By OSEAH PHILEMON
THE 27th synod of the Evangelical Lutheran church of Papua New Guinea (ELC-PNG) has ended with a series of major resolutions on how the church would direct its operations over the coming years.
First and foremost, the synod adopted changes to the church constitution to make it more effective and relevant to modern day needs of the church and the people who are its members.
Among the major changes, is the establishment of a leadership code for pastors and church officials.
A church ombudsman would also be appointed to enforce the leadership code.
The synod agreed that work on the establishment of the proposed Lutheran university must be speeded up and that a K10 million grant from the Government, which is sitting in a trust account in Port Moresby, be transferred to the church immediately for this purpose.
The synod authorised the church to appoint its own university planning committee and give it new terms of reference on how to go about doing their work.
The incoming head bishop, Rev Giegere Wenge, is firm in his view that the proposed Lutheran university would become a reality to realise his vision of expanding the training of human resources for the church and the nation.
The synod was adamant that reports on the performances of the church-owned companies be tabled for all members of the ELC-PNG to know how they were performing.
In the end, it was agreed that the certified financial reports of the companies would be given to the church council to look at and then distributed to all districts.
The synod also agreed that, from now on, the church would engage the expertise of professional Lutherans in various professions to run the businesses of the church.
It was agreed that the church should adopt a specific policy on environment, and agreed that the church work closely with the Government and mining and gas companies to ensure that the people’s interests were looked after.
The synod also took a strong position on HIV/AIDS and violence against women.
The synod agreed that the church should continue to strengthen its programmes to support victims of violence against women and children.
It also adopted a resolution calling on the church to reinstate its subsidies to the church institutions in training pastors and other workers.
The synod noted that these institutions were now facing severe financial problems after the church decided to withdraw its subsidies.
False prophets have become a problem that the church, through its districts have come to realise, and the synod has agreed to refer this matter to its theological committee to investigate and report back to the synod.
The synod also banned lesbian and gay marriages as well as banning them from being blessed to carry out any church work.
They also cannot be allowed to take Holy Communion.