Together, we are embarking on a process that will help the leaders of this church make decisions about the future identity, direction and priorities of the ELCA. This will involve three main stages:
This is no ordinary planning process. It’s a big undertaking because we are trying to include many parts of the ELCA and we want to build a sense of togetherness in taking forward our future vision and direction. And we are going to do a lot of listening – to God and to one another. With your help, we are up for the challenge.
Between February and May, we will reach out to people across this church to be part of a conversation on the future of our church – in congregations, synods, social ministries, educational institutions and in our churchwide office. We will be seeking ideas and feedback from as many people and parts of the ELCA as we can reach.
We know there will be a wide range of hopes, concerns and ideas so we will aim to tap into different voices and perspectives – for example, among people in the pews, existing and emerging church leaders, young adults, people of color and from different ethnic backgrounds and people who are new to Christianity and the ELCA.
This information will be used to analyze and explore what the future church could be. In July we will release a Called Forward Together in Christ Paper that will serve two purposes: to let everyone know the main messages coming through, and to share some options for the future that can be tested through further consultation in August and September. At this stage we will get more structured feedback from congregations, synods, ministries and the churchwide office before developing firm recommendations to the Church Council.
The November Church Council meeting will consider and approve a statement on future identity, directions and priorities. This will be launched in 2017 as part of the Reformation anniversary commemorations and then work will begin to implement the directions this church has been called together to take forward.
Called Forward Together in Christ aims to explore and find answers to some big questions. It is not about reinventing the ELCA – but rather looking to the future and asking whether we are clear about who we are and what is most important as we journey together as a church in today’s world.
There are many different ways to be involved. More detailed information can be found on the ELCA.org/future and we have an email address dedicated to the Called Forward Together in Christ process.
Please refer to this location ELCA.org/future for additional information.