CHICAGO — The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met electronically April 20. The council serves as the ELCA churchwide organization's board of directors and interim legislative authority between meetings of a churchwide assembly.
The council took the following actions:
- Appointed members to the Commission on a Renewed Lutheran Church (CRLC), which will hold its first meeting in July. The 2022 Churchwide Assembly called for the council to establish the CRLC to reconsider statements of purpose for the church and its organizational structure. The commission will present its findings and recommendations to the 2025 Churchwide Assembly in preparation for a possible reconstituting convention. A summary of the nomination process and the names of the appointed members is available here.
- Adopted "Earth's Climate Crisis" as an official social message of the ELCA.
- Authorized development of a social message on the epidemic of gun-related trauma in the U.S. in consideration of existing social teaching and in accordance with "Policies and Procedure of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for Addressing Social Concerns" (2018).
- Maintained the pending status of requests for development of a social message on child abuse and child protection and a revision of the 1990 "Message on Homelessness." These requests will be assessed by the Theological Discernment team in the Office of the Presiding Bishop for possible recommendation to the council following the 2023-24 social message development cycle.
- Received the report and recommendations from the Task Force on the ELCA Discipline Process for Rostered Ministers of Color; referred recommendations concerning the discipline process to the Office of the Secretary and the Conference of Bishops for a report in November 2023; referred a recommendation for the creation of an ombudsperson position or office in the churchwide organization to the Administrative Team, in consultation with the Conference of Bishops; and referred recommendations regarding revisions to the roster manual to the Task Force on Specialized Ministry and On-Leave-from-Call Status.
- Formally received a proposal for exchangeability of the diaconate between The Episcopal Church and the ELCA. Through the proposal, endorsed by the Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee, the ELCA and The Episcopal Church recognize each other's deacons as authentic. It also provides for the possibility of interchangeability for occasional ministry or extended service.
- Increased the spending authorization for ELCA World Hunger from $25,250,000 to $26,770,000.
- Added $1.7 million to the Budgeted Operations Support designated fund to provide support for future budgetary needs.
- Approved a $300,000 designated fund for the work of the CLRC that will be used to cover the costs of meetings and other resources.
- Received a progress report on the "Salary Equity in the ELCA" resolution and affirmed commissioning of a survey concerning inequitable gaps in compensation for rostered ministers in the ELCA.
- Received a response on the "Gun Violence Advocacy" resolution from the Witness in Society team in the Service and Justice home area and commended the continued advocacy efforts being implemented across this church related to gun violence and universal background checks.
- Received a response on the "LGBTQ+ Programming for Events" resolution from the ELCA Christian Community and Leadership home area and encouraged consideration of the development of LGBTQ+-focused sessions for churchwide events whenever gatherings include such sessions for other communities.
- Referred the "LGBTQIA+ Presence Among ELCA Governing Bodies" resolution to the Office of the Secretary for a report at the November 2023 Church Council meeting.
- Received a response on the "Council of Nicaea 1700th Anniversary" resolution and commended the ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations team in its efforts to engage ELCA congregations and synods in observing the anniversary.
- Approved changes to the churchwide organization personnel policies and to the Mission Investment Fund's supplemental executive retirement plan.
- Approved recommendations for successor beneficiaries of various endowment funds.
- Approved appointments to various seminary boards.
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For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder