It's August and time for the ELCA Churchwide Assembly ("'11 assembly gathers in Orlando"). The 12th biennial gathering doesn't present the same air of anticipation as did the 2009 assembly. Why?
Starting on a less serious note, consider meeting in central Florida in the middle of summer. Don't be fooled by the location, the Orlando World Center Marriott, or by photos of this hotel and convention center. The venue is isolated and the average daily high is 90 degrees this time of year. This isn't meant to pick on the site — indeed, the ELCA got a very good rate. And this facility is built for those doing work, such as an assembly, as well as those with time for leisure. Don't look for The Lutheran staff at the pools.
That doesn't mean gatherings of this sort aren't fun. They usually are. If you don't get excited about associating with more than 1,000 others from across this country and delving into the work of a national church body, then you're missing out on what it means to be in community with so many folks who are not just like you.
While the lay-clergy mix will be 60-40 percent, and people of color/first language other than English a tested 10 percent, some 13 percent will be people age 30 and under. If you've ever attended a synod assembly, you should immediately notice the lower average age.
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