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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Church Council prepares for 2005 assembly

Seeking to avoid the perception of bias, the ELCA Church Council adopted rules of organization and procedure for the August 2005 Churchwide Assembly in Orlando, Fla. The council, meeting Nov. 11-15 in Chicago, could have deferred action on the rules until its April meeting. But several members said they wanted to act before seeing the report of the ELCA Studies on Sexuality Task Force.

Task force recommendations, to be posted on the ELCA Web site at noon EST, Jan. 13, will address whether to authorize blessings of same-sex relationships and whether those in such unions can serve on ELCA ministry rosters. The council will consider these recommendations in April.

The council adopted rules that call for a "two-thirds majority vote of members of the Churchwide Assembly present and voting" to adopt recommendations of a task force that would:

• Establish a policy or practice contrary to an existing ELCA social statement or a social statement received from an immediate ELCA predecessor church.

• Establish a policy or practice contrary to an existing policy that was adopted by the council upon recommendation of an ELCA board or
committee.

• Be recommended by the council to the assembly.

• Establish a policy for synodical oversight of ELCA ministry rosters.

Under these rules, a simple majority is needed to adopt a task force report that simply provides advice to congregations.

The effect of these rules could be to require a two-thirds assembly vote to adopt the task force's recommendations. Secretary Lowell Almen said the assembly must consider the rules at the opening of its business and can amend what the council adopted.


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