FLORIDA BAHAMAS SYNOD ASSEMBLY DAY ONE
2009 SYNOD ASSEMBLY DAY ONE:
Defining the day for me was the trifecta of worship, memorials, and friends.
Worship: It was billed as festive worship and it was! From the never-ending glorious procession of our rostered folks – Pastors, Associates in Ministry, Deacons and Diaconal Ministers – and our many congregation’s multi-colored banner extravaganza – to excellent music and an impassioned sermon from Bishop Benoway. Good call moving it to the evening – my vote is to keep it that way. What a resounding way to end the day!
Memorials are the assembly’s opportunity to deliver our thoughts on issues to the church-wide assembly. Of the ten memorials and resolutions on the agenda thus far, we turned our attention to three concerning the Human Sexuality Social Statement and the separate proposed resolutions drafted by the same committee and endorsed by the ELCA Church Council to change ministry policies concerning the way that folks are rostered in the ELCA that would allow opportunities for those in committed same sex relationships to be rostered.
The rules adopted for the conduct of the assembly provided a helpful framework for the debate – folks had a minute to make their point and those for and against the proposals on the floor had to alternate at the microphones. For those who love Robert’s Rules – they saw them in action – with motions to substitute and division of the house being more popular than they have in my nine years coming to these assemblies. While the electronic voting devices that were used during the Bishop’s election might come at a price – I think it would be money well spent whenever there are a large number of memorials or particularly controversial ones. This year we had both.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty of these resolutions, suffice it to say that (again in my opinion) history was today and it was awesome to bear witness to it. Both the Human Sexuality Social Statement and the four resolutions pertaining to ministry policies on rostering were commended for passage to the church-wide assembly meeting later this summer.
Synod Assemblies provide a joyous opportunity to renew friendships and make some new friends - sharing with them a year’s worth of faith journeying in life and parish. It reminds us that we are not alone in our common mission of proclaiming and embodying the Good News: far from it! How blessed I feel right now, as I unwind from the day, recalling the hugs, handshakes, smiles and kindnesses that filled its long hours.
Number for the Day: 11,787
(number of steps my pedometer claims I made today).
Extra Number for the Day: 2
Number of times Bishop Benoway made people laugh during the memorials and resolutions discussion.