Synod Assembly in action
Synod Assembly
of the
West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod

This is going to take a while
Synod Assembly convened Saturday, 16 October 2021, electing 26 people, including a bishop, adopting some interesting recommendations from the Committee on the Bishop's Report, amending its bylaws, doing some other things, and adjourning sine die before exhausting its agenda. There is a lot to report, and there is a lot to update on this constellation of pages---more than we can do this Monday. So, give us a few days, and we'll try to get everything up-to-date. In the meantime, you can read the synopsis emailed to The Bishop's Roadshow subscribers.

Everything after this is line is now out-of-date.

Register for Synod Assembly!
 Click Here for Info

Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports
Click Here

Contents
Call of the Assembly

By order of the Synod Council of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a regular meeting of the Synod Assembly shall convene on Saturday, 16 October 2021, at 10:00 AM, at the Mon County 4H Center, Mylan Park, Morgantown, WV.

Agenda

As this is a regular meeting of the Synod Assembly, all business required by the governing documents will be on the agenda. That includes an explicitly enumerated set of reports and elections. New business is also allowed, but there are rules currently in place that set a deadline for submission of nongermane resolutions and memorials (see here).

The proposed agenda is published in The Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports. It is subject to amendment by the assembly.

The current draft agenda includes

  • the convening of the assembly at 10:00 a.m. and
  • the first ballot for the election of a bishop at 11:00 a.m.. N.B., one must have registered as attending and picked up his/her voter badge in order to vote for bishop. The Registration desk will temporarily close at 10:50 a.m.. In other words, check in at the registration desk prior to 10:50 a.m. if you want to vote for bishop.

Special Announcement (9/17/21)

The Synod Council, in special meeting on 15 September 2021, discussed the upcoming Synod Assembly meeting scheduled for Saturday, 16 October 2021, in light of the current pandemical situation. Balancing competing concerns and interests and informed by epidemiological advice, Synod Council intends to continue with the planned meeting, convening at 10:00 AM, on Saturday, 16 October 2021, at the Mon County 4H Center, Mylan Park, Morgantown, WV. The following has also been set by Synod Council as arrangements for the meeting:

  • The indoor pavilion will serve as the assembly chamber;
  • Masks will be required while inside the indoor pavilion;
  • To the extent permitted by the space, social distancing will be practiced;
  • Vaccination is encouraged; and
  • Those experiencing COVID symptoms as described in CDC guidelines are to excuse themselves from attending the assembly.

The Synod Council reserves the right, in response to changing conditions,

  • To move the assembly to the outdoor pavilion, and
  • To increase or reduce other mitigation practices.

There is reasonable concern about the current COVID surge in our region. If this current surge tracks as it has in other nations and parts of the United States in the past, there is reason to expect that we will be in a trough by mid-October. Expert advice suggests that decisions on gatherings such as ours should be made 7-10 days out from the event. In other words, it is too early to cancel or postpone the assembly in response to the pandemical situation, because that situation may be different than what we expect it to be three weeks from now. Synod Council will continue to monitor the situation.

The design of the Synod Assembly was informed by pre-vaccine mitigation protocols.

  • Assembly is one-day (and, if a second day becomes necessary, it is a month later).
  • Mass feeding of the attendees will not be an official part of the assembly.
  • Agenda focuses on required business.

Synod Council advises potential attendees to be prepared for changes, chief among them a move to the outdoor pavilion if conditions warrant. Potential attendees are also reminded that the meeting arrangements set by the Synod Council are subject to change by the Synod Assembly itself, i.e., many of these are would be governed under convention standing rules (rules of the assembly), and the assembly has the right to change, increase, or decrease them while in session.

Congregations are reminded that alternates for registered voting members may be seated whenever the registered voting member cannot attend. If it is known in advance that a registered voting member cannot attend and the congregation has identified an alternate, the Synod Office should be contacted immediately. If the day of the assembly, the registered voting member cannot attend, the alternate should be provided by the congregation with appropriate certification to present at the registration table.

Questions may be addressed to Bishop Riegel.

Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports

www
Pre-Assembly Bulleting of Reports

The Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports for Synod Assembly 2021 is now live, on-line on the Manula platform. You may access here. You can navigate the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports by using the table of contents in the left of your Manula interface (on a computer) or in the upper left corner (on a mobile device).

Late reports and additional information will be posted integrated into the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports as we receive them. To be alerted of such updates, you may want to subscribe to our text message (SMS) service for Synod Assembly matters; click here to learn more.

PDF
Pre-Assembly Bulleting of Reports

Caveat Lector! Internet connectivity may be limited at the venue. We recommend printing or downloading to a mobile device those parts of The Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports that you will want access to at the venue. The master PDF (see below) has everything you might need on sight, but, if you want to be more selective, these sections are vital:

  • Assembly Program & Agenda
  • Rules of Order for the Assembly
  • Assembly Committees and Staff

For elections, we encourage possession of the following, but one could do this work at home, prior to the assembly, making your own voter guide:

  • Report of the Nominating Committee (Report of the Nominating Committee, Part 1)
  • Nomination Information (Report of the Nominating Committee, Part 2)

For legislative work, we encourage possession of the following:

  • Proposed Budget for FY2022-2023
  • Report of Reference & Counsel (with all attachments).
While it is possible to download or print individual pages of The Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports from the Manula platform, the master PDF is now available. It can be downloaded from the Manual platform (look for the "Download as PDF" button on your interface or form this page (click here)).

Nominating Committee Report & Floor Nominations

The Report of the Nominating Committee was posted 6 October 2021. You will find links to it on the Nominations & Elections page. You will also find information on how to make a floor nomination there.



On-Site Late Registration Form
Download Here

Registration

On-line registration for Synod Assembly 2021 is now closed.

On-site registration opens at 9:00 a.m.. Registration will temporarily close at 10:50 a.m. (ten minutes prior to the first ballot for bishop).

On-Site Late Registration

You can register on-site. Please complete the late registration form, downloadable here (PDF or MS-Word), bringing your completed form with you to the assembly venue.

Alternates to Registered Voting Members

If you an alternate for someone who has already registered but now is not attending, please complete the late registration form (linked above), filling in the information for alternates.

Registration Deadlines

  • 4 October 2021: In order to receive notice of publication of the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports, registration must be submitted online by close of business 4 October 2021. Those registering after this date will be responsible for accessing the Synod Assembly page themselves (or through their agent) in order to obtain Synod Assembly reports and materials.
  • 13 October 2021: Online registration closes at the end of the day. Those registering after this date will be responsible for for accessing the Synod Assembly page themselves (or through their agent) in order to obtain Synod Assembly reports and materials.
  • 16 October 2021: You may register the day of the Synod Assembly. A downloadable registration form will be posted after the online registration closes. If registering the day of the Synod Assembly, please download the form, print it out, fill it out, and bring it with you to the Synod Assembly, reporting to the registration desk for submission and processing.

Note well, those who have registered online and provided email addresses or opted into our text messaging service, will be notified if the Synod Assembly is cancelled or postponed. Without prior on-line registration, we won't be able to contact you.

Voting Member Minimum Requirements

Voting members fall into two classes: clergy and laity.

Laity voting members are elected by their congregations (either Congregation Meeting or Congregation Council, depending upon the local practice). Laity voting members, in addition to election by their congregations, must be voting members of their congregations (voting members being confirmed members who have made a contribution of record and communed in the congregation during the current or preceding calendar year). Some laity voting members are enfranchised by virtue of being a member of Synod Council or being the lay chair of a conference.

Clergy voting members are those under letter of call and those enfranchised by the Synod Council under one of several special classes.


Dispensation from M-F VM
Click for form

Dispensation from Requirement for Male and Female Laity Voting Members from a Congregation

Normally, a congregation is to send one male and one female voting member. Dispensation, however, may be requested of the Synod Council. For smaller congregations, in particular, it may be difficult to find both a male and a female willing/able to attend. To request dispensation, please complete this form: Dispensation from M-F VM Requirement. Requests for dispensation will be processed, at minimum, weekly. In the meantime, proceed with registration of your voting members until informed to the contrary.

Synod Assembly 2021: Nuts & Bolts

Date(s)

16 October 2021

16 October 2021 was announced (by website, Roadshow, and facebook) on 10 June 2021 as the anticipated date of Synod Assembly 2021. At the same time, it was announced that the assembly would convene at the Mon County 4H Center, Mylan Park, near Morgantown, WV. This save-the-date was announced 10 June 2021 by website, Roadshow, and facebook.

13 November 2021

Synod Council, at its 21 July 2021 meeting, reserved 13 November 2021 as the date for an adjourned meeting of the Synod Assembly should it be needed. N.B., Synod Assembly is being planned as a one-day assembly with the option of a second day. A second day will be necessary under two conditions (otherwise we are done at the end of the first day and go home without having to come back):

  • The SA has uncompleted required business under the CBCR/WV-WMD or RONR.
  • The SA has business, though not required, it wishes to take up on a second day.

An adjourned meeting is not a special meeting; it is a continuation of session. Folks often get the terms inverted. A "meeting" is a discreet sitting for business without more than a momentary recess of short duration, the assembly members remaining in the immediate area and prepared to return to work. A dinner break, break for mass, or the overnight break constitutes a break that ends a meeting. The "session" is the work of the assembly that is governed by one agenda. So, our assemblies are already made up of at least three meetings in one session. An adjourned meeting is the next meeting in a series of meetings that make up the session. With an adjourned meeting,

  • We continue business where we left off;
  • There is no new registration process, all the voting members at the first meeting continuing as voting members in the next;and
  • Alternate voting members can be seated through the Committee on Registration should those originally serving be unable to continue.

Everything mentioned here is already the case with our Synod Assembly, but we may not have recognized it as such. Again, the major difference is the longer period of time between meetings.

Mon
                County 4H CenterVenue

The Mon County 4H Center is located in Mylan Park, two miles west of I-79 Exit-155, providing easy access for travelers (click here for google map). You can visit the facility online at its Mylan Park website. We are renting both the indoor and outdoor pavilion, with the assembly business planned for the indoor space and the outside space available for exhibitors and socialization. Synod Council retains the option to move to the assembly chamber to the outdoor pavilion in response to pandemical and/or weather conditions. If the adjourned meeting is called for 13 November 2021, it will be at the same venue.

DiningDining Guide
Click here to review just some of the dining options in the area.
Dining

There are ample dining options, ranging from fast food drive-thru to high class sit-down, within a short drive, the Gateway complex and University Town Centers being two and three miles away respectively. Drive a little further, and even more options become available. Lunch will be an extended period of time not only to allow attendees to eat with some leisure but also to allow the tellers to count ballots. It will also be possible for attendees to pack their own picnic lunches and eat at the pavilions (or anywhere else in the park). Lunch is not included in the registration package.

Lutheran Campus Ministry Lunch & Tour

The Lutheran Campus Ministry @ WVU is offering Synod Assembly delegates and guests a lunchtime tour of the Chapel (located at 1497 University Ave, Morgantown, WV 26505) with a free lunch provided, featuring pulled pork and brats! A freewill offering will be accepted to support the ministry of the LCM@WVU, with a tithe going to The Rack (WVU’s student food pantry). Noon Prayer will be held at 12:30 pm. Reservations are required by 13 October 2021: email RSVP to Chaplain@LutheranMountaineer.org.

Warning: If you have indicated a willingness to be a teller (help with elections), wait until 8 October 2021 to RSVP for this option. Some tellers will be needed to count for the first ballot for bishop. Teller assignments will be made 7 October 2021. Lunch will be provided for tellers.

LodgingLodging Guide
Click here to review just some of the lodging options in the area.
Lodging

There is also ample lodging in the area for anyone wishing to secure accommodations, and, it not being a WVU home football weekend, availability and prices should be reasonable. Of course, many will prefer to simply travel in the morning and return home when we wrap up. A lodging guide is available for your perusal, but there are many other options that are not listed. The lodging guide does not imply endorsement. Lodging can be had in the Morgantown area at a wide variety of pricepoints and accommodation level. Lodging is not included in the registration package.

Cost

Synod Council, at its 31 July 2021 meeting, set the registration fee at $0.00---that's right: Free registration this year for Synod Assembly! This is possible because of aggressive cost-cutting measures by SAPComm, redesign of the Synod Assembly, an amazingly good deal on the meeting venue, and a surplus in the Synod Assembly fund.

Synod Assembly Communications

Keeping abreast of all the information connected with Synod Assembly isn't easy. To assist, we automatically enroll registered attendees onto a dedicated email list. Other means of communication (the synod website, Facebook, and The Bishop's Road Show) are also employed. Visit our new Synod Assembly Communications page.

Cell
                  iconSMS/ Text Messaging

We've just added a simply text messaging service to let you know when announcements related to Synod Assembly are published. Click here for more info.

COVID Mitigation

Synod Council, at its 15 Setpember 2021 meeting, discussed COVID mitigation measures. You can review them in the Special Announcement of 17 September 2021.

Keep Informed
Subscribe to The Bishop's Roadshow for updates on the Synod Assembly.

Reserving the Right to Postpone or Cancel

Concerns about the pandemic have not abated. Synod Council continues to monitor the situation and reserves the right to postpone or cancel the Synod Assembly in response to the pandemical situation. At the same time, the state, the local health department, or the venue may respond to the a change in the pandemical situation that precludes our gathering.

Why This Way?

Timing

Synod Council, at a special meeting in December 2020, pushed back the window for Synod Assembly 2021 to late summer through fall 2021 while reserving the right to push it back further. Original plans for Synod Assembly 2021 had placed it at the usual time (late May early June), but Synod Council deemed it prudent to push it back in light of the promise of an aggressive vaccination program. The Synod Assembly Planning Committee (SAPComm) continued to monitor the pandemical situation, determining recently that it was reasonable to hold Synod Assembly this fall. After reviewing several locations, the Mon County 4H Center was selected as the first choice and timing selected that avoided scheduling conflicts with extra-ecclesial events and other obligations. 16 October 2021 provided the earliest and best opportunity.

COVID-19 Concerns

Initial plans for the Synod Assembly were laid out and accepted in principal by Synod Council at its October 2020 meeting. At the time, both risk mitigation and pandemic psychology were forefront in the Synod Council's thinking. The following assumptions drove planning:

  • An easing of government restrictions and recommendations could not be expected, meaning social distancing, masking, attendance caps for indoor venues, and food service requirements (e.g., no buffets) would all still be in place;
  • There would be a general uneasiness on the part of potential voting members to stay in hotels/motels;
  • Potential attendees would be dissatisfied with the cost and quality of boxed meals and/or would be uncomfortable with social dining (if even allowed by the government or venue); and
  • The sine qua non of the Synod Assembly is the conduct of business.

With these assumptions, the following planning goals were accepted:

  • Synod Assembly should be in a high-ventilation context (e.g., an pavilion, amphitheater, field house, etc.);
  • Synod Assembly should be as short as possible (with a proposed agenda including only those items of business required under the governing documents of the Synod and RONR);
  • Synod Assembly should be planned to be held over two non-consecutive days and arranged such that it may adjourn sine die at the end of the first day if the work of the assembly is completed or deems the second day unnecessary;
  • Synod Assembly should be held within a reasonable distance to the travel-calculated geographic center of the Synod; and
  • Synod Assembly should be held in proximity to multiple dining options with an extended lunch hour.

SAPComm, monitoring the pandemical situation, concluded that an open-air assembly, social distancing, and mandatory masking were no longer necessary but, being of the opinion that flexibility for response to possible variants and new waves of the coronavirus, chose to retain some of the planning parameters.

Synod Council reviewed SAPComm's work, settling on some details and leaving others to the committee for further work. As mentioned, details will be posted as they develop and can be formatted for presentation.

Synod Assembly 2021: Submissions

Nominations 2021

Deadline for Nominations
  17 August 2021

The public input phase for nominations associated with Synod Assembly 2021 closed 17 August 2021. Floor nominations will be allowed (as well as write-ins during the election) at the assembly. To learn more about what positions will be up for election at Synod Assembly 2021 and how to recommend people for nomination to those positions, visit our Nominations & Elections Page.

Reporting to/at the Assembly

Deadline for Reports
3 September 2021

There are some significant changes this year when it comes to reporting. Please visit our Reporting to/at Synod Assembly page for more information.

Exhibiting at the Assembly

Deadline for Exhibit Application
  16 September 2021

There are some significant changes this year when it comes exhibiting. Please visit our Exhibiting at Synod Assembly page for more information.

Resolutions & Memorials

Deadline for Resolutions and Memorials
26 September 2021

As this is a regular meeting of the Synod Assembly, the introduction of non-germane new business is not only permitted by expected. Those interested in introducing new business should note the deadline, 26 September 2021. Visit our Resolutions & Memorials page for details on submission, format, etc..

Synod Assembly 2020

Synod Assembly 2020 was not held because of the pandemic. Learn more about the decision and consequences by visiting our Synod Assembly 2020 page.

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This page was last updated 18 October 2021