Podcast #2: Be Bold. Be Truthful. With Pastor Andrew Craig

The District/CEF fiasco is in a new phase. The Chief Restructuring Officer has created a Plan of Arrangement to recover as much money for depositors as possible. Depositors will still probably take a huge loss – in the range of 50 percent – on their investments. But in financial terms, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, it’s a dim light, but there’s light. The big financial concerns are really outside of the control or the interest of the church – where they belong.

A week ago, Pastor Andrew Craig wrote a blog entitled “Be Bold. Be Truthful.” In it he made the case that – in the District/CEF financial scandal – the 8th commandment has been misused by church leaders to stifle open and honest dialogue.

This podcast is a conversation with Pastor Craig that expands on the ideas in his blog. Pastor Craig is very open, frank, and at times emotional, not because the church has changed, but because he fears it might NOT change.

I think this podcast is important; it’s possibly the first really open discussion – in public – about the problems the church is facing. We identify a few key weaknesses as a church body. We also examine some simple ways church leaders can start to deal with the situation: by being bold and truthful.

It’s a plea to face the situation as it is, and not pretend it’s business as usual.

Podcast #2: Be Bold. Be Truthful. With Pastor Andrew Craig

Andreas Schwabe

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.

14 thoughts on “Podcast #2: Be Bold. Be Truthful. With Pastor Andrew Craig

  1. Shannon

    These meetings have been mentioned elsewhere on this blog, are there any others planned?

    Fraser Valley Circuit town hall will be the week after next, at 7:30pm on August 18 at Zion in Cloverdale (Surrey), BC.

    Edmonton Circuit Town Hall will be at Concordia Lutheran Church in Edmonton on September 16 at 7:30pm

  2. Shannon

    I believe that this is the time to show up and be counted. I would also encourage as many of you as possible to write out a statement of how the CEF situation has personally impacted you financially , emotionally, physically and spiritually. This will allow you to process and prepare what has happened to you and to share it completely, without the emotion that may come up if you try to share “off the cuff” at the meeting. It will also show that your comments have been well thought out and therefore you should certainly not be denied the opportunity to share them at this opportunity. If you choose, you can bring copies for both Glenn Schaeffer and Rev. Astley to take back with them to consider after the meetings are over. There may be those of you who would prefer not to read (or even have read) their stories, preferring only to present them to these two men as a visible sign of communication. Can you imagine them taking a stack of such stories to consider away from each meeting? Words shared publicly are important as they also convey the emotion that written testimony cannot, however, they can be more easily forgotten and potentially ignored (and unfortunately even misunderstood) where written statements can have a visible, physical and long lasting impact. You could also arrange to read and record your statement and provide an mp3 recording either on a memory stick with your statement or email that to these men after the meeting. That way it can be listened to and read at the same time. If you have been impacted, this is not the time to be silent. Prayerfully, carefully prepare your story and share it. Now is the time to do that.

  3. Darlene

    Andreas and Pastor Andrew thank you for this podcast and sharing your perspectives. Your blog and podcasts have been thought-provoking. It’s obvious that a number of people consider the blog a safe place to state opinions that have either gone unexpressed or unheard in the past. It’s also evident that abuse of power has been a problem at all levels of administration and ministry has been confused with “business”. Several months ago when someone in our congregation suggested having a town hall meeting to openly discuss the situation with district, the idea was met with negativity from our pastor and, unfortunately, quickly died. There are people in our congregation who are hurting and feeling silenced. I hope they will take the opportunity to attend the upcoming circuit town hall meeting with Pastor Astley and that he will be able to afford them some comfort and hope. Pastor Craig, I especially like the concept of “simplify” in the church. We have become too bureaucratic and business orientated; results orientated rather than ministry focused. The Lord bless you and keep you both. In spite of the failings of His weak and sinful servants the Word prevails and Faith remains in the hearts of believers. Lutherans aren’t known for liking change or knowing how to go about changing but God will show the way as we continue in prayer and, hopefully, develop a new, improved church body. After all, we have a history of reformation.

    • ANO

      Several months ago when someone in our congregation suggested having a town hall meeting to openly discuss the situation with district, the idea was met with negativity from our pastor and, unfortunately, quickly died.

      I would be concerned about a pastor that opposes actions that could lead to healing. Did he offer any alternative means for addressing what happened?

      • Pd

        The bills piled up. The time slips by. The end is drawing nigh. We still have no leadership.

        • ANO

          We still have our Lord and God.

          I’d remind people here that God sometimes waits for all of man’s efforts to fail before bringing His will about. Just like in the times of Gideon, this ensures that all know who brought His will about, and no man can claim glory.

          • Pd

            You are correct, ANO. God will rescue his people with a leader as hesitant as Gidion and with a small army that was not the cream of the crop. (Judges chapters 6 and 7) He will do it this way so that everyone knows whose church this really is.

      • Darlene

        I’m concerned too and sadly no alternatives were offered.

        • ANO

          Raise the issue at the town hall and see what the IES says about it.

          Suppressing an issue without providing an alternative mean for working justice, restitution, and reconciliation is not in keeping with what a christian pastor should be about.

  4. Annoyed

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter. I for one intend to be “bold and truthful” of how I feel betrayed by the ABC district. We felt “safe” putting our investments with the church and at the same time help with mission work. The feeling of betrayal and guilt is almost overwhelming some days. The fact that the district adds to this feeling of guilt if we dare question is adding salt to the wound! For us it is not all about the loss of finances it is about the loss of trust in our church leaders. How can we ever believe and trust anything they say?
    The church as it is now is broken and needs to be fixed. I have faith that Pres. Bugbee will see us through this turbulent time and lead LCC to much needed restructuring.
    As for missions donations…..please DO NOT send to district but do send to LCC Winnipeg.
    God has a plan for LCC and I pray that we will grow and become stronger through this whole mess.

    • ANO

      I have faith that Pres. Bugbee will see us through this turbulent time and lead LCC to much needed restructuring.

      Bugbee has had ample opportunity to speak and write to the issue – what can you cite anything that would evidence the leadership required to bring the justice, healing, and restructuring LCC needs?

      • Annoyed

        I have no evidence that the leadership is required to do anything regarding this matter. I would hope that a sense of moral obligation and true love for the well being of the church as a whole would be motivation enough.
        I know that God has a plan for LCC and ABC district . Let us continue to pray for Pres. Bugbee , Pastor Astley and all pastors that God would grant them wisdom and strength during this time.
        As members of LCC we can write our leaders and voice our concerns and say; “the time has come for change.”

        • ANO

          I have no evidence that the leadership is required to do anything regarding this matter

          I find this statement extremely troubling because if the leadership bears no duty in such a great matter as this, then what exactly do they have responsibility for? This is akin to a parent disavowing responsibility for keeping their squabbling children from hurting each other.

          And if the answer to the question of “what are they responsible for” is “nothing”, then why even have the Synodical posts to begin with if those positions have no duties to hold someone accountable for faithfully discharging?

          You expect Bugbee to provide the leadership required to see Synod through this and restructure it – I respond that a reliable predictor of a man’s future conduct is what he has done in the past.

          So here’s the question – what evidence is there of his past leadership?

          The two times I can think of where one would expect the SP to take a public position on a contentious matter he had a sem prof write a letter, and the COP issued a letter over synod titles with no names.

          In this matter – has he held any of the miscreants to account, spoken a word of healing to the people, or taken any responsibility for his role in all of this?

          I am more than willing to be corrected in this, or be surprised by his future action. Until such time as evidence presents itself, I think your confidence in Bugbee’s future leadership is seriously misplaced.

          As members of LCC we can write our leaders and voice our concerns and say; “the time has come for change.”

          LCC’s much needed change will take a lot more than written letters that can be easily ignored, hand-waved away, or diverted attention from in the name of “missions” and so meet the same fate as past efforts to fix our Synod.

          We’ve already seen the bureaucracy try to have the membership “forget” what happened and return to the “good old days” where people faithfully send in their money for “missions” at the same level as they did before. Beyond that, what have they done to help the sheep find healing from this unconscionable breach of trust?

          My personal expectation is that the change LCC needs will only happen after a substantial change within the hearts of both membership and leadership, or the people currently in leadership are replaced with others with the wisdom, knowledge, strength, will, and faith to do what needs to be done.

          Pray for our leaders? Absolutely. Give them the support and encouragement they need to do what is required, and protect them from the adversaries that would doubtless oppose them from all quarters.

          And if their hand shirks from the task, then hold them to account for the performance of their duties.

    • ANO

      God has a plan for LCC and I pray that we will grow and become stronger through this whole mess.

      Though I share that hope, I believe there is much darkness to be passed through before it gets lighter.

Comments are closed.