From the Office of The President
The Reverend Dr. A.L. Barry

A STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH - MISSOURI SYNOD

October 22, 1998

On September 9, 1998, the Rev. Dr. David Benke, President of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, participated in an interfaith prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The service included representatives of non-Christian religions, and also representatives of Christian churches with which our Synod is not in fellowship.

On October 22, 1998, the President of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, the Rev. Dr. A.L. Barry, met with President Benke in St. Louis, Missouri. Also present at the meeting were the Missouri Synod's First through Fifth Vice-Presidents, and the First Vice-President of the Atlantic District. As a result of this meeting, President Benke acknowledged that what he did, though well intended, was wrong. He indicated that his participation in an interfaith prayer service was a direct violation of the Holy Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, and consequently, a violation of the Missouri Synod's Constitution, Bylaws and doctrinal resolutions, and therefore, a violation of his duties as an elected officer of the Synod. President Benke made a sincere and public apology to the Synod for his actions in this connection. Finally, President Benke gave his assurance that he would not repeat this error in the future by participating as an officiant in any ecumenical service.

President Barry said, "With President Benke's apology, this incident has been properly addressed and resolved."

A STATEMENT OF APOLOGY BY PRESIDENT DAVID BENKE

On September 9, 1998, I participated in an interfaith prayer service for the poor entitled: "Lift Up the Poor With the Voices of Faith." The service included representatives of non-Christian religions, and also representatives of Christian churches with which our Synod is not in fellowship. My participation in this service was a direct violation of the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, and consequently, a violation of the Constitution, Bylaws and doctrinal resolutions of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. I also recognize and admit that my participation in this interfaith prayer service was a violation of my duties and responsibilities as an elected officer of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

While well-intended, what I did was wrong. I therefore sincerely and publicly apologize to the Synod for my actions in this connection. I assure the Synod that I will not repeat this error in the future by participating as an officiant in ecumenical services.

(signed)
The Reverend Doctor David Benke
President, The Atlantic District
The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

October 22, 1998
(In signing this statement I understand that I am not abrogating my rights found in Synod's Handbook Bylaw 2.39c)

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