Author Topic: Thursday morning plenary part 1  (Read 1598 times)

Richard Johnson

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Thursday morning plenary part 1
« on: August 18, 2011, 09:25:29 AM »
Thursday morning plenary

After singing “Awake, my soul,” the assembly took up the recommendations concerning the process for approving social statements. Bp. Hanson gave a brief summary of the current development process, purpose and use of social statements. The motion is: To authorize the Church Council, in consultation with the Conference of Bishops and Communal Discernment Task Force, to establish a review process of current procedures for the development and adoption of social statements, following the consideration of the genetics social statement . . . at the 2011 CWA.

R&C has put this together with the LIFT recommendations and amendments proposed thereto, and brings the following recommendation:

To authorizes [same wording as above . . . ], and
To bring no social statements other than “Genetics, Faith and Responsibility” to any CWA until completion of a review process for addressing social concerns based on a  spirit of communal discernment. This review shall be completed and brought to the fall 2012 Church Council meeting, with a report to the 2013 CWA. During this review, the process for developing the criminal justice social statement and the justice for women social statement may continue.


To explain: This takes up the LIFT proposal that there be a hiatus on social statements pending review of process, adds the Church Council specific proposal for a review process, but allows for continued work on the statements (criminal justice and justice for women) which are already in the pipeline.

Parliamentarily, the Church Council recommendation was moved, and now R&C has moved the substitute language.

There was considerable discussion. There was an amendment that would have exempted the criminal justice statement from these caveats—in other words, keep it on track for report to the 2013 CWA. The point is that this statement is pretty far along, and it is not good at this point to raise doubts about whether they should continue on their current timetable. After a good bit of discussion, the motion to amend was adopted, 680-265.

Another amendment proposed which would delete the language about “bring no social statements.” Most interesting comment by Bp. John Anderson, who commented on the shallowness of the debate about an important issue, namely managing the tension between speaking in the public world and causing turmoil in the church, and how we deepen the reception of social statements in our own body (which is really more the point than speaking “to the world”). One of the young adult voting members made the rather obvious point that since there will be no CWA between now and 2013, and the review process will be done by 2013, this proposed amendment is utterly meaningless. (Gotta like this young man, who is wearing a suit and tie and who yesterday made a speech which he was reading—quite well—from his laptop as he stood at the mic.)

While listening to this boring debate, I perused the results of yesterday’s ballot. Didn’t recognize a single name among those elected to various offices, with one exception, and it pleased me: the assembly declined to elect Jeff Johnson, one of the “PLTS 3” who was finally last year “received on to the roster,” to the Church Council. Instead they chose Pr. Elizabeth Ekdale, pastor of St. Mark’s in San Francisco, and probably wouldn’t vote much differently from Johnson. But not electing Jeff Johnson was a really good thing, symbolically speaking.

Back to the boring. The social statements are the “cries of people living in the world. . . The voice of people of suffer and are powerless.” Yeah, right. People who suffer and are powerless are generally way more articulate than ELCA social statements, IMO.

At last debate on the utterly meaningless amendment was closed, and the Assembly defeated it, 383-553. Back to the proposed substitute, with two amendments in a row that would insist that the two pipeline statements must continue on schedule. Secretary Swartling tried to explain that this wouldn’t really change anything, but his explanation was in vain. Eventually the motion to amend was defeated.

Motion to substitute approved 824-124. The previous question was immediately moved, and the number of seconds made it clear that the assembly, like this reporter, is quite tired of this discussion and ready to move on. Debate closed, and main motion adopted 880-58.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles_Austin

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 1
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 09:43:05 AM »
Richard's report notes the difficulty of doing some things in the "ELCA-Assembly" way. The LIFT report would lead the ELCA to other methods of "discernment" when it comes to taking stands; but for the time being we are at a point where discussions such at the one we just slogged through will happen, with people largely speaking to vague generalities or perceived hidden or real agendas.
Ouch.
We are now into the discussion of the social statement on genetics; which is a specific thing; so if you're watching on line it will be easier to stay awake.

Jay

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 1
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 06:36:11 PM »
While listening to this boring debate, I perused the results of yesterday’s ballot. Didn’t recognize a single name among those elected to various offices, with one exception

Guess I need to post here more often :)
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Richard Johnson

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Re: Thursday morning plenary part 1
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 07:08:50 PM »
Well, congratulations!
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS