On Saturday everyone was present, punctual and pooped from the day before, but there was still work to be done. We started off with a Bible study by Pastor John Nunes, director of Lutheran World Relief. He brought a new and enthusiastic focus to a weary crowd, which seemed a little more energized after working through the Word with him.
We then discussed the budget, which in spite of tough economic times and uncertainty on the part of many, had a lot of support from the assembly and passed easily. There was other business this morning too, including addresses from the World Hunger Appeal, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the passage of a 2015 Social Statement on Justice for Women.
Two of the most interesting parts of the morning, however, had to do with one local and one global report, at least from the perspective of those in the Metro DC Synod. The first was local. The three finalists for the position of ELCA Vice President addressed the assembly. Metro DC’s own Ryan Schwarz was among them. Ryan is a member of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in McLean, VA, and a frequent attendee of Metro DC’s synod assemblies. He addressed the Churchwide Assembly very well, and it was exciting to see someone from Metro DC in the running for a Churchwide office. In the end, Ryan was the runner up for ELCA Vice President. Please express your gratitude to him for his willingness to serve the larger Church in this very important office when you see him next. The second of these interesting addresses was from Ishamel Noko, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. His words were pastoral, understanding, and encouraging for our Church. If you can watch his address online, I would recommend it. He is retiring from the Lutheran World Federation and will be missed dearly.
By Saturday afternoon, people in the assembly were nearing complete exhaustion. Though there was still much work to be done and we were on the verge of having to move business into Sunday morning, the Assembly moved into an hour long quasi committee of the whole during which we focused on and discussed mission. It was an interesting discussion about what we need to be doing in our own contexts to spread the gospel of Jesus when we return home.
Finally, we concluded with much business. It was getting late, but there were still a number of resolutions on the floor to be debated. The Assembly spent quite a while debating a resolution requiring the Churchwide organization and Synods to have at least 10% of youth and young adults on their boards and in all their deliberations. Congregations are encouraged to participate as well. This resolution passed with over 77% support of the Assembly.
After this, though, it was really getting late. As new resolutions came to the floor, voting members began “calling the question” to end debate repeatedly and quickly. (Select Saturday’s “Plenary 10 & 11 Summary” among Legislative Updates in the right column on this page for details.)
Keep an eye on this blog for a few final reflections on the assembly in the next couple of days.