Call Today 813-876-7660

Synod Assembly

The 2017 Florida-Bahamas Synod Assembly will take place October 12-14, 2017 at the Embassy Suites in Kissimmee.


Synod assembly letter from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (English)

Synod assembly letter from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (Spanish)

Bishop's Election

There will be an election of a new bishop at this assembly.  More information about this process will be on this page as it becomes available.

Bishop Election Prayer Resource (click to link)

–this resource could be used to guide opening/closing worship at a colleague’s gathering, a conference gathering, a congregational council meeting or congregational forum, a staff meeting, personal devotion time, or any other time when there is focused conversation around discernment as we prepare to elect and call a bishop.  Portions of it may be pulled out (prayers, readings, litany, etc) to be used individually.


Discernment Basics (click to link)

–This document lays the groundwork for discernment, and provides some basic principles to guide discernment.


Two Devotional Bible Studies on Discernment-2017 (click to link)

–This Bible study guide includes 2 Bible studies that can be done by groups or individuals to guide discernment.


Bishop’s Election Flow Chart: this flow chart shows the process for electing a bishop.

This graphic shows the election flow chart from the 2013 Bishop’s election. This year, the process will be very similar.


Hotel and Assembly registratration

Hotel: Embassy Suites, Kissimmee

Synod Assembly will be at the beautiful Embassy Suites Hotel in Kissimmee.  Breakfast is provided each day, and there’s a free manager’s reception each evening.  There are plenty of restaurants in the area for other meals.  There is a fitness room, a swimming pool and a video arcade.  You can find out more about the hotel here.

Parking at the hotel is limited, so please consider carpooling with others from your area.

Room reservations need to be made in addition to assembly registration.  Reservations can be made when registration opens.


Worship at Assembly

There will be multiple ways to nurture your spirit and come together around prayer, Word, Sacrament, and reflection during the Assembly.  Music will be led by a variety of excellent musicians from throughout the synod.  Worship is open to all, even those who are not registered for the assembly.

Assembly Chaplain

There will be a chaplain available throughout the assembly for prayer and personal conversation as needed. A prayer room will be available for personal prayer and reflection.

Plenary and Agenda

Notes about the Plenary

 This year’s assembly is a business assembly, meaning there are fewer workshops and more time in plenary.  The assembly will be considering resolutions and memorials, voting for synod council positions and other committee positions, and considering the budget for the next year.


This year there will be an election for Synod Council Vice President (4 yr term).  Please be prayerfully considering the nominations for this position.

The other positions open for election on the Synod Council are:

  • Southwest Mission District (1) Lay Male (3 yr. term)
  • Southeast Mission District (1) Clergy (male or female, 3 yr. term)
  • Southwest Mission District (1) Person of Color or Language Other than English (PCLE) (male or female, 3 yr. term)
  • Youth (1) (Male or Female, 2 yr. term)

Nominations from the floor are strongly discouraged.  Please submit nominations before May 1.  The person being nominated has to agree to be nominated and has to fill out a nomination form.  This form can be downloaded and printed here, or filled online here.  Please include a photo with the nomination form.

The Assembly will also be considering resolutions and memorials this year.  Resolutions are actions for the synod.  Memorials are sent on to the churchwide unit for consideration by the ELCA Church Council or by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.  Resolutions from the floor are also strongly discouraged, so please submit your resolutions early.

The Southeast Minnesota Synod has a helpful guide for writing resolutions.

Workshops at the Assembly

Since this assembly is a business assembly, there will not be much time for workshops.  Assembly feedback has consistently recommended that the agenda provide time for networking and relationship building.  This year’s assembly agenda reflects that.  A few groups will be leading workshops or providing space for conversation on Thursday evening at 7:30.  The Connections Cafe will provide display space and opportunity for networking and connections.

Voting at Assembly

Voting members of the Assembly

Each congregation is encouraged to send 2 adult voting members to the assembly.  Active rostered ministers are also voting members.  In addition, each congregation may also send one youth voting member to the assembly.  Others from your congregation may come to the assembly as guests, and may sit in on the plenary sessions but may not vote.

This chart of Roberts Rules may be helpful in understanding how to take action during the plenary (click on it to see it clearly):

Youth voting members and youth guests get a reduced registration rate for the assembly, and will be guided through the assembly by the Sue Mendenhall and Kristen Hitchcock, this year’s youth coordinator.  Youth will have their own opportunities to meet up for conversation and fellowship throughout the assembly.


Technology at the Assembly

We are continuing our commitment to a paperless assembly, and are working closely with the hotel to ensure adequate wireless bandwidth.  We will be using voting machines, but everything else will be on Guidebook, which is available as an app or is available online.  Using Guidebook means we can make updated information available much easier. More information about Guidebook will be shared later.

If you prefer printed material, please print it before you come to assembly.  Please note that the worship material is also on Guidebook, and bulletins will not be provided for the assembly.

Fellowship and Fun

There are plenty of restaurants in the area around the hotel, and time is built into the agenda for fellowship and relaxation.  Here are a few highlights to keep in mind.

 Special feature at Assembly: Castle Church Brewing

The Florida-Bahamas Synod’s newest Word and Sacrament community will be pouring samples of craft beer from the church’s brewery in the heart of Orlando. Castle Church brews a lineup of Reformation-themed beers such as Luther Lager, Indulgences Double IPA, Means of Grace, Here I Stand Stout, and others you can read about at:  Come experience what “Brewing Community. Fermenting Love” is all about! Responsible beer sampling is on the house, and you are welcome to pick up a “Freed and Renewed in Christ“ 500th commemorative mug for a $100 donation or more. We have 57 mugs, and the last three mugs will be auctioned off as a set! All types of donation will be accepted to help overshoot our goal of $6000 and given on behalf of our Synod to ELCA World Hunger and their work to help people lift themselves out of hunger and poverty for the long-term! Come join the community and remember to try All Saint’s Einbecker Ale, an authentic reproduction of Martin Luther’s favorite beer brewed by Castle Church and served cold from their Sun-Cooled Beer mobile event trailer!  All are welcome.


Manager’s Reception each evening

Each evening, enjoy a beverage ‘on the house’ as a part of the Manager’s Reception.


Friday evening: A Reformation-themed feast

Friday evening there will be an optional German-themed buffet, featuring beer from Castle Church and followed by Beer and Hymns.  You can reserve tickets ($15/person) to this meal when you register, but it is a separate cost from the assembly registration.

Check out the pictures below from last year’s Synod Assembly!