On Saturday evening, delegates to the 2023 ELCIC Special Convention approved an amended report and recommendations from the ELCIC Task Force Addressing Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, which was formed out of convention action at the 2019 ELCIC National Convention.
Among the recommendations, the ELCIC is called to: appoint a taskforce to continue the work of addressing Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in the ELCIC; increase usage of pronouns; increase the ELCIC’s visibility as an affirming church; issue a public statement of apology to 2SLGBTQIA+ folx that have been harmed by the ELCIC; create a naming liturgy service to publicly affirm and celebrate transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse members of the ELCIC; ongoing sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) training; a national office staff person with dedicated responsibilities for diversity, equity and inclusion; encourage congregations in the ELCIC to begin a “Reconciling in Christ” process; and create national resources which would support listening, safe conversations, and discernment at all levels of the church around healthy, consensual relationships, including ethical non-monogamous relationships.
An amendment from the floor of convention also added back in a recommendation from the 2022 report, “that the ELCIC and its synods suspend any current or future decisions against rostered leaders based on sections D & E in the current manual Discipline of Rostered Ministers where it is determined there is no harm caused.”
Speaking to the motion, delegates were respectful and at times emotional. Several delegates expressed not only how important it would be to pass the recommendations but also what it would look like if the church did not pass the task force recommendations.
Prior to announcing the results of the one of the amendments, Bishop Johnson addressed concern around, “anxiety and tension in the room.” Bishop Johnson reminded delegates of the song she invite them to sing with her during her report on Wednesday evening, “Courage, my friend, you do not walk alone. We will, walk with you, and sing your spirit home.”
“We have differing opinions, we are not divided,” she counseled.
Convention chaplain Deacon Faith Nostbakken was asked to lead the convention in a prayer prior to the call for the vote. “As we come to this time may we sense the love we have for one another, the respect we have for one another, and the willingness to acknowledge the dignity of every person part of this decision,” she prayed.
The report from the Task Force Addressing Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in its entirety can be found in Appendix 18 of the Bulletin of Reports (https://elcic.box.com/s/uk6ag0nxj5kasnerxv3bksr8u8egn0ym).