February 26, 1998

Committee of Appeals
c/o The Rev. Lowell G. Almen
Secretary of the ELCA
8765 West Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631-4198

Re: Disciplinary Proceedings Against The Rev. Steven Sabin

Dear Secretary Almen:

Please take notice that my client Pastor Steven Sabin hereby appeals the decision of the discipline hearing committee in the above referenced matter. Our appeal is taken on the grounds that the discipline hearing committee abused its discretion (Rule 20.62.01(a)) and due process has not been followed (Rule 20.62.01(b)).

It is my understanding that, pursuant to Rule 20.61.A92(h), Pastor Sabin, as the appealing party, may present a written statement of reasons why the decision of the discipline hearing committee should be reversed or set aside. It is my further understanding that, pursuant to said rule, the committee chair may establish appropriate limitations and due dates for these statements of the parties. It is my further understanding that, pursuant to Rule 20.61.A92(c)(4), the record of this matter on appeal shall include a written transcript of the hearing, which was transcribed by a Court Reporter.

Please take notice that we will need a copy of this transcript in order to prepare our written statement. When the committee chair makes its determinations regarding the due dates for the written statements of the parties, we ask that the chair keep in mind the fact that we do not, at present, have a written transcript before us.

Please take further notice that Pastor Sabin hereby requests a stay in the effective date of his removal from the roster, pursuant to Rule 20.61.B95. At present, Pastor Sabin is scheduled to be removed from the roster on April 15, 1998. Although this date is over two months after the date of the decision, it does not give the committee enough time to render a decision on this appeal. Pursuant to Rule 20.61.A92(b), the committee on appeals has 60 days from the date of the last written statement to be submitted under Rule 20.61.A92(h) to render its decision.

As of the date of this letter, we do not even have a schedule for submission of written statements, nor has the transcript of the hearing been prepared. Therefore, it is virtually impossible for the committee on appeals to render a decision by April 15, 1998, the scheduled date for Pastor Sabin's removal from the roster.

If our appeal is successful, then Pastor Sabin will not be removed from the roster, and can remain as Pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ames, Iowa. Removal of Pastor Sabin from the roster while his appeal is pending would be unfair and cause considerable hardship to Pastor Sabin and the members of the congregation of Lord of Life. The congregation should not have to deal with this uncertainty during the appeal.

By setting his removal date as April 15, 1998, the disciplinary panel recognized that Pastor Sabin's continuing on the roster in the short term would cause no harm. To prematurely remove Pastor Sabin from the roster would, however, cause great harm both to Pastor Sabin and to his congregation. Therefore, I ask that the committee on appeals stay Pastor Sabin's removal from the roster until a date that is 60 days from the due date for the last written statement to be submitted pursuant to Rule 20.61.A92(h).

Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.

Jonathan C. Lewis