Dear people of the ECSW,
Please join me in giving thanks for the work and ministry of the 2022 assembly of the East Central Synod of Wisconsin. Voting members at this assembly took the risk of moving and singing in new ways; figured out a voting process that allowed us to be one assembly with in-person and online participants; and engaged with questions, debate, discussion and amendments on the business that came before us. As the highest decision-making body of our church, they have put us to work! Here are some of the ways we will be working together as a church as a result of the work of this assembly:
An amended memorial on reducing the church’s carbon footprint will go to the reference and council committee of the Churchwide Assembly; the version our synod assembly created together will be combined with versions from other synods, and a memorial will go before the Churchwide Assembly in August.
- We will be checking in regularly on the resolutions passed at this assembly and giving updates in The Wave on work and ministry coming out of these resolutions. Follow the links below to read more about our shared work and ministry ahead related to hunger; bold action and advocacy by our synodical women’s organization; helping congregations be safe spaces for children; anti-racism study as vital and revitalizing work of the church; and diverse, intersectional representation in donated books for libraries.
- The assembly passed new minimum guidelines for compensation that will help bring our synod in line with what pastors and deacons need and receive in neighboring/comparable synods. We will continue to work with congregations in transition as well as congregations who are wondering how best to support and sustain the ministry of their rostered leaders over the long term.
- Treasurer John Herder and Vice President Nancy Schanke answered questions and shared more about the decision to sell the synod office building. While conversations about selling/moving out of the building started about 6 years ago, this process is in many ways just beginning; we are looking forward to ongoing conversations with you, the church, about ways that we can use this shift to be more engaged with ministry around the synod, and that the building itself and/or proceeds from its sale could be a gift to the church and the world to further God’s work. The assembly engaged us in candid conversation about some of the barriers to selling a commercial space right now; lots of other businesses in our area are trying to sell their spaces, too. Please pray, keep talking to us, and if you have ideas for buyers or an organization that might need the building for their ministry … let us know!
- I mentioned the work of the SAM committee in my bishop’s report. To learn more about Synod Authorized Ministry and other paths to being a presider in the ELCA, please read Presider and Assembly, a document I created to help congregations and leaders in transition and discernment with some of the questions we frequently wonder during these times. Please pray for our SAM committee as we develop our process for this synod, as well.
Many of us first learned about the deadly act of domestic terrorism and white supremacist hate in Buffalo, NY as we traveled home from the assembly. No one should have to be afraid of grocery shopping while Black. Sometimes it seems like the ELCA is all words–statements, documents, resolutions and memorials … what does it do? To be very Lutheran, What does it mean? We proclaim a God who is Word made flesh; Word that breathed, breathes, and will breathe again. Following through on the resolutions we passed at assembly, we give breath (body, hands, feet, voices) to words. As an assembly, we heard witness and testimony from St. John’s in Ashwaubenon that being immersed in the study of anti-racism is transformative, life-giving, faith-renewing; it is a ministry we are invited to take part in where God’s Word breathes, changing us and the world for the better.
Assembly 2022 is closed; we are invited into the ministry of the assembly. Thanks be to God!
Actions the Synod Assembly
Thank you for the gifts you gave.
- Funds were raised for 50 beds donated to the Oshkosh chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
- In kind donations of sheets and bedding were giving to the Oshkosh, Waupaca, and Green Bay chapters of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
- Build day intergraded over 85 volunteers of all ages who worked to complete 40 beds and made parts for several more.
- An offering was collected for the Bishop’s Resource Fund and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services totaling $5756.37. Continued gifts can still be given online www.ecsw.org and by mail: 16 Tri-Park Way, Appleton, Wisconsin 54914.
The business of the Assembly Included…
- Adoption of the 2023 Budget
- Compensation Guidelines were adopted for the year 2023 and are recommended for congregations as they work to faithfully compensate rostered ministers.
- Amendments to the Synod Constitution were presented to the Assembly for consideration at the 2023 Synod Assembly.
- Six Resolutions were passed:
- Participate in Pray Act Connect Education (PACE) to Reduce Hunger in our Neighbors Near and Far
- Encourage Synod Women of the ELCA – Be Bold to Act
- Safe Gathering Spaces for All God’s Children
- Resolution to Work for Racial Equity
- Diverse Books Support Cross-Cultural Literacy
- A Memorial Calling for a Just Transition to 50% Reduction in US Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030, as amended
- New leadership was elected to serve in various capacities.
- Elected to Synod Council: Rev. Mary Bauer, Breanna Linna, John Murphy, Dia Arpon, Janet Zander, Rev. Cheryl Davis
- Elected Secretary of Synod Council: Rev. Nate Gauerke
- Elected to the Committee on Discipline: Rev. Benjamin Williams
- Elected to the Consultation Committee: Rev. Dan Luett, Rev. Dr. Niveen Sarras
- Deep gratitude was conveyed by Bishop Anne for all those willing to serve, including those who were not elected. Several vacant positions with no nominees presented will be appointed by Synod Council.
Save the date!
The next synod assembly will be on May 20, 2023
at First English Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wisconsin.