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August 11, 2007

2007 Churchwide Assembly
Assembly adopts 21 changes to constitution, bylaws


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Churchwide Assembly Aug. 11 adopted 21 amendments to the church body's Constitution and Bylaws -- 20 by a wide margin in an "en bloc" recommendation and one separately.

The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of the ELCA, is meeting in Chicago Aug. 6 to 11 at Navy Pier's Festival Hall. About 2,000 people are participating, including 1,069 ELCA voting members.

The recommendation pulled from en bloc consideration is to article 17.5 of the Constitution and Bylaws. The only discussion on that recommendation came from Kevin Bardonner, a voting member from Greenwood, Ind., who had requested its removal from the en bloc recommendation; and a response to his concern from ELCA Treasurer Christina Jackson-Skelton.

That amendment essentially adds a listing of the types of church-related entities that are provided "investment opportunities" through the Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA.

Bardonner questioned whether congregations would still be seen as the primary focus of investments and loans if the other groups also were listed.

Jackson-Skelton replied that the rationale for adding those groups has to do with the need for including a "wide range" of investment opportunities and investors via the MIF.

The voting members then adopted the separate recommendation by a margin of 903 to 71.

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