Friday, August 12, at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly

Friday, August 12, was a very full day at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly!

Perhaps most exciting was the election of Mr. William B. Horne II as the new ELCA Vice President.  Here’s a “screen shot” of Mr. Horne as he spoke to the assembly:

BillHorne

Horne was elected with 565 votes, more than the 60% (of the 901 votes cast) needed for election on the 4th ballot.

The ELCA Vice President (a volunteer (unpaid) lay (not ordained) position) serves a six year term and chairs the ELCA’s board of directors (the ELCA Church Council) and represents the church in/at many places/occasions.

Horne is the City Manager of Clearwater, Florida and a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Clearwater.  He has served on the ELCA Church Council and many positions in the Florida-Bahamas Synod and his home congregation.

Upon election, Horne said, “Brothers and sisters, I love this church.  I love you.  We have lots of work to do, and I know that our dedication and commitment to each other and our hard work will make the ELCA what God wants us to be.  Thank you very much.”

Also approved on Friday was a major report on those who serve as non-ordained church professionals, currently in three “rosters” – Associates in Ministry, Diaconal Ministers, and Deaconesses.  The actions approved by the assembly bring these three rosters into one called “Ministry of Word and Service.”  All on these rosters can be called “deacons.”

This puts the ELCA closer in practice to many other Christian churches which use the term “deacon” to identify those professional (not volunteer) leaders who are not ordained clergy.  The name of the ordained clergy roster was also changed to “Minister/s of Word and Sacrament.”

The Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the ELCA’s Indiana-Kentucky Synod, and co-chair of the task force that put these recommendations together, said, “I can imagine all sorts of new and creative possibilities for pastor and deacons working and leading side by side, each with their own particular gifts and call.”

Other “Memorials” (synod assembly recommended actions) and Reference & Council resolutions (actions proposed by members of the churchwide assembly) approved today included:

  •  Justice for the Holy Land through Responsible Investment
  • African Descent Lutherans
  • Welcoming Refugees
  • Anti-racism training

This is NOT a complete listing.  Other memorials/resolutions were either referred to the ELCA Church Council or held over for debate in the final assembly plenary session on Saturday.

LeymahGbowee

The assembly also heard a keynote address from Nobel Prize winner Leymah Gbowee of Liberia (pictured above) and held a banquet to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation coming in 2017.

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