A Summary of Actions at the 2019 Churchwide Assembly

Gathered in Milwaukee, WI under the banner “We Are Church,” over 900 ELCA voting members and visitors, representing each of the 65 synods, spent the week participating in worship, celebration, learning, and decision-making.

Below, you will find resources and some highlights from the event. These details and a full summary of the CWA are found HERE. For videos of CWA sermons, plenary sessions, etc.  click HERE.

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton Re-elected

Rev. Elizabeth Eaton was re-elected Presiding Bishop of the ELCA on the first ballot with 81.19% of the vote.  She is the first presiding bishop of the ELCA to win re-election on the first ballot. Click HERE for a detailed summary.


Deacon Sue Rothmeyer Elected as secretary of the ELCA

Deacon Rothmeyer will serve a 6-year term as secretary, beginning her term on November 1 2019.

Faith, Sexism and Justice: A call to action

The assembly approved the ELCA’s new social statement, Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Call to Action, and its implementing resolutions. Click HERE to read the social statement.


Approval of Triennium budget

The assembly approved a triennium budget, including current fund spending authorization of $68,378,325 for 2020, $68,442,034 for 2021 and $68,507,018 for 2022.  

A Declaration of inter-religious commitment

This policy was adopted to serve as church policy for inter-religious relationships.  39 ecumenical and inter-religious guests were in attendance for this vote.  View this policy statement HERE.

Declaration of Apology

The assembly made a declaration of apology to our siblings of African descent, which was received by the African Descent Lutheran Association with thanks and a call for accountability and living into the words shared. Click HERE to see the full declaration.

Declaration of ELCA as a “Sanctuary Church Body”

The assembly approved a resolution declaring the ELCA as a “sanctuary church body,” encouraging participation in the ELCA AMMPARO’s initiative for migrant children, discernment of care for our immigrant neighbors in our context, and the promise of forthcoming resources for this work. More details can be found HERE.

Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod Bishop Mike Girlinghouse provided a letter about the Sanctuary Church resolution for congregations can be found HERE. ”

Sanctuary Church Body” talking points can be found HERE.

EDIT – AUGUST 18, 2019: Here is a resource video put out by the ELCA. A workshop about the U.S. immigration system conducted by Shalini Thomas from the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services (DMRS) of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, Texas.  This presentation was recorded for the ELCA AMMPARO initiative (ELCA.org/AMMPARO). A link to the infographic shown at the beginning of the video is available here. (https://reason.org/…/f…/a87d1550853898a9b306ef458f116079.pdf)

Thursdays in Black

The assembly approved support for the World Council of Church’s Thursdays in Black, awareness movement for a world without rape and violence.

Emanuel 9

The assembly voted to commemorate June 17 as a day of repentance, in honor and remembrance of the martyrdom of the Emanual 9 who were victims of a mass shooting during a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015.

Working toward diversity

The assembly approved the recommendations from a strategic taskforce which has been studying how to work toward authentic diversity in our church.

Constitutional Change for Deacons

The assembly approved a constitutional change for Deacons (rostered Ministers of Word and Service) which states that they will now be ordained in ministry rather than consecrated, as previously practiced.  



Together the assembly celebrated the milestones of 50 years of women’s ordination, 40 years since the first woman of color was ordained, and 10 years since full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ clergy.  More information about the ordination of women can be found HERE.More information about the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ clergy can be found HERE. See the women’s processional HERE


Thanks to the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin for the format for this information.

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