From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Council Seeks Advice on Constitutions, Takes Other Actions

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date 14 Apr 2000 09:24:40


April 14, 2000


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA) will ask the ELCA Conference of Bishops for
advice on whether there is a need for a consultation on congregations
that do not want to follow the requirements of the church's
constitutions for congregations, synods and the churchwide organization.
     The council met here April 7-9.  It functions as the ELCA's board
of directors and serves as the legislative authority of the church
between churchwide assemblies.  The next assembly is Aug. 8-14, 2001, in
     The council also asked that the ELCA secretary convey the bishops'
advice to the council's Legal and Constitutional Review Committee for a
report to the council's November 2000 meeting.
     The council's action came in response to a resolution from the
ELCA Saint Paul Area Synod Council, which requested a consultation on
required provisions in the ELCA model constitution for congregations.
The Saint Paul Area Synod is one of the ELCA's 65 synods.
     Some congregations are "defining themselves beyond the parameters
of the ELCA Model Constitution" for congregations, the synod said.  It
also noted more congregations are expected to submit constitutions not
in compliance with required provisions of the ELCA but want to remain in
the ELCA.
     The council acted on several other issues during its meeting:
     + The council requested a report on Ministry Among Persons in
Poverty (MAPP) be prepared for the 2001 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.  In
1999 the council allocated $3 million in reserve funds for domestic and
international ministries to people in poverty.
     + The council asked for a progress report on the function of the
"rural desk."  In 1998 the   council asked the ELCA Division for
Outreach to create a churchwide staff position that would relate to
people in rural areas and their concerns.  The council's request for a
report comes on the two-year anniversary of its decision.  In 1999
Sandra A. LaBlanc was named the ELCA's director for rural ministry
resources and networking.  Her office is in Des Moines.
     + It approved a spending authorization for the 2000 fiscal year of
$83,375,000, including an expanded ministry fund of $160,000.  The
action also approved a spending authorization of $14 million for the
church's world hunger programs this year.
     + The council referred a resolution from the ELCA Western Iowa
Synod Council and asked for a report and possible recommendations at its
November meeting.  The Western Iowa council resolution encouraged
"development and publication of guidelines and procedures" dealing with
"Called to Common Mission" (CCM), a Lutheran proposal for full communion
with The Episcopal Church.  The ELCA adopted CCM in 1999; the Episcopal
Church will consider the proposal this summer.
     The resolution called for "publication of a clear explication of
the theology of ordination as currently practiced in the ELCA" and
encouraged the council "to facilitate the process of exploring possible
ways to allow a synodical bishop, in unusual circumstances and with
appropriate consultation, to authorize another ELCA pastor to preside at
an ordination, as suggested by the Conference of Bishops' pastoral
latter dated March 6, 2000."
      The council referred the resolution to the ELCA Department for
Ecumenical Affairs and the ELCA Division for Ministry.
     + It affirmed a plan developed by several churchwide units to
provide four annual grants  totaling $70,000 from domestic hunger money
for the American Indian and Alaska Native Committee of the ELCA
Commission for Multicultural Ministries.   The grants are intended to
assist in ministry related to hunger and poverty.  The World Hunger
Appeal is supporting the effort through establishment of an American
Indian and Alaska Native Fund, to be promoted through the appeal's
material and in a churchwide response catalogue.
     + The council discussed and approved a possible name change for
the ELCA Southern California (West) Synod to the ELCA Southwest
California Synod.  The council's approval is "contingent on a formal
request" from the synod assembly and the official recommendation of the
Church Council on proposed bylaw amendments at the 2001 Churchwide

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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