May 30-31, June 1, 2013
Country Springs Hotel
- Scott Manske – Vice President
- Lee Johnston – Treasurer
- Jerry Key – At-Large, Lay Male
- Sue Schmidt-Decker – Kenosha/West Racine Cluster
- Rev. Paula Canby – Milwaukee Cluster 2
- Tom Gauthier – Northern Lakeshore Cluster
- Rev. David Schoob – Northwest Cluster
- Marge Puntarec – Racine Cluster
- Jonathan Barker – Young Adult Representative
- Rev. Fred Thomas-Breitfeld – Milwaukee Cluster 3
- Rev. Steve Kersten – Waukesha Cluster
- Rev. Carol Hegland – Clergy
- Rev. Karl Nelson – Clergy
- Create a task force to “review the status and future of synod clusters,” to report to the 2014 Synod Assembly.
- Create a task force to “develop a policy and procedure to handle the proceeds from the sale of property” of closed congregations, to report by the 2014 Synod Assembly.
- Form a Refugee Resettlement Task Force to raise awareness of refugee needs; encourage congregations to consider co-sponsorship of arriving refugees; facilitate communication between service providers, volunteers and refugee communities; and be a voice for those who often have no voice in our society.
- Support the work of Peace Not Walls to bring about peace with justice for the people of Israel and Palestine, including urging the Churchwide Assembly to consider social investment screens and other actions to support investment in Palestine and to boycott products and services provided by companies that benefit from and support Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Congregations are urged to observe the 24th day of each month as a worldwide day of prayer and solidarity with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
- Call upon the Churchwide Assembly to support legislation prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, while urging church leaders, both clergy and lay, to speak in favor of such legislation.
- Direct the synod to edit its compensation guidelines to reflect the ELCA health plan option that most closely resembles current ELCA primary health coverage for rostered leaders.
The Assembly approves the synod’s budget for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2015, with total income of $2,196,500 and total expenses of $2,221,080.
Reports and Discussion
Submitted by Matthew Brockmeier, Secretary, Greater Milwaukee Synod
Former ELCA Presiding Bishop Herb Chilstrom provided an overview of the formation of the ELCA, emphasizing that this church was “bold and forthright in standing up for human rights and the liberty of all people,” and that “even though it is costly to take stands” on many issues, he is “proud to be part of [this] church.”
Mr. Samson Kiware, a Carthage College alum and doctoral candidate at Marquette University, told the assembly about work he is doing through mathematical research to combat malaria in Tanzania, his home country.
Ms. Susan Cyr presented her final report as Vice President, saying that “we don’t boast as much as we should or share as much as we should” about the good work of the synod, while also calling for closer collaboration between synod committees, task forces and the Synod Council.
Ms. Mikka McCracken, Program Director, ELCA World Hunger Appeal – Constituent Engagement and Interpretation, a self-proclaimed “zealot” in sharing the story of ELCA World Hunger, greeted the Assembly on behalf of Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson and the synod’s partners in ministry at the ELCA. While she said she “could be working for any aid organization,” the aspect of faith embodied in the Lutheran approach to these issues was compelling for her. She said that “as Lutherans, the question of why? has already been answered,” in that “we are justified by grace through faith in God.” Building on what she called “continued evidence that we are called,” Ms. McCracken urged congregations to develop plans to “build capacity for evangelical witness and service in the world to alleviate poverty and to work for justice and peace.” The ELCA, she said, will accompany congregations on this journey.
In his report, Bishop Jeff Barrow called for a vibrant synod as part of a vibrant church, saying that “the church is changing,” something we must acknowledge with a nod to the passing generation, but without looking at what we leave behind. “We have to drop all this stuff that isn’t important.” He expressed gratitude for the theme of why we gather, but added that we “can’t just show up and have the church go on.” He continued that there are so many ways to gather around scripture, but “most of us come to scripture apologetically.” The young, he said, are “looking at the story of the living God, not just a collection of harsh rules,” continuing that he hopes “we can become increasingly passionate about gathering around scripture.” The bishop also addressed issues of hunger, of advocacy and of the ongoing need for healthy churches and healthy leaders.
The Assembly concluded with an open forum, during which a wide range of topics were presented.