After our break, a few reports were given but nothing too interesting. The place was lively, with more people showing up, and (by 5 pm), we had over 400 people in attendance. The synod council report introduced three of the proposals for major changes to the church but they’ll be explained in more detail tomorrow. The report of the treasurer was given which was, well, it was fascinating in a couple of ways. I mean, the presentation is never thrilling, but lots of numbers and charts are involved which I always adore. There was some hope that mission support to the synod had turned a corner (but who knows) and there’s hope that the money from our selling of churches will eventually show up in our coffers. We only voted on a revised budget for 2012 (based on some staff changes). We’ll vote on the 2013 budget on Saturday.
But after the report, the adoption of the revised budget came up and the first drama of the assembly began. A church had recently sent tons of people letters asking for them to be granted a loan by the synod. The synod (and most people) were not happy about this and, so, the original plan was to not let them have voice. However, this changed, and they presented their details to the assembly. They asked for their hundreds of thousands of dollar loan/line of credit, and they were nervous while doing it. And then discussion ensued and blood in the water began. Actually, it wasn’t that drama filled but there were problems. Again, two “pastors” not rostered with the ELCA were behind their request for this loan (a request from a congregation that is very very small and that was not closed last year – the synod assembly gave them another chance). And it was, well, it was heart breaking to see because they were very nervous while asking for their loan – and it just wasn’t going to happen. It was smacked down by pretty much everyone. The loan didn’t pass but I still have concerns over how to relate to this congregation pastorally (though it seems like they have been active in NOT engaging with other congregations) and there’s also the ethical issues involved with the whole experience. The congregation crossed lines, the Synod might hhave as well, and it would be nice to see this resolved somehow. We’ll see how this works out but I wouldn’t be surprised if this congregation (of like a dozen members) takes off and tries to join another Lutheran church or tries to keep their building and they die out on their own.
After that “fun,” we moved on to resolutions. Nothing surprising as we followed the Synod recommendations. We encouraged congregations to raise $3 dollars per baptized members (there seems to only be 70,000 of us) to donate to the ELCA Malaria Campaign. We also amended a resolution to encourage congregations to renew and redevelop their mission plans (and have the synod help them do that). We also shut down a resolution from an organization called LACE that should never have been brought up anyways because no one in this synod is actually involved with it. After that, we prayed, stretched, and headed off to dinner ten minutes before scheduled time! We’re actually ahead of schedule! Which is unbelievable really.
Tonight, we have some forums in rooms. I’ll have to go stand in one for a bit since I’m a candidate up for election. And I might go sit in on the forum about strategic plans and congregational viability. And after that? Who knows! I hope there’s something fun going on. It’ll be too early to go to bed.