Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Vote

by Scott Dalen

I have mentioned in several of my latest posts that my home congregation has been facing the vote to leave the ELCA. It was scheduled to happen today following our regular church service.

I have been nervous about this vote for quite awhile. As a candidate for ordination in the ELCA, having my home congregation leave the ELCA puts me in a bit of a pickle. Add to the equation the fact that my wife works at the church, and it would certainly create the need for some quick changes.

The congregational president requested that I offer the opening prayer at today's meeting, which I appreciated, but it was difficult thing to prepare for. I struggled with offering a prayer pleasing to God that would also offer peace to the unrest being felt by so many in the congregation. In the end, I tried to remember what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount. Don't be like the hypocrites making long prayers just to be seen. Rather, I just tried to offer what was on my heart for the congregation and leave my personal view out of it.

The meeting was well attended, which I am happy about. Over 500 people were there to cast their votes. Granted, out of over 1800 members, this is still a small number of the total congregation, but yet, I was happy with the turnout. The agenda was fairly straight forward, though there were several hoops to jump through to make sure that the vote was legitimate. Once we got down to the issue at hand, there was some brief discussion. However, after about 5 or 6 people made short comments, the question was called.

Honestly, I think that was a good thing. People's minds were already made up. I don't think there were many (if any) that didn't know how they were going to vote leading into today's meeting. The vote itself took awhile to cast, and then it took an equal amount of time to tally the votes.

I was surprised at how emotional it was to sit through that process and wait for the results. While we waited, people struck up conversations. It was tedious, but I too had a few conversations to try and keep my mind off what was being decided. In the end, the president came back in and announced the results. I didn't catch the exact numbers, but the motion to leave the ELCA was voted down in about a 2-1 margin.

I was relived at the result, but yet, here a few hours later, I also find myself saddened. Saddened to know that while we are still an ELCA congregation, we are changed. Some will leave, I have no doubt about that. People that I respect and care about will look for a new church home. In future weeks, people will vacate the pews that they have always filled. We are one body of Christ, but now that body is different.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take heart experience sadness at such a time is understandable.But it does not remain so always, because
faith carries the church of Christ at all times, with or without a vote.


6/29/2010 01:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You showed courage in participating in that decisive vote. I believe that your sadness remains to show that church unity is Christ's eternal prayer.Yet,disunity tends to compete against us in such ways that it seems to win.
Be of good courage!God is in control of this situation.


6/29/2010 01:24:00 AM  

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