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Synod Newsletter 8/16

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

Summary of actions

​CHICAGO — Gathering under the theme "We are church," voting members of the 2019 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) made a number of key decisions to further the mission and ministry of this church. The assembly, the chief legislative authority of the church, met Aug. 5-10 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee.  More than 900 voting members did the work of the Assembly, including Holly Lantangne (Unversity, Norman), Ava Fisher (Prince of Peace, Tulsa),  Rev. Peter Olson (Faith, Enid, Zion, Perry, and St. Paul, Marshall), Lance Miller (Community of Joy, Hot Springs Village) and TJ Askegaard (Salem, Stillwater) and Bishop Mike Girlinghouse from the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod.  Cynthia Gustavson (Fellowship, Tulsa), who serves on the ELCA Church Council, was also a voting member.   Together, these voting members:

  • Reelected on the first ballot the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton to a six-year term as ELCA presiding bishop.

  • Elected Deacon Sue Rothmeyer to a six-year term as ELCA secretary. Rothmeyer, currently serving as executive for administration with the Office of the Secretary, was installed during the assembly's closing worship on Aug. 10 and will begin her term Nov. 1.

  • Approved the social statement "Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Call to Action" and its implementing resolutions. The social statement, in part, names patriarchy and sexism as sins and calls the church to action on a range of issues, including gender-based violence, workplace discrimination and economic inequality.

  • Adopted "A Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment," which will serve as church policy for inter-religious relations. The policy statement was adopted with the witness of 39 ecumenical and inter-religious guests in attendance.

  • Approved the triennium budget for 2020-2022, which includes a current fund spending authorization of $68,378,325 for 2020, a current fund income proposal of $68,442,034 for 2021 and $68,507,018 for 2022; and an ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $21.5 million 2020, and an income proposal of $21.5 million for 2021 and for 2022.

  • Adopted the "Strategy Toward Authentic Diversity in the ELCA," which consists of a report and recommendations on how the ELCA exhibits authentic diversity and formulates goals for racial diversity and inclusion.

  • Witnessed the presentation of the "Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent," which was accepted by the Rev. Lamont A. Wells, president of the African Descent Lutheran Association (ADLA), and members of ADLA.

  • Adopted a memorial that affirms the ELCA's long-standing commitment to migrants and refugees and declares the ELCA a sanctuary church body.

  • Adopted a memorial that calls for the development of a social statement and social message on the relationship of church and state.

  • Adopted a memorial to encourage all synods and congregations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ELCA's ordination of women in 2020, the 40th anniversary of the ordination of women of color in the Lutheran tradition and the 10th anniversary of the ELCA's decision to remove barriers to ordination for people in same-gender relationships.

  • Adopted a memorial to support the vision and goals of the Poor People's Campaign that align with the ELCA's social teachings.

  • Adopted a memorial directing the Church Council, in partnership with the Conference of Bishops and Portico Benefits Services, to review the current Church Council’s recommendation for the Gold+ coverage for all rostered ministers and employees of the church.

  • Adopted 26 memorials en bloc, ranging in topics from gun violence to engagement in the Holy Land and gender identity to seminary tuition.

  • Adopted a series of amendments to the "Constitutions, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America," including one that makes ordination the entrance rite for ministers of Word and Service, and an amendment to no longer count deacons as laypeople for representational principles.

  • Adopted a resolution that committed the ELCA to support the World Council of Church's "Thursdays in Black" campaign toward a world without rape and violence.

  • Adopted a resolution to commemorate June 17 as a day of repentance in the ELCA for the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9—the nine people who were shot and killed June 17, 2015, during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

  • Adopted a resolution to condemn white supremacy, calling all ELCA congregations to engage in a "study of the structures and rhetoric that empower and fuel racism and white supremacy and to take to heart the teaching of Scriptures, so we may all be better equipped to speak boldly about the equal dignity of all persons in the eyes of God."

  • Celebrated the end of Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA, which concluded June 30 with nearly $250 million raised in cash, multiyear commitments and planned gift commitments. At the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, voting members approved the $198 million campaign to help sustain and grow ministries of the church.

  • Elected members to serve on the ELCA Church Council, churchwide committees and churchwide boards, including Portico Benefit Services, the Mission Investment Fund and 1517 Media.

For details of legislative action at the Churchwide Assembly, visit the Legislative Updates section of the Assembly Guidebook.


Connect Your Youth to Campus Ministry!

Our Campus Ministries love to reach out to current and  incoming students to invite them into their communities and activities -- but they need contact information.  If you know students who are attending or entering the following Universities please send their information (name, email, phone number) to the following:  Oklahoma State University, Stillwater OK  Pastor Sally Houck  405 334-3432 University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK –  Pastor Joseph Summerville: 405.321.1584 Deacon Donna Summerville: 405.321.1584

The Neighborhood Church in Bentonville AR  Dean Nessan (Wartburg) and The Neighborhood Church have worked to line out a course from our conversation at the Synod Assembly. We are looking to engage 4-5 churches in participating in the pilot course, here are the details... Course Topic: Engaging the Holy Spirit In the NT Dates: Sept 8th - Oct 13 (6 weeks) Days: Sundays 5-7pm Professor: Troy Troftgruben with guest Professor Nate Frambach Course Topics in the works...Who is the Spirit and What Does the Spirit Do? (Basic Intro)What Help Does the Spirit Give us? (Spiritual Gifts)What Change Does the Spirit Bring About in Us? (Fruits of the Spirit)What Practices Help Us Engage the Spirit? (Spiritual Practices) (possible session led by Nate)How Do we Listen for the Spirit's Leading? (Spiritual Discernment)How Do We Be a Spirit-led People?Cost: In order to cover overhead of Wartburg Theological Seminary we are asking each church to commit $500 to the pilot course so that we can get feedback and continue a great relationship with Wartburg Seminary Contact: for information or to register.

SUGGESTIONS FOR "GREENING" YOUR CONGREGATION  Weekly messages with ideas for creating a more Environmentally Friendly lifestyle.

TOWARD LIVING A MORE ECO-FRIENDLY LIFESTYLE. Messages provided by Cathy Bowden at University Lutheran. KNOW YOUR DISHWASHER! Switching on a half-full dishwasher wastes water, energy and money like you can't believe! Always fill it to the brim, and learn to use the "delay" feature. A dishwasher that doesn't run until after midnight will rack up some sweet "off-peak energy hours" electricity pricing, saving some cash and helping care for creation by reducing peak hour electricity demands.


Portico Benefit Services invites plan members to a Pre-Retirement Seminar in Temple, TX on Tuesday, September 24.

In the morning, learn how to invest for your future in the midst of current financial goals. In the afternoon, discover ways to create a sustainable income in retirement. Join for the morning, afternoon, or both. Lunch is served to all participants between sessions. You can find all the details and register at Please note: Portico must have at least thirty registrants by August 22, or the event may be cancelled. As of today, there are 13 individuals registered. In the event of cancellation, Portico will refund registration fees but cannot reimburse participants for hotel or travel costs.





Finding congregational vitality by focusing on daily life

What does it mean to structure a congregation around equipping the saints for ministry in daily life? Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, has done it. An immersion sponsored by the Life of Faith Initiative will provide insight into the rationale for focusing on equipping the saints for ministry in daily life, the challenges that can be expected, and the congregational revitalization that will emerge.

When: 1:00 pm Tuesday, October 8, through lunch on Wednesday. The registration cap is 30 participants, so register early! Cost: $20.

Visit for additional information and registration.


Good Shepherd Lutheran Church - Fayetteville, AR 72703 Has an opening for a Director of Youth and Families. Click HERE for more info.

Pr. Clint Schnekloth Good Shepherd Lutheran - Fayetteville AR 72703 Phone 479-521-2113


The Arkansas-Oklahoma supports and encourages congregations and ministries in our territory and coordinates the work we do together through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  To learn more, please visit our website. Give Online to make a gift to support our ministry. Thank-you.

Some opportunities for giving include:  Global Missions - either in support of the Tanzania Medical Mission Team trip in 2019 or the Women of the ELCA trip to Tanzania in 2019; supporting the Lay Evangelists in Tanzania; The Lutheran Church in Great Britain's Campus Ministry at the University of Birmingham; in memory of Emma Ruth Fox designating either the Tanzania Evangelist or the Women of the ELCA.

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