At their meeting on March 8, the ELCA Church Council voted to remove “Vision and Expectations” from use in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Disciplinary standards for rostered ministers are outlined in “Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline.” The council encourages people to read the document, which states:
“As an expression of its life in the gospel of Jesus Christ, this church embraces disciplinary processes of counseling, admonition and correction, with the objective of forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Simultaneously, out of deep concern for effective extension of the gospel, this church remains alert to the high calling of discipleship in Jesus Christ.”
Vision and Expectations has been misused as a juridical document and continues to be a source of great pain for many. There is strong desire to focus on faithfulness to Christ and the gospel grounded in the fullness of our understanding of God, Scriptures and our confessions through a church that is more welcoming, diverse, inclusive and active in the world, and that continues to examine healthy sexuality from a Christian perspective.
“Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline” should be distinguished and recognized by the whole church as the document by which leaders are held accountable, as established by section 20.21 in the ELCA constitution.
Candidates for rostered ministry are held to the standards set forth in “Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline.” All relevant documents and manuals, including candidacy and mobility documents, will be updated by June 1, 2020, to reflect the role of “Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline” in defining the grounds for discipline.