Wednesday, November 8, 2017

So How Is The Progress On The Retractions And Corrections?

You, Dear Readers, are the best. [a] Your help has been vital in addressing the earlier events described here and at, and you have made all the difference in standing up for "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report". You have held fast to these things when both the church and the world considers these virtues to be dispensable and inconvenient, from the sale of the University Lutheran Chapel property in Minneapolis to the sale of the KFUO frequency licence in Saint Louis. Thank you!

Quite a few of you have asked how it can be that I have remained a pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod when the public notices, announcements, and memos from July of 2016 remain unretracted and uncorrected, and say otherwise. I have been asking that myself since some of you brought my removal to my attention, something of which I had been unaware since I had accepted a call as Chaplain of a new Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) the second week of July of 2016. After waiting a year and half for the retractions and corrections, I think it best to post here, on this blog, documentation of my efforts. So my removal from the pastoral roster of the LCMS did not occur (being expunged and reversed in August of 2016), but the published announcements say that it did, and have yet to be corrected.

So God Bless you for all your help. The following letter may be of some interest. [b]

Dear President Hardy,

It has been a year and a half since your effort to remove me from the synod's pastoral roster was reversed. And yet, here we are, many months from August of 2016 when you reversed the action, but not the public notices, announcements and memos saying that I have been removed from our synod's clergy roster. So my removal has been reversed, but the public notices have not been corrected and retracted. You seem to be having some difficulty completing the task you began so many months ago. Given this length of time and the number of months since the Lutheran Reporter published your announcement of my being removed, I thought it best to publish this letter, our other correspondence, and related documentation on That blog is a better way for me to let others know how it came about that I have not been removed from our synod's clergy roster, yet the various public notices say otherwise, and have not been corrected. Pointing them to the correspondence and materials on the blog is much more efficient. You will also be able to read most, if not all, of the relevant documentation on the blog. I will put the links to the materials in the endnotes, which will point to the documentation in .pdf files, blog posts, and other formats which can be viewed and downloaded. And I will place future correspondence to you on that blog, where it can be easily accessed by you.

In summary, after some correspondence in May and June of 2016 I wrote to you and your office on June 21st and 23rd of 2016 (by email and fedex) that I would shortly accept a call as a Chaplain to a new Recognized Service Organization (RSO), the Saint Timothy Society. After receiving the synod's letter accepting them as an RSO on July 5th of 2016, the Saint Timothy Society formally extended the call to me on July 8th of 2016, which I accepted a few days later. [01] [02] Shortly thereafter, you removed me from membership as a pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod on July 18, [03] and then on August 23rd and 24th my removal was expunged, and you transferred my membership to the Minnesota South District as a pastoral candidate accepting a call as Chaplain to the Saint Timothy Society. [04]

For reasons which I (and others) cannot fathom, you are having difficulty with the retraction, correction, and expunging of the various public notices and memos you placed on the synod's website, in the Reporter, and published to "President Matthew Harrison, All District Presidents and Administrative Assistants" of my being removed. [05] I had always assumed that, as my District President at the time, you would be glad to know in June of 2016 that I would shortly receive, and accept, a call to a new synodical RSO in July of 2016. And, likewise, that you were delighted to correct your error when you attempted to remove me from the pastoral roster later that same July. And, again, that you would be equally delighted to retract and correct the public announcements of my removal, because, well, I had not, and have not, been removed from our synod's roster of pastors.

To paraphrase the old bidding prayer, "Let it be our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message", that, joyously, your earlier public notices are retracted and corrected. So let me do my part, once again, as I did in August of 2016 and repeatedly thereafter, to encourage you that you may have no hesitation about completing the task you began so long ago. And to dispel any confusion you might have, let me, once again, demonstrate that your error was in your effort to remove me from the clergy roster in the first place. As I and others have pointed out, your publicly stated reasons for my removal have, in addition to being proven false, differ from document to document. So let's set aside for the moment the various other defects and inadequacies and concentrate on just one or two (of the many) that caused my removal being expunged. Remarkably, you had the years wrong. The term of my pastoral membership in the synod began in 2009 and would have ended in 2017. You somehow managed to confuse 2009 for 2008 and 2017 for 2016. This was demonstrated to you with documentation a year and a half ago, but, so that we might not despair, let us do so again. Here yet again is the text of the letter I sent to you in August of 2016 from District President Stechholz, addressed to me and dated 2008 January, which states:

On January 1, 2001, you were granted membership in the Synod as a Candidate Member. Bylaw (a) states that those individuals granted Candidate Status "may be continued on the roster for a period not to exceed four years by act of the president of the district through which the person holds membership." The purpose of this letter is to inform you that your membership in the Synod, as a Candidate Member, will come to an end on January 1, 2009...Enclosed with this letter is an application for Inactive Status form...Please return the enclose[d] Application to me no later than February 25, 2008. [06]

It would be impossible for me to have been granted "membership in the Synod" beginning in January of 2008, because I was a Candidate Member until January 1, 2009. The decision to grant or decline membership beginning in January of 2009 would have to have been made between February 25, 2008, when the application was received, and the end of 2008. But clearly it is impossible for my term of membership to be granted beginning on January 1, 2008, some two months before my application was received. The application forms [07] sent with that letter were returned to the English District in February of 2008. I followed that application with an email to the English District, and received a response that the application had been received. [08]

I was granted membership in synod as a candidate from 2001 to 2009. That was followed by my membership in the synod (as an Inactive Status candidate or non-candidate pastor) from 2009 to 2017. The "effective date" of my membership status as a non-candidate could not be in January of 2008, or any date earlier than January 2009. The "effective date" could only have started in January of 2009, following which the Council of Presidents could grant or decline my "non-candidate status" for another eight year term beginning in January of 2017, and not in 2016.

Your mistake of one calendar year would have mattered little, if at all, had you not attempted to remove me from the clergy roster some two weeks after I had accepted a call. In doing so, you made a simple and correctable error on your part (which would have resolved itself) into a series of errors, which you now need to correct.

Another notable and bizarre defect is apparent in your letter to me dated July 18, 2016, which states:
We have in our English District records that your non-candidate status expired January 31, 2016. Over the last several months, letters and emails were sent to you, inviting you to write a letter to the Council of Presidents requesting an extension. Since the English District did not hear back from you, on July 18, 2016, Bishop Jamison J. Hardy made the decision to remove you from the LCMS roster in accord with Bylaw 2:13.2.1 (b) and 2.13.4 for non-compliance. [09] [10]

As you have known for over a year and a half, none of this is correct. I contacted you and your office numerous times in writing between May and July of 2016, copies of which you can find in the footnote links below. You knew in June I would be accepting a call in the next few weeks. Neither bylaw cited would apply, and neither would "non-compliance".

Not only is the letter incorrect, at least two of the stated reasons are bizarre fabrications. Your letter has cited by-law, which refers to something called "restricted status". But I have never been on restricted status, or anything of the kind. I have been suggested for call lists, I had been in the English District for about 25 years, and no one has ever suggested to me that I am "incapable of performing the duties of the office or position because of physical, mental, or emotional disability". How would it be possible for you to get that wrong when the bylaw itself requires someone to be "notified in writing as to the specific reasons for having been placed on restricted status" and that notice be given "in writing the President of the Synod and all other district presidents of such restricted status"?

Your letter also cites bylaw 2.13.4, which is even more outrageous. Bylaw 2.13.14 refers to something called suspended status, and the process of expulsion from the synod. Not only have I never been on restricted status, but, likewise, I have never been placed on suspended status, or anything of the kind. And, again, it seems impossible for you commit this as an inadvertent error, because like bylaw, it requires written notice, and also a formal process.

So I am perplexed as to why you would not hurry with delight to retract and correct your memos and notices which contain things about me which you have known for quite some time are not true, and which appear to be fabricated to justify an action which never should have occurred, and which you have already reversed and expunged. [11]

And, of course, this is in addition to all the other reasons you already have to finish the corrections you began in August of 2016, and more reasons why the mistake in July of 2016 should not have happened at all. So let this knowledge encourage you and speed you along in finishing the corrections you began in August of 2016 when you reversed the mistake of the previous July. [12] Now you can rest assured that you no longer need to try to defend or excuse something that never should have happened in the first place by fabricating specious reasons such as "non-compliance" and bylaws which concern things that have never occurred in my case. [13] That burden is lifted, because, in addition to all the other easily avoidable and correctable errors, inaccuracies, and fabrications, you had the wrong years for my roster membership. Fix the dates at your next convention, fix the errors in the announcements and memos, and these correctable errors will be reversed in the same venues in which they were originally made. I have already described how this can be done, and the wording, in my letter to you in May of 2017. I will post them on this blog as well.


Gordon Bynum


The Saint Timothy Society for Lutheran Seminary Scholarship


[a] You, Dear Reader, might object that this is an over generalization, too kind and too generous. Well, perhaps, but I say take whatever compliments you can get.

For those who are not members of, or less familiar with, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, the following letter probably uses terminology that is unfamiliar. "Clergy Roster", "Member of Synod", "Candidate", refer to ordained clergy who hold membership in the "synod" (or LCMS, or Missouri Synod). "Non-Candidate Members" of the LCMS no longer exist; that category was eliminated after 15 years (or so) in 2016. If you find that confusing, you are not alone.

[b] Some of you have suggested that since the notices were published in the Reporter, an official publication of the church, and to the Council of Presidents, that they should take it upon themselves to retract and correct them, since they can easily determine the notices are incorrect. I agree with you completely. However, I am told that only the district president who published the notices can retract and correct them. Some of you have also pointed out that rule sounds like a tremendous liability for any corporation (religious or otherwise). Again, I do not disagree.

[01] That upcoming call was the subject of my email to your office sent June 21, 2016, and a letter sent to you by Fedex on June 23, 2016. See [008] below. See [010] for the call letter.

[02] See [009] below for the July 5, 2016 acceptance letter from the office of Recognized Service Organizations (RSO) of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Perhaps there was some confusion with the Saint Timothy Society being a new RSO. In our first phone conversation in August of 2016, you mentioned that your office had contacted the offices of the Missouri Synod and searched for the Saint Timothy Society, but you found no trace of the new RSO. Did you contact the synod's Recognized Service Organizations office or the Secretary of Synod? Both of them were happy to confirm that the Saint Timothy Society was indeed a new RSO.

[03] See See [011] below for your letter removing me from the clergy roster. See [012] for your memo to the synodical president, "All District Presidents and Administrative Assistants", on page 2.

[04] See [014] for your letter of August 23, 2016. See [015] below for your transfer form dated August 24, 2016.

[05] My requests for this began in July of 2016 by email and were followed by letter, on March 17, 2017 (see [016] below) and again on May 17, 2017 (see [018] below). The .pdf file at citation [018] is a corrected version; I made a mistake in the year of the announcement I am requesting you place in your next convention workbook.

[06] I have added the bold italics for emphasis. President Stechholz's letter dated 2008 January is below at [001]. The application due February 25, 2008 was for the term January 2009 to January 2013, and was extended another four years, from January 2014 to January 2017. Those dates mirror exactly the previous term as a Candidate member of synod from January of 2001 to January of 2009.

[07] At least two forms (and possibly more; these are the two I have found so far), including the application at [002] below.

Sometime between February of 2008 and June of 2012 my status as a Non-Candidate was backdated as effective from January of 2008. The synod's secretary and office of rosters and statistics still listed me as a candidate from January of 2009 as late as June of 2012. The synod's chronology in June of 2012 showed an eight year term from 2001 ending in January of 2009, and the second eight year term beginning in January of 2009 which would end in January of 2017 (if approved, of course: each eight year term consist of two four year periods, the first depending on the approval of the Council of Presidents and the second on the district president). In June of 2012, during the English District Convention in Saint Louis, I met with the secretary of synod when I noticed the errors in the district convention workbook. Their advice at the time was that the mistake would be inconsequential, and Candidates, Non-Candidates, and Emeritus members of synod all can accept Calls. You made this error consequential in July of 2016, and I have asked you to fix this a number of times. In my letter to you on May 17, 2017 (see [018] below) I asked you "to place the following in the relevant section of the 2018 English District Convention Workbook and also correct the record with synod's office of rosters and statistics:
“The Rev. Gordon Bynum's status change from Candidate to Non-Candidate occurred on January 1, 2009, and not in 2008. We regret the error.”
See [020] below for the error in the 2012 English District Convention Workbook. This error predated your term as District President and would have been of less (or no) significance after accepting a call in July of 2016. But you apparently insist on making these mistakes of great significance by failing to correct the public record. This is a strange path you have chosen; the one I have been suggesting has the advantage of being much simpler, in addition to being true.

[08] The reference to 2009 January is explicit in President Stechholz's letter, and also mentioned in the email thread from March of 2008 (see [003] below). My email from March 3, 2008 asks:
I don't think there's any hurry at the moment, but it would good to know when the Council of Presidents decide on CRM applications. If they decide that I should not continue past 2009 January, you can tell Bishop Ritt I said, "Put me in, coach!" He can suggest some things for me, and I could finish up what I'm doing for grants, endowments, finance, etc., before taking a call.
At the time I received the application form for inactive status, I had 11 months remaining as a Candidate, my name was on call lists, and would appear on call lists for several years following. Non-Candidate members of synod, like candidate and emeritus members, can and do accept calls. Reading the instructions on the application form itself, I was then (as before, after, and now) "able and willing to consider a Call". The four other criteria for a candidate on the form (health, fitness, involvement, willingness) were never obstacles for me. I had served on a floor committee for a synodical convention, regularly attended pastoral conferences and district conventions, been the Academic Dean for the seminary of the American Association of Lutheran Churches, and was one of the original directors and organizers of the Saint Timothy Society, the synodical RSO for which I have been the Chaplain since July of 2016. I also taught and worked in academic administration with grants, endowments, and investments, among other things.

[09] Quoted from your letter sent to me dated July 18, 2016. See [011] below. One problem (among many) with your letter is that you knew as early as June 21, 2016 that a call to me would be forthcoming (see [007] below). Two days later, on June 23, 2016, you knew I would be accepting the call (see [008] below). I received the call on July 8, 2016.

[10] It's unfortunate that your delay in finishing the corrections has made this an issue. Had you not tried to remove me, I doubt it would matter. Had you finished correcting the public record when you corrected the action of the removal, I don't think an explanation would be necessary. But you made your easily avoidable and easily correctable error an issue by your delay of more than a year in correcting your mistake. How many of your pastors and church workers have you removed a year early, or otherwise adversely affected, because of an error in the date and year on the part of the English District? You were removing, on average, one to two members of synod in your district a month. How many of them were removed too early, based on the district having mistaken the dates of their membership in synod? Note the text of the email exchange between myself and your office from May 17 to June 24 of 2016 (see [019] below). Your email to me on May 18, 2016 would make sense if my membership ended in 2017, not 2016 as stated in your email, and if the erroneous years of 2008 to 2016 for my roster membership are corrected to 2009 to 2017.

As late as October of 2015 you saw me in person at our conference at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Chicago and mentioned nothing remotely related to what you and your office would write and publish the following May, June and July.

The timing and content of the email struck me as odd, and I wanted to make sure I had not missed an earlier letter, so I asked about it in my reply email on that same day, May 16, 2016 (see [005] below). The reply I received on May 17, 2016 makes sense for an application for a term beginning in 2017, not 2016 (see [006] below).

[11] I pointed out the error in the years of my term of membership to you as early as August 23, 2016 by email. See [013] below.

[12] You can add all of the above to the other reasons to finish the corrections. But let's make this as simple as possible: I was a member of synod from January of 2009 until January of 2017. I have never been suspended or restricted. Had my application for emeritus membership or non-candidate membership been declined, I would still have been a member of synod until January of 2017, barring removal for cause or resignation. The following things also occurred, but if they had not I would still have been a member of synod until January of 2017: I accepted a call as Chaplain to a synodical RSO the second week of July, 2016; the synod in convention eliminated the membership category of "non-candidate" on July 13, 2016, and made all "non-candidates" "candidates"; "candidate" inactive members of synod on July 13, 2016 would remain so until July 13, 2026, again, barring removal for cause or resignation. Emeritus, non-candidate, and candidate members of synod can, and do, accept calls. If you had any reason to believe I should not have accepted a call, you needed to let me know that before July of 2016. You did not, and neither have any of your predecessors.

This is not complicated. You removed me some five months before my term as a member of synod would end, and a week after I had accepted a call to a Recognized Service Organization of the synod. You fabricated demonstrably false reasons for your action. Finish fixing what you have done and correct the public record.

[13] It is apparent from the documents here in this blog post that I routinely fill out the forms, reports, and applications from the districts, synod and the Council of Presidents. In February of 2008 I completed an application some ten months before my term as a candidate member of synod would end in January of 2009 (see [002] below). I offered to send you the application for inactive status six months before my current term ended in my email to your office on June 21, 2016 (see page 5 of [019] below).

I would have been applying for emeritus or non-candidate membership in synod in June of 2016 knowing that I would be accepting a called position in the next 3 weeks, and with six months remaining as a member of synod. I had, and have, no objection to that. But what was your objection to the much simpler and direct method outlined in my email of June 23, 2016 (see page 7 of [019] below)? After checking with the Secretary of Synod, it became apparent that it would be easiest (and quickest) if I stayed in the English District and accepted the call, which would change my status to active pastoral member of synod.

Cited and Referenced Sources:

[Numbered links] return to beginning of Endnotes section.
https links opens document in another window.

[001] 2008 January, Letter, from District President David Stechholz:

[002] February 25, 2008, Application for Inactive Status:

[003] March 3, 2008, Email, Gordon Bynum to President's Office, English District:

[004] May 16, 2016, Email, English District to Gordon Bynum:

[005] May 16, 2016, Email, Gordon Bynum to English District:

[006] May 17, 2016, Email, English District to Gordon Bynum:

[007] June 21, 2016, Email, Gordon Bynum to English District:

[008] June 23, 2016, Letter, (by Fedex) Gordon Bynum to Jamison Hardy:

[009] July 5, 2016, Letter, Dorothy Krans, Director of Recognized Service Organizaions, LC-MS:

[010] July 8, 2016, Call Letter, Chaplain, Saint Timothy Society to Gordon Bynum:

[011] July 18, 2016, Letter, Jamison Hardy to Gordon Bynum:

[012] July 18, 2016, Memo, Jamison Hardy to President Matthew Harrison, All District Presidents and Administrative Assistants:

[013] August 23, 2016, Email, Gordon Bynum to Jamison Hardy:

[014] August 23, 2016, Letter, Jamison Hardy to Eugene Weeke:

[015] August 24, 2016, Tranfer Form for Gordon Bynum, Jamison Hardy, English District, to Minnesota South District:

[016] March 17, 2017, Letter, Gordon Bynum to Jamison Hardy, :

[017] March 24, 2017, Corrected Memo, (Dated July 20, 2017) Jamison Hardy to President Matthew Harrison, All District Presidents and Administrative Assistants:

[018] May 17, 2017, Letter, Gordon Bynum to Jamison Hardy:

[019] May 17 - June 24, 2016, Correspondence between English District and Gordon Bynum:

[020] June 27-30, 2012, English District Convention Workbook, 2-26, "Change of Status - Ordained Ministers":

[021] June 27-30, 2012, English District Convention Workbook, 2-7, "Jubilarians - Ordained":

[022] June 27-30, 2012, English District Convention Workbook, Final Edition: