As they’ve done for other major conventions, the members of Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis are prepared to host voting members and visitors to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.
Central, which boasts the largest Lutheran worship space in North and South America, has been the center of church gatherings for decades. The 1995 assembly met next door to Central in what was then the new Minneapolis Convention Center.
When the Lutheran World Federation met at Central in 1957, Franklin Clark Fry was elected LWF’s first American president. That assembly produced a series of “theses” aimed at unifying Lutheran beliefs. A plaque in the Minneapolis skyway system, at a vantage point overlooking Central, commemorates that historic gathering.
This year, in addition to an assembly worship service, Central will host a hymn sing with the Minneapolis-based National Lutheran Choir.
Joe Bjordal, Central’s communications manager, said guests will be invited to pray at any time in the sanctuary, view an art exhibition by Chinese artist He Qi or listen to the 47 bells of the church’s carillon. The bell tower was included in the 1929 plans for the church but wasn’t completed due to the Great Depression. An anonymous gift of more than $4 million enabled its construction in 2006.
The 2009 Churchwide Assembly, the ELCA’s highest legislative authority, will gather Aug. 17-23 at the Minneapolis Convention Center to vote on a proposed social statement on human sexuality, a recommendation on ELCA ministry policies, a proposal for full communion with the United Methodist Church, and funding proposals for HIV/AIDS and malaria work.
The 2009 Churchwide Assembly meets Aug. 17-23 in Minneapolis (skyline, above) at the Minneapolis Convention Center (below).
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