Early tomorrow morning I am off for a day at the Knight Center in downtown Akron for the Northeastern Ohio Synod ELCA assembly. I am coordinating the Lutherans Concerned and the Synod Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Task Force display in the resource fair. This is our second year of participating in the display area. We are basically on-hand to answer questions and distribute literature to the assembly attendees. We have assembled a nice group of lay and clergy volunteers to staff our table.
This would have been an uneventful assembly except for the fact that there are two listening post sessions regarding the First Draft of the ELCA Sexuality Social Statement. I am sure that they will be well attended with people voicing opinions from all sides. Actually, this is good. In the past, Lutherans shunned discussing sexuality. This statement has really spurred discussion and emotions.
I was also surprised to see the number of people seeking to be elected voting members at the next ELCA Churchwide Assembly. I don’t have the exact figure, but many races have 8-10 people on the ballot. These are positions where you typically have 2-3 candidates. I had submitted my name for election again since I found it to be a rewarding experience last year. I believe that I am on the ballot for a position with 7 other candidates. I will be surprised if I am elected. Many of the other candidates are strong candidates. Again, I am glad to see this level of interest.
A final note about this renewed interest in issues and the Church… Strong participation is great news. I would hope that people are engaging themselves in dialogue and seeking the best answer for the Church and people in the Church. I suspect that the numbers are strengthened by those lobbying for one side or the other. That seems to be the trend in the Church. I actually think it’s a trend that you can attribute to George Bush and Republican political strategy. He has polarized the country over the past eight years into red and blue states, haves and have-nots, evangelicals and other Christians, pro-GLBT and anti-GLBT. The list can go on. I would hope that our next administration can see past that division and heal the rift that was opened and deepened over the past eight years. We’ll see how closely our assembly mimics our society.