Synod Assembly Postponed
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
God’s rich grace be yours in this Holy Week!
Our Synod Council met via videoconference this past Saturday, April 4, and voted to postpone our 2020 Synod Assembly (SA). The 2020 SA is postponed until June 3-5, 2021. In essence, we will fold the 2020 SA into the 2021 SA. The 2021 SA will be held at the Embassy Suites, East Peoria, which was the planned site for the 2020 SA. The uncertainties involved in planning for any gathering in the months ahead made this decision necessary.
Major pieces of business that we would have taken up this June will be addressed in this way:
- The Synod Council will invite congregations to participate in implementing two of the initiatives the Synod Council was bringing to the 2020 SA aimed at addressing adaptive challenges in our synod. One initiative is a coordinated “Dwelling in the Word” across our congregations, trusting God to deepen our faith and to enlighten us to the movement of God among us and around us – a year-long season of spiritual deepening and discernment. The second initiative is a “Sister Congregation” program – to randomly assign sister congregation pairs, rotating these pairings annually – designed to lift sister congregations up in prayer and to foster getting to know one another in other ways appropriate to your congregations. You will hear more about these two initiatives in the next couple of months.
- Positions that would have been up for election in 2020 will be voted on in 2021. In the meantime, these positions, including Synod Vice President, will be filled by appointment or continuing service until elections in June 2021.
- The Synod Council will treat the proposed 2021 synod budget as effective in fiscal year 2021 until Synod Assembly adoption of a budget, subject to Articles +S15.1.c., +S15.12., and S15.13 that stipulate the Synod Council’s responsibilities for amending the budget, the need for a budget, and the Synod Council’s responsibilities for authorizing expenditures.
Also, while there will be no SA in June 2020, those people who were elected to conference offices and synod committees at Conference Assemblies this year do begin their terms on June 6, 2020.
We are truly in new and unfamiliar territory – new and unfamiliar to us, but not to God, in whom we live and breathe and have our being. God will bring us through this. I am confident that God’s Church will thrive in whatever becomes our new normal because the Church is Christ’s Church. Jesus calls the Church “my Church” and promises that “the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
I am grateful to God for your faithful witness and service during this pandemic. The very act of turning our attention to Holy Week, to walking with the Lord this week to the cross, from the cross to the tomb, and from the empty tomb to the awe-filled joy of resurrection, is an act of holy defiance against the life-sapping anxiety surrounding COVID-19.
Yours in Christ,
S. John Roth
Bishop, Central/Southern Illinois Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America