Church Council’s fall meeting looks to future

The ELCA Church Council met at the Lutheran Center in Chicago, Nov. 9-12, where they focused on the goals of ELCA Future Directions 2025 and priorities around congregational vitality and leadership. The council also adopted several actions on the reorganization of the ELCA Foundation. As of Jan. 1, the Endowment Fund of the ELCA assumed responsibility for all programs and related assets associated with the Foundation.

Among other business, the council also adopted a revised social message on human rights; elected an ELCA treasurer to a six-year term; presented the Servus Dei Award to Treasurer Linda Norman (left) in thanksgiving for her service; and commended the Lutheran World Federation Gender Justice Policy to the ELCA for study and consideration.

By the ELCA Advocacy staff

Recent news headlines feature a parade of high- profile men—entertainers, politicians and public figures— facing accusations of sexual harassment or abuse. These have offered a glimpse of the pervasive sexual and gender- based violence in our society. The sin of gender-based violence reveals our deep need for God’s grace and healing for individuals and society.

The ELCA social message on gender-based violence explores the role and response of the church to this brokenness. The message expresses the urgency of this response: “This is the time to speak and to listen, to deeply

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and honestly know the pain in the body of Christ and throughout the world. This is the time for survivors to speak and to be heard. This is the time to break the silence. ... This is the time to wisely care for perpetrators and to hold them accountable. This is the time to change policies, strengthen laws and challenge systemic factors that create and foster gender-based violence.”

ELCA Advocacy is supporting legislative vehicles that address gender-based violence in the U.S. and around the world. Staff are working to promote passage of the International Violence Against Women Act

in the U.S. Senate. Previous versions of this bill sought to ensure that violence against women be included in the nation’s foreign policy, with provisions for preventing violence, protecting victims and prosecuting offenders. To help, go to and take action on this issue.

The Lutheran World Federation is encouraging church leaders to speak up publicly against gender-based violence. ELCA Advocacy took part in the interfaith campaign “Precious in God’s Eyes” in December. For information on how you can get involved, go to lutheranworld. org/news/precious-gods-eyes.

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