan, adding, "We were not required to do that, but we wanted to do that."
The ELCA is also in full communion with the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church in America, and United Church of Christ. Those church bodies manage funds similar to the ELCA Mission Investment Fund.
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