ST. LOUIS — The 62nd Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod today (July 14) acknowledged concerns expressed by the Synod’s Praesidium regarding the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and encouraged “substantive conversations” with that church body.
In a report requested by the 2001 convention, the Praesidium — the Synod’s president and five vice presidents — recommended to this year’s convention that current LCMS working relationships with the ELCA be continued. At the same time, it expressed concern over the ELCA’s ecumenical agreements and its current deliberations regarding same-sex unions and the possibility of ordaining practicing homosexuals.
The convention adopted Res. 3-07, voting 672-479 to:
• receive the Praesidium’s report, acknowledge its concerns and authorize it “to continue to monitor current concerns and potential directions of the ELCA”;
• encourage Synod President Gerald Kieschnick and other LCMS members of the joint Committee on Lutheran Cooperation “to pursue substantive conversations with representatives of the ELCA and the LCMS, in a continuing effort to bear witness to the truth of the Scriptures and the Confessions in the hope that agreement can be reached in those areas where we disagree”;
• ask the Synod president to report to the 2007 convention any recommendations for changes in joint activity with the ELCA; and
• “commit ourselves as members of Synod to walk together in supporting the leadership of the President in consultation with the Praesidium of Synod regarding this relationship between conventions.”
Much of the Praesidium’s report focused on the military chaplaincy, the area of inter-Lutheran cooperation that it said is “the most difficult aspect of our task of evaluation.” The two church bodies have agreed that their respective chaplains will provide Word and Sacrament ministry to all Lutheran military personnel.
An effort was made to introduce as a substitute motion a Wyoming District resolution to end any joint work with the ELCA that involves Word and Sacrament ministry. The convention voted 496-602 against considering the substitute.
Posted July 14, 2004