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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Voting guidelines

How should assembly voting members decide?

Q: Do we have any written guidelines or instructions on how an ELCA Churchwide Assembly delegate should form decisions while voting on issues? Should delegates solely use their judgment or try to reflect the majority opinion of the synod that elected them to the assembly?

A: Excerpts from the instructions to voting members of the last Churchwide Assembly are helpful: "We gather as baptized members of Christ's church. We meet, however, not as a random collection of baptized members. For the sake of the gospel and the well-
being of the church we serve as representatives on behalf ... of the ELCA ....

"It is important to note ... that no delegates will be present for the assembly. Voting members are not delegates .... The voting members come together as representatives not only of their own congregations and synods but also serve on behalf of all the people of the ELCA .... [People] so chosen as voting members by synods are given the responsibility of doing the work of the Churchwide Assembly on behalf of the ELCA. They are not sent to participate as politicized delegates from a regional or agenda specific caucus ....


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