The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


How Tweet it was

The 2009 Churchwide Assembly — in 140 characters

While the Churchwide Assembly met inside the Minneapolis Convention Center, many people followed along via live video stream at www.elca.org and the social networking service Twitter.

captionA “tweet” on Twitter is like sending a postcard: it’s short, anyone can read it and it can be “stamped” from a specific location. Assembly Tweeters stamped posts with #CWA09.

While voting members prayed and debated, Tweeters nationwide offered arguments and prayers about the issues. And despite the ban on smartphones and laptops within the plenary hall, some voting members and visitors did send 140-character dispatches from the assembly or during breaks.

Matthew A. Cleaver, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, followed the assembly as a voting member and via Twitter, where he said: “Debate online stayed fairly civil, at least as online conversations go. The tenor of conversation online is definitely more accusatory and pointed than in our plenary and face-to-face discussions.”

Kate Murray, pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, Clinton, Md., attended the assembly as a visitor and participant in the ELCA Young Rostered Leaders Conference that was held simultaneously. She noted that because Twittter isn’t moderated or filtered the conversation included “comments that wouldn’t have been allowed” on the assembly floor. But that unfiltered nature “reflects the real hurt and joy of the church,” she said. “We need to pay attention to that.”


New Lutheran

New Lutheran

Posted at 1:41 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/2/2009

It's also nice that the #cwa09 hashtag continues to be useful even today. People have continued to post "unfiltered" opinions and links to blog posts, etc. in response to the assembly actions. It's been a great resource for staying engaged in the conversation.



Posted at 8:58 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/22/2009

I used twitter a lot during the assembly. It allowed those of us at home to debate and engage each other, while those in attendance did so on the floor. It allowed those of us not actually participating to participate with each other. I really appreciated it.

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