Supporting and coordinating with synod leadership for consultation and cooperative programming.
"We commit ourselves as church to respond faithfully, promptly and flexibly to the many opportunities for mission."
Evangelical Declaration, commitment 7
Conference of Bishops
Bishop Sartison and the five synodical bishops met on a number of occasions during the biennium, together with Secretary Granke, to consider issues of common concern and to begin discussions about policy matters that were to be dealt with by the NCC.
Among the items considered by the bishops, and subsequently discussed by NCC, were new guidelines dealing with "On Leave from Call Status." Attached as Appendix 9, the policy was approved by NCC in March 2001. The documentation related to the Discipline of Ordained Ministers was also considered and recommended by the bishops.
Each year the bishops meet together with the bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada. This gathering has proven to be both practical and invaluable in building relationships between the leadership of our two churches.
Cooperation through Working Groups
Reports from each of the five national working groups are included as Appendices 1 - 5 to this report of NCC.
The working groups have accomplished much. The reports provide an overview of the work completed and an indication of tasks currently underway.
Synod nominations to working groups were dealt with as required at meetings of NCC. We sincerely thank all the members of the working groups for their valuable contributions to the life of the ELCIC.
During the past year, NCC commissioned a study to review the effectiveness of the working groups. The report has raised significant questions about the merits and functioning of the national working group structure. Many respondents find the present structure to be ineffective and cumbersome. The opinions of synod and national staff and working group members were solicited.
At the same time that this study was being completed, NCC was formally considering the methods and mechanisms of collaboration between the synods and the national church. A decision was made in March 2001 to create a task force to plan and put forth structure and function options for the ELCIC. The matter of the working group model is to be considered as part of this process. A national/synod consultation will be held in October 2001 to hear the recommendations from the task force's research.
For some time, the National Church Council and national ELCIC staff has considered the technical and communication needs of the ELCIC related to a centralized custom data base system.
In March 2000, NCC allocated funds from the interest earned on Lutheran Investment Funds and Endowments (LIFE) equity balances towards the creation of a data base system for the ELCIC.
"Project Rasmus," as it has been named, was created through a collaborative effort between the five ELCIC synods, the national church and a contract with IBM Canada. In addition to providing for a centralized information management system, Rasmus also includes an event registration package and a human resource package that is utilized primarily by synods to manage rosters and the call process. The ELCIC national office offers ongoing support to synods, congregations and individuals now that the system is operational. Already, at this early stage, we are able to see the efficiencies and better communication being facilitated through this system.