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Acronym Meanings

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[acchead id=”Accordion” tab_id=”Accordion0″ class=”active”]GENERAL ELCA TERMS[/acchead]
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ELCA Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Denominational name).

Region 2 One of 9 regions of the ELCA composed of 5 synods (Southwest California, Pacifica, Sierra Pacific, Rocky Mountain and Grand Canyon).

Churchwide A term referring to the entire ELCA.

Churchwide Offices
  ELCA denominational headquarters in Chicago.

Luther Center The name for the facility in Chicago that houses the ELCA Churchwide offices.

Presiding Bishop The elected clergy responsible for the entire ELCA Churchwide; currently serving is Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.
[acchead id=”Accordion” tab_id=”Accordion1″ class=””]SYNOD[/acchead]
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Synod – A geographical group of congregations that are a part of the ELCA. There are 65 synods in the ELCA.

SoCalSynod Southwest California Synod (

Conference A geographical group of congregations of the synod:

  1. Central Coast 9 congregations located between Solvang and Templeton;
  2. Channel Islands  14 Congregations between Goleta and Agoura Hills;
  3. Foothill 15 congregations in the foothills area between Glendale and Monrovia;
  4. Greater Long Beach  13 congregations in Long Beach and surrounding communities;
  5. LA Metro  19 congregations including the city of Los Angeles and Santa Monica area;
  6. San Gabriel Valley 13 congregations in the San Gabriel Valley;
  7. South Bay 15 congregations within a fifteen-mile distance from the coast;
  8. Tehachapi 7 congregations in the Lancaster, Palmdale, Frazier Park and Bakersfield areas;
  9. Twin Valleys 20 congregations in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.

Equipping Leaders for Mission (ELM) “School of Lay Ministry” designed to educate and equip lay people for enhanced participation in congregational and synodical life through personal spiritual development, biblical enhancement and life-long learning. ELM is a two-year program.
[acchead id=”Accordion” tab_id=”Accordion2″ class=””]SYNOD LEADERSHIP[/acchead]
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Synod Council 25-member elected board of directors of the synod.

Bishop The clergy elected by the Synod Assembly to lead a synod of the ELCA; currently serving the Southwest California Synod is Bishop Dr. R Guy Erwin.

Vice-President An elected lay volunteer.

Executive Committee 4 officers and 4 at-large members of the Synod Council, elected by the Council.

Mission Teams Five (5) Committees of the Synod:

  1. Mission Team for Evangelical Outreach helps the synod and its congregations implement the Synod’s Mission Goals of intentional outreach to the diverse populations of our synod, the development of new congregations, the transformation of congregations and the re-rooting of congregations in their neighborhoods. This team assists in implementation of the ELCA’s Evangelism Strategy as well as assists in implementation of ethnic strategies adopted by the Synod.
  2. Mission Team for Rostered Leadership provides opportunities to identify and support clergy and lay rostered ministers. This team promotes participation in Conference Collegiums and Continuing Education and relates to the Candidacy Committee assisting those preparing for ministry including those enrolled in the TEEM program and First Call Theological Education.
  3. Mission Team for Lay Leadership provides opportunities to identify and support lay leaders as they witness and serve in their congregation and in daily life. This team helps the synod and its congregations to implement the Mission Goals of the synod of intentional outreach to children, youth and young adults and provides oversight and support for Equipping Leaders for Mission (ELM). This Team relates to the Lutheran Youth Organization, the Young Adult Task Force, the Synodical Women’s Organization, Men’s Ministry, Lutheran Retreats, Camps and Conferences (LRCC) and Campus Ministries.
  4. Mission Team for Justice helps the synod and its congregations, institutions and agencies address issues of justice in public life from Christian perspectives while being guided in their public witness by the Social Statements of the ELCA. This team works closely with the Lutheran Office of Public Policy and the California Council of Churches in matters of advocacy.
  5. Mission Team for Global Partnerships helps the synod and its congregations establish connections with the global Christian community by supporting growth in Companion Synod relationships, creating partnerships with congregations in other parts of the world, learning about issues of globalization, and by lifting up opportunities to accompany global churches in their mission. We have 3 Companion Synods in Hong Kong, Ethiopia and El Salvador.

Mission and Ministry (Endowment) Committee administers the Mission and Ministry Fund and is responsible for the investment of the First Lutheran Los Angeles Fund (FLLAF).

First Lutheran Los Angeles Fund (FLLAF) created from the sale of the former First, Los Angeles property. Disbursement from two-thirds of the income is designated for four purposes: planting and support of new congregations, support of congregations in transition and/or transformation, support of candidates for rostered ministry from this Synod preparing for ministry at one of the ELCA’s seminaries or colleges and support of existing or new agencies and institutions that are deemed important for the ongoing life and mission of Christ as lived out through the Southwest California Synod.
[acchead id=”Accordion” tab_id=”Accordion3″ class=””]CLERGY/ROSTERED TITLES[/acchead]
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The Rev. The Reverend (ordained minister)

Pr. Pastor (ordained minister)

The Rev. Dr. The Reverend Doctor (ordained minister who has a doctoral degree)

MISS Minister in Specialized Setting (rostered person who serves in a ministry other than a congregation, such as a hospital or military chaplain.)

Assistant to the Bishop Synod Staff who assist the bishop in carrying out responsibilities (there are 2 Assistants to the Bishop in the Southwest California Synod)

DEM Director for Evangelical Mission who is called by churchwide to serve in the Southwest California Synod.

AIM Associate in Ministry (a rostered lay person who has been theologically trained.)

DM Diaconal Minister (a rostered lay person who is theologically trained and trained in a specialized ministry.)

DEAC Deaconess (a rostered lay person who is theologically trained and has taken a vow as a Deaconess.)

OLFC On Leave From Call (a rostered Ordained, AIM, DM or Deaconess who is currently without a call to a ministry.)

INTERIM A rostered person, usually called to serve a congregation by the Synod Council, who is serving a ministry in between two called persons.

INTERNA seminary student who is on staff of a ministry, in training as part of his/her theological education.
[acchead id=”Accordion” tab_id=”Accordion4″ class=””]RELATED AGENCIES[/acchead]
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Lutheran Office of Public Policy (LOPP) – California Public issues advocacy ministry in California.

Mission Investment Fund Investment (MIF) Investment fund of the ELCA to financially assist congregations.

ELCA Foundation sustains and grows ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Through its nationwide network of professional gift planning staff, it assists members in their call to live as faithful and generous stewards. It also supports and strengthens the ministry of congregations, agencies, and institutions through financial education, resources, support and investment management services.
[acchead id=”Accordion” tab_id=”Accordion5″ class=””]RELATED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS[/acchead]
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Seminary The theological educational institutions that train clergy, Diaconal Ministers, Deaconessesand AIMs. There are 9 Lutheran Seminaries in the US.

PLTS Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (Berkeley, CA)

CLU California Lutheran University (Thousand Oaks, CA). The one ELCA university in our region.
There are 27 ELCA colleges and universities nationwide.
[acchead id=”Accordion” tab_id=”Accordion6″ class=””]OTHER SYNOD MINISTRIES[/acchead]
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Men In Mission Men’s ministry of the ELCA.

WELCA Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (women’s ministry of the ELCA).

SWO Synodical Women’s Organization (women’s ministry of the synod).
[acchead id=”Accordion” tab_id=”Accordion7″ class=””]SYNOD ASSEMBLY[/acchead]
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Voting Member active participant elected by a congregation to exercise prayerfully her/his judgment concerning matters to come before the assembly for a vote. Such matters include budget, elections, resolutions and memorials.

Memorial a motion made by the synod in assembly requesting action by the Churchwide Assembly on a broad policy issue. Following passage of a memorial by the synod in assembly, the memorial is sent to the Memorials Committee of the ELCA where it is reviewed and recommendations made to the next Churchwide Assembly.