8:25 AM – Amy Acland and the seminary interns (who are finishing up their year gaining hands-on experience in local congregations) have made short work of the registration line, and Voting Members are beginning to find seats in the sanctuary. The tunes of “All are Welcome” echo on the piano and the projector screens are alive with the logo for this Synod Assembly 2014, “We are the church together”.
The Rev. Kate Davidson is passing out slick postcards and a key-ring sized tag for TIM (Together in Mission), a TED talk-style event where multiple speakers offer ministry ideas worth sharing. This event, which occurs each January, features a mix of people both with and without formal theological training, offering their reflections on the intersection of faith and life and the vibrant ways ministry can occur.
9:00 AM – Our musician for this morning is seated at the piano and ready to begin. Walking to the front podium, Bishop Graham called to order the 2014 Synod Assembly, and all those gathered joined in singing “Marching in the Light of God” supported by the Rev. Heidi Moore who kept the tempo on the djembe drum.
After the rousing opening hymn ended, Bishop Graham sadly informed the assembly that the Rev. Kathy Hlathswayo, Interim Pastor at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Washington, D.C. died suddenly last night. Prayers are asked for her husband Hector, and their family and friends.
The opening service was concluded with singing “Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.: