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

Special Announcement from Synod Council (9/17/21)
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Register for Synod Assembly!
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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 will be 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 AM and
  • the first ballot for the election of a bishop at 11:00 AM.

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.

Registration

Registration for Synod Assembly 2021 is now open. You can register using our online Synod Assembly Registration Form. We've also added a guide to the registration form to assist should you have questions.

We have not yet set a registration deadline, but potential registrants should be advised that the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports (including the Report of the Nominating Committee) is published for voting members of the assembly ten days before the assembly convenes. The Secretary will, of course, need the list of the voting members prior to the 10-day mark in order to organize the mailing list. So, please get your registrations in a few days before that.

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
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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 southwest 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 will be renting both the indoor and outdoor pavilion, with the assembly business planned for the indoor space.

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.

Lodging 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.

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

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..

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 to reporting. Please visit our Reporting to/at Synod Assembly page for more information.

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 20 September 2021