The Church Council of the ELCA met March 31–April 2. The council, which serves as the ELCA’s board of directors, took action on a variety of matters before this church. Among them were preparations for the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, to be held Aug. 8-12 in Columbus, Ohio.
In her report to the council, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton spoke of the ELCA’s Future Church” goals, emphasizing the importance of the added goal to engage one million new, young and diverse people by 2030.
Noting the changing culture and demographics of this country and citing research that shows many people are searching for meaning, Eaton asked the council to consider how this church will share the liberating word of the gospel with others and “also receive from them the way this gospel message has impacted and changed their lives in ways that we may not have recognized because it’s not the way we’ve always done it.”
In her written report, Eaton added: “I pray that the Church Council at this meeting let the Spirit breathe for us and into us. We have a lot before us. The church, through the Holy Spirit, has called us to this work. Let us listen carefully and critically to each other, and even more attentively to the Holy Spirit.”
Key actions taken by the council included the authorization of a task force to review the current process for discipline and its impact on people of color and other historically marginalized groups. The executive committee will appoint members to the task force. A report will be provided at the spring 2023 Church Council meeting.
In addition, the council authorized the creation of a task force charged with studying educational debt among rostered ministers and developing a comprehensive strategy to provide educational debt relief to as many rostered ministers as possible. The action also authorized the executive committee to appoint to the task force members from across the ELCA ecology. The council requested progress reports at its fall 2023 meeting, and a final report with possible recommendations at its spring 2025 meeting.
The council also adopted “A Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the Muslim Community” as a statement on Lutheran-Muslim relations.