CHICAGO — The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) appointed the Rev. 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. 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 the Rev. Benjamin B. Bergren to the Church Council for a term ending August 2025; he fills a vacancy left by the Rev. 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.
In other business the council:
- Received an update on the work of the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church (CRLC) and engaged in a listening session.
- Received updates and engaged in discussion on churchwide organization priorities and developments, including a Barna Group / Fuller study on the Future Church: God's Love Made Real movement.
- Received a report on the diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility audit of the ELCA's governing documents. The full report is available here.
- Received reports from the church's presiding bishop, secretary, treasurer and vice president; the ELCA Conference of Bishops; the churchwide organization administrative team and home areas; and Church Council committees.
- Received an update on the ELCA's Peace Not Walls Campaign.
- Received an update on the 50th anniversary of ELCA World Hunger.
- Discussed the Quality of Call Initiative for Women in Ministry.
- Held a prayer vigil for peace in the Holy Land, hosted by the Association of Lutherans of Arab and Middle Eastern Heritage.
- Received ecumenical greetings from the Rev. Mark Goodman, ecumenical liaison of The Episcopal Church.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 3 million members in more than 8,700 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands.," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.
For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder