In May 2015, the Task Force requested a confirmation of the mandate from the ABC District Board of Directors. This was for the benefit of the new members who weren't involved in the initial discussions, but it also relevant and helpful for you, the church, to see that the Board is indeed allowing us to operate at arm's length. The chair of the board, Jim Kentel, signed this acknowledgment on May 20, 2015 for our and your benefit.
The ABC District Board of Directors has initiated a Task Force to identify factors contributing to the current crisis. The scope of the Task Force mandate is broad and complex. It includes analyzing not only financial and legal aspects of the current crisis, but also underlying cultural, structural, and procedural principles and practices that helped set the stage for the current crisis. Identifying, understanding, and addressing these is vital to help our church walk wisely into the future.
We are called to walk into this future not only with trust in our Lord, but also in relationship to one another. The breadth and latitude of the Task Force mandate will hopefully encourage God-pleasing relationships between laypeople, pastors, and the ABC District (whatever this might look like in the future). We are mindful of the impact of the current crisis on everyone involved. Implications and ramifications are widespread and multi-faceted: personal and systemic, emotional and legal, financial and religious, lonely and public.
As a Task Force, we will strive, with the help of God, to be fair, discerning, loving, honest, and inclusive while we volunteer our gifts and talents to pursue the mandate of the Task Force. In the interests of ensuring transparency and encouraging credibility and trust between congregations and the ABC District amidst the current crisis, we respectfully request confirmation of the following:
- We are amending the name of the Task Force from “CEF REVIEW TASK FORCE” to “ABC DISTRICT REVIEW TASK FORCE”. This is a more accurate name given the scope of the mandate.
- We intend to produce a final report speaking to the mandate with conclusions and suggestions. Though confidentiality of the personal information obtained is our intent, there are legal aspects to the current crisis that could preclude confidentiality. Should any information be requested by subpoena from the Task Force members, we will be required by law to release it.
- This Task Force is independent of the ABC District and operating at ‘arms length’. Though the Task Force was initiated by the District and two initial members were identified by the District, further members will be approved by the Task Force itself. Please know that we will strive, with the help of God, to do our work with fairness and love for our church, our laypeople, our pastors, our former and current leaders, and our Lord. Should any of us as individuals have a conflict of interest that impairs our ability to be fair and just, we will remove ourselves from that aspect of the Task Force work.
- The final report of the Task Force will be released upon completion to the congregations, pastors, and laypeople of the ABC District, as well as the LCC Synod. The Task Force will share ABC District confirmation of the Task Force mandate with congregations/people through our website. We hope that this encourages trust as we continue to work on our mandate.