The following blog was written by Jenny Michael, the newly elected president of Women of the ELCA. She’ll serve for the 2011-2014 triennium.
Spokane has been put on notice! The Holy Spirit now resides at the Spokane Convention Center and Women of the ELCA is here in the form of spiritually powerful women. We have been welcomed by Bishop Martin Wells of Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, and we joined Bishop Jessica Crist from the Montana Synod in our opening worship. Bishop Crist encouraged us to be fully present during our business sessions because “it matters!”
The opening of the convention sets the stage as we begin to live out our gathering theme this week, “Renew, Respond, Rejoice!” Now, I know what you are thinking … how could plenary business sessions during a convention be the harbinger of the kind of spiritual centeredness that resonates within our gathering theme? However, I want you to consider what this theme is really calling us to do.
We are called to “Renew.” Delegates have traveled from 64 different synodical women’s organizations. They left their families, jobs and daily responsibilities in order to invest themselves in the renewal of our organization. This rekindling comes in the form of memorials, resolutions and constitutional amendments. But it also comes in connections, conversations and commitments that bind us together for another triennium. This renewal is an essential component of the success of our organization.
We are called to “Respond.” During this convention, 21 women (myself included) were called to leadership for this organization by serving on the churchwide executive board for the next three years. Through the affirmation of the voting body, these women have been asked to serve faithfully to support the vision and future of this organization. And they responded with a resounding “YES!”
We are called to “Rejoice!” While I admit that some of the delegates may want to rejoice that the plenary sessions are finally at an end, all the delegates should celebrate and rejoice that we worked diligently to make every voice heard. By faithfully committing ourselves to this work, we have reaffirmed the mission and purpose of Women of the ELCA.
Now, in the gathering, our sisters in Christ will join the delegates along with special guests and speakers for a time of renewing our spirits, responding to God’s call and rejoicing in fellowship with one another. But, looking back at the triennial convention and what it will mean for the next triennium, I can most assuredly say that we, as delegates to the Eighth Triennial Convention of Women of the ELCA, have gotten a head start on the celebration!