2017 Synod Assembly Report
        By Eileen Bryant

I honestly had no idea what to expect.  After learning that I would be joining Cheryl Fiore as a voting representative at the 2017 Synod Assembly, I was a bit nervous. What kind of issues would I be voting on? How would I make sure that Prince of Peace was properly represented?
I shouldn’t have worried. What I discovered in Rochester in early June, was a terrific group of Lutherans, eager to make a difference. Standing in line to check into the hotel, I noticed quite a few clerical collars circling the necks of men and women, young and not-so-young. But the overwhelming majority of attendees were lay persons, just like me. Sharing meals in the dining room I met folks from all walks of life from all over upstate New York, and it was so interesting to hear their stories.
Worship was joyful, even exuberant, with a multi-cultural band of musicians with a global repertoire that left songs ringing in my head long after the services ended. Of course there was church business to attend to, some of it dealing with rather arcane procedural issues, even to this lawyer! But our pastors were able to answer my questions and provide context, so I felt confident that my votes were sound and supportable.
We were able and encouraged to attend a few of the broad array of seminars, and I really enjoyed this part of the assembly. One of the topics dealt with food insecurity, and our group discussed the various ministries our respective churches supported. When I relayed the success of POP’s “Kids Can Cook” program, there was much interest and I was asked many questions about how we did it. [This has inspired me to get this program back on in the fall, so I invite anyone who is interested in this class to contact me.] The other class I attended focused on the book Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (and How to Reverse It) by Robert D. Lupton which prompted a lively discussion.
Prince of Peace was well represented at the assembly, as beyond Cheryl and me (the delegates) and our Pastors Jeff and Amber, Vicki Behrens and Jim Roberts worked as pages (Vicki as head of the pages) and Roger Behrens served among the worship team. The night before we left, our POP contingent gathered after dinner just to share experiences of the weekend. Suffice it to say, I understand why so many people come back in subsequent years. The chance to interface with people from different congregations and different traditions while sharing our ELCA heritage is so affirming and inspiring. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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