Author Topic: Wednesday morning plenary  (Read 1900 times)

Richard Johnson

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Wednesday morning plenary
« on: August 07, 2019, 10:12:02 AM »
The Wednesday morning plenary began with instructions about an AMPARO prayer vigil walk scheduled for noon and how it will affect lunch plans. They need to get a count of how many are going and how many are not going. About 65% are going, 35% not going. (Everybody gets lunch, but they have to figure out how many to have in what distribution site.)

Agenda will be changed this morning because we don't have to have a bishop election. So today we'll get report of the Secretary, Memorials, first common ballot, first ballot for secretary.

Report of the Secretary, Chris Boerger. He's talking about how it is sometimes difficult to discern which of the three "expressions" of the ELCA are responsible for particular things. Sometimes it is obvious and clear, but other times not so much. He talks a long time about the responsibilities of the churchwide secretary, since there will be an election shortly and "you should know what you're asking someone to do." He notes that the only requirement for the secretary is that he or she be a voting member of a congregation of this church. (That causes me to perk up; it means I'm not eligible, I guess, since my "voting membership" is in an Episcopal congregation. Pretty non-inclusive, I'd say, and unecumenical.) He urges every congregation to review its congregation after every churchwide assembly--both to consider any amendments to the model that have been adopted, and just in general to keep things current. The only time he gets applause is when he talks about the secretary's role in providing logistical support for events such as the churchwide assembly.  ::)  Now he touches on some of the issues coming before the assembly: entrance rite for ministers of Word & Service, and how this impacts the representational principles (he notes that for purposes of this assembly's elections, deacons will still be considered lay persons, and any deacons who have been elected as lay persons will be able to continue to serve out their current term; commitment to ethnic and racial diversity ("we have not made progress in addressing this reality; in fact, our "whiteness" is increasing. "As a white church, we say the right words; we must do more than talk"). He notes that return rate for parochial reports has declined from over 90% in the early years of the ELCA to as low as 72%; 77% last year (he called out three synods with 100% return rate last year). In 2018, we continued to see a decline in baptized membership. Now 3,363,281. Consistent decline; what does it mean for the future? Significant drop in baptisms for both children and adults; what does this mean? Unrestricted giving down slightly, essentially flat. Members gave $1,750,445,156; congregations gave 5.4% as mission support, 11.7% to work outside the congregation. Congregational indebtedness has also declined significantly. He thanks assembly for the opportunity to serve. "I've often said it is wonderful to have your favorite call as your last call."

Long and enthusiastic applause. Bp Eaton shows her socks--with images of Boerger! Boerger's have images of steins of beer. Boerger's wife is called to the stage. The Servus Dei award is presented to Boerger by the vice president. He is presented with a commemorative hymn "No deeper well" to tune of "Praise to the Lord" written by Paul Hoffman (who is from Boerger's synod). Boerger responds that the hymn tune (with the traditional words) was sung at his wedding and at every one of his installations (except that of ELCA secretary).
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 10:25:30 AM by Richard Johnson »
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Newt Kerney

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019, 11:25:48 AM »
With the 77% response on the parochial reports, it is possible that we are close to the 3M mark on baptized membership.  You and I both remember clergy in our old Synod who were famous for inflating their baptized membership while their attendance was in the mid single digits.  I recall a now retired pastor who didn’t update his records for well over a decade. Who knows what the real truth was about anything in that congregation.

Dave Likeness

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Re: Wednesday morning plenary
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2019, 11:33:52 AM »
ELCA Secretary Chris Boerger stated that the current baptized membership of the ELCA
is 3,363, 281.   That is a decline of 1.9 million members since the ELCA started in 1988
with 5, 288, 048 baptized members

At the start of 2018, the LCMS had 1,968, 641 baptized members.   So the ELCA loss in
membership would equal the current size of the LCMS.   Lutheranism in the United States
of America is definitely declining in membership.