Meeting in Chicago, Oct. 3-8, the Conference of Bishops began discussing "lay presidency" — where authorized laity preside at communion. This occurs particularly in smaller, more isolated congregations that can't afford or obtain regular pastoral service. Several bishops said mission starts in ethnic communities could also benefit from such leaders.
ELCA bylaws allow synod bishops to "license" trained laity to preside at communion in special circumstances. At present, 40 synods have or are developing training programs. About 575 ELCA members have been trained and more than 300 provide some form of synodically authorized service, including word and sacrament ministry.
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