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ALPB => 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly => Topic started by: Richard Johnson on August 08, 2019, 04:03:34 PM

Title: Thursday afternoon
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 08, 2019, 04:03:34 PM
Worship this morning was pretty good . . . music lively and well done, sermon (by the Nigerian archbishop) moving. My only quibble was the "proper preface" which wasn't proper at all, since it was the one "who on this day overcame death and the grave" and obviously (one would think) is a preface for the Lord's Day, not a week day.

Bible study leader today is United Methodist Amy Valdez Barker. Looking out at a house perhaps 1/5 full, "looks like many of you are worshiping at the church of the holy comforter this afternoon." She, like the previous Bible study leaders, is energetic and engaging. I was liking her until she talked about how jazzed she is to stand before the churchwide assembly of the church that ordained Nadia Bolz-Weber. Then she talks about how some UMC members who are tormented over the UMC's failure to change its stance on homosexuality are wondering if they should come over to the ELCA. Swell.



Afternoon plenary begins with singing of Dona Nobis Pacem. BP reminds house there is much to do and limited time. We move to the second ballot for secretary.114 nominated on first ballot, 53 withdrawals, leaving 62 on this ballot. The projected the ballot on the screen, but haven't published it to the guidebook, so I can't tell you who might have withdrawn. The ballot is taken.

 Bp. Eaton speaks about how we have lived out our ecumenical commitments and relationships, but now we want to tend more intentionally to our relationship with persons of other faiths. She speaks of the anniversaries of the various groups with whom we have full communion agreements. She introduces Bp. Madden from the Roman Catholic Conference of Bishops, who speaks to the assembly. He recalls the chalice presented to him three years ago at the CWA "I yearn for the day when we all drink our Lord's blood from the same cup, and I know that day is not far off." Standing ovation.

Bp. Eaton then speaks about our growing relationships with the historic black Methodist denominations, and other relationships that we have had with historically black denominations (through, e.g., the National Council of Churches). She welcomes Bp. Moore of the AME Zion Church to address the assembly. "We are the church of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Coretta Scott King, who just happened to marry a Baptist preacher." Eloquent speech about how important it is for white churches to be active opponents of racism. Two standing ovations.

Just saw on Facebook regarding the NALC Convocation, going on in Indianapolis right now: "At the NALC Convocation, 14 were on the 1st ballot to be the new NALC bishop. Going into the next round of voting are: David Wendel, Dan Selbo, Eric Riesen, and Amy Schifrin. Second ballot will be tomorrow." An interesting group. Two of them would be excellent. (No, I'm not going to tell you which two.)

We now stand and read a litany based on the ELCA's 1994 repudiation of anti-Semitism. It's pretty wordy and liturgically clunky, but what else is new? Bp Eaton introduces Rabbi Pesner. "I love you," he begins. Again, engaging and inspiring speech about Jewish/Lutheran relations. "Together we confront the past, but we look to the future." Notes that the Torah says "love your neighbor" once but "love the stranger" thirty-six times--because it's 36x harder and 36x more important. Congratulates assembly for sanctuary declaration. Passionate, powerful presentation, again a couple of standing ovations during and after.

Now we turn to Islam. 2016 assembly passed resolution "My Muslim Neighbor." Our relationships have strengthened since then with the Islamic community, as we together confront the increasing anti-Islamic sentiment. Bp. Eaton introduces Mr. Querishi and Ms. Fernando, who are local members of the Muslim community. Thank for the ELCA's strong relationship with the Islamic Society of North America. Each speaks relatively briefly, and each given a standing ovation.

Now Bp. Eaton introduces all ecumenical and inter-religious guests. They come to the stage. There's about a jillion of them. PCUSA, RCA, UCC, Moravian North, Episcopal Church, UMC, Anglican Church of Canada, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, AME Zion, AME, CME, Disciples of Christ, CTUSA, Church world service, NCC, Wisc. Council of Churches, WCC, Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism, American Jewish Committee, Sikh Council for World Religions, Interfaith Conf of Greater Milwaukee, Islamic Society of North America, Bahai, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Jewish Community Relations Council, School of Islamic Sufism, Hindu Temple of Wisconsin. I probably missed somebody. "Thank you for your gift of presence with us and your partnership with us. . . . This is something we are not seeing enough of in our country." Standing O.

Invites Inter-religious task force, led by Bishop Lull, to stage for discussion of Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment (and invites all the interreligious gifts to remain on stage as we discuss; since they have no seat, this is going to encourage pretty quick action on a rather complex and complicated document. Secretary: On behalf of the church council, I move to adopt the proposed declaration. Bp. Patricia Lull tells the assembly that one assembly member moved that several lines be struck. The task force declines to endorse the proposed amendment, and she explains why (essentially it's part of a larger section on Luther's teaching, and to remove the lines would be problematic to the sense of that section). The man who proposed this comes to the mic and moves striking lines 630-655. These lines include the statement that "we must be careful about claiming to know God's judgments regarding another religion." Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the life." The best way to respect and care for our neighbor is to speak the truth. This guy is brave, that's for sure.

Pastor from Southern California, I'm embarrassed that we're having this conversation in front of our inter-faith guests. Our God is big enough for us to admit that we do not know everything there is to know. Another member moves the previous question. Vote to cease debate is approved almost unanimously. The amendment is then voted upon, and gets only two or three votes.

There is a motion now to change rules of the assembly to limit speeches to one minute. Odd timing here, since we're about to vote on the Declaration. Bp. Riegel opposes. Deliberation requires argument, which should be sufficient and nuanced. We reduce our speaking to mere pathos and cliches. There's no substance to that. It is better to do what we do well, than to do a great deal poorly. Motion to change the rules to limit debate to one minute per speech. Motion is defeated, 453 to 447 (requires 2/3). Bishop turns to the guests: "Sorry about this." Somebody says "I'm enjoying it." "I'll bet you are," she quips.

Some speaking in favor of the declaration. On member, "This is so overdue, I call for the question." Eaton: Unfortunately, you made a brief speech before making the motion, so you're out of order. Next speaker: I move the previous question. Motion to close debate:  887-20. Vote on the declaration: Yes 890, No 23. The declaration is adopted (97.48%) Standing ovation and cheers (not stopped by the chair). Lots of hugs and smiles on the stage. Eaton: "I'll allow applause for that one, they're guests." Bp. Lull speaks the benediction which closed the declaration, and the assembly stands to sing a canon, "Peace, Salaam, Shalom."

Aside: it's an open question whether there are more problems with the voting machines or the escalators in the convention center, at least one of which always seems to be out of order.

Now the report of treasurer Lori Fedyk. She is relatively new in the job, this is her first CWA. High level look:
Revenues higher than budget in each year 2016, 2017, 2018. This is because each year income was higher than projected and expenses lower than budgeted. Each year we plan for break even. In these years, revenues ran from 103% to 107% of budget, expenses from 98% to 100%. Churchwide has operated with "modestly favorable results" since 1991.

Source of revenue: 62% from mission support, 7% investment income, 6% restricted funds released, 5% rent and service agreements, global church sponsorship, endowment income . . . some other categories smaller amounts.
Mission support has declined steadily since 2013. 864,000 baptized members attend worship each week. If every one increased giving one dollar per week, that would mean  $42 million dollars for congregational ministries and benevolence. Through June, mission support is below budget by 3.3%. Slippage has been gradual. But expenses are also below budget, largely because of personnel savings.

Reference and Counsel has received a request relative to budget, and they are called forward. The request: Resolved, should the proposed social statement be passed, $100,000 dollars be allocated [from some particular budget line]. . . (it's not on the screen, and I can't type fast enough . . . maybe it will become clear, though even the bishop seems unclear at the moment). Member from Southeastern Synod comes to mic to speak about it, but it still isn't clear what it's about. Something about providing budget for actions implementing the proposed social statement on faith, sexism and justice. Reference and counsel moves to refer matter to Office of Presiding Bishop. In favor, 789-59.

Consideration of budget for 2020-2022. The motion is to approve recommendation for income proposals for all three years, spending authorization for 2020.

There is a motion to extend the session to 6:30. It is seconded, but bishop rules (with nudging from secretary) that there is business on the floor at the moment so the motion is out of order.

One speaker in favor of budget, at least that's what he says. His actual speech is a bit incoherent. It seems to be urging ecumenical planning in budgeting. After prayer, the budget is approved, 880 to 10.

Now the motion to extend plenary by an hour. Bishop: "You can speak to your motion, though it will take time." Bp. Rinehart speaks against: Work expands to fill time available; we need to budget time as well as money; this session is already longer than mind or hind can stand.  The motion to extend session is defeated, 162 to 726.

Reference and Counsel committee. This brings us back to the resolution to establish June 17 as "Emanuel 9 Feast Day." We're on the amendment proposed by Bp. Burk. Gladys Moore, African American clergy woman, speaks in favor of the amendment "for purpose of ecclesiastical advocacy." This should be considered a commemoration, not a "feast day." Substituting the word commemoration for veneration is in line with our practice, and there is no Division On worship. Member of Ref and Counsel reports that, after conversation with the proposers of the original motion, they are OK with the amendment and the committee hopes we can just accept it move on. Finally some sanity. Brief consultation on how to handle parliamentarily. Bishop: Any need for further debate, in light of this? Chorus of noes. Vote on the amendment: 851-35. Speaking on the motion. Kwame Pitts speaks, wanting to explain why word "veneration" had originally been used. I don't quite get it. More speaking, Bishop Wee from Washington, who tells us her pronouns. Even bishops now. Another speaker in favor. That's four, so it should close debate. And the bishop so rules. They vote in favor of the resolution as amended: 887-8.

Next Resolution: a resolution "that white supremacy is racism and we condemn it" and a bunch of other stuff, including a statement that referring to "invasion" (i.e., Trump language) is racism and we condemn it. This one is long, but you get the idea. R&C supports and recommends referral to Office of Presiding Bishop. General confusion--are they supporting it, or referring it? Someone asks why they want to refer it rather than bringing it to the floor. This is a major issue, let's stop running away. Let the assembly take a stand. R&C our intention is to support the resolution, but the work of it belongs to the Office of the Presiding Bishop. More consultation on the stage. Bp.: my recommendation is that you defeat the recommendation to refer, and then we'll come back with another recommendation. Motion to refer is defeated, 178-708. Now R&C recommends adoption of the resolution.

Speaker from Texas: I want to go home and say a family as complicated as the ELCA can speak clearly on racism.

Here's the wording:
White supremacy is racism and we condemn it; violent rhetoric against persons of color in the name of so-called "Christian nationalism" is not Christian faith. It is idolatry and we condemn it; the love of God is for all people, without exception, and we proclaim it; the justice and mercy of god are for all people, without exception, and we proclaim this; our religious and political leaders have a moral responsibility to condemn racist rhetoric and to speak with respect for the innate dignity of all persons, regardless of their race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status or faith tradition and we call our leaders to honor this responsibility; language that refers to people of color or immigrants with words like 'invasion' or 'infestation' or 'white replacement' is racism and we condemn it; we are called by Jesus to 'love our neighbors as ourselves'. As persons called to love one another as God has loved us, we therefore proclaim our commitment to speak with one voice against racism and white supremacy. We stand with those who are targets of racist ideologies and actions. With them, we demand and will advocate for amore just, loving and peaceful world where the gifts of all people are appreciated and the lives of all people are treasured; and we we call on all congregations of the ELCA to engage in communal study of the structures and rhetoric that empower and fuel racism and white supremacy and to take to heart the teaching of Scriptures, so we may all be better equipped to speak boldly about the equal dignity of all persons in the eyes of God.  Approved 893-5

Orders of the day called: presentation from WELCA, Lisa Ploiin president. Video about next year's triennial gathering.

Elections committee report: For secretary:865, 3 illegal, 862 legal Needed for election 647

Rothmeyer 358
Herr 116
Wells 95
Anderson 48
Emery 38
Severson 27
Rasmussen 23
That's the top 7

The top also-rans
Riegel 22
Baglyos 20
Vehar 19
Pennington 16
Kowitz 11
Boone 8
Gaule 7
Piro 7  etc. (3 pages of names altogether)





Title: Re: Thursday afternoon
Post by: RPG on August 09, 2019, 12:24:52 AM

The resolution below was on the agenda this afternoon but consideration was preempted by time and the orders of the day. Reference and Counsel seemingly deflated it with their substitute motion recommendation. It will be interesting to hear the assembly’s response—or if it gets kicked to the Church Council as unfinished business when the assembly ends.


RPG+


Quote
Motion C: Resolution on Reaffirmation of ELCA Social Statement on Abortion
Submitted by: Mr. Jon E. Hale, Southern Ohio Synod, 6F


WHEREAS, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a Social Statement in 1991 in which the ELCA “...opposes ending intrauterine life when a fetus is developed enough to live outside a uterus with the aid of reasonable and necessary technology. If a pregnancy needs to be interrupted after this point, every reasonable and necessary effort should be made to support this life, unless there are lethal fetal abnormalities indicating that the prospective newborn will die very soon.”; and


WHEREAS, this 1991 Social Statement was reaffirmed in its entirety by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 1999 Churchwide Assembly; and


WHEREAS, there has been no formal reaffirmation of either the original 1991 Social Statement on Abortion or the 1999 reaffirmation for the past 20 years by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and


WHEREAS, at least seven states currently have no prohibition against late-term abortion, and several states are currently considering or have adopted dropping all laws prohibiting late-term abortion for any reason, up to and including during the birthing process itself; therefore, be it


RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America reaffirms the church’s commitment to and support of the 1991 Social Statement on Abortion, especially that of Section IV.B entitled “Ending a Pregnancy” as it applies to “This church opposes ending intrauterine life when a fetus is developed enough to live outside the uterus with the aid of reasonable and necessary technology. If a pregnancy needs to be interrupted after this point, every reasonable and necessary effort should be made to support this life...” and Section V.C entitled “The Regulation of Abortion,” as it applies to “... this church supports legislation that prohibits abortions that are performed after the fetus is determined to be viable, except when the mother’s life is threatened...”, and as reaffirmed by the 1999 Churchwide Assembly;


To commend the Social Statement on Abortion which was adopted by the 1991 Churchwide Assembly and reaffirmed by the 1999 Churchwide Assembly, as a resource to our pastors and members dealing with this issue;


To continue to oppose legislation that permits abortions that are performed after the fetus is determined to be viable outside the uterus; and
To oppose legislation that permits willful neglect of otherwise viable babies during delivery or post-delivery.


Recommendation of the Reference and Counsel Committee
We recommend a substitute motion to the assembly:

BE IT RESOLVED to lift up to members, congregations and ministers the value of reviewing our social statements as a resource for deepening and broadening moral deliberation in personal and public life. (The social statements and messages are found at: https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages )
To commend the Social Statement on Abortion for reading or rereading as the debate and discussion in public intensifies. (It was adopted by the 1991 Churchwide Assembly and reaffirmed by the 1999 Churchwide Assembly as a resource to members, congregations and ministers.)

Title: Re: Thursday afternoon
Post by: Charles Austin on August 09, 2019, 04:20:57 AM
Maybe it is better to reassert the teaching, guidance and discussion value of the whole social statement rather than emphasize or seem to give priority to one part of the statement.
Title: Re: Thursday afternoon
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 09, 2019, 07:24:32 AM
The real issue here is whether the proposed social statement this year is in conflict with the one on abortion, and if so, who mediates?
Title: Re: Thursday afternoon
Post by: Wayne Kofink on August 09, 2019, 09:24:01 AM

The resolution below was on the agenda this afternoon but consideration was preempted by time and the orders of the day. Reference and Counsel seemingly deflated it with their substitute motion recommendation. It will be interesting to hear the assembly’s response—or if it gets kicked to the Church Council as unfinished business when the assembly ends.


RPG+


Quote
Motion C: Resolution on Reaffirmation of ELCA Social Statement on Abortion
Submitted by: Mr. Jon E. Hale, Southern Ohio Synod, 6F


WHEREAS, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a Social Statement in 1991 in which the ELCA “...opposes ending intrauterine life when a fetus is developed enough to live outside a uterus with the aid of reasonable and necessary technology. If a pregnancy needs to be interrupted after this point, every reasonable and necessary effort should be made to support this life, unless there are lethal fetal abnormalities indicating that the prospective newborn will die very soon.”; and


WHEREAS, this 1991 Social Statement was reaffirmed in its entirety by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 1999 Churchwide Assembly; and


WHEREAS, there has been no formal reaffirmation of either the original 1991 Social Statement on Abortion or the 1999 reaffirmation for the past 20 years by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and


WHEREAS, at least seven states currently have no prohibition against late-term abortion, and several states are currently considering or have adopted dropping all laws prohibiting late-term abortion for any reason, up to and including during the birthing process itself; therefore, be it


RESOLVED, that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America reaffirms the church’s commitment to and support of the 1991 Social Statement on Abortion, especially that of Section IV.B entitled “Ending a Pregnancy” as it applies to “This church opposes ending intrauterine life when a fetus is developed enough to live outside the uterus with the aid of reasonable and necessary technology. If a pregnancy needs to be interrupted after this point, every reasonable and necessary effort should be made to support this life...” and Section V.C entitled “The Regulation of Abortion,” as it applies to “... this church supports legislation that prohibits abortions that are performed after the fetus is determined to be viable, except when the mother’s life is threatened...”, and as reaffirmed by the 1999 Churchwide Assembly;


To commend the Social Statement on Abortion which was adopted by the 1991 Churchwide Assembly and reaffirmed by the 1999 Churchwide Assembly, as a resource to our pastors and members dealing with this issue;


To continue to oppose legislation that permits abortions that are performed after the fetus is determined to be viable outside the uterus; and
To oppose legislation that permits willful neglect of otherwise viable babies during delivery or post-delivery.


Recommendation of the Reference and Counsel Committee
We recommend a substitute motion to the assembly:

BE IT RESOLVED to lift up to members, congregations and ministers the value of reviewing our social statements as a resource for deepening and broadening moral deliberation in personal and public life. (The social statements and messages are found at: https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Messages )
To commend the Social Statement on Abortion for reading or rereading as the debate and discussion in public intensifies. (It was adopted by the 1991 Churchwide Assembly and reaffirmed by the 1999 Churchwide Assembly as a resource to members, congregations and ministers.)

A motion to reaffirm something is out of order under Robert's Rules of Order because it leaves ambiguous the status of the original resolution if the motion to reaffirm is lost. The substitution by Reference and Counsel is a way around that problem.
Title: Re: Thursday afternoon
Post by: RPG on August 09, 2019, 10:50:26 AM
A motion to reaffirm something is out of order under Robert's Rules of Order because it leaves ambiguous the status of the original resolution if the motion to reaffirm is lost. The substitution by Reference and Counsel is a way around that problem.
Interesting! I didn't know that one--and I like to know stuff like that.  ;)
I wonder if the 1999 reaffirmation was similarly out of order.  Will have to check the website for the wording.
RPG+