Opening of an Assembly
READY TO ROLL
Chatter in the lobby and the slow trickle of Voting Members into the Synod Assembly hall show that the Metro D.C. Synod’s 25th assembly is about to begin. The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), is present and will guide us through the process of electing a bishop, as we regularly do every six years. The Rev. Richard H. Graham, current bishop of the Metro D.C. Synod, is eligible for re-election. The Rev. Margrethe Kleiber is new on the dais, filling in for the Rev. John Bradshaw, synod secretary, who is ill.
Synod Assembly opened with worship. A spirit-inspiring rendition of “Built on a Rock” was accompanied by a magnificent grand piano. Bouquets of yellow balloons, emblazoned with the ELCA’s 25th anniversary slogan – “Always being made new” – adorn the room, swaying from the ends of the tables. The registrar reported a total of 227 Voting Members present as business began.
NEW CONGREGATION WELCOMED
The Rev. Phil Hirsch, Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop, joyfully welcomed the Oromo Resurrection Evangelical Church, a recent addition to congregations of the ELCA in our synod. Key leaders and a number of youth and young adults regaled the assembly with song and a corresponding slideshow, preceded and followed by warm applause from the assembly.
GREETING FROM GUESTS AND PRESIDING BISHOP
Introduction of guests who quipped about sharing “delightfully short greetings” was immediately segued to the greeting from The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA. Bishop Hanson challenged all Voting Members and visitors to immediately call/text/tweet/write a friend and share a word of encouragement during the middle of his presentation. Humming conversation arose on the assembly floor as many attendees rose to his challenge and made contact with a friend. He noted that at times, it seems like fear is binding all of our imaginations. He encouraged us to trust that the Holy Spirit is working even when we cannot sense it.