The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) released a denomination-wide study on education during a two-day meeting entitled, “Our Calling in Education: A Lutheran Study,” Sept 10-12, 2004.
"The purpose of the study document is to provide a framework for discussion and a means of engaging broad and deep conversation across the church," said Dr. Paul J. Dovre, former president, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., and task force co-chair.
"We hope the study brings many audiences within the ELCA to dialogue about education in all its diversity and to engage in discussions about our calling in education," said Christi Lines, principal, St. Paul's Lutheran School, Waverly, Iowa.
Lines is the chairman of the 16-member task force, which began its work on education in 2003. The ELCA Division for Church in Society appointed and commissioned the study.
The Rev. John R. Stumme, the Division’s director for studies, said the materials will be available to congregations by the end of 2004; Stumme also said the study materials will include a response sheet for congregations to write their comments on.
"The task force hopes that during the first nine months of 2005 there will be a lot of discussion of the ideas and tentative proposals in the study," Stumme said.
"The feedback from the study will guide us as we write the first draft of the social statement," Lines added. The task force plans to have the first draft of a proposed social statement ready in 2006 and a final draft in 2007.
"During its first four meetings, the task force has been striving to clarify its own thinking on the vital issues of education in our church and society," Stumme said. "Now the task force wants to hear from others in our church. The study is a means for broadening the discussion, listening to the concerns and ideas of others, and encouraging conversation on education throughout our church.”
The Church and Society division defined the four purposes of having a social statement as: present a Lutheran vision of education for our time; address issues of education and schooling for children and young people in our society, with attention to purpose and quality, equity and access for all, responsibilities, and religion's role in public schooling; set forth an understanding of our church's own educational institutions (preschool, primary and secondary schools, and colleges and universities); consider our church's ministries in relation to public schools and universities and the vocation of Christians involved in education in different roles.