My speech at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly

You Are Here - ELCA Churchwide AssemblyWith the ELCA capital campaign finally kicking off (maybe), I probably should share my two minute speech before the 2013 Churchwide Assembly.


My name is Marc Almendarez Stutzel from the Metropolitan New York Synod, a seminarian, and I am completing my internship at Advent Lutheran Church in Manhattan. I am also the co-author of this amendment.

As a young adult who started his 20s as one of the self-identified NONEs, and as one who was invited, welcomed, formed, and loved by a small church that had barely a handful of adults in their 20s and 30s, I am a living witness to the powerful & inclusive welcome that our amazing church has.

This amendment to the capital campaign is about continuing this welcome to all youth and young adults who are being led by the Holy Spirit to live our their faith. Lay adults and lay youth are the bulk of the church. Lay leadership is the leadership of the church. This capital campaign amendment is a challenge to all of us to try new things, experiment, risk failure, and to believe that young adults and youth, empowered by the Holy Spirit, should be shepherded by the entire Churchwide expression.

When a church calls a young adult to be its council president, when a young adult feels called to start a mentorship program where the young shepherded the shut-ins, and when a youth feels moved to combat bullying in their school, wouldn’t it be awesome if the Churchwide expression saw them, heard them, and had a network of committed peers that the young person didn’t have to seek out but a network that sought them out.

I pray that we can be a church where no young person would need to ask “are you with us?”

Whether the capital campaign is approved or not, this amendment serves as a powerful witness to being a church committed to lay leadership and their faith formation, to say we are with all young people in our communities, especially those who are just outside our church doors, young people that the Spirit is calling us to see and meet.