Division for Ministry board Chicago, Oct. 8-10.
• Approved revisions to the "Candidacy Manual," forwarding it to the November ELCA Church Council meeting. Revisions include background checks for rostered ministry candidates. Mark Ramseth, president of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, said the eight seminary presidents support the revisions.Commission for Multicultural Ministries steering committee Chicago, Oct. 15-16.
• Discussed proposed changes to guidelines for synodically authorized ministries, especially whether or not a layperson authorized to render word and sacrament ministry can perform weddings. The board sent its comments to the ELCA Conference of Bishops.
• Welcomed Sister E. Anne Keffer as the new directing deaconess of the ELCA Deaconess Community.
• Discussed the proposals for churchwide structure and governance.Commission for Women steering committee Chicago, Oct. 15-16.
• Recommended that at least two synods must nominate people of color for the Church Council each biennium and that the presidents of the five ethnic associations or their representative serve as council advisory members.
• Urged that the proposed multicultural ministry program committee consist of two people from each of the following communities: African American, black; Arab and Middle Eastern; Asian and Pacific Islander; Latino; American Indian and Alaska Native; white; multiracial/biracial; as well as one representative from the multicultural advisory committee of the Lutheran Youth Organization.
• Proposed that the presidents of the ethnic associations, a representative of teaching theologians of color and a Church Council member serve with voice but not vote on the proposed multicultural ministry program committee.
• Recommended four changes to the draft proposal for churchwide restructuring: change language from "work on behalf of women" to "gender justice"; increase visibility of gender justice work; increase priority of gender justice equal to that of racial justice and multicultural ministries; and clarify location of gender justice work in the churchwide structure.Division for Congregational Ministries board Chicago, Oct. 15-16.
• Proposed an executive position be established for gender justice with authority and responsibility to convene a gender justice team and to monitor the church's commitments to gender justice and outcomes.
• Proposed gender justice positions in each unit (not less than one position).
The Lutheran advisory committee Chicago, Oct. 11-12.
• Recommended that the Church Council approve the report "Renewing Worship in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America" and forward it to the 2005 Churchwide Assembly. The report contains "steps toward renewal," including provisions for finishing a primary book of worship and development of future resources.
• Authorized the outdoor ministries advisory committee to continue working toward the formation of a nonprofit corporation, resolving that the division continue its relationship with the new organization and maintain 2005 funding for outdoor ministries.
• Discussed the proposals for churchwide structure and governance (October, page 48). Items it voiced support for include: allowing two young adults (age 21-34) to serve on the Church Council, with vote; uniting the division with the Division for Outreach, calling it "Congregations in Mission"; keeping youth ministry and the Youth Gathering in the proposed unit, along with family ministry, young adult ministry and outdoor ministries; housing social ministry in congregations in the proposed public witness unit; moving the Lutheran Youth Organization to the proposed vocation unit; and putting the worship team's structural presence in the Office of the Bishop while affirming worship's continuing relationship with congregations.
• Adopted a "Statement of Concern and Possibilities," directing it to ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, in response to the preliminary draft of the ELCA churchwide "Strategic Communication Plan" by Tunheim Partners, Minneapolis. The statement said the plan endangers the magazine's credibility and long history of editorial independence. The committee statement also:Division for Global Mission board Chicago, Oct. 14-16.
• Affirmed the magazine's editorial guidelines, adopted by the ELCA Church Council in 1988, which maintain the periodical's freedom to report on news and features from across the church.
• Affirmed the editor's sole responsibility for the publication's content and selection of editorial staff.
• Urged that the magazine be understood as the primary periodical of the church.
• Urged that the magazine be carried out not "under" but "in collaboration with" the ELCA Department for Communication as called for in the communication plan.
• Encouraged greater efforts to market the magazine. The statement recognized the possibility of Church Council election of the editor but stated preference for the current pattern of Churchwide Assembly election.
• Called for prayer and action related to the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, asking for ELCA advocacy and gifts from congregation members to support the humanitarian response to refugees in crisis.
• Expressed appreciation for the ELCA's new Arab and Middle East strategy and Plan of Action for Ministry in the African Descent Communities, and committed to implementing these in unit efforts to develop leaders and assist with relationships between ELCA ethnic associations and companion churches.
• Affirmed a relationship between the ELCA and China Service Ventures, an independent Lutheran organization.
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