Without warning, St. Peter Congregation terminated my fellowship with the WELS as a persistent errorist. This means that St. Peter Congregation has marked me as someone all WELS congregations and members should avoid lest my influence corrupt their faith. (Please see the post entitled “Terminated from WELS Fellowship“).
In my letter appealing this wrongful termination of fellowship, I asked District President Engelbrecht to give me a letter allowing me to commune at other WELS Churches pending my appeal. (April 30, 2011 appeal letter). In a letter dated May 6, 2011, District President Engelbrecht responded:
In regards to your question about communion, I am seeking the advice of my brothers on the Conference of Presidents. My own opinion at this point in time is that since the termination of your membership was because you publicly stated that you are not in doctrinal agreement with your pastors, your congregation, the district, and other leaders in the WELS, another WELS pastor would have difficulty allowing you to partake of Holy Communion … at least not without him consulting with your former pastors to get their blessing. I know that you said those words were taken out of context, but they were made public and were taken at face value and bear consequences that may not be to your liking.
It has now been over a month with no new word. That May 6th letter was the last communication I received from District President Engelbrecht.
Thus, as part of my submission of written materials for the Appeal Board on May 24, 2011, I asked Pastor Wenzel, the chair of the Appeal Board, if he would be able to provide me with such a letter. (May 24, 2011 appeal cover letter). His only response to date has been that the Appeal Board hopes to arrive at a decision regarding my appeal within a few weeks. So far, I have not been invited to speak with the Appeal Board.
Nonetheless, at the invitations of Pastor Martin and Pastor Suhr, at St. John Lutheran Church (WELS), during the Divine Service I received Holy Communion on May 29, June 5, and June 6, 2011 A.D. I have also been invited to receive Holy Communion at other WELS churches by other WELS pastors. These pastors are not intending to despise the fellowship practices of the WELS, rather they are confident that I am in doctrinal fellowship with the WELS notwithstanding the bogus declarations of St. Peter Congregation.
I do not wish to be a catalyst for strife, but duly called and ordained servants of the Lord have offered and are offering me this precious gift, and what the Lord gives, I want to receive.
These pastors are also fully aware of my circumstances, and I am grateful to them beyond measure. They stand in the place of Christ not only to distribute His gifts, but they also stand in the place of Christ because they are willing to potentially sacrifice a great deal to distribute His gifts. Unlike some, these servants are not greater than their Master who sacrificed everything (John 15:20), but through grace alone as servants of the Word they share in His glory that is hidden in the cross. And on the last day, they will also share in His triumph.
May the Lord bless and protect His true servants.