Instead of cartoons, Saturday morning at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly abounded with greetings from several organizations. Take a look at the Cliff’s Notes version below, or watch/download the videos.
Nancy Arnison, Director for the Hunger Program, and Pastor Daniel Rift, Director for the World Hunger Appeal, reported a record-setting $22 million given to their organizations and showed the impact of the ELCA’s involvement in Zimbabwe. Cindy Johnson, who coordinated the volunteer effort that offered assistance after the 2008 floods in southeastern Minnesota, was also recognized.
Ralston Deffenbaugh, President of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, discussed the importance of caring for immigrants and refugees by welcoming those who are strangers. He expressed gratitude for the assembly’s overwhelming passage of the comprehensive immigration reform on Wednesday.
The President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), the Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick, spoke to the assembly on the topics of division within the church and God’s mercy; his address can be found on the LCMS website.
After, Bishop Hanson responded:
Reverend Kieschnick, in the same spirit of humility and clarity in which you addressed us, I want you to hear, in my humble voice, my deep commitment that the shared confessions that hold us together as Lutherans I hope and pray will be strong enough for us to continue to be in conversation, and that the cries of the world that we have heeded together, in spite of these difficult times of acknowledging our differences, the cries of the world that have called us to join together as Lutheran Services in America, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Lutheran World Response, Lutheran Disaster Response, and military chaplains, that even as we take and hear your honest voices about our actions, you hear our honest commitment to be in conversation and together responding as your board of directors did this week in response to LMI [Lutheran Malaria Initiative], so that with Lutheran voice and humility and capacity, we might proclaim Christ through our deeds of service. Bring my commitment to your church.
Dr. Ishmael Noko, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, who spoke on the unity of faith shared by Lutherans around the world–and on the need for unity in the ELCA: “The church is a body of Christ, a creature of the gospel, and, therefore, not ours to dismember.” Noko continued: “If I were to go to heaven tonight, and God gives me an audience for six minutes, I may have a chance to gossip about those people called Lutherans in the ELCA…I would say, ‘God, those people love their church…God, those people are very generous…God, those people are fantastic in volunteerism…God, send the Holy Spirit to keep them together.’ You stay together.”
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