An introduction to this report by Pr. Tom Walker (vice president, WordAlone Network) that will convey the sentiments of WordAlone. The actual document is available via link at the bottom of this page.
On March 16, 2010, an important report was presented to the Council of Calvary Lutheran Church, Golden Valley, MN. The Affiliation Task Force for this large Twin Cities congregation was commissioned to “…assess which current and potential affiliations can help us best ‘lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.’” The resulting “Affiliation Task Force Report & Recommendation” caused one outside reviewer to comment, “Some serious, sensitive, faithful and brilliant thinking went into this congregation’s process.”
WordAlone commends this document for study to all who are struggling with denominational affiliation issues in their congregations. Although many will not be able to do exactly as Calvary has done, this document raises important issues for almost every congregation that is reconsidering its membership in the ELCA. We want to lift up for you the high quality of this method and its careful concern for those on all sides of the issues.
To begin, a special task force was set aside to study, facilitate open discussion, and to report back to the council and congregation. The task force was made up of past presidents of the congregation, a decision that placed this important work in the hands of people already trusted by the congregation.
The task force focused on learning more about four different affiliation options: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Lutheran CORE, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), and Alliance of Renewal Churches (ARC). Open public meetings were held for the congregation to meet and talk to representatives from these affiliations.
The task force also hosted open forums to help members work through the issues prompting this reconsideration of affiliation. A panel discussion was held with members of Luther Seminary faculty from various perspectives speaking to issues of sexuality. Another set of Sunday morning forums featured Professor David Tiede explaining the process that led to the decision on human sexuality at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August 2009. Sound files for all of these events are available through the Calvary Lutheran Church website as pod casts.
The report and recommendation does an excellent job of considering the issues in detail and of presenting the findings in common language. At this point it is only a recommendation by the task force and has not yet been formally adopted. We commend this document for your consideration. You can find it at: