At its Sept. 19-20 meeting in Chicago, the Division for Higher Education and Schools board discussed how the future churchwide design proposal affects the unit's work.
The plan eliminates the division and moves parts of its work to the new Department for Youth, Education and Lay Leadership and various organizations such as the Evangelical Lutheran Education Association.
Concerns that the proposal is budget-driven, not uniquely Lutheran and too dependent on middle judicatories drove the board's conversation.
Board members unanimously voted to ask for time during the ELCA Church Council's November meeting so their chair can express their concerns.
The board also asked for an expanded restructuring process that allows for greater transparency, a Lutheran vision of education, a study of declining support for the churchwide organization, and a positive presentation of the church's mission. It requested that areas of ministry involving children and youth, especially outdoor ministries and schools, be reinstated within the new churchwide design. It also suggested that "proposed alternatives to churchwide structures receive greater exploration, testing and assessment."
In its response to the plan, the Division for Outreach board asked the council to ensure that at least 30 percent of those interviewed for new executive positions be people of color or whose primary language is not English.
Meeting Sept. 26-27 in Chicago, members recommended Richard Magnus, the division's executive director, as head of the proposed Department for Congregational Life and Evangelical Outreach, asking the council to give the board a significant role in the selection process.
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