Letter from Susan Mannina, September 2009

September 16, 2009

Dr. Joel D. Lehenbauer

Executive Director

Commission on Theology and Church Relations

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

1333 S Kirkwood Rd

St.  Louis, MO 63122-7226

 

 

Dear Dr. Lehenbauer:

I am one of the seven women of the LCMS who met with President Kieschnick, four of the synodical Vice Presidents and Dr. Nafzger in 2005 to request their assistance in bringing about a discussion of women’s service in the church that would include women as participants, and in particular asking that the CTCR follow through with work on Resolution 3-10 regarding the biblical relationship between man and woman.

I believe that our meeting was the catalyst for the current consultations and I was grateful when you permitted a copy of the draft report to be shared with members of the group that met with President Kieschnick, et al, in August 2005.

I am a lay leader in my congregation.  I served for six years on our Church Council in the roles of Chair of the Board of Social Ministry, Vice President and President of the congregation.  I then served on the congregation’s staff for more than 25 years first as Director of Administration and later, Relocation Project Manager.  I have chaired and staffed several of our congregation’s Capital Campaigns and my husband and I have been lead givers to them.  I have served the LCMS as a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Lutheran Hour Ministries, a member of the National Cabinet of For the Sake of the Church, and currently serve on the loan review committee of the Southeastern District LCEF.  Most importantly, I am a Christian woman committed to the work of the church in sharing the Gospel and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ with those who do not know Him.

I believe that there are many shortcomings in the draft paper, The Creator’s Tapestry.  The flowery language and positive spirit of the first 40 or so pages of the paper serve to mask the fact that this is not a new look at the issues, but rather a recap of past discussions and dialog that continues to leave men and women in the LCMS confused about the relationship of men and women in the church and the service of its women.   I believe that many of the principles and practices laid out in this document are ones that have already caused many talented women and men to leave the LCMS and have kept others from joining it.

I believe that the last 30+ pages of the document are an attempt to pile on many critical issues in a most haphazard way without sufficient support, and it appears to me that this second part of the document was written by a different “voice” charged with the task of wrapping up all the loose ends.  On one point in particular, in my opinion, the principle of the order of creation has no scriptural foundation to determine male authority over women and speaks nothing about ordination of men or women.

It has been four years since our meeting in St. Louis with President Kieschnick. I am not a patient person, but I would rather see another four years devoted to these discussions than have this paper published in its current form.  It is my hope that this draft of The Creator’s Tapestry will be set aside and not reported to the 2010 convention.

I continue to pray that the Lord of the Church will bless this process and that He will be served by it.

In Christ,

Susan M. Mannina

cc: The Reverend Dr. Gerald Kieschnick

President

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

1333 South Kirkwood Road

St. Louis, MO  63122- 7295

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