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Thursday, August 09, 2007


Thursday at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly

I am rushing to write a quick summary of today's activities at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly before this evening's many activities.

Today we heard the results of the first ballot for ELCA Secretary, had the second ballot and heard its results and then heard Q&A with the top 8 nominees for ELCA secretary. Michael Cooper-White, my choice on these first two ballots, is in the lead with 277 votes on the second ballot. He and the other 7 nominees all did very well in the Q&A session which ended today's business. You can read more about this election process at www.elca.org/assembly/news . That's where you can see the names of the other nominees. (I received 3 votes for ELCA Secretary on the first ballot and made sure to removed my name from the ballot before the second ballot).

We also voted on what is called the "Common Ballot" with nominees for many ELCA boards and committees. These are all volunteer positions. I am nominated for the board of Augsburg Fortress, our ELCA publishing house. There are three nominees for one board position on my "ticket." We'll see those results tomorrow.

A highlight of today's agenda was the presentation by the Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. I cannot find my notes from his speech and may share some quotes with you on another day. We heard the Report of the ELCA Secretary (filmed at Trappe Church) and reports from the ELCA World Hunger Appeal and Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. There were greetings from full communion partners and a vote on expanding our full communion relationship with the Moravian Church in North America plus greetings from the Lutheran World Federation, the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches. There was another Bible study, wonderful noontime worship and much praying and singing.

This afternoon we spent more than one hour debating the various memorials (resolutions) from synods relating to homosexuality. The Memorials Committee recommendation that the memorials relating to same sex blessings (several memorials which recommended opposite actions) be referred to the ELCA Human Sexuality Study Task Force. That recommendation passed without debate. Then we moved to the various synod resolutions about allowing homosexual persons in committed same-sex relationships to remain on the ELCA clergy roster. The Memorials Committee recommended that these resolutions also be referred to the Human Sexuality Task Force with no action at this time. While that recommendation was under discussion, a substitute was proposed that would change ELCA ordaination standards in this matter immediately, allowing these persons to be on the clergy roster, the content of 21 of these synod resolutions. When the time for discussion ended, BOTH of these actions were still on the floor. Long lines of speakers remained at the microphones when the time elapsed for discussion. We'll continue with that discussion tomorrow.

I am off to a reception honoring the Lutheran World Federation on its 2007 60th birthday.

Continuing to "live in God's amazing grace,"


Pastor Shafer, I think your blog is a wonderful idea. I really like getting this information real time. Your communication skills are shinning through. Thanks for providing this outlet of information.
It looks like my full name did not come through on my initial comments. Thanks for providing the link to the "Book of Faith - Lutherans Read the Bible". I checked the link out and I'm excited about this new opportunity to grow my faith and the faith of our church. Finally, I'm following with some interest the discussion, debate and voting on the ELCA allowing homosexual persons in a committed same-sex relationship to be members of the clergy roster. While I don't share the same view as you, I'm pleased to see that the ELCA is bringing this issue to the forefront. Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share the details of our Churchwide Assembly.

Terry Crouse
Thanks, Terry, for both of your notes!

Pastor Shafer
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