- After Action Report
- Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports
- Call of the Assembly
- Registration Details
- Registering for the Assembly
- Lodging Details
- Meals Details
- Focus of the Assembly
- Nominating Committee Report
- Agenda & Program
- Legislative Work
A Corrected, Bleary-Eyed, Preliminary After Action
Report with Elections Update
The West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod Assembly
convened at Grace Lutheran Church, (Bethlehem) Wheeling,
WV, on Friday, 31 May 2019, at 1:15 PM. As ordered by the
2018 Synod Assembly, an agenda was proposed to support the
assembly's deliberation over the financial position of the
synod. To assist in this work, Victoria Flood, Director
for Mission Support, ELCA, gave a keynote address on
mission support across the church and in the WV-WMD Synod.
Nine workshops were also held, each examining a different
set of issues related to the budget; three workshops
addressed evangelism, prayer, and Bible Study, providing
an alternative for those with less enthusiasm for numbers.
Except for the report of the Elections Committee and a
runoff ballot, the Saturday morning was spent in committee
of the whole, resulting in a report that recommended
- cuts to several lines in the proposed 2020 budget,
- reduction of mission support share with the Churchwide
expression of the ELCA,
- elimination of budgeted withdraw from unrestricted
reserves (more than $43.5K),
- instruction to Synod Council with respect to building
a budget from scratch for Synod Assembly 2020,
- instruction to Synod Council to explore staffing
instruction to Synod Council to explore
combining the bishop's position with the DEM position,
- and reaffirmation with instructions with respect to
the authority of the Synod Council, under the
constitution, to refrain from authorizing expenditures
should income be insufficient to cover expenses,
prioritizing as expenditures the oversight function of
the synod and the synod's support of Word &
Sacrament, teaching of the faith, and care of souls.
The report of the Committee of the Whole was adopted with
amendment for approval of the budget as amended per the
recommendations of the Committee of the Whole. More
detailed information will be forthcoming once the minutes
have been reviewed.
The synod's constitution was amended to change the
quorum requirement, pending ratification by the ELCA.
Twelve recommendations on amendment of the bylaws were
As directed by the 2018 Synod Assembly, the assembly
program included an extended presentation related to
United Lutheran Seminary. This was held as an open hearing
of the synod's Ad Hoc Committee on ULS and
formatted as a Q&A, with questions posed by the
committee and answered by the seminary representatives.
Eight elections were held. The
report of those elected can be found here.
Reference & Counsel reported on four resolutions. Two
were adopted: a resolution on expansion of accompaniment
in the Middle East and a resolution on Synod Assembly cost
control. Two were tabled, neither of which were taken from
the table before adjournment sine die. To review these
our on-line Bulletin of Reports.
Synod Assembly Mass was held at Grace Lutheran Church on
Friday evening. The largest assembly mass offering was
collected for the synod's Madagascar fund. The bishop
preached on the Visitation and visitation, and the hymn of
the day, also on the Visitation, was a newly written work
by host pastor, The Rev. Timothy Spence.
This After Action Report is, as stated in the title,
preliminary. It has yet to be compared against the
minutes. Please visit again to check for corrections.
Watch Synod Assembly
The Synod Assembly was live streamed, and you can watch
our Youtube channel, "WV-WMD Video."
Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports (Update)
The Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports was posted on May
21, as required in our bylaws. The day after publication,
we received a few correction requests and a request for
clarification. Those were incorporated in the wee hours of
the morning of May 23. The changes of note are as follows:
Rules of Order for the Assembly--it is a
mystery as to how this section disappeared. It was
entered into the draft a full week before publication.
Either we didn't save it properly or we accidentally
nuked it while making other changes. It's important.
Hoc Committee on Bylaws--Small inclusion in
the naming of a congregation in Recommendation #12.
Bylaws Committee has approved the change in its report.
& Bolts (Bishop's Report, Part 1)--Inclusion
of two new sections in response to requests for
clarification. The first, at the beginning of the
report, is an explanation of the changes made for the
logistics of this year's Synod Assembly. The second, at
the end, is a discussion of human resources issues. If
you have already read or printed "Nuts & Bolts"
prior to 1:00 PM on Wednesday, May 22, you will want to
take a look at the updated version posted in the Manula
Lutheran Floor Plan--A map has been added so
that attendees can find there way around Grace,
especially when we break for workshops.
Since then, we've received requests for corrections to
the directory, a new resolution, and a report from a
special committee. We've also had to shuffle committee
members. Lastly, some explanatory material on the assembly
committees was added. If you have already
printed/downloaded your Pre-Assembly Bulletin of
Reports, you don't have to chuck it. The new and
corrected material can be printed individually right from
the on-line Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports. To
make that a little easier, visit the Errata
and Additions page. The chart on that page explains
each of the changes and provides a link to the specified
section. If you want that section, you can print that one
section by hitting the print icon in the upper right of
We're using Manula as an on-line platform for the second
her to read to access it. This will work on your
computer, tablet, and phone. Be
advised: there will not be public WiFi at
Grace. There is good mobile data. You may want to download
the Friday-Only Version if you do not want to use your
The last update of the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of
Reports is now available in PDF. We offer three
different download versions.
- Full Version:
This is the full Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports,
including the directories and statistical data for the
synod. It is beefy: 214 pages and just shy of 16.33 MB.
Version (without directories and statistical
data): This has all the reports from committees,
officers, the Churchwide expression, etc, but not the
directories. Not as beefy: 146 pages and just shy of 5
Version: For those planning on using their
computers and mobile devices to access the bulletin on
Saturday, this version has the organizational material
and the reports and action recommendations that are
scheduled for Friday. There will not be WiFi on Friday
(though your mobile data plan should work). Even
smaller: 73 pages and just shy of 1.25 MB.
To download, click on the linked version name.
You also have the option of printing only those pages you
want. By going onto the Manula
on-line platform, you can go directly to any section
by clicking the item on the Table of Contents (to the left
of your screen on a computer, a button labeled "Table of
Contents" upper right of your mobile device screen). Each
section features a print button in the upper right of the
page. Hit that print button and only that section will be
In general, it is advisable to have a PDF or paper
back-up whenever and wherever you plan to use an on-line
platform. One never knows when the internet will go out.
Call of the Assembly
Formally issued on April 1, 2019, at 11:44 PM local time...
Pursuant to B7.01 of the Bylaws of the WV-WMD
Synod, the call of the 2019 Synod Assembly is hereby
made: The West Virginia-Western Maryland 2019 Synod
Assembly shall convene at 1:00 PM, on Friday, May 31, at
Grace Lutheran Church, 16 Ridgecrest Road, Wheeling, WV.
Time & Place Details
The 2019 Synod Assembly will meet in two different
locations, beginning at Grace Lutheran Church, Wheeling, WV,
at 1:00 PM on Friday, May 31, and continuing on its second
day at the Highlands Events Center at 8:30 AM on Saturday,
June 1. All Friday activities (business, workshops, dinner,
and the assembly mass) will be at Grace. All Saturday
activities (business and lunch) will be at the Highlands.
|Agenda & Program
1:00 PM - c.9:30 PM
|Grace Ev. Lutheran Church
16 Ridgecrest Road
Wheeling WV 26003
- Opening Devotions
- Nominations Committee
- including floor nominations
- Vice President
- Reception (with live entertainment)
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
|Highlands Event Center
355 Wharton Circle
Triadelphia, WV 26059
- Opening Devotions
- Elections Committee
- including second ballot if needed
- Churchwide Representative
- Committee on the Bishop's Report
- Reference & Counsel
- Resolutions Committee
- Bylaws Committee
- Ad Hoc Committee on ULS
- Closing Devotions & Installations
On-Line Registration is closed. You may register at the
door. There is a registration fee of $20 (meals and breaks
Voting members are reminded of the statement adopted by
Synod Council a few years ago:
Voting Members of the Synod Assembly serve
as the liaison between the Synod Assembly and the
congregation that elects them. With the permission of
their congregational meeting, they are to report
to the congregational meeting on the actions of the
Synod Assembly and relevant points of discussion. With
the permission of the congregational council, they are
to report to the congregational council on the actions
of the Synod Assembly and relevant points of
discussion. Additionally, with the permission of the
congregational council, they are to consult with the
congregational council on the development of the
mission support commitment of the congregation.
Lodging --- Important!
Unlike previous synod assemblies, lodging is not included in
the registration process. Attendees are responsible for
making their own lodging arrangements. There are several
hotels at the Highlands (and nearby). Blocks of rooms have
been reserved (as is often done for weddings) at both the
Fairfield Inn and Suites Wheeling Triadelphia (adjacent to
Highlands Event Center) and the Holiday Inn Express. If
making reservations at either of these, indicate that you
are attending the Lutheran Synod Assembly. The rate for both
these hotels is $129 per night. Price points, amenities, and
distances vary for the other hotels in the area. For those
looking for bargain rates or for those looking for more
stars, you have the freedom to pursue your housing as you
see fit. This is the first time that we have had an assembly
with so many options in the immediate area, and, given the
concerns surfaced at the previous assembly about the cost of
participating, we are offering everyone the freedom to pick
their own price point.
Fairfield Inn and Suites
(adjacent to Highlands Event Center)
660 Cabela Drive
Triadelphia WV 26059
Price: $129.00 per night
Rooms must be reserved by 30 April 2019
Holiday Inn Express
45 Wayfarer Drive
Triadelphia WV 26059
Price: $129.00 per night
Rooms must be reserved by 23 May 2019
The rooms will be filled on a first come,
first served basis.
Comfort Inn and Suites
675 Fort Henry Road
Triadelphia WV 26059
Econo Lodge Inn and Suites
87 Jenkins Lane
Triadelphia WV 26059
Hampton Inn and Suites
35 Bob Wise Drive
Triadelphia WV 26059
20 Bob Wise Drive
Triadelphia WV 26059
Microtel by Wyndham
85 Fort Henry Road
Triadelphia WV 20659
Suburban Extended Stay Hotel
40 Robinson Drive
Triadelphia WV 26059
2400 National Road
Wheeling WV 26003
Meals --- Important!
Meals will also be handled differently. The only meals
provided as part of the assembly are dinner on Friday night
and lunch on Saturday afternoon. Coffee etc. will be part of
the assembly. Attendees are on their own for lunch on Friday
and breakfast on Saturday. Again, we are offering everyone
the freedom to pick their own price point. The Highlands
features well over a dozen eating establishments ranging
from fast food to steak houses and sushi. Include in that
the number of restaurants in Wheeling and Washington, and
there is not shortage for the variety of tastes, dietary
needs, and budgets found among assembly attendees. Again, we
hope that this approach takes some of the strain off
congregational assembly budgets.
Focus of the Assembly
The 2018 Synod Assembly ordered that the Bishop prepare an
agenda for the 2019 assembly that
In addition, the 2018 Synod Assembly ordered that the Synod
Council prepare a white paper on these financial matters and
distribute said white paper to the congregations of the
synod prior to the assembly. That white paper is still in
- placed the financial matters of the synod as the
primary focus of the assembly,
- placed presentation of the budget proposal early in
the assembly, and
- allowed ample time for debate on the budget.
In preparation for the 2019 Synod Assembly, the synod hosted
a mission support symposium, an invitation having been
issued to pastors and congregational leaders involved in
financial and stewardship matters, in November 1018 at St.
Our keynoter for the assembly will be Ms. Victoria Flood,
Director for Mission Support of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America. Flood has spearheaded a major shift in
the approach to mission support in the ELCA, supported by
probing analysis for mission support trends and capacities.
The 2019 Synod Assembly program will also include a series
of concurrent workshops exploring different parts of the
budget and connected financial matters. There will also be a
few workshops not connected to the primary focus of the
assembly for those who might like to take a break from the
Nominating Committee Report
The Nominating Committee has completed its work and now
waits to make formal report on the assembly floor. You may
read the Report of the Nominating Committee by clicking here. This report
includes info about the candidates and the offices to which
they have been nominated as well as explanation of process
and instructions for making a nomination from the floor.
Agenda & Program
The assembly is properly divided between agenda and program.
This division will be much more obvious this year. The
agenda governs the business of the assembly. The program is
much larger in that it includes the agenda and all the
non-business things as well. The keynote, workshops, meals,
worship, and one particular committee, are all program but
not agenda items. The usual reports, elections, legislative
work, etc. are all agenda items.
The assembly mass will be held Friday night at 7:00 PM at
Grace Ev. Lutheran Church (the site of the first day of the
assembly). It is open to the public.
Devotions will be offered at the start of the assembly and
again at the start of Saturday's meeting. Closing devotions
will also be held at the end of the assembly, accompanied
with the installation of newly elected officers, council,
and committee members.
We will be holding elections for Vice President, six Synod
Council Members, and one member of the Consultation
Committee. For more information about elections, visit the Nominations Committee Page.
The report of the Nominations Committee will be published on
May 21, 2019. The report will include the names of those
nominated for the various positions to be elected along with
The Synod Assembly is the highest legislative authority in
the synod. The legislative process is highly participatory.
There are four ways in which a legislative proposal can come
before the assembly.
|For a resolution
or memorial to be included in the
Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports, it
must be submitted by May 5.
- A voting member of the Synod Assembly may propose a
resolution (through either advance submission or on the
floor of the assembly).
- A congregation may memorialize the Synod Assembly on a
matter related to itself.
- A conference may memorialize the Synod Assembly on a
matter related to itself, the synod, or the larger
- A committee with standing in the Synod Assembly may
propose legislation as part of its report.
An online submission form for resolutions is available:
click here. You will also find on that page a
guideline for proper formatting of resolutions. Note well,
- It is not required that the pastor of a congregation
concur with the submission of the resolution. This
question will be eliminated in future assemblies.
- If you are a voting member submitting a resolution
(and not submitting on behalf of a congregation or
conference) please so indicate in the upload file
- If you are a congregational officer submitting a
memorial from your congregation, please so indicate in
the upload file submission.
- If you are a conference member submitting a memorial
on behalf of your conference, please so indicate on the
file upload submission.
- Synod committees bringing legislative proposals should
contact the Bishop about the submission process.
If you are planning to submit a legislative proposal and
would like some assistance, please feel free to contact
the Bishop for referral to one of the parliamentarians.
Certain reports and activities are required by our bylaws
(e.g., officer reports, specific committee reports,
elections, mass, etc.). In addition, the 2018 Synod Assembly
ordered that an agenda be prepared that included time for an
extended report from and conversation with representatives
from United Lutheran Seminary. This is programmed for
|For a report
to be included in the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of
Reports, it must be submitted by May 5.
Unless ordered by the Synod Assembly, there are no planned
oral reports from the many agencies and entities that
have typically reported. As always, printed reports received
by deadline will appear in the Pre-Assembly Bulletin.
We will also be offering an opportunity to such agencies and
entities to provide a link to on-line video, said link being
included in the Pre-Assembly Bulletin, should an agency or
entity want to prepare something in that medium for voting
members (and others) to view on their own time.
The West Virginia-Western Maryland
Synod gathered in assembly, 1-2 June 2018, under the
Federal Chaplaincy: Ministry at the
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.
- Some of the changes were amendments that employed
recommended, but not required language in the Constitution
for Synods authorized by the Churchwide Assembly.
- One local change to a non-required provision of the
constitution received a first reading. This proposed
amendment, relating to the quorum of the Synod Assembly,
will come to the 2019 Synod Assembly for a second
reading and action.
- Several bylaws were struck to eliminate redundancies
or remove impediments to the work of the Nominating
- Others were amended to facilitate the work of the
Synod Council and bring it in compliance with
- Repeal of all continuing resolutions related to the
Seed Planted Fund, allowing Synod Council to develop new
policies in light of current realities.
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.
The 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
The 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.
The Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports can still be reviewed
the PDF version here. Warning: It is a 10 MB download,
but, in addition to reports and things directly related to
the Synod Assembly, it also includes the directories of the