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Synods debate ecumenical proposals

Synod assemblies began in April. As expected, the most controversial topics are the upcoming votes at this year's ELCA Churchwide Assembly regarding full communion with the Episcopal Church and with three Reformed churches.

From straw polls taken at five synod assemblies, it's too early to spot a trend in this hotly debated issue. The Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod resolved to support both agreements, voting 166-112 on the Reformed proposal and 185-113 on the Episcopal agreement.

The Western Iowa Synod voted yes with a substantial majority on the Reformed proposal and yes with an obvious majority on the Episcopal agreement (no vote totals taken).

The Northeastern Minnesota Synod adopted by a large majority (no totals taken) a motion asking the Churchwide Assembly to vote no on the Concordat with the Episcopal Church.

The Eastern North Dakota Synod voted 299-12 to ask the ELCA to postpone action on full communion with the Reformed churches and 317-8 in favor of rejecting the Concordat with the Episcopal Church.

The Western North Dakota Synod passed by a large majority (no totals taken) a resolution asking the Churchwide Assembly to vote no for the Concordat.

The Eastern North Dakota Synod and the Western North Dakota Synod affirmed the current agreement with the Episcopal Church on interim sharing of the eucharist.

While these votes are reflective of a synod's stance on the proposals, they do not bind the voting members at Churchwide Assembly.

Other resolutions voted on include:

* The Western North Dakota Synod and the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod asked for the restoration of an ELCA rural ministries director.

* The Northeastern Minnesota Synod asked the Board of Pensions to restrict abortion coverage to cases where the mother's life is threatened, where pregnancy results from rape or incest or where the embryo or fetus has lethal abnormalities incompa tible with life.

* Several synods made donations to, and resolved to raise funds for, flood disaster relief.

* The Northeastern Minnesota Synod voted to support the Crazy Horse Defense Project, which is trying to stop the misappropriation of the name Crazy Horse to sell malt liquor.


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