CHICAGO — The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met at the Lutheran Center in Chicago, Nov. 7-10. Twenty-three new members, elected by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly, were welcomed. The council serves as the ELCA's board of directors and interim legislative authority between meetings of the Churchwide Assembly.
The council took the following key actions:
- Authorized use of ministry rites for pastors and deacons in response to constitutional changes by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly that identified ordination as the entrance rite for ministers of Word and Service. The ministry rites for ordination to the ministry of Word and Service, ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, installation of a deacon and installation of a pastor will be effective Jan. 1, 2020.
- Created an advisory team to receive updates, track progress and provide periodic reports on the "Strategy Toward Authentic Diversity in the ELCA," adopted by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.
- Adopted a continuing resolution authorizing the creation of a resource development committee of the council to continue developing strategies related to funding initiatives and future churchwide appeals.
- Adopted the "Memorandum of Mutual Recognition of Relations of Full Communion" among The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the ELCA as a way to strengthen ties among the two U.S. and two Canadian churches.
- Authorized development of a social message on the vocation of citizenship, civic engagement, and church and state, as requested by the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.
- Received the final report of its Theological Education Advisory Committee, approved the committee's recommended transition plan and thanked the committee members for their service.
- Approved a 2020 spending authorization of $67,666,652 for the churchwide organization and $21,596,595 for ELCA World Hunger.
- Received an update on development of the resource "Trustworthy Servants of the People of God," the replacement for "Vision and Expectations," which articulates the church's hopes and expectations for its rostered ministers.
- Adopted the Reference and Counsel Committee recommendations regarding unfinished business from the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.
- Referred to the Domestic Mission unit the Conference of Bishops recommendation that the unit give top priority to this church's response to the global crisis of climate change.
- Thanked the Rev. Wyvetta Bullock for her faithful service as executive for administration and her many years of service to this church. Bullock will retire Jan. 30, 2020.
The council also received reports from the church's presiding bishop, treasurer, secretary and vice president, from the ELCA Conference of Bishops, and from the ELCA's separately incorporated ministries. They also received greetings from ecumenical partners.