Implementation (5): Who Participates In the Discussion?

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In the ministry recommendations adopted at the August Churchwide Assembly, the ELCA bought a pig in a poke. General principles were accepted, but no details were provided. What would be the criteria for recognizing a “publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationship”? Just how would ‘bound consciences,’ the key to the entire argument from the Task Force, be respected? Who gets to have a bound conscience?

The latest ELCA news release (here) notes a discussion by the Conference of Bishops of a revised draft of Vision and Expectations. The revision of this document will be the most important element of the implementation. The Rev. Stanley Olson, head of the Vocation and Education unit, said: “We will be well-served if there are (many) people reading these.” The news release reported also that “he welcomed comments on the draft changes from throughout the ELCA.”

Missing from the news release was any information about whether the draft would be shared throughout the church, with candidacy committees, with seminary faculties, with synod councils, or any other group. No link was provided to a copy of the draft. Especially if, as appears to be the case, decisions on the revision will not be made this fall but postponed until next spring, there is no reason not to have a wide discussion. That can occur, of course, only if the text is shared.

The question of who is involved in the discussion is not trivial. If implementation is decided by the Church Council and Conference of Bishops after discussion only among themselves, that will speak volumes about our ecclesiology.

Michael Root

[Note, Oct 10 – This post does seem to manifest too much suspicion, for which I apologize. Because the news release did not explicitly say that the draft would be available to the public on the web, I pressed the issue. A problem of these sorts of debates is the way they can be spiritually and intellectually deforming for all.]

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3 Responses to “Implementation (5): Who Participates In the Discussion?”

  1. Pastor Keith A. Hunsinger Says:

    Olson claims they will be on the ELCA website “around” 10/15. I will push for the widest distribution and input.

  2. ELCA Conference of Bishops moves to implement gay friendly policies #CWA09 #ELCA | Spirit of a Liberal Says:

    […] opponents of the August assembly actions are calling for release of the text of proposed changes and other information for broad church discussion prior to […]

  3. Art Going Says:

    I e-mailed Stanley Olson two days ago and he responded that a link to the revised V&E would be available on the ELCA website October 15.

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