Division for Higher Education and Schools board. Chicago, March 13-15.Commission for Women steering committee. Chicago, March 20-22.
- Heard that freshman enrollment in ELCA colleges and universities for 1998-99 has increased by more than 6 percent. College officials cited a larger pool of high school seniors and more effective recruitment as major factors in the increase.
- Voted unanimously to set up a Global Educators Network with the ELCA Division for Global Mission to provide a structure for supporting education worldwide and for dealing with international teaching opportunities.
- Noted that 400 congregations have contacted the division for assistance in starting early childhood education centers, elementary or secondary schools. There are now 1,962 early childhood education centers, 260 elementary programs and 23 ELCA affiliated high schools.
- Learned that 63 percent of ELCA seminarians came from Lutheran colleges or from ELCA campus ministries.
Division for Global Mission board. Chicago, March 20-22.
- Continued the ongoing dialogue about ways the ELCA can be welcoming, safe and hospitable to gays and lesbians.
- Discussed the Promise Keepers organization. Richard Jensen, professor, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, raised theological questions about the organization, noting that the Christian life isn't about how humans keep promises but about God keeping promises. Jensen commended the work of Lutheran Men in Mission, acknowledging that men do need a safe place to discuss issues in their lives.
Division for Ministry board. Chicago, March 12-14.
- Approved a mission statement and objectives for the newly formed Global Educators Network, which will connect educators with companion churches and their needs.
- Requested that the ELCA Division for Church in Society express concern to the U.S. government about the impact of longstanding military rule on Nigerian society.
- Urged that the ELCA raise awareness on continued human rights abuses and economic issues in Colombia.
- Encouraged advocacy for an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba.
Division for Church in Society board. Chicago, March 12-14.
- Recommended that the ELCA Church Council approve procedures and policies that will allow the ELCA to exchange pastors with churches that share full communion.
- Heard that the Fund for Leaders in Mission received a joint $1 million grant from Lutheran Brotherhood and Aid Association for Lutherans.
- Discussed questions the ELCA would need to consider were it to ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians in response to a 1997 Churchwide Assembly directive to develop a model for conversation on this issue.
Women of the ELCA board. Chicago, March 12-15.
- Authorized publication and distribution of the first draft of an ELCA statement on the economy, "Toward Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All."
- Directed the executive committee to act on a return of Lutheran Affiliated Services, Pittsburgh, to regular affiliation following probationary status.
Lutheran Men in Mission board. Chicago, March 20-21.
- Voted to budget more money in 1999 to provide anti-racism training for presidents of synod women organizations.
- Heard that the $3.9 million 1998 budget reflects a $1 million gift to the ELCA. * Learned that "Katie's Fund" gifts total more than $110,000. Established in 1997, the permanent endowment fund will provide programs, resources and opportunities for women in global sharing, leadership development and faith.
The Lutheran advisory committee. Chicago, April 3.
- Committed the organization to work with women in a sense of mutuality and collegiality.
- Voted to invite a member of the Women of the ELCA board to be a liaison to the LMM board.
- Encouraged men to take resolutions to synod assemblies that reaffirm LMM as the principal expression for men and ministry in the ELCA.
- Affirmed — in response to a resolution from the Commission for Multicultural Ministries to the ELCA Church Council about The Lutheran's content and staffing — the magazine's continuing efforts to address the ELCA's multicultural mission and reaffirmed continuing efforts to include a person of color on the editorial staff as soon as possible. A process for regular dialogue between the commission and magazine staffs will be established.