For the first time in the history of the ELCA, the ELCA Church Council and the ELCA Conference of Bishops held a joint meeting over multiple days, March 6-8 in Itasca, Ill. The purpose of the meeting was to nurture their relationship and foster dialogue around shared work that guides this church into the future to which God is calling it.
During the meeting, the council and conference received and participated in the following:
- Reports from the ELCA presiding bishop, secretary, treasurer and vice president.
- Conversations on congregational vitality and anti-racism and authentic diversity.
- Discussions around what it means to be a sanctuary church and potential future guidance for this church.
- An update on Mission Support experiments in synods. (Mission Support is the financial offering from congregations shared with synods and the churchwide organization.)
- An update on the ELCA Innovation Lab.
- Conversation on health care benefit plans.
In a key action, the council, which serves as the ELCA board of directors and legislative authority between churchwide assemblies, voted to remove the document “Vision and Expectations” from use in the ELCA. In its action the council affirmed that “Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline” remains the document that describes the grounds by which officers, rostered ministers, congregations and members of congregations may be subject to discipline according to the practice of this church. Candidates for rostered ministry are also held to the disciplinary standards stated in the document.
The council requested that all relevant documents and manuals, including candidacy and mobility documents, will be updated by June 1, 2020, to reflect the role of “Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline” in defining the grounds for discipline.