“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.“
We’ve heard many times over the past few years that the church is changing, but what does that actually mean?
At a local level this might mean adjusting our worship experience, reimagining ministries, or engaging in new forms of lay education. But on a national, denominational level, the Church is experiencing changes as well. In 2022, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly tasked the Church Council to established a Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church. This Commission has been established and their work has begun!
What is the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church (CRLC)?
The purpose of the CRLC is to examine the “statements of purpose” for all expressions of the church. They will also examine the principles of the ELCA organizational structure, paying particular attention to our shared commitment to dismantle racism. As they do this, they will work in consultation with the Conference of Bishops and the Church Council. They’ll report their findings and recommendations to the 2025 Churchwide Assembly.
Who makes up the CRLC?
35 people from across the ELCA make up the CRLC, including Pastor Adam Sornchai from St. John, Windfall! The diversity of this group ensures that many perspectives are present around the table when considering the future of the church.
What happened at their first meeting?
The CRLC met for the first time July 13-15, 2023. Facilitated by Rev. Susan Johnson (bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada), they focused on building connection between members through scripture, conversation, and devotions. They talked about their hopes for the future of the ELCA, the purpose of the group, and how to commit fully to anti-racism. During their time together they agreed that their main goal for 2023 is to listen to the wider church.
Why is this important for us in the Northwestern Ohio Synod?
This actually isn’t the first time that a Commision for a Renewed Lutheran Church has been formed! This current group shares a name with the original “Commission for a New Lutheran Church”, which met from 1982-1987. The original commission led directly to the creation of the ELCA.
While the result of this Commission may not be a merging as in the 80’s, their work will more closely examine how the church has changed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, new systems of education, and changing culture and communities!
As their work continues, we give thanks to God for the 35 people who have dedicated time, energy, and resources to this faithful work, and we look forward to how we can join them in this spirit-filled endeavor!
What are some positive changes you’ve seen in your church and community?
What are some dreams and hopes you have for the church at a local level and a national level?
How can you initiate that change?