ELCA NEWS SERVICE
August 7, 2007
ELCA Assembly Seeks to Expand "Welcome" for Returning Military Veterans
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Churches and other agencies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America should provide a "welcoming and supporting environment for returning military veterans," and the bishops of the church were asked to work with military chaplains on additional ways to provide "healing ministries to military veterans and their families."
Voting members of the 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly endorsed the proposal with 1,023 affirmative votes. The proposal grew out of a memorial from the ELCA Saint Paul Area Synod of the 4.8 million member church.
The action came on Aug. 7 at the churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of the ELCA, which is meeting here Aug. 6-11at Navy Pier's Festival Hall. The theme for the biennial assembly is "Living in God's Amazing Grace: Thanks be to God!"
The Saint Paul Area Synod memorial suggested that churches could provide additional information about the moral and spiritual needs of returning military personnel and their families, encourge pastors to educate their parishioners on the issues that face returning veterans, and have congregations provide special care for families of military personnel.
In the brief discussion preceeding the vote, the Rev. Peter Rogness, bishop of the synod that instituted the memorial, explained that the concern grew out of traditional Lutheran teaching about respect for civil authorities. The bishop said that though the memorial presented to the churchwide assembly did not mention those who, for reasons of conscience, refuse military service, "we do not ignore those people and continue to embrace that part of our tradition."
The ELCA assembly has received 125 memorials, or resolutions from the church's 65 synods, asking the church to take action on various issues.
Information about the 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly is at http://www.ELCA.org/assembly on the ELCA Web site.
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John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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