ELCA Churchwide Assembly – Day 6 (Morning)

There are feed problems this morning with captioning, and so I’m not able to be as precise or as detailed as I have been.

Motion made and seconded to limit debate on E2, E3 and E4 to 20 minutes each. Requires 2/3 to adopt. Adopted 799-193.

Motion made and seconded to move Multicultural and Reference & Council reports to this afternoon. Defeated 453-520.

Motion made and seconded to limit each speaker to 90 seconds on Memorials. Defeated 572-413.

Final Vote for Secretary

  • David Swartling (611) Elected
  • Paul Schreck (366)

En block motion regarding changes to the Constitution and Bylaws. Approved 914-37.

Moved adoption of amendments to 17.51 (removed from en bloc). Speaker cautioned Assembly to not broaden the the scope of those loans made by MIF. ELCA Treasurer spoke to this concern. Approved 903-71.

David Swartling spoke to the assembly in a gentle, gracious, and engaging way. He held both Roberts Rules of Order (focused on

Consideration of Memorials … Back to E2 (Motion, amendment and Substitute Motion … with a friendly amendment)

Motion to call the question on all matters before the house. (Amendment to proposed memorial, Substitute Motion, and/or Main Motion) Challenge to the appropriateness of the motion. Challenge upheld and motion to call the question was called out of order. (Speaker used a personal point of privilege to call the question.)

Motion to call the question on all matters before the house. This time, ruled in order. Vote to end debate (requires 2/3) Adopted 670-305.

  • Amending Memorials Committee Recommendation directing the Task Force to specifically address and make recommendations on this matter. Adopted 692-303.
  • Substitute Motion made by Bishop Johnson (allows exceptions to our rostering standards). Defeated 472-520.
  • Memorials Committee Recommendation as amended (to refer to Task Force). Adopted 819-171.

Category E3: Restraint in Discipline

Question Called. Vote to end debate is defeated 620-367 (requires 2/3).

  • Bishop Paul Landhal: Amendment by substitution: (…refrain from and demonstrate restraint in disciplining those congregations and persons who call into the rostered ministry otherwise-qualified candidates …) (21 Synods have approved this … there needs to be something for us.)

Question Called on all matters before the house is defeated 521-473.

  • Speaker: All substitute motions have been introduced by Bishops of this church. This is distressing to the faithful introducing dissension into the body.
  • Speaker: In favor of the substitute. Encourages Bishops to exercise restraint. If people must wait 2 more years, we need to exercise restraint. Discipline is expensive in money and ministry. Let’s have a cease-fire, a time-out, so we can listen to one another. We need to focus on ministry and mission. It is the fair wise and pastoral thing to do.
  • Speaker: The process seems to attempting to go through the back door what we did not do through the front door (Referring to E1 and E2). Let’s not give to rostered leaders what we are not giving to the laity … not blessing same-sex unions.
  • Speaker: Restraint means focusing on relationships rather than rigid …

Question about the meaning of wording in the substitute motion.

  • Speaker: If we adopt substitute we adopt a practice we have not determined to be
  • Speaker: Bishop Bouman: Speaking about the congregation Katrina Foster serves. What good would it do to interrupt this ministry? Give us some room.
  • Speaker: I have studied, read, and I see the church not following its own teachings. Back door entries is not how to do this. A cease-fire should be from both sides, not just stop prosecuting. It seems like permission for those Bishops who are ordaining and placing …

Minor change in the wording of the Substitute motion to clarify

  • Speaker: Campus ministry works with students and we need time and resources that we don’t have because we spend so much time and energy disciplining. It allows ministry and mission. Adopt Substitute so we can get on with ministry.
  • Speaker: Listening to this debate is breaking my heart. Discipline of someone who is violating boundaries is viewed as injustice. We need boundaries. Our creator has given us boundaries to live within …

Another question about meaning of wording of Substitute motion.

Time for prayer, and the end of debate (1 minute remaining, so it will occur after next speaker.)

  • Speaker: One last question. “How many?” We benefit from their service. How many can we afford to lose?

Voting on Substitution made by Bishop Landhal. Adopted 536-467. New main motion is the Substitute Motion.

Belief stated that this changes a bylaw and therefore requires a 2/3 vote rather than majority (because it calls us to ignore a bylaw … in effect changing the bylaw). Consultation by Bishop Hanson with Secretary and Parliamentarian … Secretary Almen provide a response. He rules that it does not dealing with defacto or direct amendment to bylaws of the church. Bishop Hanson rules a majority to adopt.

Motion and second to suspend the rules in order to require that this resolution require a 2/3 majority vote to be enacted. Not debatable. (2/3 for adoption of suspension of rules) Defeated 434-541.

Vote on the new Main Motion (majority required) Adopted 538-431.

E4: Referrals to the Task Force on ELCA Studies on Sexuality

  • Speaker: As a gay man I ask ongoing prayer during next two years. Be a living example, by abstaining from sexual activity over the next two years … that which you demand of me.
  • Speaker: Heterosexual female with friends this impacts, but this is about the church, not these people. I think one day we will do this, but we need to do the work first. This means we will need to wait. Hurtful words and slander does us no good. Waiting is sometimes painful.
  • Speaker: Moved the previous question. Vote to end debate 806-117

Clarification: the referral to task force by this motion is for only those memorials in E4, not previous action.

Vote on E4: Adopted 697-245 .

Thanks given to Bishop Hanson and staff for leading through this process.

I’ve got my captioning feed back.

Sherman Hicks report on Multicultural Ministries (begun with a video presentation). In the ELCA we have 3% people of color or language other than English, population of US is about 33% in these categories. We are far behind being a representative church, and far from our goals set 20 years ago. “Now let’s look at the ELCA membership by numbers. The African-American black community has 54,354 members. American Indian, Alaskan native has 7095 members. The Arab middle eastern community has 1,779 members. The Asian Pacific Islander community has 21,950 members. The Latino Hispanic community has 39,159 members. Multiethnic community has 12,261 members. The white community as 4,703084 members. And 11,9096 people have identified themselves as other.”

The multicultural ministries’ program unit has just completed its strategic ministry plan for 2007-2009. his plan has four goals, which will accompany the implementation of the

  • Goal 1, the unit’s work will be centered on increasing the number of ethnic-specific and multicultural congregations and deepening the discipleship of congregational members.
  • Goal 2, the unit will focus its resources on increasing and strengthening cohesiveness within and among ethnic-specific communities.
  • Goal 3, the unit will equip congregations Synod, seminaries and the Churchwide expression to become an anti-racist, multicultural church.
  • Goal 4, the unit will work to increase the number of rostered and lay leaders in congregations, Synods, those enrolled in seminaries and the Churchwide expression from the ELCA’s ethnic-specific communities.



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