The 30th annual Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly was called into session by Bishop Mark Holmerud at 1 pm on Thursday, May 4 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Fresno, CA. The Rev. Dr. David Vasquez-Levy joined us as the keynote speaker. The Rev. Dr. Wyvetta Bullock joined us as the ELCA Churchwide Representative and preacher. Dr. Ryan Cumming was our Bible Study Leader.
Of the approximately 700 Voting Members, Visitors, and guests present during the course of the 3 days of the Assembly, 417 were voting members. Of the voting members, 257 or 61.63% were lay and 160 or 38.37% were clergy. Twenty-five were persons of color and 16 had a primary language other than English. Closed captioning was available for those with impaired hearing, as well as English to Spanish translation services. Assembly chaplains were Pr. Patricia Vargas and Pr. Rob O’Berg.
Resolution 2017-1 Regarding Sierra Pacific Compensation Guidelines, Resolution 2017-2 Regarding Sanctuary Synod, and Resolution 2017-3 Regarding Creation of a Department of Peacebuilding in the U.S. Government all passed with amendments. For the full text of the amended resolutions, see the Synod website.
The Assembly adopted a 2018 -19 Budget which showed anticipated total revenue of $2,090,590 and expected expenses totaling $2,423,192.
The Assembly approved changes to the Synod Constitution S9.01.01 that brings the Provision for election as Churchwide Voting Members into alignment with our new conferences, and did not approve Synod Constitution S7.22.01 changing the Provisions for Retired Minister Representation at Synod Assembly.
The proposed Non-required Constitutional Provisions updating the language from “clergy and pastor” to “minister/s of Word and Sacrament,” and “associate in ministry, diaconal minister and deaconess” to “minister/s of Word and Service.”
The following were elected to Synod Council:
Conference 1- Redwood Mountain, Lay Female: Sue Michaelsen
Conference 2 – Bridges, Lay Male: Carl Brodt
Conference 3 – Capitol Valley, Clergy: Pr. Jason Bense
Conference 4 – Sierra Nevada Foothill, Lay Female: Linda Babcock
Conference 5 – San Francisco Peninsula, Lay Male: John Allured
Conference 6 – El Camino Real, Clergy: Pr. Clark Brown
Conference 8 – Sierra Central Valley, Lay Male: Bill Turner
Conference 9 – Central San Joaquin Valley, Clergy: Pr. Paul Clark
At Large: Pr. Teresita “Tita” Valeriano
Youth: Nicholas Hayes
Note: The Synod Council will appoint a person to serve as a Lay Female member of the Synod Council at it’s June meeting. A candidate has been suggested as a result of the Conference Meeting which took place During the Assembly.
Designated Giving includes gifts that congregations send to the Synod to forward to the Synod’s Ministry Partners and Sister Synods or to the ELCA for distribution to ELCA missionaries and programs such as World Hunger, Lutheran World Relief and ELCA Disaster Response. These gifts are forwarded to the Ministry Partners and the ELCA the month after they are received. In addition to the designated giving that passes through the Synod, most congregations support programs and work within their local communities, and many congregations send their contributions directly to the synod’s Ministry Partners and ELCA programs rather than forwarding them through the Synod.