Next month, rostered ministers and lay people from the congregations and ministries of the Northeastern Iowa Synod will gather at Luther College in Decorah to worship together, discuss and vote on resolutions, elect synod council and committee members, hear from our church leaders and synod ministry partners, pray and study the bible, make new friends and renew old friendships and just generally be about the business of the church.

This is called a Synod Assembly.  Just like the ELCA Churchwide Assembly is the highest legislative authority in the ELCA, a Synod Assembly is the highest legislative authority in a synod.  (Per chapter 7 of the Northeastern Iowa Synod Constitution)

It’s an Assembly, not a Convention.

We come together as the church as voting members, in assembly, not as delegates at a convention.  Delegates represent a certain faction, to lobby for their point of view.

Voting members assemble on behalf of the whole church, to do the work of the whole church, for the sake of God’s mission in the world.

The Synod is an assembly of the people of this church, some of whom have been chosen for the responsibility of being voting members of the Synod. They assemble together in worship and are nurtured in the faith through Word and Sacrament. Then, in their deliberations, they seek the wisdom and guidance of God’s Spirit in the decisions and elections of the assembly. When a synod meets to do its business, it is the Church

“As we gather around Word and Sacrament, we give thanks together for the saving power of Jesus Christ and the mission of the church,” notes Bishop Ullestad.

Our theme for the 2017 Synod Assembly is “Celebrating Renewal: Martin Luther- the Gospel” This is part of our six-year celebration of the reformation.  Since 2013 we have lifted up a person and theme of the Reformation.

On this year, the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we focus particularly on Martin Luther and the importance of the proclamation of the Gospel.

Our keynote speaker will be the Rev. Jane Strohl, an ELCA pastor, and professor of Luther studies at Luther Seminary and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.  Her address will be “Bold Sin and Bolder Faith”

Every Synod Assembly has a representative from the churchwide organization to bring a greeting and report.  This year our representative is The Rev. Linda Norman, who is the treasurer of the ELCA.

Along with worship and business sessions, there will be three different opportunities to attend two forums and some 20 seminars.  Topics include mission, ELCA strategic directions, financial matters, discernment, safe policies, resilient leadership, ELCA retirement benefits, congregation life-cycles, geographical Parishes, stewardship, finances, youth ministry, teaching skills, 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering, companion synods, World Hunger and contemporary music.  Pastor Strohl will lead a workshop on “Luther on Sex, Marriage and the Family.”  Pastor Norman will present on “Handling Financial Matters in the church”

Nearly 20 exhibitors will be at the assembly on Saturday, representing campus ministries, seminaries, ELCA colleges, partner organizations and ministries of the Northeastern Iowa Synod

Offerings from this year’s Assembly will support the Companion Synod Travel Fund and the H. George Anderson Northeastern Iowa Synod Fund for Leaders.  We are also asking congregations to bring Flood Buckets.

You don’t need to be an elected voting member to hear the great speakers, attend seminars and forums and follow the business of the synod.

Any interested person may register as a visitor to the Synod Assembly; visitors do not have voice or vote. Rostered persons not under call and retired clergy not elected to represent retired clergy are permitted voice but not vote.

To register or for more information see Synod Assembly 2017

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.