from Pr. Manda
CGS is a great congregation but there are a lot of things that we can't take credit for in our lives together. One of those things is the ability to function as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This designation is granted to us because we are a cooperative partner or part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This membership is also the reason we have assistance with calling rostered leaders, have local Lutheran partners in ministry, and opportunity for global service around the world.
To maintain this relationship with 3.5 million other faithful people, we do a few things each year to empower and support one another in our common mission to live in this freedom we call grace. We send people to synod assembly once a year. We partner with our local Lutheran neighbors like Prince of Peace in Saratoga. And we foster new ministries like Christ Community Church and Encompass Ministry. And once every three years - we send someone to the Churchwide Assembly to vote on our policies, leaders, and collective actions.
As an example, you can see what we did at the last Churchwide Assembly in 2016 by visting www.elca.org/churchwideassembly. Spoiler alert: we did some pretty progressive things for a Church. Generally, we vote on the proposed ministries in areas of life such as immigration, poverty, education, justice for women, gun violence prevention, a responsible energy future, and US foreign and military policy. In 2017 we'll tackle a whole host of new and not so new issues as well as hold elections for our Presiding Bishop (currently served by Elizabeth Eaton).
To ensure that we send people of all genders, ages, ethnicity, abilities, sexual orientations, and geographic context each synod elects people to send as voting members to the Churchwide Assembly. This year CGS has the opportunity to nominate a lay female (meaning not a rostered leader, which at CGS is everyone except Pr. Manda) to be a voting member at the 2019 assembly.
If elected, this person will be given the materials and training necessary to vote on where our whole Church is heading. It's like our congregational meeting but for a worshiping community of 3.5 million people. There will be thousands of voting members coming from all over the country to Milwaukee, Wisconsin August 5-10, 2019.
Going to Churchwide Assembly is a good time if you're interested in where the Church influences and responds to our society. If you have the time to go (expenses are paid) and are interested in being involved in this expression of our Church, I would like to encourage you to put your name forward for nomination. Eligible persons identify as female, are not rostered leaders of the ELCA (that's all of you), are over the age of 18, and are available to travel to the event. If you are interested in more information or to be nominated, I hope you'll contact me so that I can put your name forward. This event only happens once every three years and it's often where history is made. What's more, you are exposed to and representing the great diversity of our faith tradition and that is an experience worthy of praising the Holy Spirit in and of itself!