Friday, September 25, 2009

Will Lutheran CORE be Inside or Outside?

This weekend there will be a convention of 1200 CORE members. This Lutheran group had a recent surge in registration for the event probably due to the recent decisions of ELCA to swing in favor of same-sex marriage, etc. There are eerie parallels between ELCA and the Episcopal church (T.E.C.). In his news release of Sept 15, 2009, Mark Chavez wrote,
“We are not leaving the ELCA. The ELCA has left us...”

Doesn't that sound familiar? Substitute T.E.C. for ELCA and you have what many Episcopalians have been saying for years.

As an outside observer, I am not familiar with this Lutheran CORE group, but a little snooping shows that the steering committee at this time is made up of ten (8 male/2 female) "The Revs," and one "Mr.", so they are clergy top-heavy. I don't yet know if this is a good or bad thing.

I can see from the following letter from the steering committee that it does not appear that they have had any more success in their attempts at "inside strategy" than people and clergy have had in the Episcopal church.

From here:
"Over the past three years Lutheran CORE has worked for the reform of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Our chief goal has been to serve as a voice for the Word of God within the Lutheran CORE - Coalition for Reform ELCA. We have sought to maintain the Christian doctrine of marriage and the normative use of the Biblical names for the persons of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Within the ELCA we have sought to uphold both Biblical authority and Lutheran identity. To effect these reforms, we have used the constitutional structures of the ELCA – synod assemblies, churchwide assemblies, and the election processes for synodical and churchwide leaders. The results of our efforts to reform the ELCA have thus far been uneven."

"Uneven" would be an understatement.

What interested me about this meeting is the number of participants, and the fact that it appears to be more of a national gathering. I do not recall a similar large gathering by concerned Episcopalians crossing diocesan borders since the current troubles in our denomination began.

Could a large group of reasserting Episcopal lay leaders ever dare to gather together in their own convention? What good would it do?

While it is doubtful that the "inside strategy" will help rescue ELCA from it's current path, it might be good to observe their approach to the problem. We might learn something.


  1. As per your concluding remarks, this gathering looks exactly like "Plano" 2003 to me. For the first couple of years the strategy after Plano remained staying inside TEC and working for restoration, until for most of the Plano participants that had run its course by the end of 2007. CORE looks very much like ACN in its first couple of years to me.

  2. The A.P. reports that CORE has resolved to think about it:

    "About 1,200 people meeting in suburban Indianapolis approved a constitution for the conservative umbrella group Lutheran CORE and a resolution directing its steering committee to report back in a year on whether to stay within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, form their own denomination or join another."

  3. Anonymous3:31 PM

    Our Lutheran church has seen a marked increase in gay/lesbian partners in the past year, while losing long time older members. Older members that have stayed are cringing at the thought of who theses new folks are, and what they represent to "their" church. Yes, the Lutheran church is failing quickly in membership and even more so in giving $$. Way too much drama for my senses.