The pastor at the church we attend lost his call several months ago. The church has had a number of pastors filling in on Sunday mornings for the worship service and the district pastor has been teaching a mid-week Bible class and confirmation class each week. We have been blessed to have these wonderful men help our congregation during this time and it is such a blessing to hear God's Word each week.
Last Saturday, the former pastor had a letter printed in the local paper. He said that he resigned from our church (which doesn't bother me), but then went on to talk about a new mission congregation that he has started in another city. The church's mission is that it is an outreach for Christian cannabis users. There will be a doctor available to get people medical marijuana cards, a parish nurse to teach people how to grow cannabis, prepare it for smoking, and how to cook it. The church will also be teaching people how to market and sell the cannabis, even sponsoring an organic marijuana booth at the local farmer's market. According to this article, the LCMS supports this new mission.
It turns my stomach. While I don't personally support medical marijuana, it is a legal substance. My problem with legalized marijuana is that it will be misused and there will be other societal problems due to misuse. My concern with this letter is two-fold: First, it makes the church I attend appear to support this new mission. Secondly, the article makes an impression of shadiness. Does the doctor providing this medical marijuana permission card have an office on the premises? Does he/she do research into the individual's medical past? Will there be the appropriate tests and x-rays done verify the medical condition? It could be my bias when reading the article, but knowing the background of the individuals involved, I don't think so.
The church's mission is to preach God's Word and offer the sacraments. I have never heard of a church designed for one group of people specifically to further a political cause. I have participated with the prison ministry, which instructs prisoners in God's Word. Prisoners are unable to attend a church or Bible study due to their incarceration. The prison ministry is not a particular church, but a group of people from various churches mailing information and letters to inmates.
Christians who use medical marijuana should be welcomed in churches, just as all people are welcome. They should receive support and prayers from the members of their church, as should all the other members. What is the need for a specific church for a select group of people? Will non-cannabis users be unwelcome?
This article has left me feeling concerned and disturbed. There are so many questions that need answers. We had been planning on joining the church we attend in a few weeks. Does the LCMS truly sanction this new mission? Do I want to be in fellowship with something that gives the impression of a shady organization? The poor district pastor will be answering a lot of questions on Thursday, after Madelyn's confirmation class.
I learned tonight that the article has many misrepresentations. The new mission is NOT sanctioned by the LCMS, nor affiliated with it in any manner.