Saturday some 900 voting members from ELCA congregations around the country wrapped up a week of business, worship and learning as they ended the 2019 Churchwide Assembly.

Although there was some frustration that there wasn’t time to address all the memorials that had come to the assembly (these will be addressed by the Churchwide Council), several key actions were taken which will impact the mission of our church.

Some of the more significant resolutions which passed during the last half of the Week:

  • Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Call to Action, a new Social Statement that names sexism and patriarchy as sins

  • A Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment

  • A Strategy Toward Authentic Diversity Within the ELCA

  • Memorial to support the vision and goals of the Poor People’s Campaign that align with the ELCA’s social teachings

  • Established June 17 as a commemoration on the church calendar as a day of repentance in honor and remembrance of the martyrs killed on June 17, 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, North Carolina.

  • Passed a constitutional change for ordination as the entrance rite for deacons (Ministers of Word and Service)

  • Called for the development of a social statement and social message on the relationship of church and state.

On Friday the Assembly celebrated the anniversary of the 50th Anniversary of the ordination of women.

The Rev. April Larson who became first woman bishop in the ELCA when she was elected in 1992 as bishop of the La Cross Synod, addressed the assembly. She spoke about her mother’s garden which was an eclectic collection of different varieties and colors of flowers.

“I have lived to see the day where the Conference of Bishops is starting to remind me of my mother’s gardens…”I stand in awe of the women clergy who, in our brokenness, have stayed in the ELCA struggling but not quitting.”

Friday’s Holy Communion Service began with a procession of women clergy which lasted nearly 10 minutes before all the women had processed in.

The preacher was Pastor Tiffany Chaney who preached on Matthew 26:6-13, “Why do you trouble the woman?”

She pointed out that some of the work we do can get us into trouble but

“I show up because I love Jesus more than I hate trouble….But keep the faith. I’m so glad that trouble don’t last always.”

That evening there was a celebration banquet.  The first speaker was the Rev. Elizabeth Platz, who was ordained November 1970 in the LCA, the first woman ordained in an American Lutheran Church body.

“Be a seed planter” she urged her listeners.

Deacon Sue Rothmeyer was elected Secretary of the ELCA.  Deacon Rothmeyer is from the Northeastern Iowa Synod, originally from Calmar.  She graduated from Luther College in 1981.

For more about the 2019 Churchwide Assembly:

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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.

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