From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Leonard Schulze Re-Elected ELCA Education Division Director

Date Fri, 2 Apr 2004 17:18:39 -0600


April 2, 2004

Leonard Schulze Re-Elected ELCA Education Division Director

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Dr. Leonard G. Schulze, executive director of the
Division for Higher Education and Schools (DHES) of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), was re-elected March 27 by the
division's board to a new four-year term effective June 16.  Citing its
constitutional responsibility, the board acted despite the ELCA presiding
bishop's suggestion that he would not approve a new four-year term for
Schulze because of an ongoing churchwide planning and restructuring
     The board met here March 26-27.
     In a proposal endorsed by the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding
bishop, the DHES board's executive committee asked the full board to
affirm a plan to continue Schulze's service as executive director from
June 16 through Aug. 14, 2005, the conclusion of the 2005 ELCA Churchwide
Assembly.  The proposal also expressed "appreciation and gratitude" to
Schulze for his leadership of the division since his election in June
     After it acted on a resolution to re-elect Schulze for four years,
the board adopted a second, alternative resolution more in line with what
Hanson requested.  The second resolution noted that the restructuring
process "should be completed by action of the 2005 Churchwide Assembly."
It also noted "...this process does not guarantee the completion of a
renewed four-year term of the executive director of DHES as anticipated in
bylaw 16.11.21" of the ELCA Constitution.
     "Therefore, the board of DHES expresses its affirmation that
continued employment as executive director be provided to Dr. Leonard
Schulze through the conclusion of the 2005 Churchwide Assembly or the
current restructuring process," the resolution said.  The action expressed
appreciation for Schulze's leadership from June 2000 through June 2004,
and urged the Church Council to provide for "continuous effective
leadership of DHES and its ministries" through the conclusion of the
current restructuring process.
     The board's action urged that Hanson and the ELCA Church Council, the
church's board of directors, "give highest consideration" to Schulze to be
director "of the future structure for educational ministries of this
     It is now Hanson's decision to determine which of the two DHES
resolutions he will approve.
     Last September, the board met a few days after Hanson announced a
significant plan for restructuring the churchwide organization.  Under
that plan, Schulze's position was to be eliminated and many of DHES'
responsibilities were to be merged with other churchwide functions to form
a new unit.  Several weeks later the entire plan was withdrawn by Hanson
after intense criticism of some of the proposals.
     In November 2003, Hanson asked the ELCA Church Council to initiate a
new, year-long process to examine the churchwide structure and
implications for funding.  The council is expected to develop a new
proposal later this year, with final action on possible constitutional
changes to be considered at the 2005 Churchwide Assembly.
     At the meeting some board members expressed concern that Schulze and
DHES may have a fate similar to what was originally proposed in 2003 when
a new churchwide structure proposal is announced this fall.
     Schulze's position was the first executive director or department
head position to be considered for re-election since the new planning
process was announced.
     Several board members said the ELCA constitution did not give them
authority to elect an executive director for a term other than a four-year
term.  In constitutional bylaw 16.11.21, it says: "Each board shall elect
its executive director to a four-year term in consultation with and with
the approval of the presiding bishop of this church."
     Before the board made its decisions on Schulze's term, Rod Schofield,
DHES board chair, Colorado Springs, Colo., commented on Schulze's
accomplishments that were highlighted in a formal review conducted by the
board's executive committee and the ELCA Office of the Presiding Bishop.
Schulze was commended for his "highly rated" managerial performance,
Schofield said.  Schulze excelled in his efforts to integrate the
strategic directions of DHES with churchwide directions; developed
stronger relationships with ELCA higher education institutions and their
leaders; and has been a leader in efforts to develop a social statement on
education, Schofield said.  The 2001 ELCA Churchwide Assembly asked the
church for development of the social statement.
     The board adopted other resolutions aimed at positioning education as
an important ministry of the ELCA.  It adopted a resolution on "Affirming
the Teaching Mission of the Church," which calls for authors of the
upcoming ELCA restructuring plan to reflect "this foundational character
of educational activity" in the churchwide organization; it affirmed DHES'
strategic directions; it adopted a proposal based on suggestions from ELCA
college and university presidents for how DHES will administer grants to
ELCA colleges and universities; it thanked the DHES staff for its service
"under difficult circumstances"; and it commended to the ELCA presiding
bishop and ELCA Church Council a paper authored by Kathryn L. Johnson,
board member, Louisville, Ky., "Committed to Faith -- Dedicated to Truth."
     The paper comments on the importance of Lutheran higher education in
the formation of faith and the concept of work as vocation.  "As the
churchwide structure seeks to identify its particular avenues of activity
and witness, support of the health of its college network must be
affirmed," the paper said.  "The history of the 20th century shows that
the Christian character of educational institutions cannot be taken for
granted.  It needs active attention and institutional commitment to
sustain the distinctiveness of vocational identity which is subject to
erosion from multiple pressures.  Its [Lutheran higher education] work
needs the visible and substantive support of the entire Church."
     In an interview with the ELCA News Service after the board meeting,
Schofield said the board's actions could be characterized in two ways.
"There was a strong affirmation for the leadership Leonard Schulze has
provided this division in clarifying, lifting up and implementing the
mission and strategic directions of DHES and aligning those directions
with those of the churchwide organization," he said.  "Second, the board
expressed an affirmation for and concern about the continuing role of
education in this church and how this needs to be a churchwide focus."
     "At the last meeting, we saw mostly danger," Schofield said.  "We now
see an opportunity to make sure education is at the core of the church.  I
think we've come up with our voice."
     Schulze said he was gratified and humbled by the board's affirmation
of his work, and that of the DHES staff for the past four years.  "As we
move into an uncertain future, the board's affirmation of the ELCA as a
teaching church was vital for its future," he said.

Presiding Bishop Addresses Board; Division Struggles with Finances
     Prior to its consideration of Schulze's term, Hanson addressed the
board, thanking the DHES staff for its work in strategic planning during a
difficult time in which churchwide budgets and staff are being reduced.
     "You and this staff are to be commended for the deepening of
relationships between the colleges and universities of this church and the
ELCA," Hanson told the board.
     In response to a question about whether education will have a role in
a new churchwide structure, Hanson said the planning process is a time of
"creative imagination" to address the strategic directions of the church.
	 In a report to the board, Schulze said the division has been
asked to underspend its 2004 budget by $276,000; another $20,000 was added
later.	Similar requests for underspending have been made to all other
units within the churchwide structure.
     In addition to program reductions, two staff positions are expected
to be eliminated and some personnel shifts will be made, Schulze said.
The 2004 churchwide spending authorization -- including underspending
proposals -- will be considered by the ELCA Church Council when it meets
here April 16-18.
     "There is nothing left to cut without cutting major things we do,"
Schulze said, adding that leaders of other units of the church are dealing
with the same situation.  "We intend to preserve the vitality of each
major area of our work," he added.

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

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