The Conference of Bishops of the ELCA met Sept. 26-30 at the Lutheran Center in Chicago. The conference, an advisory body of the ELCA, comprises 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and the secretary.
Yehiel Curry, bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, was elected to a four-year term as chair of the conference. Deborah K. Hutterer, bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod, was elected to a four-year term as vice chair. Both positions are effective Dec. 1. Tracie L. Bartholomew, bishop of the New Jersey Synod, has served as conference chair since 2020, and Patricia A. Davenport, bishop of the ELCA Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, has served as vice chair since 2020.
In her report to the conference, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton addressed Future Church: God’s Love Made Real, a movement in the ELCA that envisions a world experiencing the difference God’s grace and love in Christ make for all people and creation.
“The world doesn’t even know it needs to know Jesus,” said Eaton. “We take very seriously the reality of human brokenness, and we also take very seriously that Jesus was raised from the dead, and that makes all the difference in the world.”
In key business the conference:
- Approved recommendations from the Roster Committee granting extensions of leave, granting of nonstipendiary calls, and exceptions to the bylaw that requires an initial three years of congregational service for ministers of Word and Sacrament.
- Engaged in conversation about the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church, focusing discussions on the organizational principles and statements of purpose for the church. The commission was established as called for in the memorial “Restructure the Governance of the ELCA,” adopted by the 2022 Churchwide Assembly.
- Received updates from the candidacy leadership development working group and engaged in conversation on a proposed process put forward by that group. Established during the conference’s spring 2022 meeting, the working group is a diverse collection of 12 leaders from across the ELCA who will explore ways to adapt the church’s candidacy process to the church’s current and future needs.