From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ELCA 'Plan for Mission,' Restructuring Enters Phase Two
Thu, 6 May 2004 16:27:21 -0500
ELCA NEWS SERVICE
May 6, 2004
ELCA 'Plan for Mission,' Restructuring Enters Phase Two
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- May through July 2004 is "Phase Two" of
the next steps for "Faithful Yet Changing: The Plan for Mission
in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)." There are
three phases to a process that will lead to a new design for the
ELCA churchwide organization's structure, budget and staffing.
Phase Two involves "building and developing models."
At its April 17-18 meeting the ELCA Church Council received
a report on Phase One and revised the timeframe and processes for
the remaining two phases. The council adopted the three-phase
process for planning in November 2003.
The council is the ELCA's board of directors and serves as
the legislative authority of the church between churchwide
assemblies. Assemblies are held every other year; the next is
Aug. 8-14, 2005, in Orlando, Fla.
The Church Council constituted a "representative panel" of
nominees from various units of the ELCA. Thirteen people
accepted invitations to serve on the panel:
+ Kevin J. Boatright, Lawrence, Kan.
+ The Rev. J. Elise Brown, Manhattan, New York
+ Mary T. Froehlig, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
+ Frank Hanna-Williams, Tillamook, Ore.
+ The Rev. W. Arthur Lewis, Atlanta
+ The Rev. Margarita Martinez, bishop ELCA Caribbean Synod
+ Bjorn Scarseth, Issaquah, Wash.
+ Rod Schofield, Colorado Springs, Colo.
+ Jill Schumann, Baltimore
+ Janet Thompson, Eagan, Minn.
+ The Rev. Steven L. Ullestad, bishop of the ELCA Northeastern
+ Karen Walhof, Bloomington, Minn.
+ The Rev. Stephen M. Youngdahl, Austin, Texas
Thompson chairs the church council's planning and evaluation
committee and will facilitate the panel's first meeting May
"The representative panel will analyze responses and create
elements of alternative designs for the churchwide organization,"
the council said in November 2003. "The panel will invite a
widespread response to this analysis and suggested design
The council's revised timeframe for Phase Two said a survey
will be sent in late May to groups that participated in Phase
One. A summary and analysis of the survey responses are to be
ready by the end of June.
"The planning and evaluation committee will discuss the
material online and by conference call, and the presiding bishop
will begin to draft a proposal starting in July," according to
the revised timeframe. "A meeting of the presiding bishop with
organizational design consultants will occur in late July. This
approach will permit the discussion of elements of the design
with the planning team and eventually the writing team during
August," it said.
Phase One began in January. Building on the strategic
directions the Church Council adopted in April 2003, the first
phase included small-group and plenary conversations during
various scheduled meetings of ELCA boards and committees.
Discussion focused on how the work of the church is carried out
in the ELCA's three expressions.
Five million people across the United States and Caribbean
are members of the ELCA's 10,781 congregations. ELCA
congregations are organized into 65 synods, each headed by a
bishop. The ELCA Constitution calls congregations, synods and
the churchwide organization "interdependent expressions of this
Dr. Kenneth W. Inskeep, director, ELCA Department for
Research and Evaluation, brought a report to the council's April
2004 meeting summarizing the content of Phase One conversations
about the "expectations" Lutherans have of the churchwide
organization in the ELCA. He said the conversations yielded
three models for the churchwide organization -- expert tender of
networks, instrument of change and connector and sustainer.
As an expert tender of networks, the role of the churchwide
organization would be one of "gently guiding and directing,"
Inskeep said. "The goal of churchwide work would be to help
people achieve their own, locally shaped goals. The churchwide
organization would help the networks do this work better, making
it of higher quality and more effective and more efficient," he
As an instrument of change, the churchwide organization
would be "out in front, holding itself and the other expressions
of the church accountable, particularly on issues related to the
full participation of women and people of color or primary
language other than English and other issues of social justice,"
As a connector and sustainer, "the churchwide organization
will continue to provide support for a critical ministry that is
too easily overlooked or disregarded. People with disabilities,
rural, outdoor ministries, preschools, schools and a host of
other ministries" would be supported through a series of "desks,"
"Not only are these expectations different, but they are
often contradictory," Inskeep said.
"The conversations, perhaps in spite of themselves, produced
a silhouette of a churchwide organization. It is a churchwide
organization with global mission, evangelical outreach,
leadership development and support, and some level of support for
congregations specifically designed to achieve a shared common
purpose such as identity development. These are the areas of
consensus around which it might be possible to create a coherent
churchwide organization," he said.
Inskeep said there was "considerable talk" of developing and
supporting cross functional teams that include participants from
the churchwide organization, synods, congregations, social
ministry organizations, seminaries, colleges, schools and other
institutions. These teams would be managed and maintained for
particular purposes by the churchwide organization, he said.
Phase Three of the planning process, August through
November, will be "a time of decision-making." A writing team
and design consultants are to be involved in drafting a proposed
redesign for the churchwide structure by Sept. 1. A final
proposal is to be ready for the Church Council's meeting here
-- -- --
Information on the ELCA's planning process and related
documents are available at http://www.elca.org/planning/ on the
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or email@example.com
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