The Conference of Bishops of the ELCA met Sept. 29–Oct. 1 at the Eaglewood Resort in Itasca, Ill. The conference, an advisory body of the ELCA, comprises 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and the secretary.
The gathering was grounded in worship and prayer as the bishops met to build on mutual relationships within the conference and address leadership in the ELCA. The conference also celebrated Holy Communion with the ELCA Fund for Leaders scholarship recipients, in attendance for the annual FFL banquet.
“We come together as the Conference of Bishops to give and receive encouragement as we serve in our respective synods,” said Tracie Bartholomew, bishop of the ELCA New Jersey Synod and conference chair. “We are at our best when we work collegially and celebrate all that God is doing throughout this church.”
In key business, the conference:
- Adopted the revised ELCA Conference of Bishops relational agreement, which outlines the collegial nature of the conference. The agreement will be reviewed annually.
- Adopted a revision to the rostered minister profile disclosure questions.
- Approved recommendations from the Roster Committee related to policy exceptions for rostered ministers on leave from call and to the congregational three-year rule (which requires initial calls to be at least three years in a congregational setting), and approved nonstipendiary calls and ministry in unusual circumstances.
- Approved a recommendation to the Church Council to remove the dagger—designating a required provision—from Section 11.04 of the Constitution for Synods, which states, “The Mutual Ministry Committee shall be appointed by the Executive Committee of the Synod Council to provide support and counsel to the bishop.” Removal of the dagger will make this provision optional.
Read more about actions taken at the meeting.