The Saint Paul Area Synod Assembly is typically held in the spring. As the highest legislative authority of the synod, voting members from congregations annually gather to engage in conversation and to vote on resolutions, elect synod council and committee representatives and take care of other business. Voting members may participate in daily worship and Bible study, hear reports from ministry partners and take part in education sessions. Participants also enjoy interacting with colleagues and congregation members from throughout the synod.
In 2020 and 2021, the Synod Assembly was online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to gather in person again in 2022!
What is a voting member?
Voting members are usually elected at a congregation's annual meeting and gather at Synod Assembly to make decisions about the synod's governance, mission and finances. They may elect members of Synod Council or other committees, as well as voting members for churchwide assembly. 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.
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.
Resolutions and Memorials
The Proposed Rules of Procedure for Synod Assembly allow for resolutions and memorials to be written and submitted by congregations, constitutionally defined committees, conferences and the Synod Council. Learn more.