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Marty answers proposal's critics

Responding to critics of the process used to develop Called to Common Mission, Martin E. Marty, chair of the document's drafting team, said Jan. 7, "Our small writing group was chartered to produce a revision of the Concordat of Agreement at a few key places and to provide a rewritten document, including rationale, that includes the present outcomes of the Concordat of Agreement."

The response came in part because critics said ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson pre-empted the possibility of the group leaving out the "historic episcopate" as part of the final document.

Called to Common Mission is the proposal for full communion with the Episcopal Church that will be voted upon at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August.

Marty also responded to critics who claim that a dissenting opinion was not allowed to accompany the final draft. He said the three-person writing group was "an editorial, not a deliberative parliamentary body." He noted that the draft distributed last April was a "provisional committee text ... with accompanying statements by all three" drafters, while the finished version presented to the Church Council in November is "our final product" and goes to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America from the council "with supporting or dissenting statements by none of the three of us."

Critics on the council and elsewhere also said it was unfair that Marty distributed an accompanying essay when he met with the Church Council.

Marty said his document, which took the form of a letter to his pastor, has no status and that the other committee members are free to express themselves as they wish. Other members of the team are two seminary faculty members — Michael Root, Trinity Lutheran, Columbus, Ohio, and Todd Nichol, Luther, St. Paul, Minn.


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