Pastors can’t send memorials to the synod any more; they must come from congregations now. I was a cosigner on a memorial in the last year or two, containing a simplified listing of points on the ministry. (I haven’t heard yet from the standing Doctrine Committee what they thought of those points.) But now, the word is that only congregations can send a memorial.
A memorial is a proposed resolution for the synod, containing two kinds of clauses or paragraphs. The “whereas” clauses state the reasoning or motivations behind the resolutions, and the “be it resolved” clauses state the actions that the synod would resolve to do. The memorial is written as one, giant, run-on sentence.
Most people in congregations are unfamiliar with this kind of thing, and it looks kind of like another language when they see it. Below is a sample memorial that could be sent in by any of the (remaining) ELS congregations for the 2007 convention, or by several congregations at once. I assure you that it’s English, but you might have to read it a couple times to understand what it’s saying.
Memorials have to be sent to the synod office at 6 Browns Court in Mankato, Minnesota, and there’s a deadline every year too, in order to get the memorials printed in the Book of Reports and Memorials. For example, I think the deadline this year is April 1.
WHEREAS, the scriptural doctrine of Church Fellowship, as expressed in “We Believe, Teach, and Confess” requires that this fellowship be recognized where there is agreement on the teachings of holy scripture, and,
WHEREAS, there is substantial disagreement within the Evangelical Lutheran Synod about the meaning of the 2005 doctrinal statement “The Public Ministry of the Word,” and,
WHEREAS, some pastors and churches in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod have rejected the authority of “The Public Ministry of the Word” because in their view, it teaches things unsupported by holy scripture, and subsequently some of these pastors and churches have been removed from membership in the synod by action of the synod president, and,
WHEREAS, in every other respect, the pastors and churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod are united in the same confession they held before the 2005 adoption of “The Public Ministry of the Word,” including those who have been removed since that time, and,
WHEREAS, serious misgivings about “The Public Ministry of the Word,” unanswered from before its adoption, have sometimes been met with a severance of fellowship based upon the document itself, instead of holy scripture, thereby placing “The Public Ministry of the Word” and the 2005 synod convention above holy scripture, and,
WHEREAS, these circumstances have demonstrated that the adoption of “The Public Ministry of the Word” has brought confusion and a self-contradictory fellowship practice, inconsistent with the biblical doctrine of fellowship as expressed in “We Believe, Teach, and Confess,” therefore,
A. BE IT RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Synod affirm its doctrinal position on the office of the ministry as that expressed in the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, the Catechisms of Dr. Martin Luther, and the Formula of Concord, and,
B. BE IT RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Synod acknowledge that it still holds to the doctrinal position on the office of the holy ministry which was held by the Norwegian Synod and expressed in its official publications, which is in complete agreement with the position expressed by C.F.W. Walther in his book “Kirche und Amt,” and,
C. BE IT RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Synod express its sorrow and repentance over the many sins that have arisen in its midst from the circumstances created by the premature adoption of “The Public Ministry of the Word,” and,
D. BE IT RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Synod withdraw the doctrinal statement “The Public Ministry of the Word” from the status of an adopted statement, giving it the status of a study document, to provide opportunity for a complete public review of the same, opportunity for a serious consideration of the criticisms that have been brought against it, as well as a clarification of the ways in which this doctrine should be reflected in practice, and,
E. BE IT RESOLVED, that the pastors and congregations which have been removed from the membership of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod for disagreement with the doctrine of “The Public Ministry of the Word” or its related practice, and which have not given any other reason for severance of fellowship, be reinstated as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in good standing and invited to participate in the study, review and clarification process with the goal of producing an expression of the scriptural doctrine which is understood in only one way, is acceptable to all, and does not lead to confusion or contradiction in the practice of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.