The Church Council of the ELCA appointed Michael Burk as presiding bishop pro tempore after its Executive Committee approved Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s request for a four- to six-month leave of absence, to begin Nov. 17. Burk, former bishop of the Southeastern Iowa Synod, will care for the responsibilities of the presiding bishop during her leave of absence. The council, which serves as the ELCA churchwide organization’s board of directors and interim legislative authority between meetings of a churchwide assembly, gathered at the Lutheran Center in Chicago, Nov. 9-12.
The council took the following actions:
- Reelected Lori Fedyk to a second six-year term as ELCA treasurer, beginning Feb. 1, 2024.
- Elected Benjamin B. Bergren to the Church Council for a term ending Aug. 2025; he fills a vacancy left by Karn Carroll, who has resigned.
- Approved a current-fund spending authorization of $68,083,962 for the 2024 fiscal year.
- Approved the 2024 ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $26 million, provided that the fund balance exceeds $10 million as of Jan. 31, 2024.
- Approved the emphasis of fundraising priorities to these areas: Where Needed Most, ELCA World Hunger, Lutheran Disaster Response, and Future Church: God’s Love Made Real.
- Approved a continuing resolution amendment that allows for a pre-assembly identification process in the election of the presiding bishop.
- Authorized formation of a task force to assist the council and administrative team in exploring needed changes to budget work and churchwide priorities. The task force will report to the council at the spring 2024 Church Council meeting.
- Approved a motion that the Church Council will intentionally participate in racial justice education at every meeting.
- Deferred reconsidering selected passages in the social message “End-of-Life Decisions” until after the 2023-2024 development cycle for social messages.
- Acknowledged the Order of Lutheran Franciscans as an independent Lutheran organization relating to the Christian Community and Leadership home area.
- Approved an amendment to personnel policies to establish Indigenous People’s Day as a churchwide organization holiday.