Pastor's Message Whether living in Allegan or having any association with the Allegan community, September is the Allegan Fair Month! From September 6th through 14th, be it one person or all who are helping to get the 2019 Fair off and running from beginning to end, energies and activities in September are Fair-centered. I would also assume that people living in Traverse City or Alpena will have no idea the Allegan Fair is taking place. It's simply the reality of not living close enough to appreciate what the Allegan Fair has to offer. So it is also true for we Lutherans living in Allegan or surrounding communities when it came to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly that took place from August 5-10 across the Lake Michigan "pond" at the Milwaukee Center in Wisconsin. So many of us are unaware that this Churchwide Assembly took place. So I want to focus on this year's accomplishments. History was made at this Assembly where Bishop Elizabeth Eaton was re-elected as Presiding Bishop to a second, six-year term, the first time a presiding bishop was elected on the first ballot. She is also the first woman Presiding Bishop in ELCA history. So, please take a few minutes and read what we as part of the ELCA are doing in the church and world by grace through faith. Peace, Pastor Dan Ward
SOCIAL STATEMENT: 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. INTER-RELIGIOUS COMMITMENT: 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. 2020 BUDGET AND WORLD HUNGER: Approved the budget for 2020 which includes a current fund spending authorization of $68,378,325 for 2020, 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. AUTHENTIC DIVERSITY: 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. PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT: 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. MEMORIALS: Adopted 26 memorials en bloc, ranging in topics from gun violence to engagement in the Holy Land and gender identity to seminary tuition. SANCTUARY CHURCH BODY: Adopted a memorial that affirms the ELCA's long-standing commitment to migrants and refugees and declares the ELCA a sanctuary church body. RELATIONSHIP OF CHURCH AND STATE: Adopted a memorial that calls for the development of a social statement and social message on the relationship of church and state. ANNIVERSARIES: 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. POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN: Adopted a memorial to support the vision and goals of the Poor People's Campaign that align with the ELCA's social teachings. AMENDMENTS: 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. THURSDAYS IN BLACK: 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. MARTYRDOM OF THE EMANUEL 9: 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 in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. RESOLUTION ON RACISM: 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.