The 2022 Churchwide Assembly will convene Aug. 8-12 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. The assembly, which is the primary decision-making body of the church, will gather on the original and ancestral homelands of the Shawnee, Miami and Kaskaskia peoples under the theme “Embody the Word,” based on Luke 24:45.

Voting members will participate in plenaries, discussions and worship while acting on key legislative business and hearing reports and updates on the work of the church.

This year, voting members will elect a vice president. Carlos Peña has been serving as interim vice president since the death of William “Bill” Horne II in August 2021. There will be dedicated time at the assembly to honor Horne, who was elected vice president at the 2016 assembly. The vice president serves a six-year term, and the new officeholder will be installed Aug. 12 during the assembly’s final worship service.

Voting members will review proposed amendments to the “Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America” and adopt a budget. They will also process memorials received from synod assemblies. Other voting measures include electing 16 people to the Church Council and others to churchwide boards and committees.

There will be a presentation of “A Declaration of the ELCA to American Indian and Alaska Native People” along with an address from Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians. The assembly will also have the opportunity to participate in the “Thursdays in Black” campaign toward a world without rape or violence led by the World Council of Churches.

The 2022 assembly will mark one of the ELCA’s largest in-person gatherings since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and precautions and changes to the schedule have been implemented to accommodate for this. All participants will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test. Visitors are encouraged to participate in worship virtually and to watch the proceedings via the assembly’s livestream.

Hearings for voting members to ask questions and learn more about legislative actions will take place virtually during the week prior to the assembly. Bible studies on the assembly’s theme of embodiment will take place virtually in July.

“Through prayer and thoughtful discernment, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, voting members deliberate and determine how to engage in mission and ministry, seeking to serve our neighbors and do God’s work,” said Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton in her welcome and introductory message to voting members. “We will center our time in worship, sharing our unity in Jesus, gathering around word and water, wine and bread.”

For more information about this year’s assembly, visit elca.org/cwaLiving Lutheran will be posting daily recaps with photos of the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. Follow along for the latest news.

Megan Brandsrud
Brandsrud is a content editor of Living Lutheran.

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