The Conference of Bishops reviewed the document titled “Trustworthy Servants of the People of God” and said in a statement to the ELCA Church Council: “We affirm it as a timely replacement for Vision and Expectations and a faithful expression of the aspirations of the ELCA for its rostered ministers and candidates. We believe that ‘Trustworthy Servants’ can create a healthy environment for accountability in this church. We offer our prayers for the ELCA Church Council for their discernment and deliberation as they consider this policy in the days to come.”
Recognizing the hurt and pain caused by uneven and inequitable application of the former document, “Vision and Expectations,” to the LGBTQIA community and others, the Conference of Bishops issued a pastoral message and hopes that this newly rewritten document expresses the aspirations of this church for its rostered ministers in a substantially better way. This update includes language consistent with the ELCA’s social statements and the changes to civil laws that allow same-sex marriage in every state.
This church’s governing documents (Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America bylaws 7.31.01. and 14.21.02.) assign the adoption of this policy to the ELCA Church Council. The current review process has been moving along for some time. The Domestic Mission unit initiated the review process and presented a proposed revised document to the Conference of Bishops. At its spring 2019 meeting, the conference reviewed and offered advice and counsel, in accordance with the Constitution, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA. “Trustworthy Servants” is expected to be considered by the Church Council for adoption at its April 4-7 meeting.
Comments on the content of “Trustworthy Servants” should be given to the Conference of Bishops through an individual’s synod bishop by Monday, March 18. Bishops may advise the ELCA Church Council if they see cause for a major revision. The council will meet in Chicago April 4- 7.
The hope is that this document will help the whole church have confidence in its rostered ministers as trustworthy servants.