From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Set Priorities for Outreach

Date 30 May 1996 13:38:45


May 30, 1996


     MUNDELEIN, Ill. (ELCA) -- Electronic voting devices helped
leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America set the
church's priorities for mission work in the United States and
Caribbean.  Board members of the ELCA Division for Outreach met
here May 8-11 to determine what those priorities will mean when
they set future budgets and select a new executive director in
     A heavy emphasis on new starts emerged said Michael Kohn,
West Columbia, S.C., board vice chair.  The division is
responsible for working with the 11,000 congregations in 65
synods of the church to develop new ministries and congregations.
     The 21 board members discussed the division's work, outreach
directions and the selection of an executive director.  The
division's current executive director, the Rev. M.L. Minnick Jr.,
will retire in July 1997.
     "We used this meeting as time to get input from both board
and staff people in developing directions for the division#s work
with the synods, ministries and ministry leaders in the period
1998 to 2002," said Minnick.  "By October we will have a working
document for the board to consider."
     "It is very clear that there is a desire to do outreach with
the poor, because the number of poor in our society is growing at
a significant rate," he said.
     "We are trying to reach all the segments of our society,"
said Minnick.  "Another area here is the development of
leadership for outreach."
     A "subtle shift" may be a greater emphasis on local support
for new ELCA ministries, said Kohn, "using volunteers to assist
the building consultants and using local moneys."  The goal would
be to get "more starts with less money."
     That direction "dovetailed" with another board action to
expand its Mission Builders program, he said.  Retired
carpenters, construction workers or other volunteers willing to
share their building talents for minimum wage may work with an
ELCA congregation constructing a church facility anywhere in the
United States or the Caribbean.  Mission Builders involves 100
active builders from 28 states.
     The board action authorized a group to work with the Mission
Builders advisory committee in designing a plan by October that
would employ a full-time coordinator and describe how the program
could be "financially self-reliant by fiscal year 1999."  The
current director, the Rev. William J. Hanson, Edina, Minn., is
retired and works part-time for the division.
     "There are not only multitudes of congregations that can
benefit from the skills that they bring in as far as renovation
or building, but it is actually the witness of these builders as
they come from different parts of the country into the life of a
congregation that builds energy and enthusiasm," said Minnick.
     "We also want to expand it because we are seeing in the
Lutheran Disaster Response program that these construction
managers can form a ready and quickly available group of people
to help in the supervision of repair after a natural disaster, as
we're already doing in St. Thomas and St. Croix," he said.
     The ELCA Division for Outreach will begin advertising the
job opening for executive director this summer and accept
applications through the end of the year.  The Rev. H. George
Anderson, ELCA presiding bishop, and a search committee will
interview candidates and together recommend one for consideration
by the full board in March 1997.

For information contact: Ann Hafften, Dir., ELCA News Service,
(312) 380-2958; Frank Imhoff, Assoc. Dir., (312) 380-2955; Lia
Christiansen, Asst. Dir., (312) 380-2956

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home