Next month, voting members will convene Aug. 5-10 for the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. This will be the 15th gathering of the assembly, the primary decision-making body of the ELCA. This year’s theme is “We are church,” and voting members will spend the week participating in plenaries, discussions, Bible studies and worship while deliberating the work of the church.

This year, voting members will:

  • Elect the presiding bishop and secretary. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, elected in 2013, is seeking re-election to a six-year term. Secretary Chris Boerger, elected in 2013, is retiring after this term. The secretary is elected to a six-year term.
  • Act on “Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Lutheran Call to Action.” The proposed social statement covers a range of issues in which the ELCA is called to action, including gender-based violence, workplace discrimination, economic inequality and more.
  • Act on “A Declaration of Interreligious Commitment: A policy statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” The proposed document underscores the ELCA’s long-standing commitment to interreligious relations and provides a framework for common application and theological reflection across the varied contexts of this church.
  • Vote on proposed budgets for the 2020, 2021 and 2022 fiscal years.
  • Review proposed amendments to the “Constitution, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”
  • Consider a proposal that the entrance rite for ministers of Word and Service be ordination and to no longer count deacons as laypeople for the representational principles.
  • Act on responses to memorials from synod assemblies.

On Aug. 6, voting members will participate in hearings to ask questions and learn more about some ministries of the church and the proposed actions that will come before them.

In her introductory letter to assembly participants, Eaton reminded voting members that the assembly is “a process of communal spiritual discernment to bring about God’s will for God’s people.”

Also taking place during the assembly will be a celebration for “Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA,” a program to honor the 50th anniversary of women’s ordination, and an observance of the church’s focus on gun violence awareness.

Megan Brandsrud
Brandsrud is an associate editor of Living Lutheran.

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