from Assembly minutes
Friday’s Assembly included recognition of pastors marking their 25th anniversary of ordination this year, including Rev. Mary L. Janz, and an Outreach for Hope presentation by Daisy the Clown and the students of Emaus After School for Youth.
Rev. Bill Beyer, carrying forward the theme of Claimed to be Authentic, began by quoting from 2 Timothy 1:6, with a reminder that we are called to fan into flame the gift of God that makes us who we are. He told the story of coming to terms with the fact that he is gay, realizing, after decades of working against who he was, that only in authenticity could he find the gift of Grace as being a baptized child of God.
Rev. Wyvetta Bullock presented a video from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, who said that we are church, we have been seen and known by Jesus. Because Jesus cared, we should as well, and used the example of the water project funded through the 2015 Youth Gathering. She also proclaimed that Jesus was a refugee, whose family fled from violence into Egypt.
In all of this, Bishop Eaton urged that members understand that the ELCA has been good about what it does, but has not always been good about talking about why. And the why is that we have been set free by the Good News of the Gospel. God has already saved the world; the work of reconciliation has been done. But the world needs to hear this message. She said that we are church first, not a social service organization with sacraments, because we abide in God’s love.
World Hunger’s Jessica Fairfax spoke of the work to end hunger in the United States and worldwide, with a presence in nearly 60 countries. This has included the Walk for Water initiative, which was funded in large part through last year’s Youth Gathering, with generous matching support from an anonymous donor.
The budget was amended to reduce line 45 (Leadership Support Events) by $10,000.00, with increases of $5,000.00 each to lines 33 (Lutheran Campus Ministry) and 21 (Lutheran Outdoor Ministry), for the purpose of moving leadership funding to the young to develop long-term leadership in the church. The Assembly voted to approve synodical budget for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2018 as amended, with total contributions and support of $2,102,780 and total ministries (expenses) of $2,160,095.
The Assembly approved a motion stating opposition to rules instituted by the State of Wisconsin requiring that food ministries monitor “identification or documentation for each household member in order to participate in the The Emergency Food Assistance Program”; and that “the person taking possession of the food at the pantry is required to provide identification at each visit.”
On the fourth ballot to elect a new Bishop of the Synod, the votes were:
- 1. Lisa Bates-Froiland – 136
- 2. Harvard Stephens – 97
- 3. Paul Erickson – 141