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Thursday, August 20, 2009


Thurday at the ELCA Churchwide Assemby

Voting members at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly meeting in Minneapolis this week spent the morning on Thursday, August 20, informally discussing the proposals before the assembly that would provide "ways to allow congregations and synods that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationships" and if people in these relationships can serve as professional leaders (pastors and other rostered positions) in the ELCA. Voting members met in small groups and then in informal plenary discussion (no votes). These actions are scheduled to come to a vote at the assembly tomorrow, Friday, August 21.

15 "implementing resolutions" related to the "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust" sexuality statement approved on Wednesday were approved by a vote of 695 to 285. These resolutions give direction to various ELCA ministries in relation to this new social statement.

The major item approved by the assembly on Thursday was the action declaring the ELCA in "full communion" with the United Methodist Church. "Full communion" makes exchange and sharing of clergy possible and encourages cooperation in many other areas. The proposal was approved by a strong vote with 958 voting yes and 51 no. It had been previously approved by the United Mehodist Church. The ELCA already has similar agreements with the Episcopal Church, the Moravian Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America and the United Church of Christ. You can read more online at www.elca.org/fullcommunion .

All 65 ELCA synod bishops had recommended a resolution "that the ELCA in assembly commit this church in all of its expressions to the premise that "each person should have ready access to basic health care services that include preventive, acute, and chronic physical and mental health care at an affordable cost." It was approved by a vote of 799 to 126.

The results of the second ballot for ELCA Vice President were announced: Current VP Carlos Pena received 657 votes, short of the 733 needed for election on this ballot. However, this should be enough votes to assure him election on the next ballot.

After dinner, I attended the reception for the eight ELCA seminaries and then called it a day!

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