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.
Andreas Schwabe is editor and publisher of SolaGratia.ca, and an Edmonton-based multimedia & communication strategist and producer. His focus for SolaGratia is on administration, governance, and issues of faith. For clients, he writes or produces just about anything.