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April 15, 2010

ELCIC Human Sexuality Task Force Releases First Draft of a Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's (ELCIC) Human Sexuality Task Force released on April 15 The First Draft of a Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality for wide distribution and reflection by congregations and members throughout the church.

The draft social statement follows a churchwide initiative that saw ELCIC members participating in an ELCIC Study of Human Sexuality. The study, also prepared by the task force, engaged members of the church in dialogue and respectful conversation as part of a consultation process to generate feedback and inform the process of drafting a social statement.

Over 500 responses to the study were received. Following the review of all of the responses to the study, task force members used the feedback to write The First Draft of a Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality.

“Engaging the prayerful consideration and feedback of as many people as possible in the development of the draft statement is essential to creating the social statement that God wants the ELCIC to make,” says Judy Wry, chair of the ELCIC's Human Sexuality Task Force. The ELCIC is seeking the wisdom of many, as we search for words of faith by which we might inspire each other to be a church in mission for others in matters of sexuality.

There are three key sections to the draft social statement. “Encountering the World in Which We Live” identifies current issues of sexuality. “Facing God and Being Church” seeks to find common language to articulate the faith and theology which guide our life together. “Doing Ministry” informs conversation about mission and ministry at the local and global levels in matters relating to human sexuality.

According to ELCIC guidelines, a social statement is a theological and ethical document that provides a foundation for understanding God's living word in light of changing realities of the modern world, and seeks to provide the social analysis and theological basis for the collective ELCIC understanding of a continuing crucial issue that arises out of the mission of the ELCIC. A social statement usually focuses on a broad social theme rather than a specific issue.

The first draft is intended to be reviewed by individuals and congregations. Feedback from this first draft will be carefully reviewed by the task force and used to make further revisions. The revised document will be submitted to National Church Council (NCC) in March 2011. Following a review of the statement, it is intended that NCC will present it to the 2011 ELCIC National Convention. Delegates to the 2011 ELCIC convention must endorse the final draft if it is to become a social statement.

I encourage all members of our church to participate in the review of this draft social statement, says National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. The process of developing a social statement depends on the input of as many members of our church as possible.

Access a copy of The First Draft of a Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality online by viewing the following link: http://elcic.ca/Human-Sexuality/default.cfm.
(Note: If you are unable to access the document via the above link, go the ELCIC website at www.elcic.ca and view the document by going to the drop-down menu for Resources and clicking on the Human Sexuality webpage.) A hard-copy of the study will be mailed to all ELCIC congregations, as well as ELCIC partners.    

All feedback to the draft social statement must be submitted by August 31, 2010. Feedback can be submitted via online, email and post. All details are posted on the above link.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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