Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline



UPDATE: Revision of Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline Approved by the Church Council

At its April 2021 meeting, the Church Council of the ELCA approved a revision of Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline. The revision was the result of more than a year of consultation and writing by the Committee on Appeals. It had been reviewed by the Conference of Bishops prior to consideration by the Church Council. The revised document may be found here. This document is in effect as of April 17, 2021.

This was the action affirming the document:

    Church Council action:
    To approve the revised version as amended of Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline, effective immediately, but applicable only to conduct occurring (or alleged to occur) after the date of adoption of this resolution;

    To confirm that the version of Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline, as in effect immediately prior to the adoption of this resolution, shall be applied to conduct that occurred (or is alleged to have occurred) on or prior to the date of adoption of this resolution; and

    To authorize the Office of the Secretary to make any necessary non-substantive editorial corrections.

The revision provides a grounding context in our baptismal promises, provides clear definitions of terms used in the guidelines, clarifies grounds for discipline based on feedback received from bishops and from the wider church, and addresses areas of concern that had not been addressed in earlier versions of the guidelines such as misuse of social media, bullying and other forms of abuse, interference of rostered ministers in ministries previously served, and membership in hate organizations.

In addition, the Church Council has asked the Committee on Appeals to add a definition of “promiscuous” and to consider minor changes for consistency of language.

The committee will meet in September 2021 to respond to those requests in preparation for the fall meetings of the Conference of Bishops and the Church Council.

As part of a long-term commitment to ensuring the ongoing effectiveness of this document, the committee will solicit feedback in 2022 on how the revised document is being received and used in this church.

This church extends its heartfelt thanks to the Committee on Appeals for its hard work on this challenging task!

UPDATE: Spanish translation Definiciones y pautas para la disciplina now available!

A Spanish version of Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline is available in the Resources listed at the bottom of this page.


Resources

Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline

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Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline survey findings

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Committee on Appeals Report


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Definiciones y pautas para la disciplina

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