"Go, girl!" a woman's voice shouted from the back of the Churchwide Assembly hall after voting members elected Addie J. Butler, Philadelphia, to the ELCA's top lay position.
The ELCA's first African American vice president, Butler was elected on the fifth ballot, 670-324 over Myrna Sheie, assistant to the bishop in the St. Paul Area Synod.
Butler succeeds Kathy Magnus who resigned when her husband, Richard, was named executive director of the Division for Outreach in April.
'A new song'
"The ELCA is going to sing a new song," Butler said.
"We're 10 years old--only a baby church. We're going to achieve the goals set at birth and see some new faces and some new ideas."
Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson said Butler's election marks the beginning of a new era. "God raises up new leaders with new gifts," he said.
Butler, 51, is assistant dean at the Community College of Philadelphia and is a member of Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Mount Airy, Pa.
Butler cited her baptism at age 8 as the foundation upon which her faith is built.
At a press conference, she said, "I want to get out and know ELCA members. I plan to listen, and I plan to ask questions." (See the November issue for a profile of Butler.)
© 2016 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers