Every three years clergy and delegates from around the ELCA gather together for worship and plenaries at the Churchwide Assembly. Think of it as a normal synod assembly but longer and more elaborate. This year the CWA was held in Milwaukee, WI, and included in the monthly newsletter is a synopsis document that explains in quick form what all was voted on and acknowledged at this gathering. There is more detailed information on the elca.org website, as well a full videos of worship, sermons, and plenaries on the ELCA's YouTube page if you ever want to check it out.
It's important that we recognize what happens on the Churchwide level, even if each congregation is able to live out the Gospel as they see fit and able to in their own particular contexts. Many times we can get caught up in the nitty gritty of the day to day workings of our congregations and we don't see all the amazing things that our larger church bodies are doing, like our Minneapolis Area Synod or Churchwide. It's a reminder to us all that even when it seems like we're living in scarcity, we have a role in the body of Christ on a larger level, which is actually thriving and abundant.
I do want to note that some of the actions taken by the voting members at this years' CWA have been getting nation-wide press, and some unfortunate news coverage already. There is a certain national news station that responded to the "sanctuary church body" vote that didn't do their research into what the members actually voted on and what it actually means for our church. They released a segment/panel based on assumptions, and many ELCA members have been led down a road of confusion and fear as to what it will mean for their congregations.
Please know that I'm here to listen to concerns you may have about anything that has happened on the churchwide level. But also know that it's best to go straight to the source (take a look at the resources I listed above) to get the most accurate view of what happened. The great thing about our church body is that it is made up of all sorts of different people from various backgrounds, and that highly affects our opinions and thoughts on a variety of topics. And you may not agree with some of the decisions voted upon by the delegates at churchwide assemblies.
However, the ELCA believes all churches should be able to have their own autonomy in a lot of ways, and just because something was voted on at CWA doesn't mean that's exactly how we need to live out our ministries here. What works for some might not work for all. Again, please take a look at some of the exciting things that happened at the 2019 ELCA CWA and please let me know if you have questions, concerns, or applause for the actions our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ have taken to lead us into the future as church together for the sake of the world.