—Common Ground Resolution

February, 2000

This is the result of a conference between individual WordAloners and other parties in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 2000.  It is only the work of the undersigned individuals, and does not represent an official position of either the WordAlone Network or the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Whereas:  we acknowledge that the ELCA in the 1999 Churchwide Assembly has affirmed full communion with the Episcopal Church; and

Whereas:  we believe that voting members of the 1999 Churchwide Assembly did not anticipate the depth and extent of opposition that appears to exist; and

Whereas:  we recognize that continuing theological and confessional opposition to the mandatory imposition of the historic episcopate makes active participation and continued membership in the ELCA difficult or impossible for many; and fragmentation within the ELCA would be damaging to the mission to which God is calling us and undermines the full communion relationship to which Called to Common Mission commits us;

BE IT RESOLVED that _______________________________of ________________, ___________________________recommend that the 1999 Churchwide Assembly reject the document "Called to Common Mission"; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we reaffirm our commitment to continue to work together with our Episcopal neighbors in common faith and mission, gathering at the Lord's Table and sharing in each other's ministry which is our practice under the guidelines of the Interim Agreement for Eucharistic Sharing (1982) between our two churches:  and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we acknowledge the ordination of Episcopal clergy, and welcome them to serve in ELCA parishes or pastoral positions, preaching and teaching in a manner that is consistent with the ELCA's "Confession of Faith" as written in Chapter Two of the Constitution, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED at implementation of the full communion agreement provide for full participation in the ELCA by those who can not accept the mandatory imposition of the historic episcopate.  We commend the following to the Office of the Presiding Bishop, the Conference of Bishops, the WordAlone gathering, and the ELCA Church Council as a possible path to achieving this end:

  1. To understand the word "regularly" (paragraphs 12 and 20 of CCM) to mean that this church anticipates and expects that the ordination of pastors and the installation of bishops will normally be done in the manner currently defined by the CCM and resulting constitutional changes, but that provisions be made to respond to exceptions as set forth below.
  2. To ask the ELCA Church Council to Consider:  a.  Implementating of CCM after the 2001 Churchwide Assembly so that the necessary constitutional changes can be made reflecting this more expansive understanding of "regularly" b.  Proposing changes in ELCA governing documents to make possible the following provisions:  (1.)  Because the historic episcopate is not a mandate of the faith, this church shall administer its policies in such a way that a pastor whose ordination in the ELCA is irregular under the constitution only due to the absence of a synodical bishop as presiding minister shall be fully a pastor of this church.

Because dialog participants did not come to clarity or consensus we propose either:

  • (2.a.)  Because dialog participants did not come to clarity or consensus we propose either:
  • (2.b.)  Because the historic episcopate is not a mandate of the faith, the Churchwide Assembly (CWA) shall call into being a new synod which may be out of conformity with certain provisions of full communion agreements.

We also convey this resolution to the Episcopal Church USA as a matter of courtesy and information.

  • Rev. Michael Cooper-White, Director, ELCA Department of Synodical Relations, Chicago, IL
  • Ms. Linda Danielson, Zion Lutheran Church, Des Moines, IA
  • Rev. Amandus Derr, Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, New York, NY
  • Rev. Richard Foss Bishop, Eastern North Dakota Synod, Fargo, ND
  • Professor Gracia Grindal, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
  • Rev. Mark S. Hanson Bishop, St. Paul Area Synod, St. Paul, MN
  • Dr. Gordon S. (Tim) Huffman, Jr., Trinity Seminary, Columbus, OH
  • Rev. Bradley C. Jenson, Kenwood Lutheran Church, Duluth, MN
  • Dr. Marc Kolden, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
  • Dr. Margaret (Meg) Madson, Plymouth, MN
  • Ms. Ellen Maxon, ELCA Church Council, Hartland, WI
  • Rev. Don McCoid, Bishop, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Rev. Stanley Olson, Bishop, Southwestern Minnesota Synod, Redwood Falls, MN
  • Rev. Karen Parker, ELCA Church Council, Pacifica Synod Yorba Linda, CA
  • Dr. Ralph W. Quere, Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA
  • Rev. Peter Rogness, Bishop, Greater Milwaukee Synod, Milwaukee, WI
  • Mr. Clair Strommen, Naples, FL
  • Rev. Joseph Wagner (did not support this Common Ground Resolution), Executive Director, ELCA Division for Ministry, Chicago, IL