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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Church Council size won't change

A bid to change the ELCA’s constitution to expand the 33-member Church Council failed Saturday by a 505-464 vote; a two-thirds majority was required. Bishop Peter Rogness, Greater Milwaukee Synod, put forth the amendment calling for 65 council members, one from each synod.

Those voices arguing against the motion during 50 minutes of discussion said the council must serve on behalf of the whole ELCA, not individual synods.

But others speaking in favor of the change sought a stronger connection between ELCA congregations and the churchwide organization.

Speaking against the resolution, John Litke, Metropolitan New York Synod, said bishops represent the church’s regional presence at the council meetings.

Phillip R. Nielsen, Nebraska Synod, said, “There is a perception of disconnect, of mistrust—this is obvious. People could try it out for a while and if doesn’t work, change again. We shouldn’t think that because council members are chosen from geographic areas they can’t be trusted to represent the whole church.”


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