Holy Spirit, Guide Us

Photo credit: Donna Prunkl

Here’s a riddle for you. What used to happen every other year and lasted for a whole week or more but now happens every third year and lasts not even four full days? (Some of you already have it, but some need more clues.) In what state will your bishop, your NC Synod VP, and 13 other voting members soon be in—which it’s not polite to say if you’re from NC—which is “First in Flight” or “The Birthplace of Aviation?” (You’re getting warmer!) What event will be taking place August 8-12 in the hometown of THE Ohio State University? YES! It’s the ELCA Churchwide Assembly! I can’t wait until 1,000 of us fill the hall, put our alphabet arms in the air, and channel the Village People as we sing and dance. “It’s fun to be in the E-L-C-A!” Yes, I’m being facetious now, but I have to throw some of that to keep some people’s attention.

Indeed, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly will happen in the flesh in Columbus, Ohio next week, August 8-12, 2022. I hope you had the chance to read the Special e-News published on August 1 that lists our voting members and provides links to all the resources, including issues to be voted on by the assembly. As always, there will be constitutional revisions that necessitate updates to all congregational constitutions as well. There are quite a number of memorials from synods before the assembly, including a number that call for a “Renewed Lutheran Church;” a call for revisiting ELCA communion policies, especially with regard to online options; changes in how rostering is defined and carried out; some “On Leave from Call” considerations; those dealing with Roe vs. Wade/abortion;  “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” social statement revisions, etc.

There will be an important election of an ELCA Vice President after the sudden death last August of VP Bill Horne. You may recall that Bill was the churchwide representative to our 2021 Synod Assembly and conducted our bishop election process in that role.

The Churchwide Assembly is the highest legislative authority in this church. While policies and governance structures happen in this context, everything is centered in worship as the people of God. Yesterday’s Special e-News also included tabs and links to the resources page for the Churchwide Assembly as well as how to watch the Livestream, including the worship services. In case you missed it, use these links:

While legislative assemblies are not (for most people) the most stimulating prospects, especially now, at this critical juncture in the life of American Christianity and mainline denominations—with such polarization politically, anxiety and unrest on the global stage, and ongoing pandemic realities and worries—these decisions will affect all of us and the future trajectory of our church.

We covet your prayers that the Holy Spirit would guide us into the future in which she already resides and toward which she beckons us.

Walking with you,

NC Synod Bishop

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