Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, released Aug. 25 a draft proposal for restructuring the ELCA churchwide organization. The proposal aims to align the churchwide organization with the ELCA Plan for Mission, adopted by the 2003 Churchwide Assembly.
In a separate release on the same day, the ELCA Church Council executive committee announced a proposal for governance of the churchwide organization.
If adopted, the restructuring proposal would create five churchwide program units (congregational mission and evangelical outreach, global mission, multicultural ministries, public witness, and vocation and education) and retain two that are separately incorporated--Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, and Women of the ELCA. A later communication strategy will propose the connection between The Lutheran and churchwide organization.
The plan retains the offices of presiding bishop, secretary and treasurer. Some additional responsibilities will be under the presiding bishop's office, including communication, research and evaluation, human resources and the recently created development services unit. Also retained are the separately incorporated Mission Investment Fund and Board of Pensions.
The restructuring proposal invites people to respond by Oct. 17. The structure and governance proposals will come to the Nov. 11-14 meeting of the Church Council. Changes adopted by the council will be considered by the 2005 Churchwide Assembly.
The draft of the governance proposal retains the current size of the Churchwide Assembly at slightly more than 1,000 voting members. It retains the council's size at 33 but provides for new nomination procedures and suggests new council advisory members. Responses to the governance proposal can be sent until Oct. 4 at the planning Web site or to the research and evaluation department.
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