In the published summary of Church Council actions from its November, 2016 meeting, the ELCA Church Council voted to postpone implementation of the required human rights investment screen, mandated by the Churchwide Assembly, until such time as a social message on human rights is developed an approved.

Since the (voluminous) minutes for Church Council meetings are not published for several months after the meeting occurs, it’s a little difficult to know exactly what transpired at this meeting.  Normally investment screens are formed based on ELCA teaching as set out in social statements, and it seems that for some reason the existing Social Statement of the ELCA  “For Peace in God’s World” (1995) , which does address human rights was not considered adequate.

Social messages are described here and differ from social statements in that they are only approved by the Church Council after review by the Conference of Bishops.  (Social statements take years to develop and are voted on by the entire Churchwide Assembly.)

Some Church Council members believe that the Council will be able to vote on the applicable social message by November, 2017.

–Dale Loepp