National Lutheran News

Three into one

ELCA to bring all non-ordained roster leadership under one umbrella

The ELCA Church Council in February authorized the Word and Service Task Force to “facilitate the creation of a single, unified roster of Word and Service ministry, subject to the review and recommendation by the Conference of Bishops and the Church Council and the approval of the Churchwide Assembly.”

The Word and Service Task Force has subsequently drafted two working documents concerning the title and definition for one unified roster for Word and Service ministry, as well as the transition from three lay rosters to one unified roster. Word and Service Ministry includes those engaged in what are now three distinct expressions of service ministry — deaconesses, diaconal ministers, associates in ministry (AiM).

The first task force document recommends that all three service ministries be named “deacons.” According to the second document, “all members on the current three rosters will automatically be transferred onto the new roster, unless they choose to resign from their roster.”

The task force asked the ELCA Worship Team to develop rituals/rites of transition for use at synod assemblies for this transition.

The Conference of Bishops and the Church Council will review these recommendations in 2014. If acceptable, the proposal will likely appear before the 2016 churchwide assembly.

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