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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Churchwide Assembly: Health care study to start

With the backing of a 95 percent assembly vote, the Division for Church in Society will develop a social statement on health and ethical issues in health care.

The study will include:

* A Lutheran vision of health and health care.

* Issues of access and quality in U.S. health care.

* The mission and work of ELCA social ministry organizations related to health care.

* The role of congregational health ministries in the ELCA.

"I'd like to see the proposed statement help congregations see their roles as health advocates in ministry, especially with parish nursing in this time of managed care that puts people out of the hospital two days after surgery," said John P. Seltzer, Upstate New York Synod.

Paul Swanson, Oregon Synod, noted that as bishop he sits on the boards of two ELCA-affiliated hospitals and is frequently asked by administrators for information and guidance. "The ELCA social statements on abortion and end-of-life decisions — especially in our state, which has legal assisted suicide — are a great resource," he said, urging approval for the study.

The proposed statement is slated for presentation to the 2003 assembly.


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