The Church Council of the ELCA met at the Lutheran Center in Chicago, Nov. 10–Nov. 13. The council welcomed ELCA Vice President Imran Siddiqui and 18 new members, elected by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. The council serves as the ELCA churchwide organization’s board of directors and interim legislative authority between meetings of the Churchwide Assembly.
In her report to the council, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton drew attention to the substantial work charged to the council by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. Eaton said the work will “have a significant effect on this church as we listen to God’s call and try as best as we can and as faithfully as we can to remain true to the gospel, but somehow find a way to speak and act in the cultural vernacular.” Eaton said one of Martin Luther’s gifts was his translation of the Bible into German so that people could receive it in their own language. She emphasized to the council how the work set before them could impact those who are presently not in church but may come in five or ten years.
In key action, the council approved a nomination process for the Commission on a Renewed Lutheran Church. The commission will consist of up to 35 voting members, to include at least 25% people of color or whose primary language is other than English and a goal of at least 20% youth or young adults. Nominations will be received from synod councils or synod executive committees as well as through an open nomination process. The Church Council’s executive committee will present a slate of nominees at the council’s April 2023 meeting. This action is in response to the 2022 Churchwide Assembly call for the council to establish the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church to consider statements of purpose for the church and its organizational structure and to present its findings and recommendations to the 2025 Churchwide Assembly in preparation for a possible reconstituting convention. The council also referred to the commission the question of changing the denomination’s name.