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The Synod Assembly Experience

Note: since I am writing and posting the next few blogs close together, the e-mail version may arrive containing a few of the postings. Please scroll down so you can read them in the proper order. Thank you!

Last weekend was the New England Synod Assembly. For those who don’t have a clue as to what I am talking about…the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is made up of synods. Each synod as an assembly each year where synod heads (administration folks), rostered leaders (pastors and AIMS (Associate in Minister) and such) and representatives from congregations meet to discuss church business, hear reports and vote on important matters.

I go to a Lutheran church in Maine that belongs to the ELCA. Since Maine is in New England, we attend the New England Synod Assembly. I say “we” but I mean that my pastor and two representatives go to the meeting. Most years, actually every year for the past six or seven (or has it been eight?) years I have been one of the representatives.

Why do I go each year? Well, that is a good question. This is what I wrote for the church newsletter:

I have had the privilege and honor of being a representative…to the Synod Assembly for many years now. Each assembly has been similar but also unique. Most years, in addition to the services, plenary sessions and reports from different groups, there were workshops to attend, which were always interesting and informative. Last year, instead of workshops, there was a service day where the attendees spread out throughout Springfield, MA and helped make people’s lives better. This year the assembly was all about electing a new Bishop, which Pastor…wrote about in his piece.

Why do I want to go every year? Why do I want to take time off of work and give up a weekend to go to the Synod Assembly? Because it is thought provoking, spiritually uplifting and makes me feel like a member of a much larger community of Lutherans.

One disadvantage of being the only Lutheran church in [our part of] Maine is that there aren’t any other Lutherans close by. Other Lutherans who have the same beliefs, doctrine, liturgy and church background. We are essentially alone as Lutherans in a state that is not known for church going people. To go to the Synod Assembly is a wonderful reminder that we are not alone. There are so many more Lutherans in New England and it is uplifting to gather with them to worship together, meet together, eat together and do the church’s business.

The worshiping together is probably one of the best things about the assembly. There were four services from Friday morning to Sunday morning and each was joyous and inspiring. The music was so beautiful and the glorious sound of 700 Lutherans singing together was akin to getting a small glimpse as to what it must be like in heaven.

I encourage other members…to take advantage of this unique opportunity of gathering and worship. Please prayerfully consider volunteering to go to the 2013 New England Synod Assembly. It will be worth your time and be uplifting to your soul.

I was going to write about the assembly experience at the end of each day last weekend but I was so exhausted by the time I arrived back in my hotel room, all I wanted to do was go to sleep. So I did.

Over the next few blog postings, I will try to give more details about the experience. I realize that these postings will probably be e-mailed in reverse order since I am writing them and posting them close to the same time, which I why I put that note at the top of the posting (and will on subsequent postings) so you can try to read them in chronological order.

Next posting….Friday, June 8th

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