A NEWS RELEASE
From the Office of the Bishop
Winnipeg, March 21, 2002, (ELCIC) -- The March 14-16 meeting of the ELCIC’s National Church Council (NCC) in Winnipeg was the first opportunity that council members had had to meet face-to-face since elections in July 2001 at the Waterloo Convention. Their September meeting was cancelled because of problems with travel arrangements in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States at that time.
NCC put in place a retitled document, “ELCIC National and Synodical Responsibilities,” which affirms action taken at the 1995 Winnipeg convention (NC 95-11) with revisions suggested by the October 2001 National/Synodical Consultation.
National Bishop Raymond Schultz explained that the focus of the National Office program staff will move away from preparation of congregational programs and materials, and will centre on support services specific to the needs of synods.
A significant portion of the NCC meeting involved the development of new committees. A study of Working Groups had indicated that other ways of organizing these tasks might be more effective. The Working Groups were disbanded and their work was reassigned.
Ministries such as the Adult Catechumenate, outdoor ministry, family ministry, evangelism, volunteerism, Christian education, confirmation ministry, adult learning and congregational life are primarily the responsibility of synods. When appropriate, the National/Synodical Consultation will recommend co-operative programming or national support needed in these areas of ministry. The Task Force on Adult Catechumenate was disbanded with related ecumenical relationships to be maintained by the national church. The Steering Committee on Partners in Faith (Family Ministry) was mandated to continue through the 2003 convention as a task force responsible to the National Bishop.
To provide national support for co-operative programming, a new Program Committee for Youth Ministry replaces the Youth Ministry Coordinating Committee. It will have one person from each synod plus a liaison from the Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering planning committee.
The recommendation of policies and the development of standards and resources for worship are now the responsibility of a three-person Program Committee for Worship.
Primary responsibility for recommending policies and standards for leadership
after ordination or consecration now rests with the conference of bishops. A Program Committee for Leadership for Ministry is responsible for preparation, candidacy, theological education, and seminaries. The committee will be comprised of one Committee of Theological Education and Leadership (CTEL) member from each synod plus a representative from each seminary.
A Program Committee for Faith, Order and Doctrine will be comprised of one bishop, one parish pastor, one lay person and a theologian appointed from each of our seminaries. The role of this committee has not been defined.
Work of the former Working Group on Mission has been reassigned. The National/Synodical Consultation will recommend co-operative programming or recommend where national support is needed in all areas of mission including Campus Ministry, Mission in the World and Mission in Canada. The Canadian Mission Consultation will continue to recommend or undertake cooperative programming or recommend where national support is needed for Mission in Canada. A NCC Task Force on Vision for Mission will evaluate and re-write the ELCIC’s “Vision for Mission,” while the Office of the Bishop will care for the administration of mission matters.
The responsibilities of the disbanded Working Group on Faith and Society were re-assigned to a NCC Committee for Public Policy which will develop policy with the Office of the Bishop looking after administration.