July 15, 2011 -- Delegates for the 2011 ELCIC National Convention approved the Social Statement on Human Sexuality. The results were done by written ballot, with 213 votes in favour of the motion and 134 against. The document is the result of a four-year process involving: a study guide, a church-wide feedback process, a draft statement that allowed for further feedback opportunities, and the statement. The statement analyzes the current social problem, provides theological and ethical foundations, and applies insights from the first two sections to the contemporary situation.
April 3, 2011 -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) has been meeting in Mississauga, ON from April 1-3, 2011. NCC shared a letter to the Church which is available online.
April 1, 2011 -- The ELCIC Task Force on Human Sexuality has presented a Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality to the National Church Council for review. In preparation for convention, this proposed statement is now available online and will be included in the convention's Bulletin of Reports.
The coming months will be a time for conversation and prayer as delegates prepare to consider the proposed statement at convention. The proposal does not become a social statement of this church unless it is adopted by the convention.
The Task Force wishes to again thank all those who forwarded their feedback to the Task Force for consideration.
September 2, 2010 -- The September 30 deadline for members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) to provide feedback on the Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality is quickly approaching. Feedback provided on the document will be carefully considered by the ELCIC’s Human Sexuality Task Force and used to make further revisions to the document which will be brought before National Church Council (NCC) in February 2011. (read the news release) **Note: the orginal deadline for the study has been extended to September 30 to ensure broad access to the draft statement for review, reflection and feedback.
April 15, 2010 -- The ELCIC Human Sexuality Task Force released The First Draft of a Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality for wide distribution and reflection by congregations and members throughout the church. (read the news release)
All feedback to the draft social statement must be submitted by August 31, 2010. The following links provide access to the document and feedback form.
First Draft of the Proposed Statement of Human Sexuality
March 12, 2010 -- Members of the ELCIC responded enthusiastically to the call to provide feedback on the ELCIC's Study of Human Sexuality. As of the February 28 deadline for feedback over 500 responses had been received at the National Office via online feedback, as well as through written submissions. Responses are continuing to come in; the task force will be including the additional responses in the process as they are able. The next step in the process will involve the task force reviewing all of the submissions and, using the feedback, writing a first draft of a social statement. (read the news release)
September 30, 2009 -- The much anticipated ELCIC Study of Human Sexuality is now available for individual and congregational use. The study, prepared by the ELCIC Human Sexuality Task Force, is intended to engage members of the church in dialogue and respectful conversation as part of a consultation process hoped to generate feedback and inform the process of drafting a social statement. (read the news release)
The following seven session study is designed for use by a wide audience. You are invited to consider how you can participate either individually or as a group in this study.
Study of Human Sexuality documents:
Following each session, you are invited to offer your feedback (either as a group or individually) to the taskforce. Feedback can be provided via the form available above or through an online process. Feedback can be submitted anonymously if you wish.
Note: Feedback must be submitted by February 28, 2010.
September 2009 -- After much investigation, deliberation, and prayer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's (ELCIC) Human Sexuality Task Force is set to release its study on October 1.
In March 2006, the ELCIC's National Church Council (NCC) directed the National Bishop to appoint a task force to prepare a proposal for the development of a social statement on human sexuality. While the task force has significant responsibly in preparing study documents and draft statements, their primary role is to ensure wide consultation across the ELCIC. In 2008, the task force surveyed Synod convention delegates on the relative importance that might be placed on particular aspects of a human sexuality study.
The study that will be released in the coming weeks is intended to be part of the consultation process. It is divided into seven sessions and has been written with the ELCIC's context in mind. Congregations are encouraged to generate opportunities to use the studies for conversation. The study may also be used by individuals.
"I very much encourage individuals and congregations to get involved in the study," says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. "The feedback individuals and congregations will provide are crucial to the success of the social statement process."
Members of the task force also note that feedback is critical to the process; all feedback will be reviewed and will inform the crafting of a draft social statement. The social statement process insists that a draft social statement is also distributed widely across the church for further consultation. It is also hoped that engaging in the study sessions will generate discussion meaningful to local contexts.
A social statement seeks to provide the social analysis and theological basis for the collective ELCIC understanding of continuing crucial issues that arise out of the mission of the ELCIC. A social statement is designed to focus on a broad social theme rather than a specific issue.
Once it is released, the study will be available online, and a printed copy will be mailed to each congregation. Feedback from this study phase will be received until February 28, 2010.
January 30-31, 2008 -- The ELCIC's taskforce on the development of a social statement on human sexuality met in Winnipeg. The meeting focused on what resource would be used to guide the ELCIC's shared studying of this issues. It was decided that we would begin by editing and adapting the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)'s Journey Together Faithfully for use in the Canadian context. It is hoped that a resource for the ELCIC will be ready by the fall 2008 for our shared study and discernment of what God is calling us to say together about human sexuality.
September 2006 -- In September 2006, the National Church Council passed a motion which began the process of creating a social statement on human sexuality. The task force which will guide the process of creating this social statement has been formed and consists of members who represent the many different perspectives present in our church. In August 2007 this committee met for the first time to set out the process that will be followed to create this social statement. The this process will include
1. The preparation of study resources which will be sent out throughout the ELCIC
2. Soliciting feedback from the study, which will be used to shape our social statement
3. Writing of a 1st draft of a social statement.
4. This statement will be circulated and feed back on this first draft will be sought from our church
5. A second draft of the social statement will be written.
6. This second draft will be brought to the National Church Council
7. National Church Council will then bring this draft social statement to our National Convention to be voted on.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Human Sexuality Task Force
While the task force has had significant responsibility in preparing study documents and working towards the drafting of a statement, their primary role is to ensure wide consultation across the ELCIC. The members of the Task Force are:
Judy Wry (Chairperson)
Paul Gehrs (ELCIC Staff Support)
In November 2003, the ELCIC National Church Council communicated their encouragement to discuss the questions related to the practice of same sex blessings across the different expressions of the ELCIC with the following information:
There are specific and compelling reasons to engage this question such as concern in congregations and among pastors about their pastoral practice, questions in the wider society regarding the practice, religious freedom and its protection in Canada and our commitment to a church united in the gospel;
This is a difficult issue for the ELCIC and the participation of the whole church is needed to address the question;
We (National Church Council) affirm the high level of interest and deliberation already expressed as a sign of vital engagement with issues of importance; and
We encourage congregations, clergy gatherings, conferences and synods to use the constitutional process of this church to examine the issue and give direction to this church’s deliberations; such examination should include prayer, biblical and confessional study and responsible engagement with one another with insights from scientific and sociological disciplines and with awareness of implications for our ecumenical relations; and
We will receive input from across this church in order that the ELCIC may act together on this issue.
At the March 2004 National Church Council meeting, Council members participated in a discernment session using Journey Together Faithfully, a resource of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Subsequent to this session, it was agreed to offer Journey Together Faithfully plus a resource identifying the ELCIC context as an option to assist ELCIC members to engage in the discussions encouraged by National Church Council.
Journey Together Faithfully is a set of two study guides produced by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to assist the church to engage in studies on homosexuality and human sexuality. The first study deals with the blessing of same-gender unions and the rostering of persons in committed gay or lesbian relationships; the second study is meant to lead to the development of a social statement on sexuality. The Journey Together Faithfully studies are found at http://www.elca.org/faithfuljourney/. The resource outlining the ELCIC context follows.
National Church Council also directed the National Bishop to provide a report to the September NCC meeting advising on the process to develop a social statement for the ELCIC on sexuality, marriage and the family. This action reflects the concern of NCC that the 1970 Lutheran Church in America Social Statement on Sex, Marriage and the Family should be replaced with a more current ELCIC statement.