As I mentioned in Monday's blog, this week is the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburgh. While I am here at home in Brewster, it has felt very much like I have been there with the gathered assembly even when busy with our own ministry here.
Social media - for all its shortfalls (but that's for another time) - has linked us in new ways that we have never experienced before. Through the Livestream of the assembly, watching the gathering in just about "real time" or when I have missed something and can go back to view different parts (and forward through others) - all of this has been a gift. Through comments and updates on Facebook and Twitter, I have been able to join in conversations about all that has taken place.
If you haven't had a chance to do so, please check it out.
Some brief highlights from the parts that I have watched:
1) Election of the new Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
In multiple ballots, she was elected yesterday. Unlike secular world elections this was not about who won and who lost. This was not a criticism of the current Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson (who has served 12 years); in fact, though he "lost", the outpouring of support and respect for him was great! He has served faithfully and wonderfully as our leader for these past years.
Bishop-elect Eaton is not someone I had heard about previously; she was just re-elected as the Bishop of the NE Ohio Synod where they are both celebrating and mourning her new call as Presiding Bishop.
This was truly a CALL for this ministry position to work with all of us in the ELCA.
2) Immigration reform
I have not yet watched the full debate and conversations about this very real world issue. However, the introduction of such an issue reminds us that we are a Church that is not apart from the world, but one who lives in the world and seeks to find the ways in which God's grace can bring hope to all people.
3) Bishop Hanson's report
Using a phrase from a colleague's sermon a day or two before, Bishop Hanson reflected with us on "What if the Holy Spirit is writing new chapters for the book of Acts among us now". He shared the ways in which he has already experienced these new chapters and the ways in which each of us are called to participate in Holy Spirit's new chapters in our midst today.
What might those new Acts chapters look like here for us at Trinity Lutheran in Brewster?
Even as we reflect on our past 75 years, how are we experiencing the Holy Spirit at work among us today? How are we fluent in the Gospel?
These are just a few reflections. I invite you to watch some of the assembly as well - they do have links for the worship services as well as the plenary sessions at www.elca.org