Always being made New. – Celebrating 25 years as the ELCA
By Carla Klawitter
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Sunday morning and raining outside – the “family reunion” continued with a holy buzz as we slid into plenary with the four runner-up video contest entries rolling on the giant screens.
Rev. Stan Olson took time for a personal greeting and some reflection, and noted that he prefers to look ahead. Remember – God is with us. God is here. Then he continued our Bible study based on 2 Corinthians. What will God be doing next? Where will God be leading us?
Slight changes in the credentials report this morning – 176 rostered voting members (72%), 390 lay voting members (59%), and 566 total voting members present (63%). Of all voting members present, 7% are age 35 or younger.
What are your hunches about what God is up to? What is God calling us to do? Find a swing and give this a try. Lean back, then kick your feet out – and swing – imagining God’s future. God creates us and sends us into the world to do bigger things than we can understand. In the coming year, we as a synod will focus on World Hunger and inviting and engaging young adults.
Big Bend, Milan’s video about their proactive fight against cabin fever by scheduling summer worship at 6:00 p.m. on Sundays was the first-prize winner of the video contest. They will receive $500. Second place and $300 went to Gethsemane, Ronneby. Christ, Hendricks, won the third-place $200 prize.
Special guests called to the stage were Virgil and Inez Anderson of Belgrade, Bishop Jon’s parents, and Christine and Daniel Kallman of Northfield. The Kallmans composed a hymn, “Let the Same Mind Be Among You”, commissioned in honor of Bishop Jon on the 10th anniversary of his service to the synod and based on one of his favorite Bible passages, Philippians 2:1-11. The assembly showed their appreciation and support for Bishop Jon with a standing ovation.
Resolution 13.06 Calling for Conversations about Ministering to Same-Gender Couples and Families was adopted as presented. Resolution 13.07 Regarding Immigration Reform was adopted as amended. (Remember to look for all of the resolutions posted on the synod’s website – www.swmnelca.org.)
Bishop Emeritus Herb Chilstrom, via video, greeted the assembly. Sitting by one of his favorite spots, he shared how the compost pile reminds him of the formation of the ELCA 25 years ago – sometimes it was messy! He reminded us that we all have hope for the future, deeply rooted in God’s grace and always being made new.
Those completing their service on the Synod Council were thanked and acknowledged – Rev. Julie Anderson, Rev. Michael Stangeland, Kristy Henriksen, Deb Robinson, Wendy Anderson, and Hunter Stevens.
With the business completed, the “family” moved to Christ Chapel for our closing worship. Within the service were organ music by Michael Schaner, mass choir directed by Gregory Aune, sermon by Rev. Linda M. Pedersen and daughter Sarah Hausken, installation of synod leaders, and Holy Communion. We were sent with the singing of our theme hymn, “Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters”. This year’s monetary offerings have been designated to our Bible camps, the HIV/AIDS coordinator in our companion synod, and Luther Seminary. A special offering of ideas and plans for our future was also received. By God’s grace, together we have what we need.
Time for good-byes – for now. We’ll look forward to seeing you again at next year’s great “family reunion” at Gustavus Adolphus College on Friday-Sunday, June 13-15, 2014. While you’re marking your calendars, make a note for the following year’s gathering, which will be Friday-Sunday, June 12-14, 2015.