The 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly was held in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 8-12, 2022, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
We gathered under the theme, Embody the Word. There’s an importance in the double meaning of the two words:
- Embody, meaning both the incarnation of Jesus Christ and the life of the church emerging from a pandemic.
- Word – both meaning Jesus Christ and scripture
Luke 24:45 states, “Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” We embody the Word, both Jesus and the scripture, by speaking it and proclaiming it. In 1522: Martin Luther’s translation of the New Testament made the Word accessible to the people and revolutionized the Christian movement worldwide. 500 years later, the call to make Jesus accessible to the people still exists today and as we look to the future of this church.
The ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the primary decision-making body of the church, is a process of communal spiritual discernment. When the ELCA Churchwide Assembly convenes, its voting members meet with confidence in God’s grace around word and water, wine and bread, to carry on their work on behalf of the entire church. Over the course of the assembly, voting members:
- Heard reports and reviewed the work of churchwide officers, leaders and units;
- Received and considered proposals from synod assemblies;
- Elected officers, board members and other leaders as specified by the constitution or bylaws;
- Established ELCA churchwide policy;
- Worshiped together;
- Adopted a budget; and
- Conducted other business related to the ELCA churchwide organization.
To see photos, videos, and learn more about the assembly, visit https://elca.org/churchwideassembly.
Churchwide Assembly Highlights
- Elected Mr. Imran Siddiqui of the Southeastern Synod as vice president of the ELCA.
- Directed the Church Council to establish a Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church to reconsider the statements of purpose for each expression of this church, the principles of organizational structure, and our shared commitment to dismantle racism, with findings to be reported to the 2025 Churchwide Assembly in preparation for a possible reconstituting convention; and directed an external audit of the governing documents of this church to consider diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, with findings resulting in recommended changes to the governing documents.
- Authorized revisions to the social statement, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, and approved exploration of reconsideration of the four stated positions of “bound conscience.”
- Encouraged members, congregations, and synods of this church to educate themselves about Indigenous peoples, calling on the churchwide organization to work with synods and Indigenous partners to identify sources of funding for ministries for Indigenous peoples, and encouraging restorative justice that could include return of land to the appropriate Native nations.
- Referred a proposed study of pay gaps for rostered ministers to the Church Council.
- Mandated a review process of the roster manual and policies related to specialized ministries, On Leave from Call status, and protocols for removal from the rosters, and encouraged bishops and synod councils to use sparingly the process of removal from the roster for non-disciplinary reasons.
- Approved the budget proposal for the triennium, including a spending authorization of $68,814,000 for 2023 for the current fund, along with a spending authorization of $22,930,000 for ELCA World Hunger.
- Affirmed limits on the use of non-disclosure agreements by the churchwide organization and urged synods, congregations, and other ministries to apply the same limits.
- Reaffirmed the commitment of this church to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, directing the churchwide organization to set a goal of reducing net greenhouse gas pollution 50% by 2030, with a long-range goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
- Called for a review of the nomination and elections processes used by synods and the churchwide organization.
- Responded to memorials, including among others those on diversity; nuclear weapons; voting rights and Washington, D.C., statehood; strategies for fortifying urban ministries; a Black migrant strategy; the right to boycott; gun violence; LGBTQIA+ welcome; substance abuse; Roe v. Wade; remembrance of Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocide; parental and medical family leave; a process for pre-identification of nominees for the office of presiding bishop; revisions to the mission development process; consideration of communion practices related to remote worship; affirmation of the task force created by the Church Council to review the discipline process; and a social message on child abuse and protection.
- Approved or ratified amendments to the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA, most of which were related to general clarifications and updates; inclusive language; synod-authorized ministry; designation of advisory members by the Church Council; boards of the separately incorporated ministries; and election procedures for officers and the Churchwide Assembly.
- Elected members of the Church Council, Committee on Appeals, Committee on Discipline, Nominating Committee, and boards of the Separately Incorporated Ministries [see “First Common Ballot Results”].