Author Topic: Wednesday afternoon  (Read 3952 times)

Richard Johnson

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Wednesday afternoon
« on: August 07, 2019, 03:14:32 PM »
Bible study led by Bishop Kay Ward of the Moravian Church--engaging and lovely. The unfortunate thing is that people are filtering back in after going on the march/prayer vigil to the ICE headquarters, and they are chatting, eating, not really paying attention. Really rude. They finally quiet down when she's finished and asks them to pray.

Session begins 15 minutes late. Bp. Eaton suggests that one problem with the voting machines is that the network is getting overloaded, so if you are using a personal device for reasons other than assembly business, use a different network (which she names). Also, none of you are any good at Mother May I. You must not vote until I say "Please vote now."

Amended order of business adopted. Vice President William Horne called upon to give his report. He, like others, refers to "siblings in Christ." It occurred to me this morning that this isn't just to avoid the longer "sisters and brothers," but to avoid offending non-binary people. It seems that the memo has gone out that this is the preferred language now.

This is kind of boring, so a couple of random comments. The voting machines being used all have lights that blink about every three seconds to show that they are working. Where I'm sitting at the front of the hall, it is a little distracting to see 1000 points of light blinking constantly. Looks like a warning light because there's a traffic accident ahead.

One change this year over previous assemblies is that there are no venders, other than Augsburg Fortress (or whatever they're calling it now)--them, and a couple of other in house things like the ELCA Credit Union, Mission Investment Fund, Portico, etc. But no outside commercial groups. I haven't gotten a precise answer for why this is, but it appears that it was a cost saving or space saving issue. One staff person said there was such an impacted agenda that they didn't think there'd be much time for browsing among other venders. Perhaps there are other considerations; maybe venders aren't finding it very lucrative to come to a church convention that is increasingly younger people and lay people (who aren't generally much interested, say, in seeing what a vestment company has to offer).

He's still talking. He's summarizing all the recommendations of the church council (which he chairs), which of course have already been presented, both verbally and in writing, and will be explained again when they actually come to the floor. File this under the "tell them what you're going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them" department.

Now three international guests, from partner churches in Germany, Canada, and . . . well, we stopped midstream to hear words from Bp. Susan Johnson of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. She begins by acknowledging the native peoples who lived on this land, but obviously hasn't practiced the pronunciation as effectively as Bp. Eaton and the local ELCA bishop.

OK, the third one, Archbishop Panti Filibus Musa from Nigeria and president of Lutheran World Federation. (Something else that's frustrating this year: even though he is speaking, his name is not on the screen; it only flashed across when Bp. Eaton spoke it, and I couldn't see it fast enough and had to look it up.)

We sing "Joyful, joyful, we adore thee"--joyfully, without screwy language.

Greetings from Jeff Thieman of Portico. I taught him American Lutheran history back in the day, which I'm sure prepared him well for his current position. See, he just mentioned that Lutherans have provided benefits for clergy for more than 200 years! Followed by a video about Portico, sort of.

College corporation meetings. College presidents present are introduced, and Bp. Eaton thanks them. "I've met most of you, and I think have T-shirts from all your institutions." Explanation of various ways colleges relate to ELCA, some of which required "corporation meetings" here at the churchwide assembly. Bp. Eaton declares CWA in recess and calls to order corporations of Luther College and Wartburg College. For Luther, for instance, there are a couple of amendments to the articles of incorporation and ratification of election of regents. For Wartburg, amendments to articles of incorporation. Always an exciting moment in the life of the CWA. Everything approved by card vote.

Next the leaders of the seminaries are introduced.

Tim Blevins of 1517 Media (Augsburg Fortress, Fortress Press, Sparkhouse and something else) is introduced and presents a video about the agency. Two of the three Fortress Press books highlighted in the video have a Nadia Bolz-Weber connection--in one case, she wrote the forward; in the other, there's a quote from her on the cover. Cool, huh?

Back to Memorials Committee, so we're back to "whatever we were talking about" (Bp Eaton says). "Is it just Wednesday?" Oh yes, sanctuary. So we're on the motion as amended to declare the ELCA a sanctuary church body.
Member from Arkansas/Oklahoma and member of memorials committee. I was excited when this came up, but now I'm concerned about the legal implications of this. People may come to an ELCA church for a welcome when in fact there is no welcome; we need to avoid making a promise that all parts of the church are not prepared to make. Member from NE PA speaks in favor. Luther said God works through family, church, government; when government fails to do the right thing, the church needs to set up. We need a hopeful message. We don't need to worry about definition, we just need to step up, step out. Member urges using UN definitions of migrant vs refugee. Bishop from Oregon speaks in favor. I'd love to put to rest some of the fears and anxieties. We pondered all these legal, ethical definitions, and finally decided we just needed to step out in love. We have discovered that no congregation felt pushed to do anything they didn't want to do. Very few negative repercussions. I've only been the bishop for six days, but I think it has gone well and we need to do this as churchwide.

NW Wisconsin member speaks against. "Rule of law" is basic principle, we must be mindful of that as we consider situations like this. We are the church, but "we" are also the government. If we want the law changed, we have a responsibility to work on changing the law. We want to change the law, so that sanctuary is not necessary. Western ND member (pronouns she/her/hers) notes definition of sanctuary is in the report; its a vague definition, but it should be vague. What it would mean for my congregation in ND to be sanctuary is different from what it would mean for a congregation on the border. Female pastor from Sierra Pacific (pronouns they/them/their). Story about a young gay African man who came to her church because of the rainbow flag they fly. They took him in and provided housing. It's been a tremendous blessing. Please think about the people.

Member from MN (she/her/hers) moves to amend "to request that the ELCA church council in consultation with appropriate units to offer guidance about what it means to be a sanctuary church body and to report back to 2022 CWA" (Text projected does not match what she actually said, which is really helpful. Not.) Member from MN speaks in favor. [I'm not usually including names here because they aren't being projected. And in some cases, because I don't want to give them publicity.] Oregon bishop speaks in favor. Member from Arkansas/Oklahoma synod: I appreciate this amendment because I think we need to inform and educate our own members about what this action means. Member from PA against amendment because we need to take action now, not wait for consultation and guidance for three years. (The amendment actually doesn't eliminate the immediate declaration of sanctuary.) More speaking for the amendment. Motion to end debate, approved. Amendment ("To request that the ELCA Church Council, in consultation with the appropriate churchwide units and offices, provide guidance for the three expressions of this church about what it means to be a sanctuary church body and provide a report to the 2022 Churchwide Assembly." Finally on the screen.) Yet again, some voting machine issues, so we go to the cards. The amendment is adopted.

Back to discussion on the amended memorial. Member from Wisconsin. Even when definitions are unclear, we know how to do church. If five synods can successfully be sanctuary synods, we can mirror that as churchwide. He makes mocking reference to Bp. Riegel's earlier comment about showers. Metro NY member (she/her/hers) moves previous question. Motion approved. Vote on memorial as amended: Overwhelmingly adopted.

Next memorial on Peacebuilding (calls for establishment of federal Department of Peacebuilding). Memorial committee recommends the assembly decline to take action (in part because it would require resources of advocacy etc.). Member from Sierra Pacific (where memorial originated) (he/his/him) moves amendment which would approve the original memorial. As the memorial reads, this cabinet department would entail just about everything imaginable from domestic violence, criminal justice, etc. Motion to amend (i.e., to approve original memorial) vote is close, can't call it with cards, so we're trying the machines. Yes 398, no 477. Back to the original recommendation to decline to take action: Yes, 656, no 224. A dose of sanity.

Next memorial comes from Minneapolis Area Synod. Recommendation "to authorize the development of an ELCA social statement on government, civic engagement and the relationship of church and state." Just what we need, another social statement. Question: how would this impact budget for the next triennium. PB: Good question. Wyvetta Bullock: past experience suggests about $300,000 over five years. Bp. Lull, St. Paul Area Synod, we have lots of resources available on this without needing a five year process and a new statement. Delaware MD Synod member (PF he/him/his--I think PF must mean "preferred pronoun"). There may be other issues before us calling for a social statement, and we should stick to one that has a more clear focus. Wyvetta Bullock notes that there is funding in the triennial budget for one social statement. Bp. Svennungsen, this is an important issue, we need a statement. More speaking for and against. Pastor, Director for Theological Ethics, asked to respond about how decisions are made about social statements. He speaks about difference between "social statements" (large issues) and "social messages" (more focused, immediate). The reason this particular social statement appeared appropriate to church council is that it addresses a large issue into which we need to delve deeply.

More speaking in favor. Motion from a he/him/his member to postpone discussion until after consideration of migrant and refugee memorials. Dr. Willer clarifies that what will be coming on migrant and refugees is a proposal for a social MESSAGE, not a social STATEMENT. Member corrects him that the memorial recommendation doesn't actually ask for a new social message, but to continue work doing under current social messages. He states that DE/MD synod plans to present an amendment to call for a social statement. Another member opposes postponing on the grounds that the migrant/refugee issue needs an immediate response, not a social statement. More speaking.

I'm getting sick of the pronoun thing, so I'm not going to play any more.

Member calls for the order of the day, and memorials discussion ceases for now.

Now some motions brought by CWA members.
The first establishes June 17 as a "feast day of repentance in the ELCA for the martydom of the Emanuel 9." It goes on to direct the development of various resources. Michael Burk offers amendment that would change language to "commemorating June 17th as a day of repentance" and some other changes which utilize language that we've generally used for this kind of observance. Kwame Pitts, an African American clergywoman who has presented this resolution, opposes the amendment, but she's not really speaking to the amendment. I don't think she quite gets it. She's speaking really in favor of the resolution. Bp. Eaton: "Hmm. Thank you. We're now speaking specifically to the amendment." Member of church council speaks in favor. "No greater martyrs exist than the Emanuel 9, but they deserve to be commemorated as we commemorate Dr. King and others." Pastor from SW Calif. "we should be voting on the language that those who worked hard on this prefer."  This is really stupid. One of Burk's observations was that the resolution refers to the "Division of Worship," and there is no such thing. There's also no such thing as a "feast day of repentance"--we fast for repentance. But hey, these people worked hard on this, so we need to do it.
Once again the actual proposed change is not on the screen, so members can't compare. Now its up. Essentially uses word "commemorate as a day of repentance" rather than "venerate as a feast day" and directing "office of presiding bishop" rather than "division on worship." Member "people, if you are uncomfortable with this language, you are speaking out of your white privilege." Another member: this is about the language that the church uses. ELCA doesn't speak of "feast day" and there is no Division on Worship." But time is now up, so we'll come back later.

Order of the day, election report on ballot for secretary:
866 ballots case, 5 invalid, 861 valid, required for election 646
Sue Rothmeyer 252
Stephen Herr 95
Lamont Wells 79
Matthew Riegel 42
John Emery 37
Paul Baglyos 31
Tyler Rasmussen 28
Jonathan Vehar 24
Petert Kowitz 23
Peter Severson 22
Thomas Madden 21
Jeff Pennington 18
Kwame Pitts 17
Rocky Piro 15
Christopher Gaule 13
Michael Rinehart 7
Everyone else, 6 or less--and there are five pages of them!

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« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 06:10:45 PM by Richard Johnson »
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019, 08:00:05 PM »

I'm getting sick of the pronoun thing, so I'm not going to play any more.


Just remember, God identifies Godself (he/him/his).

Pax, Steven+


The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
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Richard Johnson

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2019, 09:40:11 PM »

I'm getting sick of the pronoun thing, so I'm not going to play any more.


Just remember, God identifies Godself (he/him/his).

Pax, Steven+

 ;D
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2019, 06:39:55 PM »
One change this year over previous assemblies is that there are no venders, other than Augsburg Fortress (or whatever they're calling it now)--them, and a couple of other in house things like the ELCA Credit Union, Mission Investment Fund, Portico, etc. But no outside commercial groups. I haven't gotten a precise answer for why this is, but it appears that it was a cost saving or space saving issue. One staff person said there was such an impacted agenda that they didn't think there'd be much time for browsing among other venders. Perhaps there are other considerations; maybe venders aren't finding it very lucrative to come to a church convention that is increasingly younger people and lay people (who aren't generally much interested, say, in seeing what a vestment company has to offer).


Did they change to allow outside venders? When I was a visitor in Denver, where they voted on CCM, I roomed with an Episcopal priest. He was surprised that we didn't have outside venders like he had seen at their national conventions. We were told that only ELCA agencies had booths.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2019, 07:52:45 PM »
Did they change to allow outside venders? When I was a visitor in Denver, where they voted on CCM, I roomed with an Episcopal priest. He was surprised that we didn't have outside venders like he had seen at their national conventions. We were told that only ELCA agencies had booths.

I recall some issues on both the churchwide and Synodical level involving Solid Rock Lutherans.   Since they were not an official agency of the ELCA they were denied display space on one or both levels.
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Richard Johnson

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2019, 08:10:21 PM »
One change this year over previous assemblies is that there are no venders, other than Augsburg Fortress (or whatever they're calling it now)--them, and a couple of other in house things like the ELCA Credit Union, Mission Investment Fund, Portico, etc. But no outside commercial groups. I haven't gotten a precise answer for why this is, but it appears that it was a cost saving or space saving issue. One staff person said there was such an impacted agenda that they didn't think there'd be much time for browsing among other venders. Perhaps there are other considerations; maybe venders aren't finding it very lucrative to come to a church convention that is increasingly younger people and lay people (who aren't generally much interested, say, in seeing what a vestment company has to offer).


Did they change to allow outside venders? When I was a visitor in Denver, where they voted on CCM, I roomed with an Episcopal priest. He was surprised that we didn't have outside venders like he had seen at their national conventions. We were told that only ELCA agencies had booths.

Perhaps it has been different from year to year, but I know last time there were at least two other companies selling vestments and clerical clothing, and at least a couple of others selling other things. I can't remember about earlier ones.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2019, 08:47:26 PM »
One change this year over previous assemblies is that there are no venders, other than Augsburg Fortress (or whatever they're calling it now)--them, and a couple of other in house things like the ELCA Credit Union, Mission Investment Fund, Portico, etc. But no outside commercial groups. I haven't gotten a precise answer for why this is, but it appears that it was a cost saving or space saving issue. One staff person said there was such an impacted agenda that they didn't think there'd be much time for browsing among other venders. Perhaps there are other considerations; maybe venders aren't finding it very lucrative to come to a church convention that is increasingly younger people and lay people (who aren't generally much interested, say, in seeing what a vestment company has to offer).


Did they change to allow outside venders? When I was a visitor in Denver, where they voted on CCM, I roomed with an Episcopal priest. He was surprised that we didn't have outside venders like he had seen at their national conventions. We were told that only ELCA agencies had booths.

Perhaps it has been different from year to year, but I know last time there were at least two other companies selling vestments and clerical clothing, and at least a couple of others selling other things. I can't remember about earlier ones.


It may be when AF got out of the liturgical vestment business. (I think I remember reading they were going to do that a few years ago.)

"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2019, 03:37:22 PM »
Been on a boat scuba diving in the Keys for the last week and am just now checking in. I apologise if this has been addressed already, but are people really required to specify their pronouns before addressing the gathering? Or is it a voluntary thing a few people are doing?

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 04:13:07 PM »
Been on a boat scuba diving in the Keys for the last week and am just now checking in. I apologise if this has been addressed already, but are people really required to specify their pronouns before addressing the gathering? Or is it a voluntary thing a few people are doing?

Apparently it is voluntary, at least this time around.

I suspect that this may become required three years hence, as the "my pronouns are..." virus seems to have spread beyond academia to prestigious law firms:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3770500/posts
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Eileen Smith

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2019, 04:22:14 PM »
Been on a boat scuba diving in the Keys for the last week and am just now checking in. I apologise if this has been addressed already, but are people really required to specify their pronouns before addressing the gathering? Or is it a voluntary thing a few people are doing?

Apparently it is voluntary, at least this time around.

I suspect that this may become required three years hence, as the "my pronouns are..." virus seems to have spread beyond academia to prestigious law firms:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3770500/posts

It really seems to be growing in popularity.  Today I had to renew my library card and I was asked what pronouns i prefer.  Whenever I check into Mt. Sinai in NY there is a question on preferred pronoun.  Just a sign of the times dear siblings. 

Richard Johnson

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2019, 09:51:21 PM »
Voluntary, and I'd say those doing it are more than a few (though not as many as "many," and they tend to be the same ones, who are simply speaking too often; perhaps there's a connection between specifying your pronouns and not knowing when to be quiet). In my opinion, the preferred pronouns of most of these folk are my/me/mine.
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Charles Austin

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2019, 10:29:42 PM »
Here’s my take on pronouns. In referring to me, this humble correspondent , do not use pronouns. Use either one or both of my real names.
Example:
That Charles Austin is a really good guy. On most days, he Charles spreads joy and warmth every He Charles goes. You would love to have him Charles in your life.
See? No pronouns.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Just finished six great days in a beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with a bunch of friends and relatives. About 18 of us, and the young folks did all the cooking.

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2019, 10:31:38 PM »
Here’s my take on pronouns. In referring to me, this humble correspondent , do not use pronouns. Use either one or both of my real names.
Example:
That Charles Austin is a really good guy. On most days, he Charles spreads joy and warmth every He Charles goes. You would love to have him Charles in your life.
See? No pronouns.


Does that maker "Charles" an amateurnoun?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2019, 12:54:17 AM »
“George is getting upset!”
(Seinfeld)
Pete Garrison, STS

Richard Johnson

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Re: Wednesday afternoon
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2019, 09:18:01 AM »
Charles Charleself has spoken.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS