ELCA NEWS SERVICE
August 22, 2009
ELCA Assembly Adopts Amendments to Constitution, Bylaws
MINNEAPOLIS (ELCA) – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) 2009 Churchwide Assembly approved all proposed amendments to ELCA Constitutions, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions that the ELCA Church Council recommended for endorsement. All were approved with more than the two-thirds of votes required for passage.
The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of the ELCA, met here Aug. 17-23 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. About 2,000 people participated, including 1,045 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly was “God’s work. Our hands.”
Most of the recommended changes received the assembly’s approval “en bloc” Aug. 20. Also at that time, the assembly adopted one set of constitutional amendments that make the wording about the process for relocating church property parallel to the wording for the process for establishing congregations’ “additional sites for worship.” Such additional sites are usually satellite facilities started by existing congregations.
A third set of recommended amendments to Constitutions was approved Aug 22. Those amendments stipulate that 10 percent of the membership of church boards, committees and assemblies be made up of youth or young adults at the congregation, synod, and churchwide levels.
For those amendments, youth are defined as being under the age of 18 at the time of their election or appointment, and young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 when they are elected or appointed.
ELCA Secretary David D. Swartling explained that the amendments were proposed “to integrate into governing documents our commitment to youth and young adults, and were developed in consultation with youth representatives.”
During discussion, voting members expressed a range of opinions, including that those under 18 may not be mature enough for such service and that there should be no quotas at all. But most voiced support for including youth and young-adult representatives in such memberships or meetings.
“Youth and young adults of our church are waiting to be called,” said Joshua Toufar, a young voting member from the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin. “The passing of this resolution would be a small step for our youth, but a giant leap for our church. I urge you to go home to your congregations and involve the youth.”
Information about the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be found at http://www.elca.org/assembly/ on the Web.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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