The 2018 ELCA Southeastern Synod Assembly met June 1 - June 3, 2018 at the Chattanooga Convention Center, Chattanooga, TN. Under the theme of Reformation 500…Now What?
the Assembly began to consider who God is calling us to be and what God is calling us to do into the future. Read Bishop Gordy's spoken report to the Assembly here
The Southeastern Synod elected a new Vice President. Mr. Imran Siddiqui (left) was elected to serve as the Vice President on the first ballot. He is a member of St. John's, Atlanta, GA and was serving his second term on the Synod Council when elected. Ms. Doris Underwood (below), Messiah, Montgomery, AL completed the second of two available terms as Vice President with this Synod
Assembly. She was thanked for her eight years of service in this role, for her leadership of the Synod Council and for her commitment to the gospel.
The Rev. Karen Castillo, pastor, Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala, and her sister Ms. Beatriz Castillo, were the honored guests from the ILAG, one of four Southeastern Synod global companion synods. In addition to bringing plenary greetings, they were featured speakers at the Global Mission Breakfast on Saturday morning. Pr. Castillo was the preacher for Sunday morning's worship service. (Pictured left to right, the Rev. Leland Armbright, ILAG Companion Synod Coordinator, the Rev. Karen Castillo, the Rev. Stephen Friedrich, ILAG Companion Synod Coordinator, and Ms. Beatriz Castillo.)
The Assembly engaged in two Southeastern Synod 2019 - Now what?
discerning our future conversations. On Saturday morning, Bishop Gordy led the discussion and invited participants to think about who we are as a synod and where God may be calling us. His script and PowerPoint presentation can be found here
. On Saturday
afternoon, ELCA Churchwide Representative Deacon Sue Rothmeyer led the second part of this conversation inviting the Assembly to begin to think about who God might be calling to lead the Southeastern Synod as bishop. The script and accompanying exhibit can be found here
. The Southeastern Synod will elect a new bishop in 2019. She/he will begin to serve on September 1.
Deacon Rothmeyer (left) provided the report of the Churchwide Representative on behalf of ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. She shared the work that this church does together using the 2017 Year in Review video
. Bishop Eaton provided greetings through her We are Lutheran video
Worship services at this Assembly were an inspirational focus point and grounded the Assembly's time together. Friday's worship service was curated using a dinner church format. Worshipers sat together at tables and were invited to be in conversation with one another about the gospel text and to commune one another. Bishop H. Julian Gordy preached. His sermon text can be found here
. (Pictured right is the Rev. Katherine Museus, presider.)
On Saturday the service blended worship traditions from our synod's many African descent congregations. Praise and worship singing, testimonies, and individual prayers were included. The Rev. Tiffany Chaney (left), Gathered by Grace, Montgomery, AL, was the preacher. Her sermon text can be found here
. Chris Clay
, St. John's, Knoxville, was the featured musician.
Sunday's worship setting was highlighted by the reception onto the ELCA roster of Word and Sacrament ministers of Crispin Ilombe Wilondja (kneeling, right). Rev. Wilondja was ordained in 2008 as a priest in the Jesuit order in the Congo. He fled the Congo not long after being ordained following religious persecution and was granted asylum in the United States. He is now the mission developer for Good Samaritan Ministry, Clarkston, GA and also works with Refugee Services as an employee of Lutheran Services of Georgia.
Worship offerings totaled $6,703.18. All of it is designated for the Southeastern Synod Lutheran Formation Experience, a candidacy initiative for ministry candidates who are not able to complete a Lutheran year of residency as part of their leadership formation.
The Rev. J. Stephen Misenheimer (left), St. John's, Knoxville, TN was presented with the The J. Luther Mauney Leadership Award and the Rev. Nancy Christensen (below), St. John's,
Atlanta, GA was presented with the John Benjamin Bedenbaugh Alumni Award for Distinguished Pastoral Leadership. Both awards were presented by Bishop Gordy on behalf of Lenoir Rhyne -Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, SC.
The Assembly also approved the 2019-20 Ministry Funding Plan (a copy of the Narrative Budget for 2019-20 is available here), the 2019 Compensation Guidelines, and heard from ministry partner agencies and organizations.
A hearing for the ELCA Draft Social Statement on Women and Justice was held on Saturday. To learn more and to provide your feedback to this draft, click here.
Finally, a number of elections were held, including those for voting members to the 2019 Churchwide Assembly. Those elected to serve are listed below:
Mr. Imran Siddiqui, St. John's, Atlanta, GA Synod Vice President
The Rev. Carolyn Hayford, Shepherd of the HIlls, Birmingham, AL member of the Consultation Committee
Synod Council Members:
Ms. Emily Jackson, Christ the King, Tupelo, MS, young adult representative, two-year term beginning June 2018
Mr. Ed Ringer, Trinity, Lilburn, GA, member At-large, two-year term beginning June 2018
Ms. Roxann Thompson, St. Stephen, Decatur, GA member At-large, two-year term beginning June 2018
Mr. Steve Gehret, Reformation, Greeneville, TN, Conf 6 representative, two-year term beginning June 2018
Mr. Stephen Schrader, Shades Valley, Birmingham, AL, Conf 7 representative, two-year term beginning June 2018
The Rev. Monica Weber, Epiphany, Collierville, TN, Conf 8 representative, two-year term beginning June 2018
The Rev. Cuttino Alexander, Christus Victor, Ocean Springs, MS, Conf 9 representative, two-year term beginning June 2018
Voting Members of the 2019 Churchwide Assembly:
Mr. Imran Siddiqui, St. John's, Atlanta, GA
Ms. Elizabeth Hawkins, Advent, Murfreesboro, TN
Mr. Andrew Stevens, Beth Eden, Louisville, MS
Ms. Roxann Thompson, St. Stephen, Decatur, GA
Mr. Michael Franklin, Holy Trinity, Nashville, TN
Mr. Donald Noland, Redeemer, Atlanta, GA
Ms. Patti Austin, St. John's, Atlanta, GA
The Rev. Matt Steinhauer, Faith, Lebanon, TN
The Rev. Patti Axel, Nativity, Bethlehem, GA
The Rev. Tiffany Chaney, Gathered by Grace, Montgomery, AL
Ms. Bethany Fayard, Christus Victor, Ocean Springs, MS
Alternate Voting Members of the 2019 Churchwide Assembly:
The Rev. Rick Ohsiek, St. Paul, Maryville, TN
Ms. Jordan Becker, Faith, Warner Robins, GA
We are grateful for the photos provided courtesy of Mr. Greg Williams, St. John's, Atlanta. For information on and materials from the 2018 Southeastern Synod Assembly, visit the Assembly website here. There you will also find a few additional resources in the My Resources folder, including the Growing Your Congregation Young workshop Power Point presentation and Managing Risk: Steps Toward Congregational Best Practices.