The Conference of Bishops of the ELCA met Feb. 28–March 4 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.
In key business the conference:
- Voted to commend to the ELCA Church Council a “Proposal for Exchangeability of the Diaconate,” endorsed by the Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee. Through the proposal, the ELCA and The Episcopal Church (TEC) recognize each other’s deacons as authentic and provides for the possibility of interchangeability for occasional ministry or extended service. This proposal became possible as an interpretation of “Called to Common Mission” (CCM)—the full communion agreement between the two churches—after the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly confirmed ordination as the entrance rite for rostered ministers of Word and Service. To implement this proposal, TEC is undertaking a process similar to that of the ELCA. The Church Council will consider the proposal at its spring meeting.
- Approved a letter from the conference to Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey requesting his assistance to reverse the U.S. government’s current economic and international sanctions against Cuba and to initiate a pathway toward normalizing diplomatic relations. The conference’s action is based on the ELCA social policy resolution “Advocacy with the U.S. government – Aid to Cuba” that was adopted by the 1995 Churchwide Assembly.
- Received an update on the nominations process for the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church, called for in the memorial “Restructure the Governance of the ELCA” that was adopted by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly.
- Engaged in conversation around Holy Communion practices as called for in the memorial “Holy Communion Practices in Unusual Circumstances and Pandemic Times,” approved by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly.