President Kieschnick came to the South Wisconsin District and held a Q& A at the district office on October 5th, 2009. The district website has posted video here:
*note: there are two videos, the DP's devotion/introduction is first, then the Q&A.
After some opening comments, President Kieschnick answered questions from those gathered on the following topics:
1. Cost of upcoming extended-length convention
Synopsis of PK's answer: He made the call, based on lots of input from others.
2. Recent actions of the ELCA regarding gay clergy
Synopsis: He has thought of "pulling the plug" but doesn't believe he has the authority to do so. However, if something "egregious" happens before the convention acts, we may dissolve specific relationships with agencies.
3. How do you respond when media outlets, etc, lump us in with the ELCA?
Synopsis: It's a pain. We answer as best we can. Better to explain who we are, rather than what others are doing.
4. A question on District pre-seminary interview committees, and the future of the seminaries.
Synopsis: A variety of benchmarks for a student to enter seminary - sometimes unqualified applicants make it through the screening process for various reasons, and even become pastors.
November 4-5 the Board for Pastor Ed and others are meeting to discuss the future of the seminaries - including the sustainability/stewardship of having 2 seminaries. Both seminaries have financial challenges.
5. What is it you do to encourage us to be healthy, missional, confessional parishes?
Synopsis: I try to help provide a sense of wholeness and health in biblical and practical guidance. Figure out how to meet the needs of your community's demographic, in a way that gets their attention. Get outside comfort zone, leadership of pastor. Schools, particularly preschools are a good way (and even profitable!). Pastors need to balance work and family.
6. Question on 2004 Convention resolution 8-01A on Ecclesiastical Supervision
Synopsis: CCM opinion which said if you get counsel from your ES, and act on it, then you are defended or supported, even if your action goes against scripture and confessions. CCM also opined, later (in a little known opinion), that if that counsel of the ES is incorrect, then he is held to correct that counsel. PK is asking the CCM to take another look at those opinions, pull them together, or somehow fix it.
7. Is the Nov 4-5 meeting, mentioned earlier, the first of its kind? Who will be there?
Synopsis: No, he called for a summit on pastoral formation 3-4 years ago, with representatives from many perspectives. At that time, SMP was conceived. Who will be there: BPE, Boards of Regents, responsible people.
8. Can we get something prepared to put in local papers, etc., that defines us as "not THAT Lutheran church body" in an evangelical way?
Synopsis: Yes, in a way which is winsome and positive. We have a plan on the table to do a nationwide campaign largely through USA Today - but it's very expensive. Send me an email to remind me of that suggestion.
9. As LCMS churches see refugees from ELCA, how are we instructing these people, and do you share concerns that we need to?
Synopsis: This is so fresh, he hasn't heard much input, but suggests parish pastors deal with people from ELCA same way you deal with non-Lutherans (i.e. via a membership class). We have other disagreements with ELCA beyond homosexual issue (ecumenical issues, authority of scripture, etc). LCMS parishes should welcome them to the regular class they offer.
He concluded with a story about a pastor who declined a unionistic prayer service and gave the impression he didn't care about the drought (the issue about which they gathered to pray). He believes we have to take opportunities to speak the truth in love, like he tried to do at the ELCA convention. Appealed to J.A.O. Prues (via paraphrase) that we need to re-think how to relate to other church bodies, to reach out etc..