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Synod assembly reports

Northwestern Minnesota Synod
Moorhead, Minn., April 8-9

A confirmation mentoring group at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church, Prior Lake, Minn., collected more than 3,000 pounds of food at the Minneapolis Area Synod assembly to benefit Second Harvest Heartland.
• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to approve the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality's recommendations one and two. Voted 192-316 to not approve recommendation three, which asks the church to refrain from disciplining gay and lesbian ministers.
• Approved a resolution stating synod congregations' welcome for gay and lesbian Christians.

Eastern North Dakota Synod
Jamestown, N.D., April 9-10

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to adopt "ELCA Sexuality Task Force Dissenting Position One," which speaks against blessing same-sex unions and recommends no change in current policy related to gay and lesbian ministers in committed same-sex relationships.
• Called for a 30 percent increase in each congregation's giving to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal.

Southwestern Minnesota Synod
Redwood Falls, Minn., April 9-10

• Requested that the Churchwide Assembly suspend ELCA participation in Called to Common Mission, the full communion agreement between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church. Accompanying background information says the ELCA shouldn't be in full communion with a denomination that is "out of communion with its own worldwide Anglican fellowship," and that the historic episcopate "continues to divide the ELCA and deplete our membership and financial support."
• Sent five memorials to the Churchwide Assembly related to sexuality issues. One asks the assembly to bring to a vote whether to ordain gay and lesbian ministers in committed same-sex relationships and whether to bless same-sex unions. Others ask for no changes in ELCA "written standards for sexual conduct" and no "local option" for noncelibate gay and lesbian ministers.
• Voted to require that synod nominees for Churchwide Assembly voting members "state their understanding and intention" on important or controversial issues "either in writing or verbally, before the balloting is done."
• Asked that approval and implementation of Renewing Worship materials be postponed at least until the 2007 assembly. It also asked for a review process, "particularly for the materials' fidelity to Lutheran confessional theology," with evaluations distributed to all congregations one year before the materials go before the Churchwide Assembly for a vote.

Minneapolis Area Synod
Prior Lake, Minn. , April 16

• Requested that the ELCA Board of Pensions develop a procedure for interim pastors to sustain pension and medical insurance benefits between appointments.
• Sent five memorials to the Churchwide Assembly related to sexuality issues, including one asking for adoption of the task force's three recommendations. In a 320- 257 vote, asked that congregations be allowed to give pastors discretion to perform same-sex blessings. Voted 465-104 to have the ELCA Church Council direct the appropriate churchwide unit to offer clergy resources on providing pastoral care for partnered gays and lesbians.
• Encouraged synod congregations to work for peace in Colombia.

Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod
Spokane, Wash., April 22-24

• Sought "to amend the Church Council's second recommendation to clarify whether the 1993 statement of the Conference of Bishops shall become policy, or if the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of discernment that is entrusted to pastors and congregations." Failed to pass a resolution asking the Churchwide Assembly to adopt "ELCA Sexuality Task Force Dissenting Position One," which upholds current church policy.
• Re-elected Martin Wells as bishop, April 23, on the second ballot, with 209 votes.

Reports contributed by Julie Aageson, Phil Falk, Danette Griffith, Linda Pedersen and Michael Stein.


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