ELCIC National Convention Delegates Approve Structural Renewal Recommendations In Principle

Delegates to the 2011 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Convention have 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 copy of the Structural Renewal Task Force Report can be found here: elcic.ca/Structural-Renewal.

The recommendations in the report of the Structural Renewal Task Force include: that the ELCIC be re-organized into three synods; existing conferences be reconfigured into "areas" (groupings of congregations) supported by leadership teams; conventions of the National Church and synods be held triennially; and National Conventions be smaller in size.

Sheila Hamilton, chair of the task force, and Rev. Mark Harris, task force member, took questions and heard comments from delegates for two hours during a Committee of the Whole session.

Delegates spoke passionately about finding a structure that meets both the church’s current reality, but also holds potential for growth.

Some delegates expressed concerns that the taskforce was driven too much by economic factors, while others were encouraged that the ELCIC structure would be "right-sized" to best meet the church’s changing needs.

Delegates also encouraged the use of technology to bring people, congregations and decision makers together.

Approval of this motion means that NCC will now consider how to best move forward with the next steps in the implementation process, including taking further motions to Synod Conventions in 2012.

Over 500 Lutherans and special guests met in Saskatoon, July 14-17 for the ELCIC’s 13th National Convention. Full agenda details, and highlights are available on the National Convention website: elcic.ca/In-Convention/2011-Saskatoon.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 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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