The West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod gathered in assembly, 1-2 June 2018, under the theme...
Federal Chaplaincy: Ministry at the Margins
Under the Theme
The Synod Assembly moved quickly into its theme with a
Bible study on Acts 10 lead by our keynoter, The Rev. Eric
Wester, Director for ELCA Federal Chaplaincy. Wester
explored the relationship between Peter and Cornelius, a
centurion of the occupying Roman military. On the second
day, Wester gave a keynote lecture on Federal Chaplaincy
that included short video clips of ELCA federal chaplains
talking about their work and experiences. Among them was
our own Chaplain Anthony "Tony" Setley, a chaplain with
the National Guard.
The Rev Carl Ames and The Rev. Rick Egtvedt reported at
length on two programs that connect the life of our
congregations with those related to military service:
Centurion Connection and Partners in Care.
Setley, reporting on his work as chaplain of the Lutheran
Campus Ministry at WVU, drew parallels with his service as
a National Guard chaplain and talked about how the two
dovetail in strengthening service to each constituency.
Also a federal chaplain, The Rev. Linda Muhly, chaplain
captain of the Clarksburg Composite Squadron, West
Virginia Wing, Civil Air Patrol, served as lector for the
evening mass along side The Rev. Ron Kreiensieck, our
retired Navy chaplain.
We also welcomed visitors to our assembly: Chap. Faith of
the WV Air Guard and Chap. Tiffany from the Martinsburg
Bishop Riegel made a point of reminding the assembly that federal Chaplaincy includes prison ministry, CAP, and VA ministry and that there is room for volunteer ministry by pastors and laity within these arenas.
Synod Treasurer Joseph Solberg prepared a message on the
fiscal situation in the synod and gave an outstanding
report highlighting the threats and offering different
paths that the synod could pursue. He argued that the
sorts of changes that could reestablish a balanced budget,
if those changes were made on the expense side, would
constitute a major philosophical shift in the synod's
self-understanding and its understanding of its mission. You can download
Solberg's message here.
Several questions were asked during the Q&A phase of
Solberg's report. The bishop suggested that it was within
the rights of the assembly to set a time (e.g., in a few
months) for a meeting of the Synod Assembly to take up
this question of the budget in detail without other
business. It was moved on the floor to instruct the Synod
Council to take such action. After debate and amendments,
it was voted, instead, to make the fiscal questions
surrounding the budget the principal focus of the 2019
Synod Assembly, to instruct the bishop to prepare an
agenda that places consideration of the budget early in
the order of business to allow ample time for
consideration, and to have the Synod Council prepare a
white paper on the fiscal situation and possible courses
of action, disseminating the same well in advance of the
2019 Synod Assembly.
Video-conferenced Synod Assembly
A resolution submitted to Reference & Counsel by The
Rev. Linda Muhly to instruct the Synod Council to
investigate and implement a plan for holding Synod
Assembly by multi-site video-conference in alternating
years was moved following consultation between the mover
and the committee. Floor debate followed with amendments
being offered and adopted. The amended resolution failed
United Lutheran Seminary
The Rev. Jerry Kliner moved a resolution in response to
the report of United Lutheran Seminary. It was referred to
Reference & Counsel which, later, proposed two
amendments, only one of which was adopted by the assembly.
The resolution expressed concern over the state of affairs
at ULS, referenced concerns raised by the 2016 Synod
Assembly, and called upon this synod's ULS board member to
share those concerns with the ULS Board of Directors. The
resolution was adopted.
Veep & Churchwide Assembly
Early in the assembly, when the report of the Nominating
Committee was given, a question was asked from the floor
why there was no nomination (or election) for a lay male
voting member of Churchwide Assembly. The chair explained
that the ELCA Constitution stipulated that, unless the
synod determine otherwise, the Synod Vice President served
a lay voting member ex officio, and, given that the
sitting veep is male and there is a 50-50 male-female
requirement upon the lay voting members, that means no
male would be elected by WV-WMD. In response, the
Resolutions Committee offered a resolution instructing
Synod Council to prepare the necessary legislative
proposal for consideration at the 2019 Synod Assembly to
determine that the Synod Vice President is not an ex
officio member of the Churchwide Assembly. After
debate, marked by some confusion over the consequences of
a motion to refer, the resolution was adopted.
Commending Chap. Setley
Resolutions Committee offered a resolution commending
Chap. Setley for his work at the Lutheran Campus Ministry
at WVU. The resolution was adopted.
Governing Documents: Amendments
An addendum to the Bishop's Report included over twenty
proposed changes to the governing documents (constitution,
bylaws, and continuing resolutions) of the synod.
The Committee on the Bishop's Report moved adoption of
recommended amendments en bloc. The motion was
adopted. The revised
governing documents can be downloaded from the Member
Portal. A list of the amendments can be found here.
Sixteen people were elected from a field of fifty-five
nominees. To access the list of those elected, visit out elections page.
Shepherdstown FunThe Eastern Panhandle Cluster arranged a dinner on Thursday evening for early arrivals. Although planned as an outdoor feast at a local farm, no one complained when it was moved to the St. James, Uvilla, fellowship hall in anticipation of foul weather. The food was ample and tasty and the company excellent. One can't beat pot-luck cooking served up by members of local congregations. Later that evening, a good number of folks took advantage of the Shepherdstown "Ghost Walk." A few attendees mentioned exploring the local historic sites.
Assembly MinutesThe draft minutes are under review and have been referred to Synod Council for action. So, posting of the minutes will have to wait until they have been approved by Synod Council. Synod Council's next meeting will be August 4. In the meantime, you can watch the video recording of the business sessions of the assembly on Youtube by clicking here.
Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports: Online
This was out first year employing Manula.com, an on-line
platform, for our Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports. Due to
an unexpected hospitalization, not everything got uploaded
as soon as we would have liked. Still, the platform shows
promise. We'll be working with it over the course of the
year to see how we might better use it for both Synod
Assembly and other applications.