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ALPB => 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly => Topic started by: Richard Johnson on August 10, 2019, 12:51:23 PM

Title: Saturday morning
Post by: Richard Johnson on August 10, 2019, 12:51:23 PM
The schedule was reversed in the morning, so that worship was first, plenary after. I suppose that is to avoid people slipping out of worship to catch a flight. Here's what is anticipated today: observance of gun violence awareness focus;  update from ELCA World Hunger; update from Lutheran Disaster Response; report of reference and counsel; honoring outgoing bishops; honoring Church Council class of 2019 members; announcement of 2022 Churchwide Assembly; closing. Doesn't sound like too much controversy on the surface; far as I can see, the memorials were all dispatched yesterday, and the only R&C items are courtesy resolutions.

The closing worship was good; lively music, a good sermon from Bp. Eaton on the Great Commission, and, of course, the precious Body and Blood of Christ. Not too much agenda-ization.

Bishop announces that Secretary nominee John Emory, who was hospitalized, has had successful surgery and is recuperating well.

Appears there are also a couple constitution/bylaw amendments that will have to be considered.

Bp. introduces Desta Ronning Goehner, Director of Church Relations at California Lutheran. A CLU alumnus was among those killed in the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks CA last year; there were about 40 CLU students at the club where the shooting took place. She speaks of her experience ministering to her community in the wake of such a trauma. Notes that media gives attention to events like this, but gun violence also afflicts urban communities every day without. She refers to ripple effects of gun violence. She is very emotional, very moving presentation. "Every mass shooting that follows re-triggers the emotions and the trauma. I am one person. Imagine community after community experiencing this." Standing ovation. The assembly participates in a litany lamenting gun violence.

A member moves that the orders of the day be amended to deal with constitutional matters, memorials, ref & counsel before the reports on World Hunger and Disaster Response. Motion carries 562-250 (69%). So the bishop calls on the constitution/bylaws/continuing resolution review committee. They are taken by surprise, so there is a bit of a delay. Boerger brings us back to 7.41.03 dealing with calls to non-congregational service (the proposed amendment requires that these calls be renewed "at least annually" to see if they are "warranted for the ministry needs of the church." A member opposes the amendment. "Despite my age, I am a new pastor; I have to cobble together a call that can support me. Full time calls are not as available as we wish, especially for women and people of color." Previous question is moved, and approved 698-109. On the amendment to 7.41.03, the motion fails, 315-499. Eaton: "It's approved. Oh, no its not. I was looking at the combined total and I thought, wow, that's unanimous."  Next is 7.71.04, which is a similar provision for Ministers of Word and Service. A deacon speaks against the proposal.

A member tries to make an amendment, and bishop is about to entertain it, but Boerger reminds her that amendments had to be presented ahead of time. "Oh, I'm sorry," she says, "we got into that yesterday, and that was five years ago." Boerger indicates that this provision in fact reflects what is actually happening now, and doesn't represent any real change. (Not clear why he didn't make this point in the previous discussion.) Another member opposes the amendment. Previous question adopted. Amendment fails 359-458. That concludes proposed constitution/bylaw amendments.

Memorials committee. Back to the memorial on health care benefits for churchwide staff. Motion to delate the second resolved; this would eliminate the requirement to change the benefits for 2020 but also push the council, bishops and Portico to review for 2021 and the future. Treasurer reports that the reference yesterday to surplus funds have already been designated for deficits in 2018 and 2018; and projected income has a large investment income component, which is not guaranteed. Member from Pennsylvania speaks against: health care is a social justice matter. ELCA used to be an inspiring frontrunner in showing how to do healthcare, but now we are falling behind in how we treat our employees. Congregations struggle with this as well; we're making the churchwide staff our scapegoats. $1.5 million dollars divided by 9,000 congregations is only $167 per congregation.  Member of church council from Chicago speaks in favor of amendment; every member of the church council also serves in congregations and synods, we are aware of challenges that face us with respect to health care; but what the council has done is to offer more options to those who work at churchwide, and this enables us to maintain numbers of staff that would otherwise have to be reduced.

Aside: It's always a bad idea to try to make personnel decisions in a body of 900+. It's why we have a church council.

Bp. SW Washington speaks against the amendment. It's a matter of justice, provides a bad example to congregations and synods (which sometimes try to deal with budget problems by reducing compensation packages), process here was bad (no discussion with synods and bishops). Pastor from Western Iowa: I agree with everything just said; but congregational and synod benevolence is also a justice issue. The solution lies with congregations offering more money--that's how we can fix it. Another Iowan moves previous question. Motion adopted, 674-148. Member expresses confusion about what's on the screen. Answer: the amendment to the substitute motion. Vote on the amendment to the substitute for memorial: 452-364. Now the substitute as adopted is on the floor.

Member speaks about his own experience with a diabetic wife, ten year old son also diabetic. I give thanks for new technology that gives us a largely healthy family, but I couldn't do this without my Gold Portico program.

Bishop points out that this was a substitute motion, so we need to perfect both the original recommendation of the Memorials committee and the substitute that we've been discussing. Parliamentary confusion. Bp. Bartholomew from NJ moves moves to include a couple of paragraphs in the substitute which appeared in the recommendation from the memorials committee (having to do with surveying employees about their desires). Speech in favor. Another speaker notes that most in the room don't really know anything about the differences between Gold and Silver plans, and it would be prudent to let the church council deal with this. Another speaker in favor of the Bartholomew amendment, which is approved, 754-58.

Now we've got both the original and the substitute perfected. Confusion about what happens next. The assembly votes to substitute, 667-135. Before us now is the substitute motion. It doesn't seem to me there's a heck of a lot of difference here from the original recommendation; it simply adds a request that council review the decision for 2021, which one assumes they do every year anyway. Now there's a problem pointed out with the language of the motion as it now stands, calling the council to "develop a recommendation for the whole church for health insurance." Does this mean the church council will just "recommend" that all congregations pay for the Silver plan? Bishop warns that we have 5 minutes before the Orders of the Day. A member moves previous question: approved, 780-18. Vote on the recommendation as it now stands: Yes 662 No 127.

Bishop notes that matters from R&C will be referred to church council.

Member tries to get the assembly to talk about Vision & Expectations revision (there is a motion "to disregard Vision & Expectations, which R&C has recommended referring to Domestic Mission unit). This is now parliamentarily sketchy. The bishop ruled this out of order, someone challenged the ruling, now they are debating that. Church council member supports ruling of the chair. Motion to end debate on ruling of the chair: 771 to 26. Vote on the ruling of the chair (shall it be sustained?): Yes 565-230. So we move to the orders of the day, which means we express appreciation to bishops who have completed their service. And then newly elected bishops. And then outgoing church council members.

Announcements. Total offerings this week $46,601.41. Voting machines are collected. Don't forget to return your iPad (if you are using an ELCA iPad). Thanks to the Greater Milwaukee Synod for their hospitality. Next assembly will be in Columbus OH. Conclusion with closing litany and singing "The Church of Christ in Every Age."

Title: Re: Saturday morning
Post by: John_Hannah on August 10, 2019, 01:34:19 PM
Thank you, Richard, for you fine reports of this, the 2019 ELCA CWA. Well done.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Saturday morning
Post by: Charles Austin on August 10, 2019, 01:41:01 PM
Good work, as usual. In spite of everything, I still find that I miss being at these events. I know the boring parts, I know the frustrating parts, and I know the absolutely maddening parts (which often predominate), butÖ Itís interesting to be there.
Title: Re: Saturday morning
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on August 10, 2019, 01:54:55 PM
Thank you, Richard, for you fine reports of this, the 2019 ELCA CWA. Well done.

Peace, JOHN

Title: Re: Saturday morning
Post by: scott9 on August 10, 2019, 05:52:51 PM
Trying to sift through all the posts and not seeing an answer yet...

What happened with the social statement, "Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Lutheran Call to Action"?
Title: Re: Saturday morning
Post by: TERJr on August 10, 2019, 07:50:37 PM
Itís in the Friday morning section and reported with admirable restraint.
Title: Re: Saturday morning
Post by: Eileen Smith on August 11, 2019, 02:53:08 PM
Thank you for bringing us into the Churchwide Assembly.  I looked forward to each posting.    The proceedings coupled with your witticisms helped mitigate some of the pain at times.   Hope they reconsider your offer to write the next social statement.
Title: Re: Saturday morning
Post by: revjagow on August 15, 2019, 09:32:14 AM
Thank you for bringing us into the Churchwide Assembly.  I looked forward to each posting.    The proceedings coupled with your witticisms helped mitigate some of the pain at times.   Hope they reconsider your offer to write the next social statement.

I'd like to echo the thanksgiving! Excellent and even entertaining reporting.