A note from Carla Thompson Powell (with her permission)
Last night, Goodsoil hosted a worship service at the Hyatt Regency. It was not an official CWA event, but was held in conjunction with the CWA’s meeting. Bishop Margaret Payne presided, Pastor Brad Schmeling preached, Dan Schwandt provided music (along with some great LSTC musicians and a Goodsoil choir). Emily Eastwood, director of LCNA (Lutherans Concerned North America) spoke at the end of the worship service.
It was wonderful. The offering was split between The Night Ministry, Greater Chicago Food Depository (I think? from memory here), and a legal defense fund to help clergy undergoing formal charges (I think? still from memory). There were over 650 people in attendance (we ran out of chairs and bulletins! a good problem to have). The mood was very uplifting and incredibly Spirit-filled, with a touch of the sad note of the church’s loss of many good and faithful pastors because they’ve been forcibly removed from the roster.
In addition, the Shower of Stoles exhibit was displayed on the edges of the ballroom. It is the first time that the entire collection has been displayed at once in the last 4 years (there was also a Methodist gathering this month at which it was shown). There are 1100 stoles – when it was displayed 4 years ago, there were 700-800 stoles. If anyone is around the Hyatt today (Thursday) in the afternoon, you should check it out. We had to dismantle it enough to give the voting members a neutral place to have breakfast, so it could take them a little while to get things set back up today (but it’ll certainly be opened up in the afternoon).
Each stole in the Shower of Stoles represents a pastor (or in some cases, rostered churchworker) who has either been removed from the roster or must serve in silence because they are gay or lesbian. There are also some stoles which have been given in support of the cause, with signatures from congregations. Many of the stoles have stories or at least names of the pastors/churchworkers that they represent. There is also smaller group of stoles, along with those 1100 stoles, that come from Lutheran pastors and congregations and organizations. The booklet “For All the Saints” outlines what each stole represents.
For those who disagree with the message of Goodsoil, sorry for cluttering your inbox. Thanks for slogging through this note if you’ve gotten this far. We continue to pray and wait…