|St. Thomas Home||>>News & Events >>Archived News & Events >>October 2003|
Chicago (ELCA)-FI — The board of Lutheran Men in Mission (LMM), the men's ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), expressed optimism after meeting here and in Rosemont, Ill., Oct. 10-12 in conjunction with a Young Men's Summit.
"Our ministry continues to grow," said LMM President Heber Rast, Cameron, S.C. "With the outreach and the initiative with our young men, it will only increase that growth."
About 15 men between the ages of 18 and 34 came from across the United States for the summit, and they established the LMM Young Men's Council. The group began planning for an event in 2004 that could attract about 500 young Lutheran men.
"It was just a tremendous experience to see their enthusiasm about the church and about the opportunity of establishing men's ministries with their peers," Rast said.
An outcome of the summit will be better understanding and stronger communication across the generations of Lutheran men, Rast said. Young men share many of the same concerns of older men, he said.
Another board topic was a proposal the ELCA's presiding bishop has shared with the church to restructure the churchwide organization.
Under the proposal, a Department for Congregational Life and Evangelical Outreach would assume many of the responsibilities of the current Division for Congregational Ministries, which houses LMM. LMM would move to a new Department for Youth, Education and Lay Leadership, with the understanding that LMM would become self- funding by 2005.
Rast said it has always been LMM's goal to be self-funding. "This is something that will spur us on to meeting that goal. We feel that it's doable," he said.
The LMM board asked the ELCA Church Council, which will consider the proposal at its November meeting, for three variations to the proposal: that LMM continue with its current funding from the church until Jan. 31, 2006; that LMM be housed in the Department for Congregational Life and Evangelical Outreach; and that the self-funded LMM become a separately incorporated unit of the church, similar to Women of the ELCA, the church's women's organization.
"We are in a time of uncertainty for our church," Rast said. "In spite of all that, I sensed a lot of enthusiasm from our men with the opportunities that we have in front of us."
The chief legislative authority of LMM is its assembly, which meets every three years. Its 2002 assembly approved a three-year budget that takes the organization up to Jan. 31, 2006. "We feel that by that time we will be in a position to be financially independent and self-supporting," Rast said.
LMM's next assembly and churchwide gathering in July 2005, as well as the young men's event in 2004, will help the organization rise to the challenge of becoming self-funded, Rast said.
"It was a very good weekend for us. We have approached it with a lot of optimism. We see a bright future for Lutheran Men in Mission," Rast said.
"God has brought us a great bunch of guys through your efforts," Sean L. Forde told the LMM board, following the Young Men's Summit. Forde is a pastoral intern working with LMM and Zion Lutheran Church, Anoka, Minn.
The young men are done talking and now they want to act, Forde said. They want to get to work on the young men's event in 2004, and they want to keep in touch with the board members.
The board asked Rast to send letters of appreciation to those who attended the summit and to provide summit participants and board members with each other's e-mail addresses.
In other business, the LMM board:
+ encouraged ELCA men to participate in the church's studies on sexuality;
+ authorized its executive committee to name an ad hoc committee to study LMM structures and to bring possible recommendations to the 2005 LMM Assembly;
+ created endowments in honor of former LMM President Charles R. Bruning, Minneapolis, and former LMM Director William "Bill" Pollock, Sun City West, Ariz., who both died this year; and
+ accepted reluctantly the resignation of its vice president, Allen Anderson, Paynesville, Minn., and named Charles Oestreich, New Braunfels, Texas, to complete the unexpired term.