All the People

Mike Hix shares Churchwide Assembly highlights of Tuesday & Wednesday, August 9 & 10, 2022.

August 11, 2022 |

NC Synod members attending the CWA including voting members, synod staff (visitors), ELCA staff who are synod members, and their spouses.

You are likely old enough to remember the finger play:

This is the church.
Here is the steeple.
Open the doors.
See all the people.

The emphasis on Day Two of the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly was on all the people. I wish that I had kept a tally of the number of times I heard the words diversity and inclusiveness. The ELCA has struggled to become an authentic multi-ethnic church without much success. We are 97% white. One piece of good news is that about half of ELCA synod bishops are now female.

Some other highlights of the day included:

  • We began voting on 78 memorials or proposed actions that originated from the synod level. These deal with many subjects such as governance, human sexuality, urban ministry, and mission development. Working through these memorials will continue through Friday.
  • We had the first ballot for Vice President, the highest elected lay position in the ELCA.
  • We heard that there are 180 federal chaplains serving in the military and other federal installations.
  • Currently, there are 140 ELCA missionaries serving in 40 countries. My favorite quote describes all of us as missionaries: Missionaries don’t cross the sea; missionaries see the cross.
  • We heard from the pastor who serves the Lutheran church in Jordan , the only Lutheran church in the Middle East.

Finally, I discovered local connections to other voting members from N.C. The Rev Cassie McIntosh Overcash (Grace, Thomasville) recently helped with the training of our call team by participating in a mock interview with the team. Deacon Katie Rivers, who serves at St. Mark’s Asheville, is my tablemate.

As you can see, all the people of the church reach far beyond our congregation. Even so, we are connected and indeed united by a common faith. We have a oneness in Christ Jesus that overcomes our many differences.

Day Three of the Churchwide Assembly continued to emphasize that we are all God’s children with a focus on American Indian & Alaska Native peoples. Morning worship incorporated American Indian music and ritual. There was an excellent drumming group as well a choir of both children and adults. Fawn Sharp, President of the National Congress of American Indians, addressed the assembly. All of this prompted me to wonder: Who were the indigenous people of our area and what was their history?

Other highlights included:

  • continuing the election process for the ELCA Vice President. We have three excellent finalists. Voting continues tomorrow.
  • an excellent Bible study by the Rev. Dr. Anthony Bateza from St. Olaf College on how to trust God and the church in an increasingly untrustful world.
  • ELCA colleges, universities, and seminaries.

You may be wondering how can this gathering not be a COVID-19 superspreader event. At registration, each attendee was required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result. At registration, we were given home tests for each day of the assembly and are asked to test ourselves each morning. Masks must be worn at all times in the convention center.

Continue to pray for this assembly and the work of our church. Peace to each of you.


Mike Hix, Messiah of the Mountains, Burnsville (top row, second from right)

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