2021 Synod Assembly: Waiting in Hope
The Saint Paul Area Synod will gather online for our Synod Assembly on May 14-15, 2021. With the theme “Waiting in Hope,” presentations and worship will focus on God’s way of being present even when the landscape seems bleak and the time of celebration is still far-off. Business will include the formal launch of the synod’s $2.75 million “Planting Hope” campaign, election of persons to a variety of synod offices and the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, and deliberation on a variety of contemporary issues.
Friday, May 14 – 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 15 – 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
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Coming April 14!
Pre-Assembly Discussion on the Proposed Budget, Resolutions and Synod Ministries:
Because a digital format limits the ease of interaction and discussion, a pre-assembly Zoom meeting will be offered on two dates to allow a deeper dive on the topics of the proposed budget, any resolutions and a look at synod ministries:
- Tuesday, May 4 - 7:00-8:00 p.m.
- Thursday, May 6 - 7:00-8:00 p.m.
The same content will be covered on both dates so attend just one. Beginning at 7:00, the focus will be on the budget; from 7:30-8:00 p.m., the discussion will switch to resolutions and synod ministries. These sessions allow your questions without the constraints of parliamentary procedure. The Zoom link for these meetings will be emailed to registrants by May 1.
Digital Orientation Sessions:
Assembly registrants are strongly encouraged to attend a digital orientation session during the week of assembly. Two times are offered (content is the same...just attend one):
- Tuesday, May 11: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 12: 4:00-5:00 p.m.
The first 30 minutes will cover Zoom basics, exploring the functions of using the chat, muting/unmuting and more. Experienced "Zoomers" are invited to join orientation at the 30-minute mark to learn about assembly-specific skills, including using voting credentials on the Election Runner platform. The Zoom link for these meetings will be emailed to registrants by May 1.
Due to the online nature of the assembly, voting members are requested to meet the following guidelines:
- All voting members must be registered by April 27.
- The assembly will take place entirely online using Zoom video conferencing and an online voting platform and therefore each voting member will need access to technology that allows them to participate. Each person needs their own device on which to vote (computer, tablet or smart phone), access to reliable internet, and should feel comfortable using technology.
- Each voting member needs a unique email address for the online voting process.
Voting members will be invited to participate in a pre-assembly orientation session to practice accessing electronic meetings, using Zoom functionality and voting. In addition, opportunities for pre-assembly discussions on the proposed budget, revisions to the bylaws and proposed resolutions will be available on Zoom. Pre-assembly materials will be available electronically on April 14.
All of the materials needed to participate in this assembly will be available on this website. However, last year some attendees who chose the electronic-only option for materials had difficulty navigating between online materials and the proceedings on Zoom. In 2021, our default will be to mail the printed booklet unless the attendee specifically chooses to opt out during the registration process.
The deadline for submitting resolutions for consideration by the Reference and Counsel Committee was March 28. The Proposed Rules of Procedure for our Synod Assembly allow for resolutions and memorials to be written and submitted by congregations, constitutionally defined committees, conferences and the Synod Council. Learn more.
Registration opened on March 4 with discounted “early bird’ registration of $35 per person in effect until 4 p.m. on April 16. Regular registration is $50 per person. Advisors may register for $15 per person. (See definitions of terms below.) All participants must be registered by April 27. The registration fee is payable through PayPal or Vanco. Either payment platform allows you to pay by credit card; if you wish to pay by e-check, you must choose Vanco.
Voting members may register themselves or a congregation may register its full group. Please check with your congregation to find out how this is being handled. The only registrants for Synod Assembly in 2021 will be Voting Members and Advisors. All other interested parties may view the proceedings on Facebook Live or the synod website.
You will need to know the following for each person you are registering:
- First and last name
- Registration category (voting member of advisor)
- Unique, individual email (no general church emails – voting software requires a unique email address for every voter)
- Gender (male, female, other)
- Congregation name and city
- Mailing address for each registrant (each registrant will receive some materials via mail, whether or not they opt out of the assembly book)
Click here for a detailed walk-through of the registration process. Questions may be directed to Michael Gold, Assembly Registrar, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Definition of Terms:
Voting Member: A voting member has voice and vote. They are able to vote as well as address the assembly during proceedings. Voting members can either be a Rostered Minister or a Lay Voter.
- Rostered Minister refers to Pastors (also known as Ministers of Word & Sacrament) and Deacons (also known as Ministers of Word & Service) who are currently serving under call in the Saint Paul Area Synod. This includes both ministers who serve a congregation and those who work in specialized ministry. It does not include interns, seminary students, those on leave from call, or retired pastors or deacons (with the exception of retired ministers selected by the retired ministers caucus).
- Lay Voters are voters who are not pastors or deacons. This number is based on the congregation’s baptized membership. The voter allocation chart tells you how many voting members your congregation can send to Synod Assembly. Click here for the 2021 Voter Allocation Chart. Ideally, each congregation sends a delegation that is equitable by gender. Lay voting members must be members of the church, not simply attendees or employees. Persons who have been ordained may not be counted as Lay Voters. This includes retired pastors who are members of a congregation.
Advisor: Advisors have voice but not vote. They are allowed to address the assembly during proceedings, but may not cast a vote. These include: Rostered Ministers not under call (on leave, retired, or in study) except for those selected as voting members, lay synod staff, lay members of synod assembly committees, representatives of synod partners in ministry, representatives from ELCA synodical and churchwide offices.
A note about gender: The synod constitution (S7.21.c) asks that lay voters from congregations be as equal as possible in the number of male and female members they bring. The Saint Paul Area Synod recognizes and welcomes people with a diverse set of gender identities. As such, the registration form has the option to choose male, female, or other.