I’d been asked about this report, and what was its connection to the previous Appeal Commission report. This report relates to a second appeal from a different appellant, in a different case.
Four congregations and their pastors have publicly entered a state of confessional protest against the way the synod president handled the confrontation between himself and Pastor Rolf Preus. (If you don’t know anything about that, this might not interest you. If you are part of an ELS church, you may want to educate yourself.) All four have subsequently been deemed to be separated from the fellowship of the ELS. The fourth entered its state of confession after the other three, and upon learning of its fellowship status, appealed its suspension to the synod convention.
What follows is the text of the Appeals Commission report. I include it here for information only. My analysis will follow, later.
# Report of the Commission on the Appeal of Rev. Karl Heck and the St. Timothy, Williamsburg, Iowa Congregation
The commission on appeals, elected at the 2007 convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, having met several times to consider the appeal of Rev. Karl Heck and the St. Timothy, Williamsburg, Iowa congregation, passed the following resolution by unanimous vote on October 22, 2007:
Whereas, the Synod’s constitution, its bylaws and guidelines have been adopted by the voters at various synod conventions, such eligible voters being the pastors and authorized delegates of each congregation. And,
Whereas, the Articles of Incorporation of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod state that, “Between meetings of the corporate membership, the general management and control of the corporation shall be vested in a board of nine (9) trustees, two (2) of whom shall be the president and secretary elected at the corporation’s annual meeting.” (Articles of Incorporation of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Article VIII) and, between conventions and meetings of the Board of Trustees, the president of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, as chairman of the board, must, in special and urgent cases, make decisions and take actions that cannot await formal meetings. And,
Whereas Pastor Heck and the St. Timothy congregation agreed to accept the constitution and its bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod when they became members of the synod. (see 1998 Synod Report, pp. 25-26 and the Bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Chapter II, Paragraphs 1 and 2) And,
Whereas, this commission has found that the president has followed guidelines in this matter, And,
Whereas, the withholding of the Lord’s Supper to fellow members of the synod, as stated by the appellants in the letters referenced below is, by definition, a severing of church fellowship and is self-exclusion. And,
Whereas, Pastor Karl Heck and the St. Timothy congregation of Williamsburg, Iowa, have filed notice of an appeal of suspension of their membership from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Therefore,
Be it resolved, that because of the serious nature and the wide distribution of the declaration of Pastor Heck and the St. Timothy congregation, the Commission on Appeals finds that it was necessary for President Moldstad to act expeditiously. And, therefore,
Be it further resolved, that the Commission on Appeals finds that, because of their statements documented in letters dated September 27, 2006 and January 24, 2007 and the “Statement of Confession” dated January 21, 2007, Pastor Karl Heck and the St. Timothy congregation have withdrawn themselves from membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. And as a result of such withdrawal, the name of Pastor Heck has been removed from the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and the name of the St. Timothy congregation has been removed from the listing of synodical member congregations, the commission finds that, because of their withdrawal, no suspension has taken place. And, finally,
Be it resolved, that the Commission on Appeals finds no basis for an appeal.
[ Signed by the five members of the Commission on Appeals ]