Congregations and individuals throughout the ELCA are encouraged to participate in reviewing the draft social statement on criminal justice now available for study. A response form is available at the end of the statement to provide to the task force comment and reaction to their work. Responses must be in to the task force by October 31, 2012. The task force will then work on a revision which will ultimately be referred to the ELCA Church Council which will make the decision whether or not to recommend it to the 2013 Churchwide Assembly.
Two hearings on the social statement will be held in the synod in September. A member of the task force will be present at each hearing. The first will be Saturday, September 22, from 10:00 AM – Noon at the Synod Center for Ministry in Iowa City. The second hearing will be Sunday, September 23, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Ames. This immediately precedes the beginning of the Fall Theological Conference.
The draft statement, a summary, and an FAQ document may be downloaded for free at https://www.ELCA.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Social-Statements-in-Process/Criminal-Justice.aspx. This link also provides information needed to order copies for a fee. The study-response-revision process of dealing with social statements in the ELCA encourages participation by the members of this church. Pastors and congregational leaders are encouraged to make this draft statement available to members and study groups for discussion and response.
Written by Pr. Paul Ostrem, Assistant to the Bishop