Decision about ELCA Pastor is Made
Indicating their hands were tied by church rules, the committee hearing the case of an ELCA homosexual pastor who admitted to his bishop that he was in a homosexual relationship ruled that he would be removed from the ELCA clergy roster in August 2007. But its ruling indicated that the rules of the ELCA should be change, for they saw no reason why a man living with another man in a homosexual relationship should be excluded from the office of pastor. Read the extended entry for the complete ELCA news release and the complete decision of the panel. Read it and weep. The slouching toward Gomorrah in the ELCA continues unabated. This "ruling" is empty and hollow. If you want to jump right to the ruling itself, here is a PDF of it: Download elca_decision.pdf
Title: ELCA Discipline Hearing Committee Rules in Atlanta Case
ELCA NEWS SERVICE
February 8, 2007
ELCA Discipline Hearing Committee Rules in Atlanta Case
CHICAGO (ELCA) — A discipline hearing committee of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) ruled Feb. 7 that
the Rev. Bradley E. Schmeling be removed from the ELCA clergy
roster effective Aug. 15, 2007. Schmeling, who reported to his
bishop that he is in a committed relationship with another man,
is pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Atlanta.
The committee met Jan. 18-24 in closed session in Atlanta to
hear the case. Seven of the 12 members of the discipline hearing
committee voted to remove Schmeling from the roster.
In addition, the committee’s written opinion made some
specific suggestions for changes in ELCA clergy standards, and it
suggested those changes be brought for consideration to the ELCA
Churchwide Assembly, the church’s highest legislative authority.
The next assembly is here at Navy Pier, Aug. 6-11.
The Rev. Ronald B. Warren, bishop of the ELCA Southeastern
Synod, Atlanta, filed charges against Schmeling on Aug. 8, 2006.
Warren explained in "A Pastoral Letter of Disclosure" that
Schmeling admitted to him that he was in violation of the ELCA’s
"Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline" for ordained
"Specifically, Pastor Schmeling disclosed to me that he is
in a sexual relationship with an adult male. He has declined my
requests for his resignations from his call to St. John Lutheran
Church and the ELCA clergy roster," Warren’s letter said.
Warren explained in his letter that he submitted the matter
to the ELCA disciplinary process because an ELCA bishop does not
have authority to "unilaterally remove any ELCA pastor from the
ELCA (clergy) roster."
Normally the churchwide organization does not release the
contents of decisions of discipline hearing committees, but in
this case the parties themselves released the complete written
The text of the decision indicated that the committee was
nearly unanimous in its concern that "Definitions and Guidelines
for Discipline" and "Vision and Expectations: Ordained Ministers
in the ELCA" "are at least bad policy, and may very well violate
the constitution and bylaws of this church." The committee said
it was specifically concerned with a sentence in "Definitions and
Guidelines" that states: "Practicing homosexual persons are
precluded from the ordained ministry of this church."
The committee said that if it was relieved of that
requirement, it would find "almost unanimously that Pastor
Schmeling is not engaged in conduct that is incompatible with the
ministerial office, and would find with near unanimity that no
discipline of any sort should be imposed against him."
The committee "respectfully" suggested that, through normal
legislative processes, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly initiate a
+ reconsider and revise "Definitions and Guidelines," removing
language that specifically precludes practicing homosexuals from
the ordained ministry
+ reconsider and revise "Vision and Expectations," removing
specific prohibitions against homosexual sexual relationships
+ reconsider and revise the policy on reinstatement to the ELCA
clergy and professional lay rosters to permit immediate
reinstatement of persons who have resigned or have been removed
from the rosters of the ELCA solely because they entered into a
loving, lifelong partnership with another person of the same sex
that is mutual, chaste and faithful. Normally people who seek
reinstatement to the official rosters must wait at least five
Responses to the committee’s decision
In response to the discipline hearing committee’s decision,
Warren said: "The decision to seek Pastor Schmeling’s removal
from the ministry of this church was difficult because of my deep
respect for the pastor and the congregation at St. John."
"But the policy of this church is clear, and it was my
responsibility as bishop of this synod to enforce the established
standards of this church, particularly when the 2005 Churchwide
Assembly decided that the church would not create a process for
possible exceptions to existing behavior expectations for
pastors," Warren said in a written statement.
"As this church continues prayerfully to consider the issue
of clergy who are gay or lesbian and in committed relationships,
both the synod and I will continue to work on finding ways to
live together faithfully in the midst of our disagreements," the
In a telephone interview with the ELCA News Service,
Schmeling said he is "grateful that the committee heard my story.
They listened, took seriously the ministry of St. John, and I was
delighted they affirmed my ministry," he said. Schmeling said he
is encouraged that the committee asked the churchwide assembly to
Between now and Aug. 15, Schmeling emphasized that his first
responsibility is to be "the best pastor I can be at St. John."
The process leading up to the churchwide assembly will give him a
chance to talk about what it’s like to be gay and be called to
the ministry, and to explain how difficult that is under current
ELCA policy, he said.
Schmeling noted that Aug. 15 is the 7th anniversary of the
day he began his call at St. John. "I’m looking forward to
celebrating that anniversary," he said.
"My prayer is that we can find a way to be faithful
together," he said, referencing a resolution of the 2005
Churchwide Assembly which urged the ELCA to concentrate on
finding ways to live together faithfully in the midst of
disagreements. Schmeling said he had not yet discussed a
possible appeal of the decision with his legal team.
"We’re very grateful that the committee heard the words of
members of St. John and Pastor Brad," said Laura Crawley, St.
John congregation president. "We are glad they recommended the
"We’ve been a family of faith. I think that’s where the
congregation is now," she said.
Crawley said she does not know what, if any, role the 140-
year-old congregation might take with regard to seeking change in
ELCA policy. "We’re just happy that Pastor Brad is still with
us, and we’re looking forward to what comes next," she said,
adding that "we pray every week for the unity of the whole
The Rev. Lowell G. Almen, ELCA secretary, manages the
official clergy and professional lay rosters for the ELCA, and
oversees the discipline process on behalf of the churchwide
organization. He said both parties have 30 days in which to
appeal the committee’s decision. Any appeal would be considered
by the 12-member Churchwide Committee on Appeals, whose
membership is split evenly among lay members and clergy. The
decision of the appeals committee is final.
The discipline hearing committee’s decision is at
http://www.ELCA-ses.org/Hearing.htm on the ELCA Southeastern
Synod Web site.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA
In the Matter of Disciplinary *
Proceedings Against the Rev. *
Bradley E. Schmeling *
DECISION OF THE DISCIPLINE HEARING COMMITTEE
On August 8, 2006, Bishop Ronald B. Warren of the Southeastern Synod filed
charges against Pastor Bradley E. Schmeling, accusing him of engaging in a pattern of
conduct incompatible with the ministerial office in that Pastor Schmeling persisted in an
active homosexual relationship. Bishop Warren asked that Pastor Schmeling be
removed from the ordained ministry of the ELCA.
The discipline hearing committee constituted to consider those charges met
during the period of January 18, 2007 to January 24, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. All
twelve voting members of the committee were present throughout all aspects of the
proceeding. The committee met in a preparatory session on January 18, heard the
evidence and arguments from January 19 though January 23, and deliberated on
January 23 and 24, 2007.
Findings of Fact
The parties stipulated to the following facts:
Pastor Bradley Schmeling was ordained on November 4, 1989. He was admitted
to the roster of ordained ministers for the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America on August 1, 2000. He has been the Pastor of St. John’s
Lutheran Church in Atlanta since August 15, 2000.
In April 2000, prior to Pastor Schmeling’s call to serve as Pastor at St. John’s
Lutheran Church, Bishop Warren received Pastor Schmeling’s approval to disclose the
Pastor Schmeling . . . assures me that being gay in his sexual orientation,
he is in compliance with ELCA Expectations for Ordained Ministers, and
understands that in the future should he not be in compliance, a bishop’s
request for his resignation from the roster, or a discipline hearing could
Pastor Bradley Schmeling has entered into a loving, lifelong partnership with
another male that is mutual, chaste, and faithful. Their relationship includes the
expression of sexual intimacy.
In March 2006, Pastor Bradley Schmeling disclosed to Bishop Ronald Warren
that he was in a committed partnership with another man.
Although not stipulated, a near-unanimous committee finds that all of the
following facts have been established by more than the preponderance of the evidence.
Pastor Schmeling has remained on the roster of ordained ministers of the ELCA
continuously since his ordination. He has served continuously in his call at St. John’s
Lutheran Church in Atlanta since August 15, 2000.
St. John’s Lutheran is a member congregation of the Southeastern Synod of the
ELCA and of the ELCA. Pastor Schmeling’s call was issued in full compliance with the
call process of the Southeastern Synod, including the recommendation of the synod
Bishop, the Rev. Ronald B. Warren.
In the call process, Pastor Schmeling filled out the required mobility forms, but
declined to answer the question, “Are you in compliance with the ELCA Expectations for
Ordained Ministers?” Pastor Schmeling was forthright in explaining to Bishop Warren
We use the term homosexual here because this is the terminology used in1
Definitions and Guidelines, and in Vision and Expectations.
and to the congregation at St. John’s that he was homosexual in his sexual orientation. 1
He explained that he was in compliance at that time, but committed himself to advise the
Bishop if he were no longer in compliance. The Pastor’s disclosure explained that the
question on the mobility form raised an issue of conscience and justice for him. As the
Stipulation establishes, Pastor Schmeling acknowledged that if he should not be in
compliance in the future, a bishop’s request for resignation or a discipline proceeding
Pastor Schmeling acknowledged in his direct testimony that in the call process
Bishop Warren could have decided not to give Pastor Schmeling’s name to St. John’s as
one of the approved candidates, and could have used virtually any reason. He testified
that he was both surprised and pleased to be told that his was one of three names sent
to the congregation.
In 2005, Pastor Schmeling entered into a loving, lifelong partnership with another
man who is now a former pastor of the ELCA. Pastor Schmeling’s partner resigned from
the ELCA clergy roster. There is nothing in this record to suggest that resignation came
about as a result of anything other than the partnership with Pastor Schmeling. Pastor
Schmeling’s partner has joined a congregation of the United Church of Christ, and has
explored the possibility of becoming a member of the clergy of the UCC.
Pastor Schmeling immediately informed the leadership of St. John’s about his
new relationship, but postponed telling Bishop Warren until March 23, 2006. That delay
related in part to the hope that the 2005 Churchwide Assembly would result in some
favorable action, and in part to Pastor Schmeling’s consideration for his partner, who
had been uprooted from his lifetime home and was already experiencing the stress of
major changes in his life.
Pastor Schmeling is, in the language of Definitions and Guidelines, a practicing
homosexual person. In the language of Vision and Expectations, he is an ordained
minister who is homosexual in his self-understanding who is not abstaining from
homosexual sexual relationship.
When Pastor Schmeling entered into his call at St. John’s, the congregation was
fully aware of his homosexual orientation, but that orientation was not an issue for the
vast majority of the members. At the congregation meeting to consider his call, six votes
were cast against Pastor Schmeling. Two of those voters remain members of the
congregation and have since become supporters of Pastor Schmeling.
The trends in congregation membership, in worship attendance and in
stewardship at St. John’s also suggest that Pastor Schmeling has had the support of the
vast majority of the congregation from the very beginning. There was a reduction in the
number of baptized members from 270 to 236 during Pastor Schmeling’s first year. That
reduction was the result of updating the congregation’s records. During that same 2000
to 2001 period, stewardship decreased by less than 2% and average attendance at
worship increased from 88 to 95. Since 2001, St. John’s has grown substantially in
membership (a cumulative 52% at the time of the hearing), in attendance at worship (up
31% at the time of the hearing) and in stewardship (up more than 70% at the time of the
St. John’s membership includes several pastors who are on the ELCA roster, in
either active or retired status, several teaching theologians, and several graduate
students in theology. Pastor Schmeling is judged by this potentially critical audience to
provide consistently high quality sermons and teaching. He is recognized as an
innovative worship leader and has been called upon by the synod to plan and organize
worship at two synod assemblies.
The witnesses from St. John’s pointed with particular pride to the growth of their
ministry to young people, of confirmation age and younger. At the time of the hearing,
the number of children in the congregation had increased 78% over 2001. Pastor
Schmeling is able to communicate with young people, share the faith in a manner that
they find interesting and helpful, and help th
em develop language for talking about their
faith. He possesses the patience and other qualities that are required to walk with a
particular young person on a journey from confirmation to agnosticism to atheism and
back to agnosticism, with the hope that the journey will finally return that young person to
Pastor Schmeling is described by one of the witnesses who is familiar with his
work in the parish setting as being “incredibly gifted” and “the most gifted pastor I’ve ever
encountered.” Those specific descriptions come from a member of Pastor Schmeling’s
previous congregation in Columbus, Ohio, but they are evaluations that are shared in
substance by the members of his present congregation. In both of his congregations,
Pastor Schmeling has avoided making ministry to gays and lesbians a specific focus of
his work. Instead, he has preferred to work to make the congregations he serves known
for welcoming everybody. This approach has had the benefit of making gay and lesbian
persons feel welcome in his congregation and causing them to renew or reinvigorate
their participation in the organized church. The members of St. John’s Lutheran Church
remain overwhelmingly supportive of Pastor Schmeling since the charges in this case
were filed. The congregation’s growth in membership, participation and stewardship
have continued even since the charges against Pastor Schmeling were filed.
Pastor Schmeling and Bishop Warren have enjoyed a good relationship. Pastor
Schmeling served as dean of his conference, Conference 11, or Conference Leaven.
Conference deans in the Southeastern Synod are also non-stipendiary assistants to the
bishop and serve, at least to some extent, at the pleasure of the bishop. Pastor
Schmeling resigned as dean of his conference at the bishop’s request when he advised
the bishop of his homosexual relationship.
The parties disagree about what parts of the foregoing facts are relevant to the
disposition of this case. Bishop Warren contends that this case is governed by
Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline b. 4), second unnumbered paragraph, which
provides, “Practicing homosexual persons are precluded from the ordained ministry of
this church.” The Bishop also points to Vision and Expectations-Ordained Ministers in
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, section III, page 13, which provides in part
that “Ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding are expected to
abstain from homosexual sexual relationships.”
Vision and Expectations informs candidates for ordained ministry in the ELCA,
seminaries, congregations, and candidacy committees regarding the ELCA’s vision for
ordained ministry and the high expectations it places on those who serve in that
capacity. Definitions and Guidelines is the juridical document that describes the grounds
on which ordained ministers may be subject to the disciplinary process. Under the
Bishop’s view, the stipulated facts would not allow any result other than to remove
Pastor Schmeling from the ELCA’s clergy roster. Bishop Warren is a conscientious
servant of this church who does not dispute the facts relating to Pastor Schmeling’s
exemplary service to St. John’s, but believes that faithful adherence to the promises he
made at his installation as bishop require him to pursue the charges he has filed here.
Pastor Schmeling takes a different view. He contends that Definitions and
Guidelines adopts one side of a divisive social issue in a document that is close, in its
effect, to the constitution. He contends that the traditional Biblical basis for the policy is
suspect. Indeed, one of the teaching theologians who testified on his behalf said that
there is momentum among Bible scholars toward understanding the Biblical texts that
are the basis for the traditional view of homosexuality as referring not to homosexual
people, but to conduct that would be abusive apart from any homosexual content. The
pastor contends that the church cannot bind a conscience, so that the policy is
theologically suspect. He contends that there are ecclesiological difficulties with
Definitions and Guidelines and Vision and Expectations because the statements relating
to homosexual conduct in those two documents are ignored in some synods and have
the effect in other synods of discouraging otherwise-qualified candidates from the
ministry. He finds a pastoral issue because the church and its ministers are called to
speak in solidarity with the oppressed, which would include homosexual persons, but are
then required to reject the full participation of those very persons. He understands that
the promises he made at his ordination require him to uphold the confessions and
constitution of this church, but he has no problem with that because the preclusion of
practicing homosexual persons from ministry is not found in the confessions or
constitution, but in documents that he contends are inconsistent with them.
Pastor Schmeling’s counsel further develop Pastor Schmeling’s basic
contentions. In doing so, they point to:
(1) chapter seven of the constitution, which sets forth the standards for
(2) chapter twenty of the constitution, which sets forth the disciplinary process,
(3) the original intent and pastoral aims of Definitions and Guidelines that are
shown by its history and development as described by retired presiding
Bishop Herbert Chilstrom, and
(4) various decisions and votes taken at the 2005 Churchwide Assembly in
Although a thorough discussion of these contentions would unduly extend this
decision, each of them should receive a brief description. The pastor’s contention from
chapter seven is that provisions 7.22, 7.23, 7.30 and 7.31 and their related bylaws
establish the qualifications for ordained ministers in this church. None of those
provisions forbids a same sex relationship such as the one here. The pastor’s witnesses
and counsel summarize chapter seven as forbidding anything that impedes the
proclamation of the gospel or the administration of the sacraments. This position calls
for a case-by-case examination of each pastor in his or her own circumstances.
Because St. John’s is a healthy and growing congregation due in part to Pastor
Schmeling’s service and efforts, the argument goes, and his ministry is not impeded by
his same sex partnership, the pastor cannot be found to be engaged in conduct
incompatible with the ministerial office. That is, the contested language in Definitions
and Guidelines and Vision and Expectations adds a gloss to the constitutional standard
that is not supported by the constitution itself.
The contention based on chapter twenty is that bylaw 20.21.01 sets out the
offenses for which discipline is appropriate, and bylaw 20.21.02 establishes disciplinary
actions that may be taken. Again, the first argument is that the language of Definitions
and Guidelines and of Vision and Expectations goes beyond what is authorized by the
bylaw. There is also an argument here that Definitions and Guidelines cannot mandate
removal when the bylaws provide for three pos
sible levels of disciplinary action.
The third contention, relying on the original intent and pastoral aims of Definitions
and Guidelines, argues that Definitions and Guidelines contains material that was
intentionally not included in the constitution in order to permit some measure of
discretion that would not be available if that material was contained in the constitution or
bylaws. It has occurred to many members of this committee that the inclusion of these
standards in Definitions and Guidelines, rather than in the constitution and bylaws, also
makes these standards more amenable to amendment, a point that this decision will
develop in its closing pages.
The fourth basic contention is, in the words of the opening statement on behalf of
Pastor Schmeling, that “Orlando changed everything.” The argument proceeds, in part,
from the adoption by the 2005 Churchwide Assembly in Orlando of Recommendation
One relating to the ELCA Studies on Sexuality. That recommendation was adopted by a
vote of 910 to 76 and provides that this church, presumably including this disciplinary
hearing committee, is urged “to concentrate on finding ways to live together faithfully in
the midst of disagreements, recognizing the God-given mission and communion that we
share as members of the body of Christ.” (Preliminary Minutes, 2005 Churchwide
Assembly, page 76) They also rely on the vote on the motion by Louis M. Hesse to
substitute for Recommendation Three a proposed resolution that would affirm Vision
and Expectations and Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline. That motion to
substitute failed. (Preliminary Minutes, 2005 Churchwide Assembly, pages 101-02)
They also point to Recommendation Three itself, in which a bylaw procedure for
exceptions by the Conference of Bishops would be established. That recommendation
was defeated by a vote of 490 to 503. (Preliminary Minutes, 2005 Churchwide
Assembly, page 102)
In summary, they argue that despite the absolute language of Definitions and
Guidelines, this disciplinary hearing committee has discretion to find that there has been
no conduct incompatible with the ministerial office. In the alternative, Pastor
Schmeling’s counsel contend that this committee has the discretion to choose private
censure or suspension, because Definitions and Guidelines cannot supercede the
constitution and limit the committee’s discretion to removal only.
Seven members of this committee have concluded that they are compelled to
follow Definitions and Guidelines. The stipulated facts leave them no choice but to
determine the Rev. Bradley E. Schmeling is a practicing homosexual person within
Definitions and Guidelines section b.4) and is therefore precluded from the ordained
ministry of this church.
The committee is nearly unanimous in its concern that Definitions and Guidelines
for Discipline and Vision and Expectations-Ordained Ministers of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America are at least bad policy, and may very well violate the
constitution and bylaws of this church. This committee is determined to be faithful to its
call and charge. The troublesome clause in Definitions and Guidelines was a part of that
document when it was originally approved on November 19, 1989. It has been in effect
for more than seventeen years. The September 14, 1998 report of the Committee of
Appeals, included in the 1999 Pre-Assembly Report to the Churchwide Assembly,
considered a somewhat similar set of circumstances and noted in paragraph 13 of its
report that the Committee on Appeals is subject to the policy that this disciplinary
hearing committee finds so troublesome. The Committee on Appeals concluded that it
was obliged to uphold that policy. Although the Committee on Appeals did not set out
the arguments that the pastor in that case made, so that this committee has no way to
know whether they are the same as or different from the arguments made in this case,
this disciplinary hearing committee is obligated to respect and follow the September 14,
1998 report of the Committee on Appeals.
The committee acknowledges the resolutions that were considered in the 2005
Churchwide Assembly. The committee recognizes that it has been enjoined by the vote
on Recommendation One to “concentrate,” with the rest of this church “on finding ways
to live together faithfully in the midst of disagreements.” Nevertheless, the 2005
Churchwide Assembly did not direct the Committee on Appeals to reconsider or revise
Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline under the authority that Committee is given by
bylaws 20.71.11 and 20.71.12. Paragraph b.4) of Definitions and Guidelines remains
the specific juridical authority for this case.
In the event that the Committee on Appeals determines that paragraph b.4) of
Definitions and Guidelines is unconstitutional, so that this case should be decided under
the standards for ministers established by chapter seven of the constitution and the
procedures for discipline established by chapter twenty of the constitution, then this
committee would find, with near unanimity, that there is nothing about Pastor
Schmeling’s acknowledged and stipulated homosexual relationship that would impede
the proclamation of the gospel or the right administration of the sacraments. If relieved
of the specific requirements of Definitions and Guidelines and permitted to decide this
case under the standards of constitution chapters seven and twenty, this committee
would find almost unanimously that Pastor Schmeling is not engaged in conduct that is
incompatible with the ministerial office, and would find with near unanimity that no
discipline of any sort should be imposed against him.
This discipline hearing committee has also attempted to perform faithfully its
obligation to be familiar with prior decisions of the Committee on Appeals, as required by
that committee’s 1997 report. In its 1995 report, in the second case, the Committee on
Appeals sought to serve this church by making suggestions to the Church Council and to
the Conference of Bishops, based upon that committee’s experience in a particular
case. (Section 9, at page 612) Following that precedent, this discipline hearing
committee respectfully makes the following suggestions to the assemblies of the synods
of this church, and to the Churchwide Assembly itself:
First, this discipline hearing committee respectfully suggests that the synod
assemblies memorialize the Churchwide Assembly, and the Churchwide Assembly act,
to request that the Committee on Appeals and the Church Council, pursuant to the
authority granted to them by provisions 20.71.11 and 20.71.12 of this church’s bylaws,
reconsider and revise Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline to remove the language
that specifically precludes practicing homosexuals from service as ordained ministers of
Second, this discipline hearing committee respectfully suggests that the synod
assemblies memorialize the Churchwide Assembly, and the Churchwide Assembly act,
to request that the appropriate churchwide unit, the Conference of Bishops and the
Church Council, pursuant to the authority granted to them by provision 7.31.13 of this
church’s bylaws, reconsider and revise Vision and Expectations to remove the specific
prohibition against homosexual sexual relationships.
Third, this disciplinary hearing committee respectfully suggests that the synod
ies memorialize the Churchwide Assembly, and the Churchwide Assembly act,
to request that the appropriate churchwide unit, the Conference of Bishops and the
Church Council, pursuant to the authority granted to them by provision 7.31.15 of this
church’s bylaws, reconsider and revise the policy on reinstatement to the rosters of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to permit persons who have resigned or have
been removed from the rosters of this church solely because they have entered into a
loving, lifelong partnership with another person of the same sex that is mutual, chaste,
and faithful, to apply for reinstatement immediately, as an exception to the usual
requirement of a minimum of five consecutive years without call that must elapse before
an application for reinstatement may be considered.
No member of this committee proposes that this church should be in the least
tolerant of any sexual relationship, whether heterosexual or homosexual, that is in any
way abusive or exploitative. Those cases should be governed by the language of
Definitions and Guidelines and of Vision and Expectations that would remain. Those
cases are as different from the case of Bradley E. Schmeling as night is from day.
It is the decision of this discipline hearing committee that the Rev. Bradley E.
Schmeling be removed from the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America, effective August 15, 2007.
Done and ordered this _/_ day of February, 2007, for the discipline hearing
^James C.’&lefson, Hearing O^er