The ELCA Church Council gathered at the Lutheran Center in Chicago, April 11-14. The council, which serves as the ELCA churchwide organization’s board of directors and interim legislative authority between meetings of a churchwide assembly, carries out its work in support of the ELCA’s priority areas of being a welcoming church, a thriving church, and a connected and sustainable church.

In her report to the council, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton gave thanks to Michael Burk, a retired synod bishop, for his service as presiding bishop pro tempore during her leave of absence. Eaton returned from leave on March 18.

Addressing the work and purpose of this church, Eaton spoke of the particular witness to the gospel that identifies Lutherans. “The unique work of the church is to give the gospel free course in the world,” Eaton said. “To care for the gospel, including the word as well as the sacraments. No other institution on earth has that charge.”

The council took the following actions:

  • Elected M. Wyvetta Bullock as the executive for administration for a term coterminous with that of the presiding bishop.
  • Received “Faithful Teaching,” the Common Statement of the Twelfth Round of the U.S. Lutheran-Catholic dialogue. Next year will mark 60 years of dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics in the United States. During this time, substantial progress has been made in discovering the shared unity that is detailed in what are now twelve common statements.
  • Adopted “Gun-related Violence and Trauma” as an official social message of the ELCA.
  • Authorized the development of a social message on child protection and maltreatment in response to a 2022 Churchwide Assembly memorial.
  • Revised a continuing resolution outlining the pre-assembly identification process for the elections of churchwide officers.
  • Requested a review of ELCA World Hunger FY24 revenue and expense performance through May 2024, sharing recommendations with the budget and finance committee and authorizing the executive committee to approve necessary revisions to the World Hunger FY24 spending authorization following the review.
  • Approved adding a Roth option for elective retirement contributions through Portico Benefit Services, beginning Jan. 1, 2025.
  • Approved amendments to the churchwide organization’s personnel policies.

The council received/engaged in the following:

  • An update from the co-chairs of the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church (CRLC).
  • An update on the God’s Love Made Real initiative.
  • An update on the work of the budget prioritization task force.
  • Reports and updates from officers, the chair of the Conference of Bishops, and Church Council committees.
  • Reports and updates from the Administrative Team.
  • Presentations from representatives of the ethnic associations and Reconciling Works.
  • Racial justice and gender justice education.
  • Ecumenical greetings from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Moravian Church in America, and The Episcopal Church.
  • Personal reflections on faith from council members.
  • Worship, prayer and fellowship.
Candice Hill Buchbinder
Candice Hill Buchbinder is the ELCA public relations manager.

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