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Assembly adopts churchwide restructuring proposal

The assembly affirmed the implementation of strategic directions put forth in the report “Faithful, Yet Changing: Design for Mission through the Churchwide Organization.” The action urged that the design be fully functioning by the beginning of the new fiscal year, Feb. 1, 2006.

Janet Thompson, chair of the Church Council’s planning and evaluation committee that oversaw the strategic planning process, outlined several goals of the process: to align the design proposal with the ELCA’s strategic directions, to integrate and focus the work of the churchwide units, and to lift up the church’s commitment to multicultural ministries throughout its structure. “So that the churchwide organization does what only it can do, or what it does best,” she said.

In response to the plan’s elimination of the Commission for Women, Gwendolyn King, New England Synod, asked for an explanation. Charles Miller, assistant for administration in the Office of the Presiding Bishop, said the whole “genre” of churchwide commissions were re-examined and through a variety of means we determined “we needed to go down new roads to try to accomplish urgent tasks.” There was no intent to imply that the church has reached full inclusion of women. In the new scheme every churchwide unit will be staffed with someone whose portfolio includes justice for women, Miller said.

Carol McDivitt, Rocky Mountain Synod, responded to the plan to situate The Lutheran magazine under the supervision of the Communication Services area. She said the magazine is an important tool for helping congregations feel connected to the church. “And that means a publication that is perceived as independent,” she added.

Thompson said the church periodical “has editorial autonomy now and that will continue in the new structure. The realignment will put only budgeting responsibility under communication.”


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