8/12/2022 9:30:00 AM
On day three of the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the assembly elected Imran Siddiqui, a member of St. John Lutheran Church in Atlanta, as vice president—the highest position a layperson can hold in the ELCA.
Siddiqui was elected on the fifth ballot, with 550 votes to 264 votes for Roberto Lara Aranda, a member of St. Peter Lutheran Church, New York City, and assistant to the bishop for communications and development in the Metropolitan New York Synod.
“The top three people for this position were people of color, and that’s fantastic,” Siddiqui said after his election. “That doesn’t mean we have solved racism yet. We have a lot of work to do, church. … I believe we can do it.”
Siddiqui grew up Muslim and became a Lutheran in 2011. He is currently the vice president of the Southeastern Synod, and his six-year term as ELCA vice president will commence on Nov. 1, 2022.
On this day, the assembly was invited to wear black as part of the “Thursdays in Black” campaign toward a world without rape or violence led by the World Council of Churches.
The day opened with a morning prayer service that included a sermon on “embodying the questions” from Benjamin Stewart, ELCA pastor and Gordon A. Braatz Associate Professor of Worship and director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
The results of the first common ballot were reported and all candidates on the 95 tickets who received a majority were declared elected to the Church Council and boards.
In other business, the assembly adopted (751-19) the 2023-2025 budget and continued action on memorials removed for separate consideration. Memorials acted on today include:
The assembly also received a report from the Conference of Bishops by Tracie Bartholomew, chair of the Conference of Bishops and bishop of the New Jersey Synod.
Voting members discussed and acted on proposed amendments to the Constitutions, Bylaws and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA. They also considered resolutions and approved (708-93) a motion that authorizes a possible revision of the social statement “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” that will reconsider the church’s current concept of the four positions of bound conscience.
The assembly also recognized the ecumenical and interreligious commitments of the church, including “A Declaration of Ecumenical Commitment” (adopted 1991), “A Declaration of the ELCA to the Jewish Community” (adopted 1994), “A Declaration of Interreligious Commitment” (adopted 2019) and “A Declaration of the ELCA to the Muslim Community” (adopted 2022).
Many guests representing the ELCA’s full communion partnerships, shared dialogues, and partner coalitions and councils presented greetings to the assembly. Those who presented greetings in person included: