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August 9, 2007

2007 Churchwide Assembly
Assembly casts first ballot for secretary


Michael L. Cooper-White, president of Gettysburg (Pa.) Lutheran Seminary, was the highest vote-getter on the first ballot cast for secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A total of 161 people received votes in what was a nominating ballot for the ELCA post.

Cooper-White received 162 votes of the 1,004 votes cast in the first ballot. Andrea DeGroot Nesdahl, bishop of the South Dakota Synod, received 110 votes. To be elected, a candidate must receive 75 percent of the votes cast on the first ballot.

The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of the ELCA, is meeting in Chicago Aug. 6 to 11 at Navy Pier's Festival Hall. About 2,000 people are participating, including 1,071 ELCA voting members.

On the first ballot, Kenneth M. Ruppar, pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Savior, Richmond, Va., received 95 votes, and David Swartling, acting as parliamentarian for the assembly, received 88 votes.

Paul A. Schreck, an executive assistant to the current ELCA secretary, received 69 votes, and Glendy L. Ose, assistant to the bishop in the Minneapolis Area Synod, received 42 votes.

The other two highest vote-getters were William C. "Wm. Chris" Boerger, bishop of the Northwest Washington Synod, with 39 votes, and Mark A. Grorud, Fremont, Neb., ELCA director of relationships with large member congregations, with 36 votes.

The second ballot will include the names of all those nominated on the first ballot. If there is no election, the top seven vote-getters on that ballot will answer questions from voting members of the assembly for 30 minutes before the third ballot is cast. On the third ballot, a two-thirds majority is required for election.

After the third ballot, the field is limited to the top three candidates, who will be given the opportunity to address the assembly. A 60 percent majority is required for election on the fourth ballot.

If there is no election on the fourth ballot, the names of the top two candidates will appear on the fifth ballot, where a simple majority is required for election.

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