Thursday, August 11, at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly

There was only one “plenary” (business) session at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly on Thursday, August 11th.

The session began with the seven people who had received the most votes on the Second Ballot for ELCA Vice President addressing the assembly.  The session ended with a vote (Third Ballot) to narrow this group to three.  The results were reported immediately – Those who will be on the 4th ballot tomorrow, Friday, are listed here with their 3rd ballot votes:

  • William Horne – 378 votes
  • Cheryl Stuart – 155 votes
  • Becky Blue – 115 votes

Horne is the City Manager of Clearwater, Florida.  Stuart is an attorney in Tallahassee, Florida.  Blue is a clinical nurse in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  All three are active in their congregations and synods.

The other reports today were from the Presiding Bishop and the Churchwide organization.

ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reviewed her four ELCA emphases:

  • We are Church
  • We are Lutheran
  • We are Church Together
  • We are Church for the Sake of the World

She noted that we are  (or, at least, should not be) “not defined by our culture or cuisine.”  And, “there is no such thing as a solitary Christian or a private religion.”

In a private interview, Bishop Eaton had shared with me that, in her first three years as ELCA Presiding Bishop, she has continually been surprised at the scope of the ELCA’s work, calling it “breathtaking.” “This church does so much and so very well.”  She noted her pleasure in the realization that most Lutherans are now NOT of European descent and specifically mentioned a recent meeting of the Lutheran World Federation Council in Wittenberg, Germany where she experienced a Lutheran Bishop from Malaysia preaching from the same pulpit where Martin Luther once preached!

Voting members spent Thursday afternoon in “God’s Grace in Action Afternoon.”  The Rev. Jesse Jackson was part of one of these afternoon sessions and got to meet Bishop Eaton.  Here’s a photo of Eaton and Jackson with Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Bishop Claire Burkat on the left.

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During his workshop Jackson noted that “”We need each other like never before … but the good news is we have each other.”

My synod (Southwest California) meets for dinner this evening and I will be pleased to join them.

Tired today, but still at it….

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