The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Council hears of prizewinner, social statements explanation

"Don't ever underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to bring forth fruit from our labors," Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson told the ELCA Church Council at its Nov. 11-13 meeting in Chicago.

Hanson told how years ago the ELCA gave an international leadership scholarship to a young Lutheran from Liberia who wanted to study peacemaking. Leymah Gbowee went on to win the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in helping end Liberia's long-running civil war.

Hanson also said ELCA members "don't just say to the baptized, 'You're out there. Figure it out.'" No, they "go together" with social statements that "inform our public witness [and don't] bind your conscience [but] help us to live as responsible people of faith in a complex world," he said.

After significant discussion, the council asked its executive committee to appoint a task force to focus on how the ELCA's social statements are developed and adopted. The 2011 Churchwide Assembly requested the review process in light of work done by the LIFT (Living Into the Future Together) task force. The "Addressing Social Concerns Review Task Force" was asked to report to the council's November 2012 meeting, with possible recommendations for the 2013 assembly.

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