from Assembly minutes
Bishop Jeff Barrow called the Assembly to order at 7:39 p.m., with the Order for the Opening of Assembly having been included in worship in the Siebert Chapel. The bishop then introduced Rev. Logan Vang, speaking on the Assembly theme of “Claimed to be.”
Beginning with a greeting in Hmong, Rev. Logan Vang asked how those listening felt to hear his message in another language, and went on to ask how they feel when someone not like them buys a house in their block, walks into their church, sits in their pew, or joins their congregation. “How,” he asked, “do you build community if everyone is the same? There would be no diversity; no fun.”
He spoke of being claimed, walking the trail of his life and faith journey for the Assembly. He came to America at age 11, going from Laos to Thailand to Selma, Alabama in 1978. He spoke of there being no choice but for his family to leave in the aftermath of the Vietnam war, since the CIA had recruited many Hmong to assist the American war effort. When he arrived in Milwaukee in 1983 he became part of Ascension Lutheran Church, where there 74 Hmong members when they arrived. There was also a growing Latino ministry at Ascension, and both Hmong and Spanish-language services were put in place in the sanctuary.
The growth of those ministries, and Rev. Vang’s opportunity to serve, came about in part because the leadership structure at Ascension was made more inclusive, with a new leadership council, equally divided between members who were white, Hmong and Latino. This was, he said, “allowing people to be at the table as leaders.”
Rev. Wyvetta Bullock reported the results of the first ballot for bishop. With no name receiving at least 75% of the vote, this served as a nominating ballot.
Rev. Bullock reported that there were 352 votes cast, with 20 of those ruled illegal ballots, leaving 332 legal votes cast. The number needed for election on the first ballot would thus have been 249. The results of this ballot appear below. Rev. Bullock noted that the results would be posted, and that anyone whose name appeared would have until 8:00 a.m. on Friday to remove their name from consideration should they not wish to proceed.
36 persons received at least one vote. The top seven vote-getters were:
- Paul Erickson 68
- Lisa Bates-Froiland 59
- Harvard Stephens 40
- David Dragseth 36
- Joy Mortensen-Wiebe 29
- Lindsay Paul Jordan 24
- Jennifer Thomas 24