Always reforming

by Pastor Mark Chavez (Director, WordAlone Network) and Betsy Carlson (Editor, WordAlone Network)

August 9, 2005

The WordAlone Network is a grassroots reform organization that grew from an Internet network during discussions on full communion with The Episcopal Church USA. photo of Mark ChavezWe have become a movement of ELCA lay persons, clergy and churches working for change within the ELCA by bringing to the fore the importance of studying the Bible and Lutheran Confessions and living by them.

We have members in all of the ELCA's geographic synods and in 45 states as well as in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Pastors who are members are graduates of all eight of the ELCA seminaries.

WordAlone supports ecumenism at the grassroots where Christians can experience unity in Our Lord. True ecumenism doesn't come from the top down in agreements that paper over significant theological differences, such as the real presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper, bishops in historic succession and the doctrine of justification.

WordAlone churches serve the mission of the church but focus on theological issues too. A study done recently by Pastor Steve King of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod showed that churches connected with WordAlone give at above average levels, have above average worship attendance and grew in membership, while overall the synod churches declined in membership. WordAlone always encourages churches to stay and work for reform within the ELCA.

WordAlone members are working on churchwide renewal matters with retired and active bishops, some who are WordAlone members and some who are not.

WordAlone welcomes gay, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons into churches, just as we welcome all individuals. For we all are sinners equally in need of repentance and are in need of church fellowship.

WordAlone is politically as diverse as the country and the ELCA. On our board and staff we have liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.

WordAlone is not connected to the publication known as the Lutheran Commentator. That is independent of and predates the WordAlone Network by several years. We publish the WordAlone Network News.

WordAlone views the major issues within the ELCA as multiple symptoms of a deeper theological malady: the question of authority. Because we are sinful human beings time and time again we attempt to place ourselves in authority over God's Word rather than submitting as servants to the authority of God's words over us. WordAlone is working to keep current policies and guidelines on ordination standards and sexual relationships of ministers. Renewing Worship resources for more study and feedback because so much energy and resources have been focused on sexuality questions.

WordAlone wants the departments and divisions restructured as servant to synods and local churches, not to be out in front of them. We are working to make church governance more responsive to synods, local churches and members by increasing the size of the Churchwide Council and how members are nominated and elected. For more information, visit the Key West Ballroom in the evening this week or look at our web site –

[The above document will be passed out along with WordAlone newsletters and introductory brochures on Tuesday. After a request from a pro-gay group, Goodsoil, to distribute information to assembly participants the ELCA said yes with the understanding that there would be two opportunities to distribute information, and that Solid Rock Lutherans and WordAlone would have the same opportunities. Goodsoil is an ecumenical movement in favor of blessing same-sex unions and ordaining non-celibate homosexuals. Goodsoil is passing out rainbow stoles to as many people as they can.]