Division for Outreach board Feb. 28-March 2, Chicago
• Affirmed "Sharing Faith in a New Century," the ELCA evangelism strategy, as a grass-roots "renewal movement" rather than a "program." Suggested that wherever appropriate, the term "evangelism" be changed to "evangelical outreach."
• Urged the ELCA Church Council to consider bold changes to the churchwide strategic planning document, using the evangelism strategy as the primary direction.
• Received a report about the closing of the Institute for Mission. Approved the return of some of the institute's endowment funds to the Congregational Ministries and Outreach divisions.
• Commended the establishment of a Small Town and Rural Ministry Alliance.
Division for Global Mission board March 14-16, Chicago
• Recommended to the Church Council's planning and evaluation committee that the ELCA strategic planning proposal articulate a clear global vision of the ELCA's mission by incorporating "specific language" from two division documents: Global Mission in the Twenty-first Century: Goals and Directions and Strategic Priorities: 2002-2006. Asked the committee to include cross-cultural resource people as advisers in the process, saying the draft presently doesn't reflect the ELCA's constitutional goals for diversity, and diversity "must be intentional."
Division for Ministry board March 14-16, Chicago
• Forwarded to the Church Council a proposed revision of "Guidelines Related to On-Leave-from-Call Status" that, among other things, changes from six months to 45 days the time allowed for a rostered minister, after termination of a prior call, to request in writing on-leave-from-call status.
• Asked the Office of the Presiding Bishop and the Church Council's budget and finance committee to "seek ways to increase resources available to the unit to carry out its present and future responsibilities within the mission of the ELCA."
• Heard from Gwen W. Halaas, project director for ELCA ministerial health and wellness, about plans for an online resource that ELCA rostered leaders can use as a virtual health club, offering tools from health risk assessments to competitive fitness groups.
• Heard that since the adoption of the bylaw for ordination exceptions to Called to Common Mission, three exceptions had been granted. An additional exception was granted in the Grand Canyon Synod due to weather-related travel difficulties.
Commission for Women steering committee March 14-15, Chicago
• Urged ELCA leadership to include all churchwide employees in examining ways to reduce churchwide expenditures.
• Called on ELCA leadership to reaffirm the commission's goals and to make them a high priority in the church's work.
• Asked the Division for Ministry to continue its programs to prevent clergy sexual misconduct while the position for that work is vacant.
Women of the ELCA board March 20-23, Chicago
• Authorized its executive committee to approve anticipated revisions to the 2003 budget, based on a March 17 staff reduction and reconfiguration.
• Supported the Lutheran World Relief Coffee Project, which helps small-scale farmers in impoverished areas receive a fair price for their crops.
• Recommended that the organization provide $28,643 in grants for several programs in India: Karunalaya Hospital, Bethesda Hospital, Mohulpahari Christian Hospital, Kugler School of Nursing, three girls' high schools and scholarships to the Martha Maria Bible School.
• Encouraged each synodical women's organization to elect as delegates to the organization's Sixth Triennial Convention July 5-15, 2005, in San Antonio, Texas, one person with disabilities in addition to those delegates already allocated by synodical organizations.
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