From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ELCA Social Statement to Address Economic Life
Brenda Williams <BRENDAW@elca.org>
12 Feb 1998 16:22:42
Reply-To: ElcaNews <ELCANEWS@ELCASCO.ELCA.ORG>
ELCA NEWS SERVICE
February 13, 1998
ELCA SOCIAL STATEMENT TO ADDRESS ECONOMIC LIFE
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Congregations, agencies and schools of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have completed a study that
precedes distribution of the first draft of a social statement on economic
life tentatively called, "Toward Sufficient Sustainable Livelihood for
All." The 15-member task force preparing the social statement for the ELCA
Division for Church in Society met here Jan. 30-Feb. 1.
Dr. Annette Citzler, who chairs the ELCA Task Force on Economic Life,
said, "As a professional economist I find it phenomenal that so many people
would grapple with something that is not that easy." Citzler is a
professor of economics at Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas.
The study was distributed to the ELCA's 11,000 congregations in
November 1996. "The many responses have formed the development of the
draft statement," said the Rev. Karen L. Bloomquist, director for studies
in the ELCA Division for Church in Society.
Citzler said members of the task force have diverse political and
economic opinions and make a "highly effective" group. "We have some
difficulty getting agreement on policies," she said. "Our goal is to be
specific enough to be helpful, but not so specific that the work becomes
The draft statement deals with the market economy on the brink of the
21st century and the challenge to church and society to ensure a sufficient
sustainable livelihood for all. Citzler said, "That theme is always at the
forefront of our effort. We are trying to put all our analysis within that
Among "convictions of the faith we confess," one section of the draft
examines values of community, stewardship and work. It looks at
"productive, distributive and participatory" dimensions of "economic
The draft also analyzes the meaning of "livelihood." It looks at
jobs as means of livelihood and respect for human dignity in the pursuit of
"I hope people find enough in the statement that it challenges them
to rethink how they organize their lives economically," Citzler said.
The principles outlined in the statement will apply to the church
itself, Citzler said. "Certainly we want to call the church to account
for its economic decisions, including the salaries paid by the church and
"I'm impressed by the spirit and quality of participatory
deliberation that the task force engaged in to improve the draft," said
Bloomquist. The task force included teachers of economics, theology,
ethics, business and sociology, parish pastors, community activists, a
bishop and assistant bishop, farmers and other entrepreneurs.
Bloomquist said the first draft of the social statement, after
further editing, is expected to go to the board of the Division for Church
in Society when it meets here March 12-14. The board will be asked to
authorize the draft for publication this spring and distribution to ELCA
congregations in early summer. Hearings on the statement will be held
during the second half of 1998.
The Division for Church in Society will receive responses to the
first draft through Dec. 1 to "inform the development of the proposed
social statement," said Bloomquist. The proposed social statement will
come to the ELCA's 1999 Churchwide Assembly for action.
For information contact:
Ann Hafften, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG
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