From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Assembly Completes Work On Resolutions

Date Sun, 17 Aug 2003 12:06:23 -0500


August 17, 2003

ELCA Assembly Completes Work On Resolutions

      (ELCA) -- The 2003 Churchwide Assembly of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Aug. 16 adopted
seven recommendations and defeated one resolution brought before
the assembly's reference and counsel committee.
     The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of
the ELCA, is meeting here Aug. 11-17 at the Midwest Airlines
Center. There are about 2,100 people participating, including
1,031 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly is
"Making Christ Known: For the Healing of the World."
     The assembly adopted, 886 to 50, a recommendation to refer
to ELCA churchwide units a motion to review and revise the
congregational annual report form to evaluate congregational
evangelism and outreach efforts. The motion will be referred to
the ELCA Division for Outreach and the Office of the Secretary,
with a request that a report and possible recommendation be
brought to the April 2004 meeting of the ELCA Church Council.
     The assembly adopted, 832 to 139, the committee's
recommendation to decline a proposal to suspend full communion
with the Episcopal Church. The proposal, submitted by Harvey
Hengst, voting member, ELCA Southwestern Texas Synod, would have
temporarily suspended the "Called to Common Mission" agreement
until the completion of the ELCA Studies on Human Sexuality.
     The assembly adopted, 811 to 147, a recommendation to refer
a motion on racial justice and equality to the ELCA Office of the
Secretary. The committee commended the ELCA Greater Milwaukee
Synod for its work for justice and reconciliation, and asked the
ELCA to reaffirm racial justice and equality in its planning of
future churchwide assemblies.
     The assembly defeated, 570 to 366, a substitute motion on
the inclusion of synod vice presidents as voting members to
churchwide assemblies. Mark Helmke, voting member, ELCA
Southwestern Texas Synod, offered a substitute motion -- accepted
by the assembly 519 to 391 -- which moved that the original
resolution be considered in place of the committee's
recommendation. Although 61 percent of the voting members voted
for it, this resolution required a two-thirds majority vote to
pass because it would have amended ELCA bylaws.
     Four other motions were approved "en bloc" by the assembly
by a vote of 927 to 12. The assembly approved a resolution to
respond to the denial of visas to delegates to the Lutheran World
Federation's 2003 Assembly. The resolution asked the ELCA
presiding bishop join the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's
national bishop in expressing disappointment and concern over the
Canadian government's actions.
     The second "en bloc" resolution adopted resolved that the
ELCA express concern that human rights are upheld for ethnic
Hmong Lao nationals to the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The
resolution, amended by the committee of reference and counsel,
welcomed the release of Naw-Karl Mua, ethnic Hmong, U.S. national
and ELCA pastor in the ELCA St. Paul Area Synod.
     The assembly approved "en bloc" the resolution on rural
ministry that resolved to "affirm the work and leadership of the
desk for rural ministry resources and networking" and to call on
ELCA units to encourage the ELCA Small Town and Rural (STaR)
Ministry Alliance.
     The fourth "en bloc" resolution approved by the assembly
asked that the ELCA provide a "place of true welcome" and
"reaffirm its commitment to those with mental and physical
-- -- --
Information about the ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be found at on the Web.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

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