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Abstract: Details about the upcoming disciplinary hearing.
The trial of Pr. Bradley Schmeling, January 19-21, 2007 is taking shape, and information about pre-hearing preparations is gradually being made public (thanks to LCNA Executive Director Emily Eastwood). At issue in the trial is whether Pr. Schmeling should be removed from the ELCA roster because his relationship with his partner conflicts with the ELCA policy expressed in "Vision and Expectations of Ordained Ministry" and "Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline".
Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson has chosen the hearing officer and the technical and facilities advisors who will manage the hearing. The hearing committee which will decide the issue (12 people, 6 from the ELCA at large and 6 from the Southeastern Synod) has also been selected.
Pr. Schmeling requested an open hearing, but Bishop Ron Warren exercised his right to delcare the hearing closed, and visitors will not be allowed into the proceedings.
Bishop Warren's counsel asked that Pr. Schmeling agree to total media silence. Pr. Schmeling refused.
ELCA rules limit each party in a closed hearing to two official representatives, usually counsel. Pr. Schmeling asked the hearing officer to allow the attendance of a limited number of additional attendees. The Bishop's counsel countered that additional attendees be allowed only in return for an agreement on total media silence. Pr. Schmeling has declined this counter offer.