Happy Triskaidekaphobia Monday

There are Mondays, and then there are Mondays. And tomorrow is the 13th. It’s a trifecta of bad.

This is just a reminder that Monday, August 13 is the day Lutheran Church Canada will get a sense if its actions as a religious corporation were legal or not. If things have gone this far, probably not.

Alberta Securities Commission Hearing

Two pastors, three laymen, the ABC District, and Synod itself – Lutheran Church Canada – are facing an Alberta Securities Hearing tomorrow.

Why is this happening? Because there is concern that regulations and laws were broken when tens of millions of dollars were emptied from the Church Extension Fund to a real estate investment called Prince of Peace Village.

We’re likely to hear there were unchecked conflicts of interest and  breaches of fiduciary duty.  There could eventually be a referral to the crown for criminal charges. Church leadership is treading water in a deep legal cesspool – they’d rather not switch on the lights, for obvious reasons.

What does it mean if the entire church body is complicit in fraud? Well, it’s within the realm of possibility that charitable status for the church body could be in jeopardy. You can bet no one is saying any of it out loud. It’s a discussion you should be having where you live. My own sense is that LCC will be treated like any other corporation. Then again, the church doesn’t garner the respect it once did…for obvious reasons…

Here are some reminders of what the church leadership is facing tomorrow”

Take notice that orders or settlements made by the Commission may form the basis for parallel orders in other jurisdictions in Canada. The securities laws of some other Canadian jurisdictions may allow orders made in this matter to take effect in those other jurisdictions  automatically, without further notice to you.

Docket: ENF-010583 – Page 1 – Reciprocation

This means securities commissions across Canada may be able to adopt the Alberta Securities Commissions findings and levy similar sanctions in their jurisdictions. Synod will need to follow up in all the provinces to clarify its legal status once the dust settles. Whether it will or not is an open question. I’m guessing after this experience, Synod may be more attentive to “compliance issues.” It’s always been a big deal Synod is involved. This was never about just what was happening in Alberta and BC. Remember, Synod’s own documents say there is but ONE body. What happens in ABC District doesn’t necessarily just stay in ABC District…

Staff of the Commission allege that the Respondents breached Alberta securities laws in connection with a long-term, large-scale investment program. …However, while representing the investments to be safe, diversified, and “guaranteed”, the Respondents placed the overwhelming
majority of the invested funds into a high-risk, loan-defaulting, speculative land development project without appropriate disclosure to investors. 

Docket: ENF-010583 – Page 2 – Paragraph 1 – Overview

Ouch can be spelled two ways. ouch, and Ouch. That’s an Ouch. Why so Ouchy? Because it’s a pile-on. Let’s tabulate the highlights so we can see how the words stack up in the mind, rather than the page:

LONG TERM
LARGE SCALE
HIGH-RISK
LOAN-DEFAULTING
SPECULATIVE LAND DEVELOPMENT
WITH NO APPROPRIATE DISCLOSURE

Actually, looking at that again, that’s what honest advertising would have looked like when ABC district was selling CEF. Yeesh.

Here’s the crazy thing: this is all from JUST the Notice of Hearing. These are general headings. When we see the list of charges, it’ll be significantly uglier and more detailed.

Sleep tight Lutheran Church Canada. Tomorrow is a big day.

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.

“That’s What Christmas is All About Charlie Brown”

 

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.

This is what the other shoe sounds like…

You’re in bed in that dreamy space between wakefulness and sleep. And then you hear something. You start…but stay motionless. Then, after not hearing the sound again, you drift off to sleep. Waiting for the other shoe to drop is uncomfortable when it doesn’t happen.

The first shoe: it’s been nearly three years since the collapse of ABC District and its Church Extension Fund and its DIL investment fund – January 5, 2015. Thousands of people lost millions of dollars to a debacle of mismanagement and misinformation. No one, not even the people who were in charge  say they know what happened. If they do know, they’re heeding legal advice and staying mum. And the church really is all about staying silent isn’t it?

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.

An Outsider’s Perspective – 4/4

A NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This essay in four parts was submitted to publish anonymously. The author wrote a short-form essay which they wanted to publish with attribution. We are publishing both anonymously because we wanted to respect the identify of the author. The author is a member of a congregation in ABC District of Lutheran Church Canada.

The Lord’s Supper

Similarly, our practice regarding the Sacrament of the Altar has seen a shift away from the Lutheran Confessions. The most obvious way this is happening is in how we are acting during worship. We do not see the Consecrated Elements elevated at any point and pastors can’t seem to be bothered to genuflect even once. “It’s just style” people are telling me. But I wonder what we are saying with these so called stylistic changes. With our actions we are demonstrating the importance we place on the Lord’s Supper.

Our Confessions call us to be reverent, saying that “the elements . . . of the consecrated bread and wine must be adored . . . no one can deny that Christ Himself, true God and man, who is truly and essentially present in the Supper, should be adored in spirit and in truth . . . especially where His congregation is assembled” (SD VII: 126). In short, the Consecrated Elements ARE our Lord Jesus Christ and deserve to be treated with the reverence He is due. What are we doing instead? We are treating it like something casual. What passes for the Service of the Sacrament in many of our parishes more closely resembles a Reformed view of the Eucharist in form and practice than it does a Lutheran one.

“Team SG” is a catch-all identifier for individuals who want to submit essays and other content for Sola Gratia, but wish to remain anonymous. We’d prefer there not be a need to secure the identity of individuals within Lutheran Church Canada, but unfortunately, it’s a necessity. In some cases, authors are concerned about political outfall or retribution if they are identified. Sola Gratia understands these concerns, and respects the request of individuals. We do our best to confirm the identify of authors so that political gamesmanship is kept to a minimum. If you’d like to sumbit content or be a volunteer with Sola Gratia, please contact us at hello@solagratia.ca