Title: ELCA Council Adopts Social Policy Revision, Asks for Gaming Policy ELCA NEWS SERVICE
November 17, 2006
ELCA Council Adopts Social Policy Revision, Asks for Gaming Policy 06-181-JB
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted revisions to a longstanding ELCA social policy document to enable greater council participation in the development of ELCA social statements.
The Church Council is the ELCA's board of directors and serves as the legislative authority of the church between churchwide assemblies. The council met here Nov. 11-13. Assemblies are held every other year; the next is here Aug. 6-11, 2007.
Social statements are social policy documents adopted by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly that address significant social issues. The revisions were made to "Policies and Procedures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for Addressing Social Concerns." The council requested a review of the document in 2004, anticipating that the review and report would detail ways in which the participation of the ELCA Conference of Bishops and Church Council would be strengthened in the process of addressing future social concerns. The Conference of Bishops is an advisory body to the ELCA.
The Rev. Joseph G. Crippen, Northfield, Minn., chair of the council's program and services committee, said the revisions make it possible for "council participation" in drafting the ELCA's social policy. The revisions honor the work of churchwide task forces, and at the same time, give the council a chance to "own" social statements, he explained.
The council action requested that the committee, in consultation with ELCA Church in Society and the ELCA Office of the Secretary, develop protocols to standardize the involvement of the council in the processes outlined "Policies and Procedures."
It also asked that a report and possible recommendations be presented to the council's April 2007 meeting.
Council Asks for Gaming Policy
In a separate action the council requested that the ELCA Church in Society program unit, in consultation with the Office of the Presiding Bishop, the ELCA Multicultural Ministries program unit and other churchwide units as appropriate, develop a proposed social policy resolution the clarifies the ELCA position on legal gambling sponsored by American Indian tribes. The council also asked that the social policy resolution and related recommendations be presented to its November 2007 meeting.
"When the ELCA Washington Office and ELCA state public policy offices have faced questions on this topic, they have remained neutral or silent because existing ELCA policy does not speak to this matter," according to background materials presented to the council.
The social policy resolution is expected to establish "a clear public policy position on 'Indian gaming,'" the materials said.
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