ELCA Churchwide Assembly August 5-10, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Reviews work of churchwide officers and units and acts on their proposals
- Reviews and considers proposals from synod assemblies
- Establishes churchwide policy
- Adopts a budget for the churchwide organization
- Elects officers, board members
- Establishes churchwide units
- Sole authority to amend the constitution and bylaws
Churchwide Assembly Voting Members
Persons chosen as voting members of the Churchwide Assembly are given the responsibility of doing the work of the Churchwide Assembly on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. They are not sent to participate as politicized delegates from some regional or agenda-specific caucus, as may be the case at a national party convention. They gather around Word and Sacrament to represent and serve on behalf of all of the members of the congregations in all of the synods of this one church.
The Voting Member’s lodging, food, and transportation are paid for by the ELCA. Sometimes there is a free afternoon or evening, and then the dinner is the responsibility of the voting member.
The Churchwide Assembly will take place August 5-10, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Voting at ELCA Churchwide Assembly
It is important to note and remember that no delegates will be present for the assembly. Voting members are not delegates, as the term is used in the context of some meetings such as political conventions! The terminology related to the legislative process of this church is no accident. The words, “Synod Assembly” and “Churchwide Assembly,” rather than convention, and “voting members,” rather than delegates, were deliberately chosen for our governing documents. These words not only fulfil certain legal requirements but also reflect the ecclesial understanding that the three primary expression of this church—congregation, synod, and churchwide organization—exist and serve within this one church. The congregation does not meet in convention; the members gather in worship, carry out service, and assemble occasionally and properly for governance decisions and elections. The people of this church in each of the 65 synods are not sent as delegates from a given caucus; they are not gathered to act as some politicized delegates to a regional party convention. Rather, they assemble as duly selected members of this church with voting responsibilities for governance and elections on behalf of the synod. The Synod Assembly is just that, an assembly of the people of this church gathered around Word and Sacrament, some of whom have been granted the responsibility of being voting members of the Synod Assembly.
The people of this church, when gathered as voting members of the Synod Assembly, have the responsibility of electing the voting members of the Churchwide Assembly. Persons so chosen are given the responsibility of doing the work of the Churchwide Assembly on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. They are not sent to participate as politicized delegates from some regional or agenda-specific caucus at some national party convention. They gather around Word and Sacrament to represent and serve on behalf of all of the members of the congregations in all of the synods of this one church. The vocabulary that we use both shapes and reflects our understanding of this church. When we recognize and understand that our “congregations find their fulfilment in the universal community of the Church, and the universal Church exists in and through congregations” (ELCA churchwide constitutional provision 3.02.), then our awareness of the significance of being voting members in a given assembly may grow.
After all, as we declare of the “Nature of the Church,” the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America “derives its character and powers both from the sanction and representation of its congregations and from its inherent nature as an expression of the broader fellowship of the faith” (also ELCA churchwide constitutional provision 3.02.). Indeed, we together affirm and declare the primary principle of organization for our church, namely: “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America shall be one church” (ELCA churchwide constitutional provision 5.01.).