A NEWS RELEASE
From National Office of the ELCIC
Winnipeg, 19 September 2006 -- At the fall meeting of National Church Council (NCC), members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) met September 14-16 in Winnipeg, Manitoba to discuss matters relating to the business of the church. Agenda items before NCC members included a discussion on the motion adopted at the 2006 Eastern Synod Convention regarding the blessing of same-gender couples. In response to questions following the motion's approval at the synodical convention, NCC issued the following statement:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) is a church comprised of three distinctive areas: our congregations, synods and national office. Each area brings its own unique and important element to the church as a whole; united for the same mission outcome. All three expressions, working together, form the foundation of our church. When we work together, we fulfil our vision of being a church In Mission for Others.
Many members of the ELCIC are aware of a motion defeated at the 2005 National Convention regarding a local option to bless same-gender couples. Recently, at its 2006 Convention, the Eastern Synod passed a motion with similar wording allowing for a local option to bless same-gender couples.
After careful consideration, based on the Constitution and Bylaws of the ELCIC National Church, as well as National and Synodical policies, the National Church Council has notified the Eastern Synod that its 2006 resolution on the blessing of same gender couples is beyond its constitutional authority. Therefore, National Church Council urges congregations and pastors of the ELCIC to continue to abide by decisions made at the 2005 National Convention.
At the same time, National Church Council acknowledges that there are deep and significant differences of opinion concerning this issue. To assist with understanding and addressing these areas, the Council has agreed to:
1. Invite a consultation with the Eastern Synod to determine how its concerns may be addressed.
2. Develop a social statement on human sexuality for consideration by the 2009 National Convention for deliberation by the ELCIC. In addition, this task force will produce a progress report that will be provided at the 2007 National Convention.
National Church Council has also ratified a motion, which will be presented at the 2007 National Convention of the ELCIC, to reconsider a local option for pastors and congregations to bless same-gender couples.
As a church In Mission for Others, we are all part of one body. When we are faced with difficult topics of conversation, we must be open to dialogue to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. National Church Council encourages ELCIC churches to allow the Holy Spirit to call, gather and enlighten us as we move forward together.
For more information, please contact:
Ms.Trina Gallop, Manager of Communications
302 - 393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6