Synod Assembly in action
Synod Assembly 2023
of the
West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod

Nominations!
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Register for Synod Assembly
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Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports
Click Here

Contents
Call of the Assembly

By order of the Synod Council of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a regular meeting of the Synod Assembly shall convene on Saturday, 20 May 2023, at 10:00 AM, at the Mon County 4H Center, Mylan Park, Morgantown, WV.

Although the first save-a-date was published in November, Synod Assembly is officially announced by the "Call of the Assembly," that must be issued 60 days prior to the convening of the assembly.

Agenda

As this is a regular meeting of the Synod Assembly, all business required by the governing documents will be on the agenda. That includes an explicitly enumerated set of reports and elections. New business is also allowed, but there are rules that set a deadline for submission of nongermane resolutions and memorials (see here).

The proposed agenda will be published in The Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports. It is subject to amendment by the assembly.

COVID Mitigation

Synod Council, in its 9 April 2022 Synod Council meeting, determined that Synod Assembly 2022's COVID mitigation policy would be whatever the standard was according to the CDC, WV State, and Mon County Health Department, and, where there was conflict among them, the higher standard would prevail. Synod Council has not yet set a standard for Synod Assembly 2023. To be sure to receive information on last minute changes, sign up for our text messaging service.

Churchwide Reports

The Rev. Christopher Otten

Our Churchwide Representative for Synod Assembly 2023 is The Rev. Christopher Otten, Assistant to the Presiding Bishop and Director, Federal Chaplaincies.

You can learn more about ELCA Federal Chaplaincy at https://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Leadership/Federal-Chaplaincy-Ministries/Contacting-Chaplaincy-Office.

Registration

Registration Deadlines

  • 1 May 2023: In order to receive notice of publication of the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports, registration must be submitted online by close of business 1 May 2022. Those registering after this date will be responsible for accessing the Synod Assembly page themselves (or through their agent) in order to obtain Synod Assembly reports and materials.
  • 16 May 2023: Online registration closes at the end of the day. Those registering after this date will be responsible for for accessing the Synod Assembly page themselves (or through their agent) in order to obtain Synod Assembly reports and materials.
  • 20 May 2023: You may register the day of the Synod Assembly. A downloadable registration form will be posted on this page after online registration closes. If registering the day of the Synod Assembly, please download the form, print it out, fill it out, and bring it with you to the Synod Assembly, reporting to the registration desk for submission and processing.
Note well, those who register online and provided email addresses or opted into our text messaging service, will be notified if the Synod Assembly is cancelled or postponed. Without prior online registration, we won't be able to contact you.

Voting Member Minimum Requirements

Voting members fall into two classes: clergy and laity.

Laity voting members are elected by their congregations (either Congregation Meeting or Congregation Council, depending upon the local practice). Laity voting members, in addition to election by their congregations, must be voting members of their congregations (voting members being confirmed members who have made a contribution of record and communed in the congregation during the current or preceding calendar year). Some laity voting members are enfranchised by virtue of being a member of Synod Council or being the lay chair of a conference.

Clergy voting members are those under letter of call or those enfranchised under our governing documents or by the Synod Council under one of several special classes.

Online Registration

On-line registration for Synod Assembly 2023 will open 21 March 2023. Click here to review all registration deadlines.


Dispensation from M-F VM
Click for form

Dispensation from Requirement for Male and Female Laity Voting Members from a Congregation

Normally, a congregation is to send one male and one female voting member. Dispensation, however, may be requested of the Synod Council. For smaller congregations, in particular, it may be difficult to find both a male and a female willing/able to attend. To request dispensation, please complete this form: Dispensation from M-F VM Requirement. Requests for dispensation will be processed, at minimum, weekly. In the meantime, proceed with registration of your voting members until informed to the contrary.

Synod Assembly 2023: Nuts & Bolts

Date(s)

20 May 2023

20 May 2023 was announced (by website, Roadshow, and facebook) on (or about) 21 November 2022 as the confirmed date for Synod Assembly 2023. At the same time, it was announced that the assembly would convene at the Mon County 4H Center, Mylan Park, near Morgantown, WV.

Adjourned Meeting

Synod Council has not yet reserved a date for an adjounred meeting of the Synod Assembly. It is hoped that all work can be completed in one day. A second day will be necessary under two conditions (otherwise we are done at the end of the first day and go home without having to come back):

  • The Synod Assembly has uncompleted required business under the CBCR/WV-WMD or RONR.
  • The Synod Assembly has business, though not required, it wishes to take up on a second day.

An adjourned meeting is not a special meeting; it is a continuation of session. Folks often get the terms inverted. A "meeting" is a discreet sitting for business without more than a momentary recess of short duration, the assembly members remaining in the immediate area and prepared to return to work. A dinner break, break for mass, or the overnight break constitutes a break that ends a meeting. The "session" is the work of the assembly that is governed by one agenda. So, our assemblies are already made up of at least three meetings in one session. An adjourned meeting is the next meeting in a series of meetings that make up the session. With an adjourned meeting,

  • we continue business where we left off;
  • there is no new registration process, all the voting members at the first meeting continuing as voting members in the next; and
  • alternate voting members can be seated through the Committee on Registration should those originally serving be unable to continue.

Everything mentioned here is already the case with our Synod Assembly, but we may not have recognized it as such. Again, the major difference is the longer period of time between meetings.

Mon
                County 4H CenterVenue

The Mon County 4H Center is located in Mylan Park, two miles west of I-79 Exit-155, providing easy access for travelers (click here for google map). You can visit the facility online at its Mylan Park website. We are renting both the indoor and outdoor pavilion, with the assembly business planned for the outdoor space, the inside space being used by committees, the assmebly office, and, if need be, assembly hall should the weather turn foul. As with the last Synod Assembly, the outdoor space has ample room for exhibitors and socialization.

DiningDining Guide
Click here to review just some of the dining options in the area.
Dining

There are ample dining options, ranging from fast food drive-thru to high class sit-down, within a short drive, the Gateway complex and University Town Centers being two and three miles away respectively. Drive a little further, and even more options become available. Lunch will be an extended period of time not only to allow attendees to eat with some leisure but also to allow the tellers to count ballots. It will also be possible for attendees to pack their own picnic lunches and eat at the pavilions (or anywhere else in the park). Lunch is not included in the registration package.

LodgingLodging Guide
Click here to review just some of the lodging options in the area.
Lodging

While the assembly is planned as a one-day event, some may still opt for overnight accommodations. There is ample lodging in the area for anyone wishing to secure accommodations. Of course, many will prefer to simply travel in the morning and return home when we wrap up. A lodging guide is available for your perusal, but there are many other options that are not listed. The lodging guide does not imply endorsement. Lodging can be had in the Morgantown area at a wide variety of pricepoint and accommodation level. Lodging is not included in the registration package.

Cost

Synod Council has set the registration fee at $0.00---that's right: free registration for the third year in a row! This is possible because of aggressive cost-cutting measures by SAPComm, redesign of the Synod Assembly, an amazingly good deal on the meeting venue, and a surplus in the Synod Assembly fund.

Synod Assembly Communications

Keeping abreast of all the information connected with Synod Assembly isn't easy. To assist, we automatically enroll registered attendees onto a dedicated email list. Other means of communication (the synod website, Facebook, and The Bishop's Road Show) are also employed. Visit our Synod Assembly Communications page for more information.

Cell
                  iconSMS/ Text Messaging

We've added a simple text messaging service to let you know when announcements related to Synod Assembly are published. Click here for more info.

Reserving the Right to Postpone or Cancel

Concerns about the pandemic have not abated. Synod Council continues to monitor the situation and reserves the right to postpone or cancel the Synod Assembly in response to the pandemical situation. At the same time, the state, the local health department, or the venue may respond to a change in the pandemical situation that precludes our gathering.

Why This Way?

Synod Assembly 2021 posed the greatest challenge ever faced by this synod in planning and holding an assembly. As we are not yet out of the pandemic and pandemical conditions change quickly, we are approaching this year with similar caution. A formal decision on COVID protocols for the assembly will be made at the 15 April 2023 Synod Council meeting, but the synod Council reserves the right to modify them in response to the situation on the ground.

Additionally, while not a perfect assembly---what assembly is ever perfect?---feedback has been generally positive, with several expressing particular approval of the open-air venue. Synod Council deemed it reasonable to attempt replication (though not without debate).

Reviewing the COVID-19 Concerns for Synod Assembly 2021

Initial plans for the Synod Assembly 2021 were laid out and accepted in principal by Synod Council at its October 2020 meeting. At the time, both risk mitigation and pandemic psychology were forefront in the Synod Council's thinking. The following assumptions drove planning:

  • An easing of government restrictions and recommendations could not be expected, meaning social distancing, masking, attendance caps for indoor venues, and food service requirements (e.g., no buffets) would all still be in place;
  • There would be a general uneasiness on the part of potential voting members to stay in hotels/motels;
  • Potential attendees would be dissatisfied with the cost and quality of boxed meals and/or would be uncomfortable with social dining (if even allowed by the government or venue); and
  • The sine qua non of the Synod Assembly is the conduct of business.

With these assumptions, the following planning goals were accepted:

  • Synod Assembly should be in a high-ventilation context (e.g., an pavilion, amphitheater, field house, etc.);
  • Synod Assembly should be as short as possible (with a proposed agenda including only those items of business required under the governing documents of the Synod and RONR);
  • Synod Assembly should be planned to be held over two non-consecutive days and arranged such that it may adjourn sine die at the end of the first day if the work of the assembly is completed or deems the second day unnecessary;
  • Synod Assembly should be held within a reasonable distance to the travel-calculated geographic center of the Synod; and
  • Synod Assembly should be held in proximity to multiple dining options with an extended lunch hour.

SAPComm, monitoring the pandemical situation, concluded that an open-air assembly, social distancing, and mandatory masking were no longer necessary but, being of the opinion that flexibility for response to possible variants and new waves of the coronavirus, chose to retain some of the planning parameters.

Synod Council reviewed SAPComm's work, settling on some details and leaving others to the committee for further work. As mentioned, details will be posted as they develop and can be formatted for presentation.

Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports

The Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Reports is published 10 days prior to the convening of a Synod Assembly. On-line registration by 1 May 2023 is vital to guarantee notice of the publication of the bulletin. That said, it will be posted on this webpage and announced on our synod Facebook page and The Bishop's Roadshow. Be sure to check out our Synod Assembly Communications page for ways to keep abrest of developments.

Synod Assembly 2023: Submissions

Nominations 2023

Deadline for Nominations
  19 February 2023

The public input phase for nominations associated with Synod Assembly 2022 will open 20 January 2023 and closed 19 February 2023. Floor nominations will be allowed (as well as write-ins during the election) at the assembly. To learn more about what positions will be up for election at Synod Assembly 2023 and how to recommend people for nomination to those positions, visit our Nominations & Elections Page.

Reporting to/at the Assembly

Deadline for Reports
  1 April 2023

There are some significant changes this year when it comes to reporting. Please visit our Reporting to/at Synod Assembly page for more information.

Exhibiting at the Assembly

Deadline for Exhibit Application
  1 April 2023

There are some significant changes this year when it comes exhibiting. Please visit our Exhibiting at Synod Assembly page for more information.

Resolutions & Memorials

Deadline for Resolutions & Memorials
  30 April 2023

As this is a regular meeting of the Synod Assembly, the introduction of non-germane new business is not only permitted by expected. Those interested in introducing new business should note the deadline, 30 April 2023. Understand, early submission is advantageous. Visit our Resolutions & Memorials page for details on submission, format, etc.. If you missed the deadline, review the parliamentary aids section located in the Pre-Assembly Bulletin of Report.


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This page was last updated 20 January 2023