Three days of intense debate and dozens of
microphone speeches ended Aug. 19 at 11:44 a.m. when a big screen above
the assembly podium flashed the vote on Called to Common Mission:
716-317 — 69.3 percent approval for full communion between the ELCA and
the Episcopal Church.
By 27 more votes than the required two-thirds majority, the ELCA adopted a proposal similar to one that failed by six votes two years ago. Voting members rose in applause, hugs were exchanged between ELCA and Episcopal officials, and If You But Trust in God to Guide You was sung.
"This is a big step, but we're not dancing yet," Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson told a press conference after the vote. "This is a Lutheran proposal to which the Episcopal Church will react in convention next year. But we live in hope."
News of the vote was received with "rejoicing and thanksgiving" by Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, who said, "I pray that our response can be positive" next year.
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