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News


By the staff of The Lutheran, ELCA News Service and Religion News Service


Pittsburgh is the site of the 2013 Churchwide Assembly. Voting members, volunteers and visitors will gather at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center—the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified convention center in North America.


Paperless in Pittsburgh A


2013 Churchwide Assembly will elect presiding bishop, secretary and more


s the summer winds down and many prepare for vacations or time spent relaxing, some 952 voting members from the ELCA’s 65 synods and 9,638 congrega- tions will be working Aug. 12-17 in Pittsburgh, making decisions on your behalf at the 2013 Churchwide Assembly.


Hosted by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, 2013 marks the last biennial gathering of the ELCA’s highest legislative authority before the assembly transitions to a trien- nial cycle. Some big decisions face voting members amid daily worship, prayer and Bible studies under the theme “Always Being Made New,” based on 2 Corinthians 5:17.


8 The Lutheran • www.thelutheran.org The assembly will:


• Elect a presiding bishop and a secre- tary for the ELCA. Mark S. Hanson, elected presiding bishop in 2001 and 2007, has said he is open to serving a third term. David Swartling, elected secretary in 2007, is stepping down after one term and returning home to the Pacific Northwest. Both elections are by “ecclesias- tical ballot,” a process that involves prayer and asking for the movement of the Spirit. All ELCA pastors are eligible for the first nominating bal- lot for presiding bishop, and laity or clergy can be nominated for sec- retary. For either position the per- centage needed for an election (75 percent on the first ballot) decreases


with successive ballots until the fifth ballot, when a simple majority is required. • Consider a 25th anniversary churchwide comprehensive cam- paign. The $69 million campaign would expand 2014 to 2018 ELCA fundraising goals from $121 million to $190 million, growing support for new congregations, leadership, global mission and more. • Discuss a proposed social state- ment, “The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries,” and its implementing resolutions. The document addresses criminal justice issues from theological reflection and practical ministry suggestions to recommendations for reform (www. elca.org/socialstatements). • Take action on some 80 “memori- als” or requests from synods asking for Churchwide Assembly action on significant issues. • Consider adding 22 or 23 people to serve on the ELCA Church Coun-


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