11/21/2016 12:55:00 PM
CHICAGO – The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) took action that will help determine the future directions and priorities of this church when it met here Nov. 10-13.
The council, which serves as the ELCA's board of directors, adopted Called Forward Together in Christ – ELCA Strategic Directions 2025. The document provides a framework for shared leadership across the ELCA to realize common goals and better meet challenges the church may face in the future. It is the result of a process that invited the 3.7 million members of the church into conversations to provide ideas and feedback about the future of the church.
In her report to the council, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton addressed the Called Forward Together in Christ process and said, "We've seen that leadership and faith formation seem to be two major priorities that have been identified everywhere across the church."
Eaton emphasized the work of the advisory committee to the Church Council created by the Theological Education Advisory Council. She said the committee is working to implement ideas that will lead to "more effective development of leadership, recruitment – support and development of leadership, as well as faith formation."
Related to the issues of leadership and faith formation, Eaton announced a $3 million gift to the ELCA Fund for Leaders, which will provide full tuition seminary scholarships for 60 additional students over the next three years. The scholarships will be awarded through the ELCA Fund for Leaders, an initiative to build an endowed scholarship resource to provide tuition assistance for qualified candidates studying at ELCA seminaries.
Eaton also announced a new leadership initiative to inspire ELCA leaders to seek out and encourage gifted people in their congregations, communities and networks to consider a call to the ministry of the gospel, supported by growing levels of scholarships for seminary tuition.
"We will now have a focused, coordinated, ongoing effort to raise up leaders in the church," said Eaton.
In other business, the council:
The council also received reports from the church's treasurer, secretary and executive for administration, and the ELCA Conference of Bishops. It received updates on Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA and from the Global Mission, Domestic Mission and Mission Advancement units. The council also received greetings from ecumenical partners and engaged in a conversation with ethnic-specific association representatives.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.
For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder