Author Topic: Friday afternoon  (Read 1275 times)

Richard Johnson

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Friday afternoon
« on: August 09, 2019, 02:45:05 PM »
The Bible study leader is going way past the 1:00 opening of the plenary. Bp. Eaton is standing at the podium with an impatient smile on her face. It's now 1:15. Now she is finished, and Bp. Eaton thanks her, and presents her with a gift of communionware that has been used at the assembly.

"Now I know we're behind schedule, but I did not think it would be a good idea to try to silence a woman today." She notes that one of the women in the procession today is 104 years old (didn't catch the name). She decides to dispense with the singing. There will be an order of the day at 2 for the Secretary speeches, then we'll go immediately to the ballot.

Amended order of business is presented and adopted. Recorded greeting from head of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, who was unable to get a visa to be here in person. Greetings from head of Lutheran Church in Senegal.

Strategy toward authentic diversity task force is called to the front.  The recommendation is to thank the task force, to "call this church in all its expressions into a time of confession, reflection, and healing as its members  renew an honest relational engagement in the body of Christ; to urge the church in all its expressions and related agencies,  etc, to intentionally engage more deeply in the recommendations named in the report and to provide funds  in support of these recommendations" and to call on OPB to establish process for accountability.

Member from Sierra Pacific (still they/them/their) presents . . . well, I'm not sure if it is an amendment or a resolution, or what . . .  something about supporting the recommendations and resisting efforts to use the LGBTQI+ community against the people of color community. She runs out of time, so we don't get quite the full thing. Another statement, similar, representing 50+ "youth and young adults," couched as a statement of confession. Bp. Wee (she/her) speaks in support. "I confess [tearfully] that a few days ago I was at the Hilton and I mistakenly thought that a person of color who was a part of our delegation was a server, and I asked her for something. I need to do better. White siblings, we need to do better." Young adult from MetroNY speaks in favor. That's four, so debate is closed. (Can't imagine anyone speaking against this.) Motion to adopt: 855-13

A sort of odd recommendation having to do with archiving social policy resolutions more than 25 years old. No explanation. Approved 840-16  Apparently this is a procedure that archives these things so that they are no longer "current" documents; they have to be at least 25 years old, and they are things that are no longer really relevant for whatever reason (e.g., one of these has to do with conscription).

Now the candidates for secretary are to speak. First comes Sue Rothmeyer. "Words and the Word: my life has been shaped by both." She talks about the role of the Secretary in "words"--constitutions, policies, etc.--and the important of centering them all in the Word. She cites the currently popular Broadway show "What the Constitution Means to Me." Recalls the LCA convention that changed the word "man" to "person" in the constitution, allowing women to be ordained. She did better here than in answering questions.

Stephen Herr: "I give thanks to God for this church which I love deeply. . . . Office of Secretary is first and foremost one of service" Mentions some of his experiences working with churchwide and other expressions. "This week we have made known what we value, and it is inspiring." Recites what we value. Role of secretary is to help us move forward o these values, service to help members of this church come together as we have done this week.

Lamont Wells: Let me tell you a little more about me--goes into what is apparently a rap (just speaking, not rapping). Nothing makes me a better leader than the unconditional love that my mother gave me and still gives me. He is engaging and funny. I've reviewed the documents and still said yes to being a candidate. I've prayed about this possible call. I've learned to step my sock game up. I'm a diligent worker who will not be outworked. I will lead the church into radical welcome for everyone. I will always be open minded, flexible, committed to unity for advancing the kingdom of God.

So now the question is whether the assembly will go for competence, or for personality. If I were going to guess, I'd guess Rothmeyer and Wells on the final ballot. But I'm not going to guess.  ;)

A quick video. Credential report 932 members registered. On 4th ballot, it requires 60% to elected. Results:

906 votes cast  544 necessary to elect

Wells 347
Rothmeyer 338
Herr 221

And there's your answer. Now my guess, if I were guessing, is that most of the Herr votes will go to Rothmeyer, but again, I'm not guessing.

A bunch of constitutional and bylaw amendments presented for en bloc vote (these are mostly inconsequential). Western ND member reminded body that 5.01 has been pulled out. Motion to also pull out a different paragraph from en bloc that is a parallel matter. Secretary replies that it is too late under the rules, but that the secretary has the authority to correct conflicts in terminology or language. On the amendments en bloc Yes 855, No 21.

First is 4.02c, which adds to purpose of the church "advocating dignity, justice and equality" "caring for the marginalized, embracing, welcoming racially and ethnically diverse populations." The guy who pulled this out doesn't seem to be making much sense to me. Member from MN moves changing "equality" to "equity."

Parliamentary confusion. Bp. Satterlee asks if secretary could read the lines affected, not just the numbers.

Secretary notes that changes in what is recommended her cannot take immediate effect because it doesn't have six months advance notice. But now he wants to check with the legal counsel to be sure he is right. And the question is finessed by someone calling for the order of the day. Parliamentary chaos. Bp. "We'll sort this out in the meantime, but now orders of the day"--which is the proposed amendment to 5.01, which is the provision that "a layperson is a person who is not on the roster of Ministers of Word and Service or Ministers of Word and Sacrament." The person who had moved this as order of the day now says she mispoke, and what she meant to say was 7.52.

Eaton: I don't know if this is really legal, but I've got a secretary, parliamentarian, two attorneys and a former supreme court of north dakota member to correct me. She suggests a way to proceed. Much confusion.

We seem now to be discussing deacon entrance rite. Bp. Erickson is speaking. Southern Ohio synod pastor: what are we trying to accomplish by changing the ordination rite?

Aside: The ELCA is terribly confused about ministry, and this discussion and process ain't helping.

Bp. Narum, co-chair of entrance rite discernment group. Firmly in support of the word "ordained." I came in ambivalent about it, but changed my mind. SE Iowa synod pastor: Apology to Ministers of Word and Service (she did this the other night in the hearing as well). My fear and anger came from my own insecurity.  Deacon from Florida/Bahamas in favor.

Tom Dobrena speaks in favor. "Historic language of ordination is faithful."

More confusion. An effort to change "ordain" to "consecrate" is ruled out of order. Bp. Erickson challenges the ruling of the chair. Eaton: "Now he may speak to that, right?" Boerger: "Ask the Parliamentarian." laughter Bp. Erickson doesn't explain why he is challenging, he just says what he wants is a strong and clear vote on whether we will consecrate or ordain deacons.

PB explains what has happened, and now the vote is on whether to uphold the decision of the chair. "One for uphold, two to overthrow." (laughter) The decision of the chair is upheld, 670-204.

Now the vote is on amendment to 7.52 which will indicate that deacons are ordained. Two-thirds vote required. The vote is 779-105 (88%), and is approved. Applause. Eaton: "I think we've completely lost the rule about applause. Please be respectful of those who may disagree."

Tom Drobena moves to suspend the rules to present a motion which will provide clarity as to what we have done, and guidance for going forward. PB calls him forward to explain to her what he wants to do. PB Eaton: motion to suspend the rules, which will allow a subsequent motion to be brought forward. "That, I'm sure, was not clear at all." Motion to suspend the rules is defeated, 218-602.

Now 5.01 Pastor from Pennsylvania speaking, I'm not quite clear what about. I think this has something to do with the definition of layperson as one not on either roster. Member from Ohio. Could we pray? We haven't prayed in quite a while. PB: "Lord, sometimes we are distracted with much serving. Give us quiet now... open us to be aware of your presence."

WND member. My concern with 5.01 is that it seems to require congregations to include continuing resolutions in its constitution. Boerger explains that this is only a clarification of language and notes that no congregation is required to do anything to its constitution. More questions and explanations. The basic problem here is CWA members who are first timers and don't get these technical things. BP notes that congregations can't be forced to do anything; in her old synod, there were congregations whose constitutions were still in German! One had something called the "unamendable provision."

Orders to the day: Fifth ballot   Credentials committee: still 932 voting members present.
Fifth ballot, if a nominee receives a majority, there is an election. After prayer, the ballot is cast:
Result: 911 ballots, 456 to elect

Rothmeyer 509
Wells 402

Rothmeyer is about respond. Eaton: "It's not official yet. I declare Sue E. Rothmeyer elected to a six year term as secretary of ELCA. Now it's official." She greets the assembly and expresses her thanks.

Now back to where we were, wherever that was. Consideration of 5.01. Motion delegate from ND to strike the amendment proposed in section 5.01d. This is completely ridiculous, this guy has a hobby horse he's riding. SW PA member: If we vote against this amendment, could secretary explain the impact if congregations don't adopt model language. Boerger gives an example having to do with discipline in the congregation; used to be a member disciplined could appeal to synod council, but synod council no longer has that authority, and if a congregation constitution still assumes it does, there's a problem. More speaking for and against the motion. Total waste of time. Bp. calls for vote on the amendment, which is to reinsert current language in 5.01d. Motion fails, 214-588. Back on 5.01 as presented. Motion to close debate, approved 790-36. Now to vote on 5.01 as presented, requiring 2/3: Yes, 787, no 53. Adopted.

Now 4.02c: This one adds language to statement of purpose of the ELCA (see earlier).  Point of order that the earlier debate was hung up on whether equality could be changed to equity without having to wait three years for ratification. PB says yes, it would have to come back to 2022. Delegate: "oppressed" should not be on the screen, because it was never moved. Eaton: You are correct. Delegate: "I know." laughter. Minneapolis member reaffirms that she still wants "equity" rather than "equality." On that motion, the vote is Yes, 589, No 228. So this will have to come back in 2022.

Member from Mllwaukee moves replacing word "powerless" with "oppressed." Motion approved 738-100. Vote on provision as amended approved 823-35. Again, this will have to be ratified in 2022.

Next 7.31.2a8: This is proposed language changing expectations of minister of Word and Sacrament. R&C recommends referral to the Office of the Secretary. Member suggests that referral of all of these similar matters is appropriate since they have to come back in 2022 anyway. Boerger tries to get Eaton's attention. "Hold on. Oh, Mr. Secretary. How soon they forget!" Secretary reads several provisions where the issue is the same--then, "oh, there's a motion on the floor, I'm out of order." Eaton: "This is a man who doesn't cheat at solitaire." Member speaks in favor of referral. Another member speaks against motion to refer in order to bring a motion to refer all the similar provisions. Member from Wisconsin moves an amendment to add all the related provisions to the motion to refer. There's a little more parliamentary confusion as a member asks to postpone consideration, a motion which is defeated. More confusion in the house. Member: I'm confused; what are we voting on? Parliamentary chaos. Ruling of the chair: Motion before us is out of order, because it is covered in Motion J which is already on the floor. Obvious confusion, which just keeps unravelling. Motion to call the previous question, whatever it is, is approved 825-11. The chair decides that Motion J of R&C is before the body, which refers all these related paragraphs to the Office of the Secretary. Approved 792-39.

Next 7.41.03 This has to do with non-congregational calls, providing that they can be "continued only as warranted for the ministry needs of this church. Such a call may be terminated when it is no longer serving the mission needs of the church." The member who asked it to be removed doesn't seem to actually want to change or defeat this amendment, but to express concern about it. Member from Texas speaks against the amendment. I'm a chaplain in specialized ministry. The language as presented is demeaning to pastors in non-congregational calls. Clergy in non-congregational calls should not have to worry about their calls being reviewed annually. Motion to suspend the rules to present a motion. More parliamentary chaos. The assembly (and the bishop) are not being well-served by those responsible for keeping order here. Eaton: "Six. More. Years." Motion is to suspend rules of procedure to allow motion the previous speaker wanted to make. Now a member calls the orders of the day.

« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 09:36:46 PM by Richard Johnson »
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Wayne Kofink

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Re: Friday afternoon
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2019, 03:07:08 PM »
Maria DeJesus is 104.

Richard Johnson

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Re: Friday afternoon
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2019, 04:28:46 PM »
Yeah, that was she.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Steve Ames

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Re: Friday afternoon
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2019, 08:09:36 PM »
Rev. Johnson, Thank you for your reporting.  Has the ELCA church-wide assembly approved the budget for 2020 to 2022?  Please forgive me if I miss this in your reporting.

In looking at the funding sources for the ELCA church-wide organization budget I notice that rent paid by third parties leasing part of ELCA buildings provide funds for facility maintenance.  The Mission Investment Fund provides a grant of $1.5 million for new mission starts; the ELCA church-wide organization has $800 thousand invested in MIF.  The three-year budget projects flat revenue and expenses which means that every year expense inflation, benefits cost increases, and compensation increases must be paid for by cuts in current programs or personnel.  The ELCA church-wide organization has $361 million sitting in the ELCA Foundation / Endowment Fund and plans to withdraw around $9 million annually or 2.5% which long-term investment returns should be able to maintain perhaps indefinitely.  The ELCA church-wide organization provides financial support for missionaries, ELCA colleges and seminaries.   Have the assembly voting delegates discussed whether additional funds should be taken out of the ELCA Foundation / Endowment Fund to support the ELCA church-wide programs over the next three years?
John 6
 28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
 29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

Richard Johnson

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Re: Friday afternoon
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019, 09:49:23 PM »
Yes, it's in the Thursday afternoon report. There was virtually no discussion and no questions. It came up again this afternoon in the controversy (as yet unresolved) about health care benefits for churchwide employees.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS