09 June 2007

Northwestern Minnesota Synod Assembly - Saturday, 9 June, 9:00 a.m.

I meant to start blogging last night durning the opening session of the Synod Assembly, but due to a) chairing the worship committee (and thus scrambling to keep wine chalices filled during to communion and just keeping nervous watch to make sure our opening worship service went well) and b) counting the offering with three colleagues ($5981.88 raised for seminary debt relief), I barely had time to get back to the assembly floor in time to fill out my first ballot for Bishop. Beloved, bless her soul, stayed in the hotel room with Ainsley, as opening worship came right at her normal bedtime.

Last night went well. Because 2007 is the 100th anniversary of Lutheran Campus Ministry, we asked some of our synod's campus ministry folks to help lead worship. They played guitar, sang the liturgy and read our scripture passages. Very nice to have college-age folks present with, let's be honest, a gathering of a lot of retired folks (because they're often the only people with time to commit to Synod Assembly. I'm happy to report that our voting members this year are both gainfully employed AND excellent representatives of our congregation.). Our Bishop preached on Luke 5, where Jesus invites Peter, James and John to come and follow him, to start catching people. I counted the offering while the assembly was convened, and by the time I returned to my seat we were just beginning to do the first ballot for Bishop.

It's an interesting experience, electing a Bishop for an entire synod. Some people think a change in direction would be good. Some folks think that if there haven't been any problems, why change? Others have the person in mind they think would be just perfect for the office. Then the representative from the ELCA Churchwide Office says to prayerfully consider the names we're writing down. Folks, if you don't know who you want on that ballot by that moment, you're not going to get a name in the thirty seconds of silence the Churchwide guy gives you to prayerfully consider, not to mention the fact that it's generally a good idea to ASK the person you have in mind prior to the assembly. After all, if the person does become a candidate, they need to be present for the successive ballots. Anyway, we'll find out this morning who's been nominated. Should be interesting.

At the moment, Dr. Richard Bliese, President of Luther Seminary in St. Paul is giving his first Keynote Address, talking about mission and evangelism and leadership, using Joshua 1.1-11;16-18. Beloved is walking Ainsley around the hall to try to get her to sleep. Having fun so far!

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