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Evangelical Lutheran Synod holds national convention in Mankato

The Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) met in convention June 17-21 in Mankato, Minnesota, under the theme “Created in Christ Jesus for Good Works.” Representatives from the church body’s 142 congregations and 12 mission posts elected leaders, participated in parliamentary debates, and worshiped together.

Evangelical Lutheran Synod delegates have a show of hands at their national convention at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota, in late June. Metro Lutheran photo: Bob Hulteen

Perhaps the most controversial agenda item for the 2012 ELS convention was debate over changing the rhythm of the annual convention. Traditionally the convention has opened with “Synod Sunday,” a time for a broad group of people — both convention delegates and non-delegates — to worship together.

Some delegates discussed the challenges of scheduling worship in their home congregations in order to arrive at the convention in time. Also, they recognized that turnout for the Sunday worship has been declining in recent years.

Others argued that a schedule beginning on Sunday, with the benefit of informal time together, was really definitional for a church body the size of the ELS. The extended convention time allows floor committees to deliberate face to face over issues facing the ELS, encouraging a more grassroots feel to the time together.

Delegates decided to deliberate further over this decision.

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