What does institutional memory look like?
Take a look at Shirley Gibbs.
Among the voting members whom Bishop Graham recognized before adjourning the assembly for dinner were first-timers and those who have attended every assembly of this synod since the formation of the ELCA – all 22 of them.
A member of Member of Holy Trinity in Leesburg, Va., Gibbs is one of those faithful Lutherans who has attended the synod assembly annually. Her husband, Don, was the synod’s treasurer. “Church is important in my life, my children’s life, my family’s life,” she said.
When asked why she attends the synod assembly every year, she said she is very dedicated to the church and the work of the church.
Among the roles she has played in the synod are a leadership role in Women of the ELCA and being a voting member to the Churchwide Assembly.
She received part of her education at Capital University, one of the ELCA’s colleges. These days she occasionally teaches Sunday school and confirmation in her congregation.
As she returns to the synod assembly each year, she enjoys seeing friends and maintaining the friendships she has nurtured.
She has also enjoyed watching the church grow over the years, such as through mission starts.
“I’ve always felt that God would take care of us,” she said. One way she believes that God has done this is providing strong leadership in the synod. “He’s behind the decisions of the church.”
Thanks to the long-time-faithful like Gibbs, the church has an institutional memory and a strong foundation.