Trustworthy Servants of the People of God is a new document that was reviewed at the Conference of Bishops (CoB) gathering at the end of February. It is a proposed replacement for Vision & Expectations (V&E). It is an aspirational document for what we as a church desire and expect from our rostered leaders and candidates. It has now been given to the ELCA Church Council, the legislative body with the authority to approve, change, or reject it.
There has been much confusion, frustration, and flat our misinformation about the process of the creation of this document and who has authority to approve it. This stems from what has been a frustrating process as well as a great deal of anxiety about what would be included in the document and who has power to draft the document. This prompted our message released on Ash Wednesday related to acknowledging how V&E was at times misused and was not always equitable applied. This has caused a great deal of pain and we deeply regret that pain caused by the actions of the CoB or candidacy committees. Additionally, the decisions by the United Methodist Church have created great anxiety particularly in the LGBTQIA+ community and amongst those who consider themselves allys of this community. We understand, I understand, this anxiety. It continues to be important for the community in the ELCA to understand that this is a document of the ELCA Churchwide expression (particularly domestic mission) and the ELCA Church Council. As such, elected lay and clergy delegates, not bishops, have final authority over the document’s content.
Comment on the document can now be received by the church council. If you have specific comment on the document you may send that to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to a church council member (you can find information about church council on the ELCA website) and it will be collated and passed on. They will deliberate and then have the option to approve it or not.