From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Board Asks for Possible Publishing Alternatives

From news@ELCA.ORG
Date 27 Feb 2001 07:20:42


February 27, 2001


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- To ensure support for the 10,851 congregations
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the board for
the ELCA Division for Congregational Ministries (DCM) authorized the
division's executive directors to "investigate alternative" means of
"publishing, producing and distributing resources" designed to assist
congregations in carrying out their ministries.  The board met here
Feb. 16-18.
     DCM provides support for congregations in such areas as
education, evangelism, lay leadership, planning, service and justice,
social ministry, stewardship and worship.  With other areas of the 
church, the division develops resources for congregational use in 
"partnership" with Augsburg Fortress, the publishing house of the 
ELCA, Minneapolis.
     "The actions taken regarding the publication, production and
distribution of resources were taken to ensure that DCM can
effectively and efficiently carry out its mandate to equip
congregations with the resources necessary to carry out local
ministry," said Ronald C. Bruggeman, Omaha, Neb., DCM board chair.
     In a discussion, board members expressed concern over the
existing arrangement for "publishing, producing and distributing
resources" for congregations, which "has become inefficient and
ineffective," according to the resolution.
     "The partnership [between DCM and Augsburg Fortress] is
deteriorating," said Robert A. Sandoval, DCM board member,
Albuquerque, N.M.  "One member of the partnership is not allowing the
other to fulfill its constitutional mandate.  We cannot operate
without a partner in ministry in the work of producing resources for
ELCA congregations," he said.
     "If congregations cannot get the resources they need, we must
remedy that," said Karen Walhof, DCM board member, Minneapolis.
     In a related action, the board moved to request that the
Planning and Evaluation Committee of the ELCA Church Council "review
the relationship between Augsburg Fortress Publishers and the ELCA
churchwide offices, particularly evaluating the effectiveness of the
current partnership with the Division for Congregational Ministries."
     "We are not overthrowing Augsburg Fortress as the publishing
house of the ELCA, but clearly there is a problem,"  Bruggeman told
the board.  "We are genuinely concerned" that products may not be
developed, he said.
     At its Oct. 20-22 meeting, the DCM board approved the "Next
Generation of ELCA Worship Resources," a new multi-year plan for
DCM's worship team and Augsburg Fortress.  The Church Council
approved the plan at its Nov. 11-13 meeting here.
     The plan outlines the church's intent to assess its worship
needs and contains a schedule of events, budget structure and a
"partnership agreement" between DCM and Augsburg Fortress.  A product
of the plan may be new worship resources for the ELCA.
     "The 'Next Generation of Worship Resources' is one such
resource, but in and of itself did not drive our action," said
Bruggeman in an interview.
     Augsburg Fortress staff was not present at the DCM board
meeting Feb. 16-18.  The board of trustees for the publishing house
will meet April 19-21 in Phoenix.

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

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