by Ardis Pilz
As a first-time delegate to a synod assembly this year, I eagerly looked forward to the experience and the content, and I was not disappointed! I felt uplifted to be one of over 300 Lutherans, led by worship and work, sermons, keynote speakers, and mission leaders to a greater understanding of delving into the Bible and allowing the Word to guide and energize our lives and missions. In his greeting, Bishop Hanson called us to be a “church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace… [with the] freedom and courage to wonder, discover, and boldly participate in what God is up to in the world.”
Of course, there were portions of tedium: standing rules, constitutional amendments, little handheld voting machines that (mostly) worked, budget (strained), and a multi-step election process. But any tedium was entirely overshadowed by reports of mission work, Bible study, worship, and resolutions for ongoing outreach and goals to accomplish in the world. We heard and saw the success of the chicken hatchery, congregational renewal, Leymah Gbowee’s leadership of a women’s movement to end civil war in Liberia, updates on political action and projects to end hunger, and an inspirational report from Bishop Ditrikh Brauer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in European Russia. (Remember, Pastor Hoffman taught at the seminary in St. Petersburg—his much-appreciated translator was here!)
Bible study was led by Rev. D. Mark Allan Powell, internationally known Bible scholar, in four thoughtful segments. Our own Dr. Michael Trice preached a thought-filled sermon on Saturday themed, “Good Soil,” based on the Parable of the Sower. Also on Saturday, Pastor Maier was honored for 50 years (!) of service among other anniversary honorees. We were led in worship music by Sean Bendickson and the All-Synod Band, their music often tender and haunting, not afraid to rock a bit—imagine that interpretation of “A Mighty Fortress!” Resolutions for ongoing thought, work, prayer, and support included investigating ways PLTS and CLU might effectively merge, thanks for the lives and service of Loren and Mary Ann Anderson(retiring from PLU), Malaria Campaign Challenge, Candidate’s tuition support, thoughtful and prayerful support and study of Washington’s Marriage Equality Act.
Donations went to the ELCA Malaria Campaign, Compass Housing Alliance Nyer Urness House in Ballard, and our companion synods in Ethiopia and Russia.