Title: ELCA Council Recommends Adoption of 'Our Calling In Education' ELCA NEWS SERVICE
April 19, 2007
ELCA Council Recommends Adoption of 'Our Calling In Education' 07-064-MRC
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) recommended that the 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopt "Our Calling in Education" as a social statement of the church.
The council is the ELCA's board of directors and serves as the legislative authority of the church between churchwide assemblies. It met here April 14-16. Assemblies are held every other year; the next is here Aug. 6-11.
Adopted by ELCA churchwide assemblies, social statements are social policy documents that address significant social issues. The 2001 ELCA Churchwide Assembly called for a statement on education. The ELCA Task Force on Education, first assembled in 2003, produced an 82-page booklet, "Our Calling in Education: A Lutheran Study," to assist the church in its study of education.
Dr. Paul J. Dovre, task force co-chair and retired president of Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., addressed the council April 15 by telephone. Concordia is one of 28 colleges and universities of the ELCA.
Dovre told the council that the "statement comes at a particularly appropriate time in the life of this church and this society. In public schools across the country there are continued issues related to quality, equity and access. Lutheran parochial schools are, on the one hand, one of the mission success stories of this church and on the other are challenged by a variety of resource issues. Parents and congregations are struggling with issues related to faith formation of their children, and young people seem to leave the church in alarming numbers. Lutheran campus ministries, on the campuses of public universities, too (are) struggling for viability. For these and many other reasons I think it is an important time for this church and for each of us to discern again our calling in education."
Dovre said the key message of the statement is that "in gratitude to God we live out our vocation through education in the faith" and "through education that serves the neighbor and advances the common good."
The proposed statement is grounded in the Lutheran tradition, said Dovre. It is comprehensive. At 59 pages the document is "easily the longest social statement considered by the church," he said.
Dovre shared key themes and "accents" about the proposed social statement, which include an emphasis on the roles of families and congregations in the faith formation of youth and children; the affirmation and encouragement of Lutheran early childhood education centers and schools; a strong emphasis on equitable access to quality public education for all students; an encouragement of Lutheran colleges and universities; an affirmation of Lutheran campus ministries and the need for new efforts to sustain them; and advocacy on behalf of expanded state and federal financial aid for low-income and middle-income students in higher education.
The most difficult issue the task force faced is the series of conflicts and controversies nestled around public education and equity in the funding of public schools, said Dovre. The most promising theme in the statement is the theme of collaboration among families, congregations and public schools, and among communities with Lutheran schools, he said.
In its action to transmit "Our Calling in Education" to the 2007 Churchwide Assembly, the council considered "a host of implementing resolutions," according to the Rev. Joseph G. Crippen, Northfield, Minn., council member. The 23-point resolution included sections on faith formation and lifelong learning, public educational institutions, Lutheran institutions, and social statement reception.
More than 200 elementary and 20 secondary schools are operated by ELCA congregations throughout the United States and Caribbean. More than 2,000 of the ELCA's 10,549 congregations operate early childhood education centers. The ELCA has eight seminaries and two seminary extension centers. - - -
Information about the ELCA social statement on education is at http://www.ELCA.org/socialstatements/education on the ELCA Web site.
Information about ELCA schools and early childhood education, colleges and universities is at http://www.ELCA.org/vocationeducation on the ELCA Web site.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or email@example.com http://www.elca.org/news ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog