A Conventional Convention

If you were hoping for a sea change in Lutheran Church Canada’s evasive behavior over the years since the CEF scandal broke, you’d be disappointed at the 2017 edition of the LCC convention.

Of course, by “disappointed” I mean “shattered any illusion of being a functional and responsible institution.”

For one, Synod will now distract itself for four years (conventions are now four years apart, because we can’t afford one every three years – so yeah, restructuring is already not fixing the problems and stretching the time that keeps us apart between conventions). That’s a whole blog unto itself, and I’ll have that ready in a couple of days.

Lutheran Church Canada is not a healthy church. Motion 3.07 was evidence of that. 3.07 was pretty simple: “Let’s talk about the CEF crisis…open time to talk.”

If you’re a depositor in CEF or DIL; if you lost money or a loved one lost money; if your congregation was affected, or if you were stunned by the complete breakdown in management of the funds, then this is going to kick you in the gut:

Delegates to the 2017 LCC convention declined the motion. In fact, they didn’t just decline it, they ignored it. The floor committee wanted to squash the overture, but they didn’t need to. IT DIDN’T EVEN GET A SECOND.

Just so we’re clear: this isn’t an opinion. Successful conventions demand a room full of engaged delegates who are willing to wrestle with tough issues. Synod delegates didn’t even want to entertain the motion to talk about CEF, let alone actually talk about it. Convention DID spend four hours arguing about the number 3 on Saturday (I’m not making this up). So there’s that.

Out of the 97 pastoral and lay delegates to convention, NO one thinks its worth talking about.

Let’s keep this in ontext: this convention was the first convention since 2017 that the entire Synod was coming together since CEF. The next change to talk about it together: 2021 – and how many of the aged depositors will be alive seven years after the collapse.

Delegates of LCC: shame on you. Not one of “us” had the courage to allow a discussion to even discuss talking about CEF. Like, we can’t even talk about talking about the issue. I’m vibrating. I spent a year speaking with hundreds of victims of CEF. This WILL be devastating. This WILL cause more loss of trust and faith. Well done, convention. You took our leaders’ advice and remained silent. (insert a long string of expletives here – because even bold and all caps isn’t going to capture the frustration and disgust).

Incidentally, technically, NOT talking about CEF is officially one of the first non-actions of the church in the new LCC. We passed a new structure and ignored CEF.

If we think restructuring is a solution, we’ve already proven definitively one day in that it doesn’t. It can’t. It won’t. LCC is dangerously close to becoming “The church of pretense.” We don’t need the gospel because there is no law (for some). No one did anything wrong, stop being so darn mean. Return tens of millions of dollars, and admit responsibility and love and forgiveness is yours. Until then, LCC has passed by the CEF Samaritan.

Pray for our new leaders, President Tim Tesucher, and First VP Tom Kruesel. I hope one of them is an administrative genius, because it’s going to take an administrative genius and a miracle to simply restructure out of this kind of spiritual weakness.


ps:  I’ll be writing more on convention and observations in the next few days. For now I need to process what it means that I belong to a church with has conflated law and gospel and the two kingdoms.

14 thoughts on “A Conventional Convention

  1. ANO

    Andreas’s citation of “the number 3” pertained to the number of regions. You can watch the proposed amendment and following discussion here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1EIKLB5jvWxeVBVb2dzc0FmSE0 at the 2 hr 5 min mark.

  2. Michael Schutz

    Rev. Clifford, had I been more quick thinking I would have realized that a second should be almost automatic so that a topic may be brought forward for discussion. I was thinking more of the likely reply than that.

    • ANO

      Thing is such ‘quick thinking’ shouldn’t be needed for a gathering of Christians in order to discuss something important like this. 🙁

      • Michael Schutz

        Perhaps not, but when discussion starts to happen on different things, there is certainly paying attention and quick thinking needed in some cases. In this case, there were other options, though too. Perhaps the circuit’s lay delegate, or any other delegate, could have been consulted in advance and prepared to second it so that the on-the-fly processing needn’t have happened.

  3. Michael Schutz

    I did mean that, yes, ANO. I stand corrected.

    This 27 hour day is not being kind to my mental faculties.

  4. Marie

    Well, I suppose one could always try to find another congregation to join in a synod more to one’s liking. Shake the dust of the Lutheran Church Canada off of your shoes and walk away.

    • Krummhorn

      LCC was about the last stop as far as ‘Lutheranism’ goes in this country. If you’re thinking about the ELCIC and are serious about it, you will forget that one too. Its nothing more than an arm of the United Church. You might consider the Anglo- Catholics for more serious stuff, at least the Gospel seeps out with them, clad in reverence, respect and dignity. Good luck.

  5. ANO

    I was sickened when I saw that the substitute motion to replace the “Decline the overture to talk about CEF because it’s on the Deloitte website and we’re a different company and it doesn’t apply to us” was completely ignored – except for the pastor that moved it.

    This convention gets my “Golden Ostrich award.” 🙁 My kudos to the East Dist pastor that had the intestinal fortitude to offer the substitute motion.

    • Rev. Robert Clifford

      ANO, thank you for your kind words.

      Andreas, one (out of 97 delegates) did move a Motion to have it discussed (I was also the author of the original Overture).

      I don’t know why no one wouldn’t at least second my Motion so we could talk about it. I had a good little 3 minute speech prepared, but in the absence of a seconder I could not proceed. When I had several private conversations over the course of the Convention weekend, people were wide-eyed & astonished to hear some of the public information of which they were blissfully unaware or had heard factually grossly inaccurate information about what was really the situation & the extent of the loss to individuals & congregations.

      ANO, as an aside, I understood you were at the Convention & I had hoped to meet you; but, alas, your anonymity remains intact, at least to me.

      • ANO

        Rev C – you’re welcome, and I’m thankful someone was willing to stand up and be counted on this matter.

        Sadly the anonymity is a necessary shield given my current circumstances.

        What I don’t understand is why nobody from ABC seconded the substitute motion or spoke out on the fundamental error of the motion to decline the overture – I could’ve easily talked against the overture for 5-10 min just off the top of my head. And don’t get me started on how offensive and flat-out wrong it is for there to be overtures to decline other overtures and then give these overtures to decline precedence in the convention! Thes “overtures to decline” should be banned from the convention – if you don’t agree with the overture then vote it down.

        • Michael Schutz

          I replied to Rev. Clifford on this question on the CEF forum, so I’ll point people there for my thinking. Of course I can only speak for myself.

          I do agree that there should not be the ability for floor committees to propose to decline overtures, nor do anything else but to organize them. They wield far too much influence with that ability. But we did pass a resolution to limit the floor committees’ abilities with respect to overtures, so I’m hoping that next time things will be different, in that respect at least.

          • Rev. Robert Clifford

            If I would have been faster thinking on my feet (but admittedly, I was left standing there somewhat embarrassed that no one had Seconded) I would have made reference to the Resolution that had just been passed (R 17.03.05 To change guidelines for synodical Resolutions Committees) that had just been adopted immediately before. If the new structure can all be put into place without ratification by the congregations, surely the adoption of Resolution 17.03.05 should have been acted upon with the immediately following Resolution to Decline an Overture … but I was too slow thinking (& somewhat nervous & upset).

          • ANO

            I replied to Rev. Clifford on this question on the CEF forum

            Don’t you mean the 2017 Convention forum?

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