The largest network of renewal churches and leaders within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is considering establishing a new association that may lead to the formation of a non-geographic synod within the 5 million member denomination.
Talks for the new association began at the first quarterly meeting of 2005 five the World Alone Network (WA)s board of directors, in New Rochelle, New York, on Jan. 7-8. During the meeting, members of the board recommended a vote at the annual convention of the WA network in April, regarding the formation of a separate network of churches that can bring churches that confess a common faith into a closer relationship with each other.
The association would partner with independent Lutheran agencies for the sake of outreach, global missions, youth ministry, educational resources and so on, according to Jaynan Clark Egland, board member of WA.
The new association would begin with WA member churches at the core, but will extend membership to all churches within the ELCA interested in renewal and revival.
The association would provide a place for local churches to hang their confessional hats and say, It is here that we stand and stay, alongside these neighbors in the faith. We confess the same beliefs and want to get on with doing what Jesus has called us to do. A summary statement of core beliefs will be presented, Egland continued in a Jan. 24 statement. The association will address our convictions regarding the authority of the Word, our Lutheran understanding of church, our ministry standards, our teaching on marriage and our focus primarily on evangelism and outreach in the mission fields.
Should the association be established, and should it be accepted by the ELCA as a church entity, it will become the first non-geographic synod that would be based on faith and beliefs as opposed to physical location.