President Semmler at the WA District Synod this last weekend announced that there would be no debate on women’s ordination at the coming General Synod.
General Synod General Pastors’ Conference fifteen minutes has been allowed for the “Consensus Task Force” on women’s ordination to report, which allows no time for discussion. On the other hand, 30 minutes has been allowed for the presentation of “Title of President/Bishop”. A pastor comments,
“The former business belongs to a synodical mandate while the latter was never requested by the church. What is one to think?”
The key issue is that the President long ago overstepped his authority in stamping his personal opinion on the women’s ordination debate. While it is true that an agenda needs to be drawn up from motions submitted from the Church general, the authority of the congregation remains central in this synodical organisation. The Church’s homepage states:
Every three years representatives of the LCA’s congregations meet for the Convention of Synod, which is our church’s primary decision-making body. Pastors provide input regarding theological matters, but in effect it is the people in the pews, rather than church leaders, who determine the direction of our church. Ref
Pr Semmler (President of the LCA) seeks to have it both ways. He likes being able to declare that we have a synodical structure (“in effect it is the people in the pews, rather than church leaders, who determine the direction of our church”) while also maintaining a tight control over the working of the Church, in particular in how the debate on women’s ordination is carried out. To do this he has stepped somewhat firmly on the motions submitted from St Stephen’s, Adelaide and St Peter’s, Indooroopilly.
Perhaps a more diplomatic approach would have been to announce that the responsible committee for the agenda has not listed the motions on Synod agenda and therefore a motion from Synod floor will be needed to reinstate them. He has, however, no interest in encouraging the membership’s desire to have the motions reinstated. Consequently, delegates will need to make sure, in the opening stages of General Synod, when the Chair (Pr Semmler) announces a motion seeking approval for the proposed agenda, that they quickly respond by moving an amendment to reinstate the women’s ordination motions. You will only have a moment or two to respond.
Delegates, be aware that your active presence is required at General Synod. Please add your voice to the objections on how the Church is governed. To do this, you will need to network and seek out those who can give the appropriate background information.
What are you doing to raise the profile of women’s ordination? Remember that each conversation raises the profile of women’s ordination in the LCA.
It is a sobering thought that even Baptists in Australia ordain women.
- A chat with Sue about Sue’s Story …”Reverend Ma’am” (katieandmartin.wordpress.com)
- Pr Maurice Schild writes to President Semmler (katieandmartin.wordpress.com)