It is impossible to capture a churchwide assembly in words and pictures, but here are some highlights.
We want to express our gratitude to the voting members who attended our recent Churchwide Assembly in Milwaukee. Reach out to these people and invite conversations. Or invite them to lead a conference or congregational forum.
SW MN Synod voting members: (names listed are not in order of the photo) Bp. Jon Anderson, Gwen Arneson, Pr. Mark Astrup, Cheryl Astrup, Pr. Bruce Berg, Patricia Branstad, Jim Branstad, Andrew T. Busman, Pr. Mindy Czycalla, Pr. Nikoli Falenschek, Pr. Denise Fossen, Ashley Gilbertson, Ian Graue, Pr. Joyce Graue, Carla Klawitter, Pr. Janel Kuester, Quentin Markfort, Julius Miller, Christina Nelson, Bergen Nelson, Mark L. Nelson, Pr. Ronald Nichols, Pr. Erik Rundquist, Pr. Sarah Taylor, Pr. Shannon Wachter, Ferman Woodberry, Pr. Eunice Woodberry Bruce Wornson, Arielle Yahnke
Helpful Links – Overall Assembly SummaryDaily Notes – Tuesday, August 6, 2019
“A Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent” Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, Bishop William J. Gohl, and Church Council members, the Rev. Peder J. Johanson, Mr. Clarance M. Smith, and Ms. Emma K. Wagner, presented the “Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent” to the assembly. The Rev. Lamont A. Wells, president of the African Descent Lutheran Association, and members of the African Descent Lutheran Association, Ms. Tracey Beasley and the Rev. Tiffany Chaney, accepted the document. Presiding Bishop Eaton stated that she will be consulting with others to identify a day of repentance for congregations, synods, and the churchwide organization to observe annually.”
Click here to view and download the Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent.
Elections and Completion of Terms for Synod Members:
ELCA Church Council – Rev. Joyce Graue, St John’s, Raymond, completed her term on the Church Council.
We were fortunate to be able to have another person elected to serve and others as well.
ELCA Church Council/At-Large – Ms. Cherrish Holland, Peace, New London
Endowment Fund of the ELCA (ELCA Foundation) – Rev. Kelly France, Bethlehem, Atwater
Committee on Appeals – Rev. Linda M. Pedersen, Grace, Brownton
Committee on Discipline – Gwen E. Arneson, Christ, Cottonwood
Election of Presiding Bishop
Elizabeth Eaton was re-elected presiding bishop of the ELCA. On the first ballot, 897 votes were cast and 670 votes were needed for election. Eaton received 725 votes, which is 81.19% of the vote. We are thankful for her leadership.
Churchwide Campaign – Always Being Made New
Stunning generosity. Thanks to all who have contributed.
Click here to watch the We did it! Campaign for the ELCA video.
Tuesday there were also hearings on matters before the assembly. Christina Nelson, one of our SW MN Synod voting members is speaking in this picture.
Daily Notes – Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Our current Secretary, Rev. Chris Boerger, loves wild socks. So our delegation dressed up in his honor.
Protest and Sanctuary Resolution
A resolution from the Metropolitan New York Synod concerning sanctuary was the center of action on Wednesday. It has received press that is accurate and inaccurate. The final language is in the legislative update for Wednesday. Click here to view and download.
I watched the discussion of the resolution on Sanctuary (A9) again from the assembly livestream. To save you some time I marked the discussion time below. You will need fast forward the slide bar on the bottom of the video to get to the time mark.
Discussion begins at 1.09
Discussion starts at 1.21
The resolution passed as amended. What this means is still being sorted out.
Here are some beginning thoughts.
The Churchwide Assembly’s declaration that the ELCA is a sanctuary denomination binds only the ELCA Churchwide Organization; it does not bind congregations, synods, or other organizations; I am sharing with rostered ministers other writings to help congregations think about how to respond.
The Churchwide Assembly did not call for any illegal actions, all actions mentioned by the Churchwide Assembly are legal, and whether any person or organization chooses to engage in civil disobedience (and therefore accept the consequences) is up to them; The Fox interview that has been shared on social media does not capture the conversation and the proposal accurately. The Bible has more to say about the relationship of church and state than the opening lines of Romans.
The Churchwide Assembly did not define what it means to be a sanctuary denomination, but rather requested that the ELCA Church Council provide guidance as to what it means to be a sanctuary denomination. After a decision is taken the church has to discern what the vote and motion meant. That work is underway but will take time. Local congregations and synods will also have to talk about what this means.
Click here for Presiding Bishop Eaton’s letter. It includes a link with talking points. If you want to see the variety of voices from bishops across our church visit Bp. Anderson’s Facebook page. The link was located earlier in this document.
Finally if you don’t know about AAMPARO you can learn more here by clicking here.Daily Notes – Thursday, August 8, 2019
Join us in Black on Thursdays
Pr. Eunice Woodberry pictured standing by a banner.
“RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America calls upon all people across all expressions of the church to participate in the #ThursdaysinBlack campaign by wearing black on Thursdays and actively participating in the various reflection and action items detailed in the ELCA “Gender-based Violence” social message and documentation; the LWF Gender Justice Policy; and the WCC resources for #ThursdaysinBlack.
A Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment
“CA19.04.14 To adopt the proposed policy statement, “A Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment: A policy statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” Dr. Darrell Jodock was one of the drafting team for this policy document. “
This document drives policy.
You are invited to read the proposed “A Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment: A policy statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America” by clicking here.
Emanuel 9 Feast Day of Repentance
“Resolution to Establish June 17th as Emanuel 9 Feast Day of Repentance. A voting member made the following motion to amend the main motion. Moved; Seconded; Carried; To amend the language of the motion. YES-851; NO-35.
- Commemorating June 17th as a day of repentance in the ELCA for the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9; and
- Having the names of the Emanuel 9 (Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman Singleton, and Myra Thompson) added to future ELCA publications to venerate their martyrdom and lead us to repentance because of the white supremacy and racism in our church; and
- Calling for this commemoration be grounded in prayer as the Emanuel 9 were murdered while in prayer at the end of the bible study; and
- Directing the Office of the Presiding Bishop to help develop future worship prayers and litanies around repentance from racism; and
- To encourage giving both prayer and financial support the memorial to be built in remembrance of the Emanuel 9 (https://www.emanuelnine.org/); and
- Be in deeper conversations with the AME church on ways of reconciliation and repentance on the matters of white supremacy and racism.”
Deacon Sue Rothmeyer was chosen to serve as Secretary in a process that Bishop Jon Anderson allowed his name to go into. He was in the final seven, but did not advance to the final three.
Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action
Pr. Bruce Berg from Marshall served on this task force. We passed the new social statement and implementing resolutions.
Click here to read the Recommended Proposed Social Statement on women and justice, Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Lutheran Call to Action.The implementing resolutions are included on the final pages but are voted upon separately at the churchwide assembly.
ASSEMBLY Two-Thirds Vote Required ACTION YES-863; NO-26 CA19.05.19 To adopt the amended proposed social statement “Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action” as a social statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Accordance with the “Policies and Procedures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for Addressing Social Concerns” (2018).
Strategic Authentic Diversity
“ASSEMBLY ACTION YES-855; NO-13 CA19.05.21 To thank the Task Force for Strategic Authentic Diversity and all who contributed to its work to develop a report and recommendations on how this church exhibits authentic diversity and formulates its own goals and expectations for racial diversity and inclusion; To call this church in all its expressions into a time of confession, reflection, and healing as its members renew an honest relational engagement in the body of Christ
To urge the church in all its expressions and related agencies, organizations, and institutions to intentionally engage more deeply in the recommendations named in the report and to provide funds in support of these recommendations; and
To call upon the Office of the Presiding Bishop, in collaboration with appropriate units in the churchwide organization, to establish and oversee processes for consideration, assignment, implementation of and accountability for these recommendations identified to the churchwide organization and to report regularly to the Church Council.”
Anniversary of Women’s Ordination
We celebrated the gift of women pastors in our tradition.
Entrance Rite for Deacons – Ordination
We decided to ordain instead of consecrate deacons.
“ASSEMBLY Two-Thirds Vote Required ACTION YES-779; NO-105 CA19.05.24 To amend the ELCA constitutional provision 7.52. as follows: 7.52. A minister of Word and Service of this church shall be a person whose commitment to Christ, soundness in the faith, aptness to serve, teach, and witness, and educational qualifications have been examined and approved in the manner prescribed in the documents of this church; who has been properly called and received onto the roster ordained; who accepts and adheres to the Confession of Faith of this church; who is diligent and faithful in the exercise of ministry; and whose life and conduct are above reproach. A minister of Word and Service shall comply with this church’s constitutions, bylaws, and continuing resolutions.”
Great Worship Every Day
Beautiful photos on the ELCA Facebook page. You will see many of our voting members enjoying the assembly.
Click here to view the Holy Communion Books for each day.
An assembly is amazing kaleidoscope of experiences of worship, fellowship, learning, discernment and decisions. This short article captures some of the experience and lifts up some resources you might find helpful. It may not have everything on the exact right date.
We are a church body that trusts in God’s amazing grace that we know in Jesus. We keep the cross at the center and let the Spirit blow us into our everyday lives confident that God is with us and working in our midst.
The work you did last week was also important to God in your everyday life and in the life of your congregations, too.