ELCA Churchwide Assembly – Day 2 (Afternoon)

At the beginning of Plenary Session 3, Dr. David Rhoads, of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, made an oral presentation of the book of Galatians. It was tremendously impressive! This was an oral presentation in the form of a dramatic telling/reading … the entire book. It was engaging, dynamic, and powerful!

Since the last Churchwide Assembly in 2005, a number of Bishops completed terms or otherwise left office. They were named and recognized. Bishop Hanson’s voice cracked when naming Bishop Margarita Martinez (Caribbean Synod) who died March 11, 2007. Twenty new Bishops (elected since the Churchwide Assembly in 2005) were introduced.

Report of the 2nd Ballot for Presiding Bishop – 772 votes required for election. Bishop Mark Hanson received 888 votes and was declared elected. I am able to provide the bulk of Bishop Hanson’s remarks following his election. (Please excuse some typos). The video of these remarks can be viewed here.

Thank you so very much.
Six years ago, I said I did not view this as an election won, but a call received. I view what you have done today the affirming of that call to which I continue to hold with great humility and deep gratitude.
I am more convinced today than I was six years ago that though you only put one name on that ballot, this is a shared calling.
It is first and foremost for me a shared calling with, I hope, with Ione.
As for many of you, when one partner in life receives a call, it means a calling away for the other partner from their calling. And this call meant Ione leaving an important call in her life to be director of pediatric social work in the Twin Cities. But I’m blessed that she travels with me much, even as she continues to serve on call.
when I was elected six years ago, five of our six children were living at home and one grandchild was living with us. Not one of them came to Indianapolis, because they were hoping I would not be elected.
Today we have one of the six with us.
Elizabeth, our daughter, youngest, who is a student at Augsburg college.
you can just a window on the family dynamics.
Three are coming next week, they said in case mom and dad need help pack, we will be there.
Our one daughter has been sending us pictures of homes for sale in Minnesota for the last two months.
I don’t know if it was a foretelling of what was to come, or a desire for mom and dad to come home maybe.This has also been clearly and continues to be a call I share with my most gifted colleagues in the Churchwide organization.
They have given and continue to serve this church with great theological depth, personal faith, and incredible creativity about what it might mean to be Lutheran Christians in the body of Christ in the world.
I want you to join me in affirming them and I want all of my colleagues in the Churchwide organization baseed in Chicago or throughout the world who are here to stand, because with you I share this call and with you this call has been affirmed by this Assembly.
Would you please stand Churchwide colleagues?
Certainly ast it is a call shared with other ovtsers of this church, Carlos, Lowell and Christina.
With my colleagues in the Church Council, council of Bishop, Synod vice presidents, elected leaders throughout this church.
When I was called to this office I invited the church into a time of prayerful discernment about what God might do with the gifts the spirit gave us for the sake of the Gospel.
Over 30,000 people participated in those thoughtful, prayerful, planning conversations that resulted in the formation that now shapes our work as a Churchwide organization.
A Jewish psychotherapist who was the consultant to our Synod staff, when we came to threshold times of change, used to ask us to go apart by ourselves for about 20 minutes to ponder what in our life, up to this moment, we could draw upon that would prepare us for what lies ahead.
As I have approached this election, I’ve been very mindful of the deep well spring of faith from which I daily draw.
A well spring of faith that was fed by loving Christian parents, an Evangelist Father whose voice was stricken with park kin sons and for 14 years could not breech before His death.
But even in His suffering taught me what it means to be the Aroma of Christ, a mother with a passion for hospitality that there would be room for all at the table, and all would enjoy the — to feast on one another’s friendship in the presence of Christ, even as she taught Bible studies and read.
I have drawn deeply upon the well of the example of my Father in law, Jelmo Augramson who serve as a Synod Bishop in two Synods, who instilled in me a deep love for the people of the church and a mystery of being human, a prophetic courage to call for God’s justice and peace throughout the world.
I continue to draw upon the well spring of my mother-in-law Cordelia who is one of those many people who pray for us daily, and my sisters Mary and JoAnn.
It is a humbling thing to know how frequently one is prayed for, but you tell me that often and I feel it, and I pray for you.
So I look to the next six years with a sense of advent expectant hopefulness, because I have often said I think I have the best call in this church.
I said that in a group of clergy and they lined up at the break to argue with me why their calls were better than mine.
That is a good sign.
But you have given me the privilege to move throughout this church and to come into your midst, into your congregations and Synods, your colleges and seminaries, your outdoor ministry settings and campus ministry settings and social ministry organizations and I get to see what the Holy Spirit is stirring in you you and through your ministries and lives for the sake of Jesus Christ.
And then I get to move on and tell that story other places.
And believe me, when I transmit the story of what God is doing in your life and your context for ministry, it brings great courage and hope to others.
So I accept this reaffirmation of your call with deep gratitude and truly expected hopefulness for the next six years.
Thank you.

The Social Statement on Education was introduced. No action was taken at this time, that is later in the Assembly.

Memorials Committee brought forward Memorial Category A5: Support for Congregations Assisting Returning Veterans

Two spoke in favor of adoption including Bishop Peter Rogness who spoke of our need to also include in our declared support for individuals within our church who for reasons of conscious choose not to serve in a military setting. The Memorial was approved 1023-3.

Memorial Category B2: Criminal Justice (would begin a process for a social statement on criminal justice to be concluded by 2013). A question was raised about “why so long?” Rebecca Larson, Executive Director for Church in Society Program Unit answered by indicating that the church is scheduled to have a Social Statement on Human Sexuality by 2009, and Genetics in 2011. No debate. Approved 957-68.

Richard Magnus introduced Barbara Love who gave an update to the Evangelism Strategy. Key points …

  • 398 Congregations have completed at least one Natural Church Development Survey. NCD Coaching has begun in 52 of 65 Synods.
  • There are currently 172 new congregation starts, and 56 new starts approved for 2007. 53% of the new starts are for persons of color or whose first language is other than English.

There are hearings this afternoon and this evening for voting members to learn more about the proposals that are coming before the Assembly.

Pondering Pastor


One response to “ELCA Churchwide Assembly – Day 2 (Afternoon)

  1. Thanks for your coverage of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. FYI, the video version of Bishop Hanson’s acceptance message is up at: http://www.elca.org/assembly/video/070807.html

    Warm regards, Paul Edison-Swift
    ELCA Communication Services

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