Sunday, August 12, 2007

Highlight of the Assembly

By an action of the Churchwide Assembly, Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson was directed to pause during the discussion on the memorials (that is, resolutions to the Churchwide Assembly from Synod Assemblies) related to homosexuality every 20 minutes for a moment of silent prayer and reflection to be followed by him leading the Assembly in prayer for the unity of the church.

For a couple of plenary sessions, I was monitor at the front, center microphone (#4), responsible for enabling those opposed to the motion on the floor -- which during that particular debate meant those would didn't want those memorials referred to the Sexuality Task Force -- to be identified on the video screens and those speakers to be heard. As you might guess, we microphone monitors (12 for each session) were kept quite busy during that discussion, which was spread out over several plenary sessions during the week.

That moment of silent prayer happened once when I was monitor at #4. Those waiting to speak had been standing in line for some time, with some running back and forth to their seats to vote in the midst of parliamentary wrangling. Thus far only one person, pro referral (that would be microphone #3), had managed to speak from my station.

Then came the call to pause. And the young layman at the front of #3 (the pro-referral line) reached out his hand to the pastor at the head of #4 (the anti-referral) line, who accepted and, suddenly, the two sides were, as you see, together in prayer. I was nearly in tears, but managed to sneak this photo as a press photographer did the same from another perspective.

This church, like others in the US and in other lands, is deeply divided over gay pastors and the blessing of gay relationships. But many on both sides are also deeply hopeful that the ELCA will remain united as one church.

And it should be our fervent prayer, that we remain united as one church with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.


TB said...


Good words, my friend. I appreciate your comments and sharing your experience. In Christ, Art

John said...

Great Picture it brings hope that somehow we can avoid schism in the ELCA.

Elisabeth said...

Gee, and I thought seeing ME was the highlight of the assembly.