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Book of Faith tops assembly discussions

Several topics emerged as synod assemblies came to a close in June: Book of Faith, immigration, the Middle East, conservation, people with disabilities, hunger and human sexuality.

Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod
May 29-31, The Woodlands, Texas

• Resolved to participate in the Book of Faith initiative and therefore encourage congregations to regularly and increasingly participate in study of Scripture to strengthen members’ knowledge of the Bible.
Central-Southern Illinois Synod
May 29-31, Springfield, Ill.

• Joined the Book of Faith study.
• Adopted the Cherish Our Children Initiative to implement the ELCA Message on Commercial Sexual Exploitation by raising awareness of the exploitation of vulnerable people.
• Encouraged members to tithe their economic stimulus checks.
• Called on members to advocate for immigration reform based upon the principles of protecting and uniting families, protecting human and worker rights, ending marginalization and providing a path to permanence.

Greater Milwaukee Synod
May 29-30, Pewaukee, Wis.

• Agreed to become a Book of Faith synod.
• Urged congregations to support free medical clinics, educate about health and wellness in newsletters and bulletins, discuss health issues in worship, and to organize collections of medicine.

Nebraska Synod
May 30-June 1, Grand Island, Neb.

• Voted to participate in Book of Faith.
• Asked congregations to set a goal to increase giving to and awareness of the ELCA World Hunger Program and Appeal.
• Asked the 2009 Churchwide Assembly to develop a social statement on the topic of people with disabilities.
• Recognized the importance of parish nursing and memorialized the Churchwide Assembly to support the role.

South Dakota Synod
May 30-31, Sioux Falls, S.D.

• Affirmed its commitment to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

• Joined the Make Poverty History campaign.

West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod
May 30-31, Morgantown, W.Va.

• On the basis of Genesis 2:15, encouraged all members and congregations to seek renewable energy sources and practice conservation.

Oregon Synod
May 30-June 1, Portland, Ore.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

Grand Canyon Synod
June 4-6, Las Vegas

• Passed a resolution to work toward the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, including advocating for the elimination of poverty and for universal primary education.

• Committed to the Book of Faith initiative.

• Postponed indefinitely a motion concerning the “purchasing of products from Palestinian providers and exploration of the feasibility of refusing to buy products produced in Israeli settlements” in ELCA economic initiatives.

• Voted down a resolution asking the 2009 Churchwide Assembly to revise the “Peace Not Walls” campaign so as to stop pressuring Israel to remove its security fence, and to rename or remove any implicit or explicit blame for the Middle East conflicts from any one nation or group.

Indiana-Kentucky Synod
June 5-7, Lexington, Ky.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

La Crosse Area Synod
June 5-7, Decorah, Iowa

• Instituted the Book of Faith study.

• Renewed commitment to support hunger-related ministries, and set a synod goal to exceed the ELCA average donation per giving unit to the World Hunger Program and Appeal.

• Encouraged congregations to petition the U.S. government to resettle Hmong Vietnam War veterans and their families and for congregations to sponsor Hmong refugees.

Allegheny Synod
June 5-7, Altoona, Pa.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

New Jersey Synod
June 5-7, East Brunswick, N.J.

• Asked members to reduce the use of bottled water and advocate for healthy, strong water systems.

• On the basis of Leviticus 19:33-34, resolved to call on government officials to develop immigration policies that protect children and families, ensure human rights, enable people to live without fear and provide the opportunity for permanent legal status for those settled in the community. Additionally, urged the federal government to curtail the use of detention centers, raids, intimidation and punitive measures as the primary tools of immigration control.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to develop a social statement concerning people with disabilities.

• Declared itself a Book of Faith synod.

• Voted to join the ONE campaign and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

New England Synod
June 5-7, Worcester, Mass.

• Focused on its new relationships with the Episcopal Diocese and the Lutheran Church of Honduras, including encouraging partnership between the organizations and asking members to consider their relationship in the context of a global mission.

North Carolina Synod
June 5-7, Hickory, N.C.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

Central States Synod
June 5-8, St. Louis

• Memorialized the 2009 Churchwide Assembly to develop a social statement on mental illness, and requested that the Church Council direct development of congregational resources for ministry to those affected by mental illness.

Western North Dakota Synod
June 6-7, Minot, N.D.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

Metropolitan Chicago Synod
June 12-14, Rosemont, Ill.

• Committed to initiating the Book of Faith program.

• Asked congregations to pray regularly for peace and justice in the Holy Land, to annually send a contribution to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and to become active advocates for reconciliation by contacting members of the administration and Congress on behalf of Palestinian Christians. Furthermore, the assembly designated November as Palestinian Christian Solidarity Month.

• Memorialized the 2009 Churchwide Assembly to develop a social statement concerning people with disabilities to be presented to the 2015 Churchwide Assembly.

• Pledged to establish a task force to develop a long-range climate action plan to consider strategies in sustainability and environmental responsibility for all member churches, missions and synod properties.

Western Iowa Synod
June 6-7, Storm Lake, Iowa

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

East-Central Wisconsin Synod
June 6-7, Appleton, Wis.

• Referred a proposal to establish an endowment fund for churches in areas of high poverty to a synod committee to revise it and better determine how to provide financial assistance to such congregations.
• Pledged to develop a more detailed policy concerning the pursuit and application of background checks, which a proposed resolution would have required for those seeking or elected to office in the synod.

Southeastern Synod
June 6-8, Atlanta

• Resolved to form an ad hoc committee for welcome and inclusion to lead and guide in welcoming all people into the synod and its mission, and to recommend ways for the synod to better welcome people of all sexual orientations.
• Committed to the Book of Faith program.

Upstate New York Synod
June 6-8, Rochester, N.Y.

• Adopted a resolution to oppose violence against people of different sexual orientations and gender identities.
• Expressed concern over the effect of U.S. ethanol policy on food costs and the hungry and impoverished.

Montana Synod
June 6-8, Billings, Mont.

• Studied and discussed the culture and politics of fear and living in faith to ensure that fear is not destructive but positive.

Virginia Synod
June 6-8, Salem, Va.

• Called for the tithing of undesignated estate bequests.

Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod
June 12-14, Salem, Va.

• Resolved to oppose a Maryland referendum authorizing slot machines through communication with government officials and the media and by educating and engaging members about the ELCA position on state-sponsored gambling.
• Encouraged members to study, pray about and discuss the draft social statement on human sexuality, and stated an intent to schedule formal hearings on the document.
• Denounced violence and discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and directed its council to submit a resolution to the ELCA Church Council to include gender identity along with sexual orientation in its approaches to civil rights legislation and opposition to harassment.

Lower Susquehanna Synod
June 12-14, Grantham, Pa.

• Pledged to ask Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries to address the equity and effectiveness of their executive compensation packages.

Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod
June 12-14, Greenville, Pa.

• Gave its council executive committee approval to perform background checks on newly elected synodical officers.

Northern Illinois Synod
June 13-14, Rock Island, Ill.

• Voted to become a Book of Faith synod.

• Passed a resolution to become a “green synod” through steps like improving energy efficiency and encouraging congregations to go green.

• Challenged congregations to increase commitments to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal.

• Encouraged its members and congregations to enter into moral deliberation and discussion on the topic of the U.S. foreign and military policy.

Southwestern Minnesota Synod
June 13-15, St. Peter, Minn.

• Called on members to pray publicly for people suffering due to harassment or persecution.
• Voted to take part in the Book of Faith initiative.

Delaware-Maryland Synod
June 19-21, Gettysburg, Pa.

• Resolved to devote time and resources to defeating a Maryland referendum authorizing slot machines in five locations, and encouraged congregations to advocate for state tax increases to replace potential gambling revenue.
• Designated itself a Book of Faith synod.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod
June 19-21, Greenville, Pa.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

• Requested that the Church Council clarify and better define the phrase “live together faithfully” as used in the Churchwide Assembly’s resolution concerning disagreements and the ongoing discussion on human sexuality.

Upper Susquehanna Synod
June 20-21, Selinsgrove, Pa.

• Voted to encourage young adult ministries, support the ELCA Youth Ministry Network and to urge members, leaders and pastors to participate in young adult programs and gatherings.
• Initiated the Book of Faith study in the synod.

Slovak Zion Synod
June 27-29, Union, N.J.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

Northeastern Iowa Synod
June 28, Waverly, Iowa

• Requested the ongoing support of the ELCA through prayers, gifts and volunteer services following area tornados and flooding, and thanked those who have already responded.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

• Resolved to petition the government and the ELCA to help the people of Mexico provide respectable living conditions for its people and endorsed the call for fair and just immigration reform.


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