President Timothy Sims of the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod Indiana District in January absolved five clergy of charges stemming from their planning of or participation in a Sept. 11 memorial observance at Valparaiso [Ind.] University. The five are Valparaiso President Alan Harre; dean of the chapel, Joseph Cunningham; and three parish pastors.
Nine LCMS clergy and two congregations brought the charges of syncretism (worshiping with other faiths), which, after weeks of investigation, Sims found had occurred. The five clergy "graciously and humbly" sought the church's forgiveness, and Sims forgave them.
Sims apologized for his "lack of diligence" in supervising the September 2002 event. He also admonished the complainants, saying they hadn't followed Matthew 18, which calls Christians to first approach their brothers and sisters privately about an offense.
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