Quick Thoughts on the Metropolitian New York Synod Assembly

Well, I’m back! While I’m here catching up on episodes of 30 Rock, I thought I’ve give some first impressions after coming back. There’s a chance this will be very short. There’s also a chance it will be long. We’ll see how many 30 Rock episodes I watch.

I started to write a long detailed post and then realized when I got to the 1000 word point, I hadn’t even finished Friday afternoon’s session yet. That’s too long and I was even trying to be brief. I’ll keep it to just the highlights.

K and I were hoping for fireworks when it came to the resolution supporting gay and lesbian ordination and some sort of recongition of same-sex relationships. In August, the ELCA will host a church wide assembly and that will be one of the discussions. The fireworks were rather muted. Sure, we had the person stand up and basically say that all gay men are pedophiles. And the person asking us to stall and really define what we mean by man, woman, gender, and sex. There were the comments about how a former bishop of ours was gay and how denying love to people is wrong. Amendments were added to the resolution and all were defeated. Even the so-called anti-gay war party basically gave up. We had the one guy wanting a written ballot so he could sign his name to his no vote. The other guy, who in the past had no problem going on a tirade, just asked if his congregation could leave the ELCA quickly (like that would happen). And there was the one guy who brought up his long military career for no real reason at all. But that was it. Everyone was pretty much tired of talking about sex all the time. For the last decade, the MNYS has had to talk about it. Even a theological dialog on Christian Ethnics recently devolved into a discussion of homosexuality. People were just tired of talking about it so much. It passed 75% to 25% roughly. We’d vote by holding up a red card for no, a green card for yes. I expected a 60-40 split. It turned out better than I expected.

Bishop Rimbo is a funny and charismatic guy. He wore a big silver cross to mark him as bishop even though it would be hard to miss him because he’s 6’5″. At lunch, I shook his hand, and his “bling” hit me in the back of the head. Stuff liked that happened all weekend long.

The first part of the Bishop’s report scared a lot of people in the room. We currently have 212 congregations with 69 in a transitional phase for a new pastor. 28 are going to be able to call a new pastor. 41 can’t. And only about 50 congregations have an average weekly worship attendance over 100 people.

Is anyone amazed at the fact that we passed resolutions supporting women’s rights, reading the bible, and being against hunger? And we passed that last one right before lunch on the first day. Hmmm.

The food was bad though I still ate it. Everything was chicken related. Even the desserts were made with eggs and I swear that the Turkey sandwich served today for lunch was probably a chicken in a turkey dress.

The Seminary in Philly threw a good party. Lots of different wines, beer, lots of chips and salsa. The President was very nice, asked me when I was going to attend Seminary (after some hinting by my pastor’s wife) and also asked me to review their website after finding out I was a web designer.

The GLBT people throw an AWESOME party. Lots of great people, awesome food, but the alcohol situation was limited. K took a mexican rubber ducky. I hope they don’t mind.

The resolution on torture (i.e. we’re not for it) went 66 to 44 and looked closer than it really was. We voted by holding up red or green cards and someone asked for a count so we had to do a Serpentine vote. That was neat.

I actually got to vote on a position that only had like 3 other people on my side.

The beds at the Marriott hotel seemed to be curved with a large hump in the middle. And all their tvs are crappy.

There was a prom held at the hotel on Friday night. Nothing kills a prom like showing up and finding 200 clergy walking around the hotel. But when finding out that the clergy partied harder than the teenagers, I bet those teenagers probably wouldn’t mind. K did see one prom goer barely awake, slurping coffee at the lounge, at around 10:30 the following morning.

The Eucharist on Saturday was this big giant loaf thing. It was delicious.

Lutherans love to eat candy.

Lutherans also love to defend their position by comparing themselves to Martin Luther. We can’t help ourselves.

And, from what I can tell, I don’t think Trinity is going to have any problems finding a pastor. It’s good to be at a congregation that is growing, has a stable financial source, and a beautiful building. I’m hoping that the Call Process (that I will be the head of) will be easier than I’m afraid it could be.