EXTRA - Schmeling Verdict: In a work worthy of theologian Franz Bibfeldt, the Disciplinary Hearing Committee (DHC) announced it's decision to defrock Pr. Bradley Schmeling in six months (August 15, 2007).
Bibfeldt is the theologian of Both/And and/or Either/Or, and this is clearly the state in which the DHC found itself as it both enforced and called into question the ELCA policy that requires celibacy of gay clergy. The full text of the DHC report can be found at goodsoil.org.
Several things are noteworthy about the DHC report:
An officially constituted ELCA committee has formally called into question the constitutionality of the demonination's policy.
This trial was not 'an open and shut' case. The ELCA spent well over $100,000 on the trial and has only a qualified verdict to show for that effort. Future cases will be even harder to prosecute.
Members of the DHC seem to have felt considerable empathy with Pr. Schmeling and acknowledged the tragedy of a policy that persecutes clergy in committed same-sex relationships.
Famous February Defrockings: February seems to be a good month to be defrocked: Sinfully Delicious: You'll be the envy of everyone in your lectionary study group, and your Fair Trade Coffee will be sinfully delicious because you're drinking it from the Official LutheranConfessions.com MUG! Be the Life of the Party:
Feb. 3, 1998: Pr. Steve Sabin was expelled from the ELCA roster.
Feb. 22, 1994: Pr. Ross Merkel
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Sinfully Delicious: You'll be the envy of everyone in your lectionary study group, and your Fair Trade Coffee will be sinfully delicious because you're drinking it from the Official LutheranConfessions.com MUG!
Be the Life of the Party:
Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:
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In spite of being excluded from the roster of "this church", both of these pastors are currently serving ELCA congregations.
DEFROCKED: Letter from Bishop to (former) Pastor: Please bear in mind that, from the perspective of this church, you are now to function as a layperson in a congregation. While you are not on this church's roster of ordained ministers, your ordained status is in suspension.
As someone who is not on the roster of ordained ministers of this church, you must no longer perform any duties or acts associated with ordained ministry. You are not to use the title 'Pastor' or 'the Reverend'.
Neither are you to baptize, preside for Holy Communion, perform marriages, or wear vestments normally associated with an ordained minister such as a stole or clerical collar,.
If under some circumstances, you were asked to fill-in due to the absence of a pastor, you could do so not as a supply pastor, but as a layperson serving without clerical vestments in leading a Service of the Word."
But, but, but: Wait a minute, marriage isn't a sacrament. Anyone can perform marriages with the appropriate civil licensing, and in an emergency any Christian may baptize, and have you noticed how many unordained seminarians are wearing clerical collars these days?
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