Update from 2013 conference assemblies
Voting members from the six conferences of the Saint Paul Area Synod gathered for conference assemblies on Feb. 9, at Redeemer, White Bear Lake. Conference assemblies are the precursor to the synod assembly and include conference elections and the discussion of other business.
Keynote address, “Picking Up the Pieces: Stories of Diakonia after Disasters”
The Rev. Larry Wohlrabe, bishop of the Northwestern Minnesota Synod, presented the keynote, entitled “Picking Up the Pieces: Stories of Diakonia after Disasters,” which told of the presence the ELCA in the aftermath of floods and tornadoes in southwestern and northwestern Minnesota and spoke to the overall focus of this year’s synod assembly: “Living Lutheran: Writing God’s Love in Human Deeds.”
In preparation for this year’s synod assembly on May 17-18, Bishop Rogness provided a brief overview to budget discussions undertaken by the synod council in the last six months. While further updates will be provided in advance of the synod assembly, he directed people to a document entitled “Thinking More Deeply about Budgets and Priorities for Ministry,”
Bishop's election committee
Vice president Gail Olson announced the appointment by the synod council of the bishop’s election committee, which begins its work this month. The synod council developed a charge to the election committee about the tasks to be completed and identified the kinds of skill sets necessary among members. These included: an understanding of demographics, statistics, and the church; the ability to develop group processes in order to obtain information for use in a synod ministry profile; writing; organizing; planning; coordinating; communicating; listening; working independently and following tasks through to completion; and a willingness to be impartial and open to the gifts of the Spirit as this synod looks to its future.
The committee includes 12 people—two representatives from all six conferences. Five, or 40 percent, are clergy or rostered lay; the remainder are lay who have served their congregations in a variety of leadership roles. Four are recently retired. One is African-American. Four are between 30-40 years of age. The task force is evenly divided among men and women. They represent urban, mega church, exurban, and rural congregations and a range of theological positions.
The Rev. Tim Bernard, Church of the Resurrection, St. Paul, who was named chair, introduced committee members:
East Central Conference
Dawn Alitz, DM, Our Savior’s, Stillwater
The Rev. Ivy Borgstrom, St. Mark’s, North St. Paul
North Central Conference
The Rev. Timothy Bernard, chair, Church of the Resurrection, Roseville
Barry Brahier, Prince of Peace, Roseville
The Rev. Elizabeth Eide, King of Kings, Woodbury
Eric Satre, Augustana, West St. Paul
Ernest Draper, Mount Calvary, Eagan
Roberta Olson, St. James, Burnsville
South Central Conference
Mark Hollabaugh, St. Paul-Reformation, St. Paul
Claire Hoyum, Gloria Dei, St. Paul
Shirley Zierke, St. Paul, Wyoming
The Rev. Craig Lundstad-Vogt, Chisago Lake, Center City
Following the keynote and general business, individual conferences gathered to caucus and conduct business. Two resolutions were adopted and will be forwarded to the synod assembly for consideration, one calling on the Minnesota legislature and governor to extend the protections and dignity of marriage to all persons, and the other calling for common sense on gun safety. These resolutions will be reviewed by the reference and counsel committee and will be posted on the website prior to the synod assembly.
The following individuals were elected to leadership:
North Central Conference Representative, Synod Council
Jon Christianson, Church of the Resurrection, St. Paul (second term)
North Central Conference Dean
The Rev. Ryan Brodin, Abiding Savior, Mounds View
South Conference Dean
The Rev. David Wrightsman, St. Philip’s, Hastings
East Central Conference Dean
The Rev. Dan Streeper, House of Prayer, Oakdale
Southeast Conference Representative, Nominating Committee
Sarah Storvick, Resurrection, Woodbury
North Conference Representative, Nominating Committee
The Rev. Marla Amborn, Immanuel, Almelund
2014 Conference Assemblies
Bishop Rogness also alerted the assembly that next year’s conference assemblies will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2014, at St. Andrew’s, Mahtomedi. This will be the time during which congregations are able to nominate candidates for bishop through their conference. This weekend in February, which follows closely upon annual meetings, is often chosen for council retreats. He asked council presidents and pastors to seek to schedule around this date so that as many people as possible can be present for this important meeting.
South Conference:The Rev. David Wrightsman, St. Philip’s, Hastings
Southeast Conference: The Rev. John Snider, St. Stephen’s, West St. Paul
South Central Conference: Brenda Olson, First, St. Paul
North Conference: The Rev. Mike Peterson, Zion, Chisago City
North Central Conference: The Rev. Ryan Brodin, Abiding Savior, Mounds View
East Central Conference: The Rev. Dan Streeper, House of Prayer, Oakdale
About conference assemblies
Conference assemblies are held annually in February and lay the foundations for work at the synod assembly in May. Voting members from congregations in the six conferences, led by a dean, gather for a keynote address and then meet in individual conferences to conduct business, which includes the elections of synodical officers and committee members and, in alternate years, voting members to the churchwide assembly.
2013 continued with the second of a three-year focus on Lutheran identity. This year’s conference and synod assemblies will explore the concept of diakonia under the umbrella of “Living Lutheran: Writing God’s Love in Human Deeds.”