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Saturday, August 11, 2007


Friday at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly

Friday was another very full day at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Let me try to recap the day for you.

Elections: Much to my surprise, my dear friend, Michael Cooper-White, was elminated for ELCA Secretary on the 4th ballot - see www.elca.org/news/Releases.asp?a=3692 . The fifth ballot, scheduled for this (Saturday) morning, is between Mr. David Swartling and the Rev. Paul Schreck. Swartling had the 50% needed for election on the 5th ballot on the 4th (when he needed 60% for election), so unless something changes dramatically, he will be elected today. He is a layman from Seattle, a lawyer and a very fine person. I was not elected to the board of Augsburg Fortress, the ELCA Publishing House.

Sexuality issues: The assembly did not approve a resolution to change ELCA standards to allow gay and lesbian rostered persons in committed relationships to remain on the ELCA clergy roster. However, as soon as that was defeated, two other resolutions were proposed, one to delay discipline on these matters until the ELCA Human Sexuality social statement comes to the 2009 assembly and another to direct the ELCA Human Sexuality social statement task force to address these issues. I beleive both have a good chance of passing today.

Otherwise, there were lots of greetings (Lutheran Men in Mission, Women of the ELCA, Lutheran Youth Organization, and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod). There was afternoon Bible study, noon worship and lots prayer and singing during business sessions. The ELCA budget was approved without debate. An ELCA Social Statement on Education was also approved (see www.elca.org/news/Releases.asp?a=3694 ).

The day ended with a celebration of Lowell Almen's 20 years as ELCA Secretary and then a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the ELCA. The 20th ELCA anniversary banquet last evening featured the "Bottle Band" from St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois, the congregation where Kris and were members while we lived in Chicago. The Bottle Band (they play music on empty beer and wine bottles!) has appeared on the David Letterman show - I believe you can find links to video on that appearance on St. Luke's Web site - www.stlukespr.org .

I'll try to post some refletions over the noon hour today. The assembly e-mail center, where I've done much of my writing this week, closes at 2:00 p.m. and the hotel's business center closes at 5:00 p.m. today, so I'm not certain when I can next write reflections.

Tired, but still living in God's amazing grace,


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