Board of Pensions trustees Chicago, Feb. 25-27
• Heard from the unit's management about challenges facing the board's health-care and retirement services because of ELCA demographic trends and industry dynamics.
• Discussed the board's strategic plan as it relates to possible expansion of financial services and possible changes in the health-care plan design. A short-term plan will be approved in August, as will a process for completing a long-term strategy.
• Approved, pending Church Council endorsement, amendments to the retirement, medical/dental, survivor and disability plans that expand the definition of an eligible employer to include ecumenical partner congregations and former ELCA congregations that leave on or after Jan. 1, 2005.
Commission for Multicultural Ministries steering committee Chicago, Feb. 25-26
• Received the African Descent Ministry Strategy and forwarded it to the ELCA Church Council, recommending adoption at the 2005 Churchwide Assembly.
• Received the Arab and Middle Eastern Ministry Strategy and forwarded it to the Church Council, recommending adoption at the 2005 Assembly.
• Commended the concept of an European American Anti-Racist Association to the Office of the Presiding Bishop as it considers plans for the anti-racisim work of the churchwide organization.
Division for Congregational Ministries board Chicago , Feb. 18-19.
• Affirmed two strategies for ethnic-specific ministries (for African descent communities and for Arab and Middle Eastern ministries). The strategies will go before the Church Council in April and may appear on the agenda of the 2005 Churchwide Assembly.
• Responded to the strategic directions and proposed outcomes of the churchwide organization's work for 2006-07, which is done biennially. Due to restructuring, divisions will be replaced by program units and boards will be replaced by program committees. Ministries now housed in the division will be in two new units — "evangelical outreach and congregational ministries" and "vocation and education."
• Authorized Lutheran Men in Mission to become an independent, nonprofit corporation. The organization hopes to be financially self-sufficient by the end of 2005.
• Sent a message of support to Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Inc., a nonprofit organization established last fall by the ELCA Outdoor Ministry Advisory Committee in cooperation with the Association of Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Professions.
• Recognized Youth Leadership Inc., Minneapolis, as an independent Lutheran organization, and accepted Lutheran Association of Christian Educators' application to also become an independent association of the ELCA.
• Affirmed the Council of Synod Lutheran Youth Organization Presidents' "resolution for unity in the church" amid conversations regarding sexuality.
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