Skip to comments.ELCA Churchwide Assembly: A Report
Posted on 09/03/2011 11:44:10 AM PDT by rhema
With very little controversy, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly met August 15-19 in Orlando. The assembly overwhelmingly approved all rec- ommendations from the churchwide organization, including all of the amendments to the constitution that would make it more difficult for con- gregations to disaffiliate from the ELCA. Also approved were the anti- bullying legislation proposed by Lutherans Concerned/North America, the proposed genetics social statement, and the LIFT (Living into the Future Together) ELCA reorganization plan.
Memorials from South Carolina, South Dakota, and Western Iowa re- questing the ELCA rescind the 2009 sexuality decisions were not brought to the floor for discussion. Instead, the assembly overwhelmingly approved the Memorial Committees recommendation to decline to revisit the 2009 legislation.
The assembly approved a resolution to engage in dialogue with the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) "to strive for a mutual relationship where possible"; in response to a resolution submitted by Christopher Suehr, a voting member from Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod.
ELCA Secretary David Swartling said the ELCA 2010 year-end congre- gational reports indicated the denomination retains 94% of its capacity (congregations, members, and resources) after the losses following the 2009 churchwide assembly. He pointed out that although more than half of the number of congregations that left the ELCA are small, rural congregations that struggle financially, a greater percentage of suburban and urban congregations had left, a trend he found "disturbing."
Swartlings written report states that congregations in 2010 gave less to mission support (congregational gifts to synods and churchwide) than to other benevolence. The number of congregations dropped last year to 9,995. ELCA membership dropped by more than a quarter million baptized members in 2010 to 4.275 million. Since its formation in 1988 the ELCA has lost about one million baptized members.
From 1993-2009 average congregational withdrawal from the ELCA numbered 10.5 per year, and the average number of pastoral resignations was 53.7 per year. In 2010, 299 congregations withdrew from the ELCA, and 300 pastors resigned. Average worship attendance in 2010 dropped to 27.7%.
Outgoing treasurer Christina Jackson-Skelton reported that church- wide organizations total revenue declined from $76.5 million in 2009 to $65.8 million in 2010. Mission support declined from $59.7 in 2009 to $52.6 million in 2010. Overall, from 2008 to 2010, mission support decreased by 19.5%. The projection for mission support in 2011 is estimated to be $47 million, representing a 10% decrease. Factoring for inflation, at the end of 2010 the ELCA church- wide organization and synods were operating with 46% of the income they had when the ELCA was formed.
Bishop Mark Hansons report gave a more positive spin on the ELCAs current situation and future prospects. He reported that he came to the assembly more hopeful than ever about the ELCAs future because "we have clarity about who we are...about our identity." Hanson declared, "I believe we can start 100 new congrega- tions each year... 500 over the next five years."
Notably missing from the assembly were ecumenical greetings from the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod, even though representatives from these denominations were guests. Representatives from these churches have brought greetings at previous assemblies.
( A summary of ELCA CWA actions can be found at this link.)
* as of August 19, AD 2009, a liberal protestant SECT, not part of the holy, catholic and apostolic CHURCH.
Be rooted in Christ!
What? There was an ELCA Churchwide Assembly last month? Who knew?
If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it really make a sound?
Nevertheless, it’s really LOUSY of the ELCA to make it harder for a parish to leave. It was also lousy for whoever did it to steal the Lutheran CORE signs.
If the ELCA thinks that just because it has the new regulations in place, the flight of members and money will slow down, they should think again. People will just leave—maybe this time some of them for the Orthodox Church. And some parishes that were built by members’ time, treasure, and talents over the decades—and NOT by ELCA bureaucrats—might just sue the ELCA if they want to leave with all their assets.
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