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Call to Faithfulness; a time to speak

by Pastor Gary Hatcher

November, 2009

Greetings in Christ,

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

A parishioner stopped by yesterday with a letter. She and her husband had considered what they should do as a response to the vote taken at the August Churchwide Assembly. After much prayer and conversation, they chose to resign their membership at St. Peter, not because they were unhappy with the congregation, but as a protest against the ELCA's actions. They could no longer remain members of a church that had taken the actions that the ELCA had taken in regard to homosexual behavior. It saddened them to resign, but they could no longer be silent. Resigning was their way to speak out, their way to act, to do something that made a statement about the direction our church is taking.

There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. Now is not a time to keep silence. Silence, whether intended or not, gives approval to the actions taken at Churchwide. GoodSoil and Lutherans Concerned/North America (LCNA), homosexual advocate groups, are not keeping silence. They are celebrating the vote, but they are also working to foster wide spread acceptance of the vote in the ELCA. LCNA has a plan for 'reaching out' to the rest of the ELCA to shape their thinking about the vote. This link will take you to the website LCNA has for their plan of action. The advocates of change are not silent, but active and vocal in their continued, well stated goal of 'full inclusion for gays, lesbians, transgendered, and bisexuals' in the ELCA.

If you believe the votes taken in August were the correct thing for the ELCA to do, then silence is all you need do, GoodSoil and LCNA will work very hard to see that the implications of the Social Statement on Sexuality and the Resolutions will take place in the ELCA.

If you believe, as does Call to Faithfulness, that the votes are not the direction the ELCA should go, that they represent a turn away from the Scriptures, the Confessions, and the Tradition of the Church, then now is not a time for silence. Now is a time to speak, a time to act. If we join together we can have an impact on the NE Iowa Synod and on the ELCA. If we are silent, we give permission to GoodSoil and LCNA to implement their stated goals in the ELCA.

Make plans to attend the Faithful Voices Event at St. Peter Lutheran in Greene, on Saturday, November 21, 2009. The registration form is attached to this email. You are the one who can make a difference in how our congregations respond. Together, we can continue to make a difference in NE Iowa and the ELCA by making our voices heard. It is a time to speak.

In Christ,

Pr. Gary Hatcher