As you may remember the Northern Illinois Synod Assembly was held over the last month. We had three Zoom meetings and then gathered at Augustana College in Rock Island the 17th and 18th. Our lay voting members were Kelly VanFleet and Jim Cantrell. I attended as a rostered minister voting member.

Here's what Kelly had to say about her experience:

As I take a minute and reflect on this past weekend and the couple of weeks prior in Zoom meeting attendance, I realized what a Novice Lutheran I am. I joined the Lutheran Church as an adult when I married my husband (40 years ago). John was raised in the Lutheran church and lived a very devoted Lutheran life. John served on several local church councils and committees. I served as a Sunday School teacher and Bible School Coordinator. Both of our children went through confirmation and attended several camp activities over the years. And yet with all of that background I had no idea of the complexity of the organizational makeup and day to day operations of the ELCA and how it trickles down. I learned so very much attending all of the meetings and listening to the committee report outs.

I had no idea how active the larger church is and how it has affected me in my past. Our daughter was adopted with the assistance of Lutheran Social Services, and I didn't realize the link to the ELCA. I was excited to see a few faces from past churches and also to see all the new faces who are currently active in their congregational roles. I have set a goal for myself to increase my knowledge of the Synod's committees and work groups. I would like to explore additional ways I can participate in some of those activities. I would highly recommend other members take a few moments and explore the Synod's website to expand their Lutheran World. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to represent PEACE!

And here is what Jim had to say:

Wow! What an experience! I have been to several Synod Assemblies as a non-voting guest. I have helped count votes for elections for one of the remote assemblies, but this one takes the cake.

We had some items to vote on – including the budget. We had synod offices to vote on, and we had a bishop to elect. Bishop Jeff Clements is retiring this year and did not seek re-election.

The format this year was a hybrid of zoom and in-person. It did take up a few nights in zoom meetings and one night and one morning live at Centennial Hall at Augustana College in Rock Island.

One of the sad notes is that the Northern Illinois Synod has given Churchwide 55% of the total budget could only justify 52.5%. But we did elect a bishop, Rev. Stacie FIDLAR from Rock Island.

All in all, though, we got the business of the Synod done, and still had time for fellowship. I highly recommend this experience for everyone!

I am grateful for Kelly and Jim taking time out for this very important task. We will be asking for a male and female voting member at this year’s annual meeting to attend next year’s assembly. Please prayerfully consider volunteering!

See you Sunday!