Voting 897-36, the assembly adopted en bloc 20 memorial responses. Memorials are proposals for action involving broad policy issues submitted by synod assemblies to the churchwide organization. Topics ranged from gun violence to gender identity and youth mission trips to becoming a sanctuary denomination. Memorials singled out for individual consideration were:
Historic Black Churches. Called for (929-8) a strategy to deepen relationships with Historic Black Churches; encouraged synods and congregations to strengthen and expand such partnerships.
Clean energy. By a card vote, urged ELCA members, congregations and synods to educate themselves on the “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice” social statement and to set measurable goals to reduce fossil fuel use. Called upon Portico to evaluate the viability of a fossil-free fund for retirement plan participants.
Holy Land. Reaffirmed (751-162) the ELCA’s commitment to continue with awareness-building, accompaniment and advocacy for peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine; urged all expressions of the ELCA to call on political leaders to require that Israel comply with U.S. human rights standards and stop settlement building and end occupation of Palestinian territory in order to continue receiving U.S. financial and military aid.
In a related memorial, the assembly, by card vote, directed the ELCA’s Corporate Social Responsibility team to develop a human rights social criteria investment screen, and encouraged members, congregations, synods and agencies to increase positive investment in Palestine.
African Descent: Requested (846-73) that ELCA Domestic Mission increase the number of African descent leaders, congregations and communities served by at least 10 percent; urged seminaries, colleges and universities to develop anti-racism resources; and acknowledged, with regret, that the ELCA as an institution contributes to racial discrimination against people of African descent through corporate action and policy and requested churchwide to review governing documents.
Military: By card vote, the assembly invited the church to a time of prayer and discernment to examine expanded U.S. war efforts since 1990, and referred to Church Council and Office of the Bishop to form a task force to study effects of war on the well-being of all military personnel and veterans, active, reserve and retired, contractors, affiliates and their families.
In a related memorial, the assembly, by card vote, encouraged ELCA members, congregations and synods to offer care and support for returning veterans and to help incarcerated veterans access benefits to assist in successful transition upon release. Encouraged synod bishops, candidacy committees and seminaries to make known the need for military chaplains and urged contribution to the ELCA Federal Chaplaincy Ministries Fund for Leaders Scholarship.
Doctrine of discovery. Recommended (912-28) that the ELCA explicitly repudiate the doctrine of discovery and offer a statement of repentance and reconciliation to Native nations.
Refugees: Supported (842-48) all Lutherans in welcoming refugees by building awareness, volunteering, hosting refugees and observing Refugee Sunday. Asked the churchwide organization to work with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to provide resource materials for congregations to take part in refugee-related ministries.
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