Fall 2012: A Structural Renewal Implementation Guide has been created for distribution across the church. This document (which also includes an introductory piece - which can be viewed as a video or printed off as a letter), outlines in more detail the proposed changes that are coming to the 2013 Joint Assembly. ELCIC members are urged to read the documents, discuss them in your conferences, congregations, and with others in your community. And let us know what you are thinking (via email).
Summer 2012: At the 2011 ELCIC National Convention, delegates approved in principle the recommendations of the Structural Renewal Taskforce. Synod Implementation Teams and a National Implementation Team were formed to determine how to move forward based on the recommendations. The initial recommendations for structural renewal included significant changes to the structure of synods, including amalgamation of some synods. Synods dealt with these proposals at their conventions earlier this year. As we prepare for the 2013 Joint Assembly (a joint event of the 2013 ELCIC National Convention and 2013 Anglican Church of Canada General Synod), our focus turns to changes in the structure of the National Church.
April 2012: ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson writes a letter to members of the church providing an update on the structural renewal process to-date and the proposals that will be coming before all ELCIC synod conventions over the next few months. An accompanying video has also been prepared by Bishop Johnson. ELCIC congregations are encouraged to find an opportunity before or following worship to share the video with their members.
January 2012: ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson shared a message with church members updating them on the structural renewal process. The text of the message can be viewed here. She also prepared a video message that can be viewed here.
Winter 2012: Synod Implementation Teams and the National Implementation Team have been working hard to determine what the proposed new structures will be like in their territories. The restructuring process which originally began as an initiative to reduce costs, has invigorated the members of these teams and others across the ELCIC who, having been moved by the Holy Spirit, now recognize the exciting opportunity that the restructuring provides for focus on mission. These teams are developing plans, and preparing both presentations and motions to take to synod conventions this spring and summer.
Members of the National Implementation Taskforce meet at the National Office, November 2011.
Fall 2011: ELCIC Synods and the National Church Council have appointed implementation teams as outlined in the report of the Structural Renewal Taskforce with mandates to take motions to synod conventions in spring/summer 2012. Each of the current synods has a representative on the National Implementation Team who will liaise with their Synod Implementation Teams. These teams have begun the work of determining how to implement the recommendations which were approved in principle at the July 2011 National Convention.
July 2011: Delegates at the 2011 ELCIC National Convention approved in principle recommendations of the Structural Renewal Task Force and authorized the ELCIC's National Church Council (NCC) to move forward with the implementation process. The vote occurred on Saturday, July 16, the third day of business for convention delegates. A news release on the vote can be read here.
May 2011: Following two years of thoughtful analysis and church-wide consideration, the final report from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's (ELCIC) Structural Renewal Task Force is now available. (read the full news release)
December 2010: As the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) seeks to develop a framework for the church that is flexible, affordable and sustainable, a majority of participants who provided feedback on suggestions for structural renewal within the church feel it would be acceptable to reduce the number of synods and/or reduce the size of National Convention as a possible way of moving forward. The feedback, which also includes detailed suggestions on ways to reduce administrative costs in the church and areas where the National Church and Synods should be involved, comes following months of generating feedback from ELCIC members across the church. (read the full update)
Summer 2010: Get an update on the work of the Structural Renewal Task Force by watching the video of the Saskatchewan Synod Convention presentation.
If you are unable to view the able video, it can be accessed online.
Spring 2010: The Structural Renewal Task Force is making presentations to all 2010 Synod Conventions asking delegates to engage in small group discussions about the need for structural renewal. The link to the Online Feedback Form will stay active till August 31, 2010. The input during these discussions and responses to the survey will help to inform the work of the taskforce as they consider what kind of structure best suits the changing demands of the ELCIC's ministry and outreach. All members of the ELCIC are encouraged to participate in these discussions and questions.
October 2009: ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson shares an update on the work of the Structural Renewal Task Force in this video message.
In February 2009, the officers of the National Church and all five synods met to look at the current challenges facing our church. They agreed that these challenges will become more severe in the next few years and that there is need for major changes to the organizational structure of the church. At the same time, the officers noted the need to increase work in the areas of evangelism, outreach and stewardship as we try to live out our call to be a church In Mission for Others.
National Church Council (NCC) heard these concerns and appointed a Structural Renewal Task Force with the mandate to develop a structural framework for our church which is flexible, affordable and sustainable.
NCC asked the Task Force to identify segments of the church’s constituency which will be impacted by structural changes and consult appropriately. As well, the task force is to consult with our partners including the Evangelical Lutheran Women, Anglican Church of Canada, Canadian Lutheran World Relief and the seminaries - Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.
All of this work is to be done in preparation for presentation of a detailed proposal, including constitutional amendments, which are to be brought forward to the 2011 National Convention.
The Task Force has begun its work and is currently preparing proposals which will be shared with NCC and Synod Councils this fall. The feedback they receive will be critical in the preparation of a model for presentation, to which the wider church will be asked to provide feedback. There will be a wide consultation process including presentations and discussions at Synod Conventions next year, on-line surveys, discussions with partners and as many conversations as we can generate across the church.
How can you help?
Pray for our church and the Task Force. May God will guide us to a new model of being church, equipping us to live out our vision to be a church In Mission for Others.
Participate in the process. Encourage the members of your congregation and your colleagues to participate in the process as well.
Share this message as widely as possible. Use the attached bulletin insert, communication information in your congregation’s newsletter, share information during worship, put on your church website, and ask for time on the agenda of your clergy cluster - these are just a few suggestions on how to engage others in dialogue around this issue.