The Way Forward project team has described the response to the call for models as ‘highly encouraging’. More than a hundred submissions had been received at the closing date, yesterday, 26 June.
While submissions ranged in detail from fully formulated models (58) to suggestions and ideas (52), it was clear to the project team that great time, thought, and effort had been invested into every one of them. Submissions were received from across the LCA, including lay people, active and emeriti pastors, and congregational teams.
‘As expected, we received submissions representing a wide range of opinions about ordination and about the Synod resolution to explore a framework for ‘one church, two practices’, said Tim Niewand, Way Forward project manager. ‘Without exception, however, every submission was proffered with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’
‘Every voice across the LCA is valuable and every person has the opportunity to be heard. We are grateful to every person and group of people who made a submission, including those who shared their heartfelt thoughts.’
It is clear that, regardless of the position people hold on ordination, there is a commitment to grappling with God’s word and earnestly listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the church at this time, the project team said.
‘We are working with people on the project and all across the church who bring a deep spiritual and emotional connection to this topic. People are praying for God’s guidance, and we need to keep our eyes and ears open to where the Holy Spirit leads us.’
The number of responses received indicates that members of the church are ‘reflecting deeply’ about the way forward.
‘People are having conversations – in their congregations, among their family and friends, and in their social networks’, the project team said. ‘They recognise that the LCA is at a critical juncture, and they are contemplating what the future might look like.’
The project team is in the process of responding to every submission now to acknowledge receipt and offer this in a body of work to the General Church Board and the College of Bishops for consideration.
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