The governing body of the Lutheran World Federation has delayed the election of a new general secretary and has asked the search committee "to make every effort to bring an additional name of a candidate" for consideration.
"This in no way reflects on the quality of the search committee's report," commented Bishop Mark S. Hanson, president of LWF, in an announcement made public Friday.
The move does, however, make a case for those who have complained about the lack of transparency in the search process.
Since current LWF General Secretary the Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko informed the LWF Council last year of his intention to conclude his service in 2010, the 49-member body has been tight-lipped regarding the process, revealing only that the search process and timetable for the next general secretary was approved.
Then, this month, LWF announced that the council planned to elect a new general secretary during a closed session on Thursday – the opening day of the governing body's six-day meeting in Geneva. The 49-member council, which is responsible for the business of LWF, meets every 12 to 18 months between LWF Assemblies, held every six years.
Following Thursday's closed session meeting, few additional details were revealed, except that the agenda included discussion on the general secretary's election and the report by the seven-member search committee, which comprises representatives from all the LWF's regions.
LWF did, however, announce that an election would still be held during this month's council meeting, which concludes Oct. 27.
In addition to regular business and the matter of a new general secretary, the agenda for this year's council meeting includes recommendations for renewal within the communion and a proposed action with regard to the legacy of Lutheran persecutions of Anabaptists.
Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member churches in 79 countries all over the world representing over 68.5 million Christians.