Friday, June 03, 2011

It Finally Happened!

One of the matters for our Synod Assembly that is currently in session is the election of a new Bishop; our current Bishop, Warren Freiheit, is resigning his office (a year before his current 6-year term expires) to accept a call as a parish Pastor in Arkansas.

Bishops in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are elected by what is called "the ecclesiastical ballot." One of the things that means is there are no official nominations as such, but rather (as happens in the ELCA) each voter at the Assembly (which is all the pastors of the Synod, those on the lay rosters of the Synod, and those sent by the Synod's congregations) is given a piece of paper where he can write down the name of any ELCA pastor. In the ELCA, if any one pastor gets 75% of the votes in that first ballot, he is elected. We had 348 voters as of that ballot this afternoon, so it would take 261 votes for an election (assuming everyone casts a legal ballot).

Since we don't "campaign" ahead of time in this Synod and the Bishop is not available for re-election, the First Ballot effectively functions essentially as a nominating ballot. The second ballot includes the name of every pastor who got a vote on the first ballot (except those who officially withdraw). Again, a Pastor receiving 75% of the votes is elected. If no one gets that many votes, the third ballot lists the top 7 vote-getters, and only at that point, will we get to begin to question the "candidates." An election happens with the third ballot with two-thirds of the votes; otherwise the top 3 are on the fourth ballot, which takes 60% to elect. Otherwise, the top 2 show up on the fifth ballot, where the Pastor getting the majority is elected Bishop.

In previous Assemblies, a person or two had told me ahead of time that they planned to vote for me. But I never received any votes. This year, no one said anything to me. On the notice posted this evening, I have 4 votes.

Along with a whole bunch of other pastors (including some names I recognize from outside the Synod) who got anything from 1 to 93 (if memory serves) votes. I'll try to not let this go to my head. +;->


rebecca said...

Well you were the first one who popped into my thoughts! I am not surprised to see others. :)

Pastor Zip said...

Thank you, Rebecca. If there was ever to have been a time when I could be an electable candidate for Bishop in the ELCA, I'd say the events of the last 2 years have set that time aside, permanently.

Had I received another vote or 2 on the 2nd ballot to reach the Top 7, some things would have been said from the podium that would have been, uh, uncomfortable both to speak and to hear. But I am content that I was not called upon to speak such words.