After much investigation, deliberation, and prayer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) Human Sexuality Task Force is set to release its study on October 1.
In March 2006, the ELCIC’s National Church Council (NCC) directed the National Bishop to “appoint a task force to prepare a proposal for the development of a social statement on human sexuality.” While the task force has significant responsibly in preparing study documents and draft statements, their primary role is to ensure wide consultation across the ELCIC. In 2008, the task force surveyed Synod convention delegates on the relative importance that might be placed on particular aspects of a human sexuality study.
The study that will be released in the coming weeks is intended to be part of the consultation process. It is divided into seven sessions and has been written with the ELCIC’s context in mind. Congregations are encouraged to generate opportunities to use the studies for conversation. The study may also be used by individuals.
"I very much encourage individuals and congregations to get involved in the study," says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. "The feedback individuals and congregations will provide are crucial to the success of the social statement process."
Members of the task force also note that feedback is critical to the process; all feedback will be reviewed and will inform the crafting of a draft social statement. The social statement process insists that a draft social statement is also distributed widely across the church for further consultation. It is also hoped that engaging in the study sessions will generate discussion meaningful to local contexts.
A social statement seeks to provide the social analysis and theological basis for the collective ELCIC understanding of continuing crucial issues that arise out of the mission of the ELCIC. A social statement is designed to focus on a broad social theme rather than a specific issue.
Once it is released, the study will be available online, and a printed copy will be mailed to each congregation. Feedback from this study phase will be received until February 28, 2010.
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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