CHICAGO — Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will gather for the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly Aug. 8-12 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Meeting under the theme “Embody the Word,” the assembly will participate in plenary discussions to make decisions about the work of this church. They will also spend time in worship and Bible study.
The triennial gathering — the highest legislative body of the denomination — will be composed of more than 900 voting members serving on behalf of the 3.3 million members of the ELCA. The ELCA’s 65 synods elect voting members to serve at churchwide assemblies.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton will open the assembly on Tuesday, Aug. 9, with a land acknowledgment noting that the gathering is taking place on the original and ancestral homelands of the Shawnee, Miami and Kaskaskia peoples. Tribal leaders from the Miami Nation will bring welcome to the assembly.
The assembly will then commemorate the 35th anniversary of the ELCA, which was formed when the ELCA constitution was adopted during the opening session of the Constituting Convention in Columbus on April 30, 1987. The church was formed from a merger of the American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and the Lutheran Church in America.
The day will include a nonlegislative session to offer a public apology to Iglesia Luterana Santa María Peregrina and a public commitment to anti-racism. This is in response to recent events in this church that have caused harm to people, communities and the whole body of Christ.
In other key assembly action, voting members will:
- Elect a vice president. The position of vice president is the highest a layperson can hold in the ELCA. Carlos Peña is serving as interim vice president following the death of Bill Horne last August. Horne was elected vice president by the 2016 Churchwide Assembly.
- Approve budget proposals for the 2023, 2024 and 2025 fiscal years.
- Vote on amendments to the Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA.
Voting members will also receive:
- A report from the presiding bishop and officers of the ELCA.
- The first public in-person announcement of “A Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to American Indian and Alaska Native People” and an update on the work of the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery Task Force. The declaration is a direct result of the social policy resolution adopted by the 2016 Churchwide Assembly.
- A presentation by Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians.
- Proposals (known as memorials) from the ELCA’s 65 synods that address social justice issues and matters relating to the structure of the ELCA, including greenhouse gas reduction; gun violence; LGBTQIA+ welcome; pastoral counseling as a result of changes to Roe v. Wade; the land back movement; ELCA governance restructure; specialized ministries and on leave from call status; and review and revision of the ELCA social statement Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, adopted by the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.
- Greetings from ecumenical and inter-religious guests, global partners and others.
The ELCA has established the following COVID-19 health and safety protocols for all assembly participants:
- Regardless of vaccination status, a self-administered rapid test is strongly encouraged no more than three days before departure for the assembly. Those who test positive for COVID-19 are asked to remain at home.
- Attendees must provide proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Unvaccinated individuals must provide upon arrival a negative test result taken one to three days prior to traveling to the assembly.
- N95, KN95, KF94 or medical procedure (surgical) masks must be worn while inside the convention center and attending worship. Exceptions will be made for those speaking at a microphone so that listeners with hearing impairments will be able to lip-read. Surgical masks will be provided to all attendees.
Live video of the plenary sessions will be accessible at elca.org/CWA-2022.
Reporters interested in speaking to the elected vice president should contact Candice Hill Buchbinder at Candice.Buchbinder@elca.org or 708-220-6119.
To register as press or access other news and media information, contact Candice Hill Buchbinder at Candice.Buchbinder@elca.org.
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands.,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.
For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
Public Relations Manager