I. Organized at Cleveland, Ohio, November 1966, by 43 delegates from The American* Luth. Ch., the Lutheran* Ch. in Am., The Lutheran* Ch.-Mo. Syn., and the Synod* of Ev. Luth. Churches. LCUSA began functioning January 1967. Headquarters 315 Park Ave. S., New York, New York, 10010.
II. History. LCUSA grew out of a 1958 resolution of the National* Luth. Council calling for an examination of cooperative activities in Am. Lutheranism and possible extension of such activities. The LCMS hesitated to participate until assured 1959 that doctrinal implications would be examined.
Three major meetings 196061 of representatives of interested bodies led to the conclusion that there was basis for further exploration of possible establishment of a new cooperative agency whose functions would include (1) common theol. study with a view to consensus and (2) Christian service.
Meanwhile mergers decreased the participating bodies to 3: The ALC, LCA, LCMS, representing ca. 95% of ca. 8.6 million Luths. in the US and Can. Their 1962 convs. authorized further discussions.
Invitations were extended to other Luth. chs., but of them only the SELC sent observers to a meeting at Chicago, Illinois, January 2223, 1963. The SELC became part of the Inter-Luth. Consultation (as the group constituted itself January 1963) at the next meeting, in Chicago, October 1963.
By January 1964 the consultation had endorsed a proposed name and const. for the new agency, chosen NYC as the site for its headquarters, and selected January 1, 1967, as target date for est. the agency. The const. was approved by The ALC 1964, LCMS 1965, SELC 1965, LCA 1966. The NLC held its 48th and final annual meeting February 13, 1966.
III. Concurrent Developments. The NLC ceased operation December 31, 1966. Nat. Luth. Campus Ministry was set up as an agency of the ALC and LCA, with LCUSA functioning only in a consultative capacity; in 1969 LCUSA accepted responsibility for administering the program on request of the 2 sponsoring bodies. See also Students, Spiritual Care of, B 4.
Several inter-Luth. agencies which previously had functioned separately were brought together by the organization of LCUSA: Publicaciones El Escudo, which pub. Sp. materials; Luth. Film Associates; Luth. Immigration Services; Luth. Service Commission; Nat. Luth. Commission on Scouting; God-Home-Country Program Committee; World Brotherhood Exchange, a lay volunteer service program. The council also provides staff services for the Luth. Educational Conf. of N. Am. and the Luth. Soc. Welfare Conf. of Am.
IV. Purposes and Constitutional Bases. Const., Art. IV, Purposes and objectives: a. To further the witness, the work, and the interests of the participating bodies.
b. To seek to achieve theological consensus in a systematic and continuing way on the basis of the Scriptures and the witness of the Lutheran Confessions.
c. To provide an instrumentality through which the participating bodies may work together in fulfilling their responsibility of Christian service where coordination or joint activity is deemed by them to be desirable and feasible.
Functions include providing a forum for discussing mutual concerns and planning common action; promoting understanding, amity, and helpful relationships with other US Luth. chs.; representing interests of participating bodies, upon request, before the public, govts., and other organized bodies and agencies; proposing new work; performing specific services in behalf of participating chs.; establishing liaison with voluntary or unofficial inter-Luth. groups.
V. Structure and Administration. LCUSA is an agency of its participating bodies. Its only authority is that delegated to it by the participants. Except for the constitutional requirement of participation in the program of ongoing theol., study, each body determines the extent of its cooperation in LCUSA activities.
Primary governing assem.: the annual meeting of representatives of the bodies. Each ch. is entitled to 1 representative for every 200,000 bap. mems. in the US or remaining major fraction thereof, with all participants entitled to a least 1 representative.
The annual meeting elects a pres., vice-pres., secy., and 7 other representatives, who together form the Ex. Committee, which acts for the council bet. annual or special meetings. A treas. is selected by the Ex. Committee.
A standing committee for each division, dept., and commission is appointed annually by the Ex. Committee upon nominations made by the participating bodies.
Regular financial support of the council is derived mainly from appropriations made by the participating bodies is proportion to their bap. membership. A current budget and projected needs for 2 additional yrs. are presented for approval to each annual meeting.
Work not provided for in the const. or bylaws cannot be initiated without two-thirds approval of the annual meeting and a majority of the participating bodies.
A gen. secy., elected for 4 yrs., is the chief ex.
VI. Divisions and Functions. Divisions: Educational Services, Mission Services, Pub. Relations, Service to Military Personnel, Theological Studies, Welfare Services.
Office of Research, Statistics, and Archives includes a reference library, archives of inter-Luth. cooperation, and information service and provides for coordination and correlation of research projects in the council and in the participating bodies.
Office of Nat. Youth Agency Relationships represents the interests of the participating bodies in matters relating to civic agencies, e.g., Boy Scouts of Am., Camp Fire Girls, 4-H Clubs; administers ch.-related programs recognized by the youth agencies; provides training opportunities for Luth. leaders assoc. with these youth groups.
Office of World Community Issues was added 1973.
VII. Publications include Interchange, a newsletter; Circle, a news and resource packet for Luth. campus ministers; Challenger, succeeded 1972 by Volunteer, pub. by World Brotherhood Exchange; In Step, for Luths. in the US armed forces; The Lutheran Chaplain, esp. for active duty Luth. military chaplains, chaplains in the reserve forces, and military contact pastors; Focus on Public Affairs, comment on and analysis of nat. and internat. issues; The Lutheran Scouter. HWD
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
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