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director, challenge the assembly to step into the messy discovery of young people as they seek a place to belong, desire of someone to become and find something to do. —Saywer Vanden Heuvel


Southeastern,May 26-28, Chattanooga, Tenn. (elca-ses.org; search for “2017 synod assembly”). At its meeting May 25, the synod’s council approved the creation of the Robert S. and Jean E. Graetz Advocacy Award. It also named the Graetzes as the award’s first recipients, honoring them for their continued work in advocacy. The couple was involved in the Montgomery bus boycott with Martin Luther King Jr. and others. —Carolyn Nottingham Davis


Southwest California, June 2-3, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (socalsynod.org/2017-synod-assembly). Gathered under the theme “Freed in Christ to Serve,” participants voted to become both a Sanctuary and a Jubilee Synod, committing to protect the “dignity, safety, and basic human needs of all immigrants and refugees among us, even by resisting policies that seek to turn away and harm the stranger” and to pray for and take action to call for economic justice in the world’s poorest countries. The assembly also celebrated the anniversary of the Reformation with a festival communion service. —Samantha Henderson


Southwestern Minnesota, June 9-10, St. Peter, Minn. (swmnelca.org). “Embrace God’s Mission, Equip God’s People” was the theme and guiding principle for the assembly. The assembly was filled with telling stories about how we are walking together in ministry with Christ as the lead, including local videos. Bishop Jon Anderson emphasized three focus areas for a funding initiative under this theme, including deepening congregational vitality, enhancing local and global mission, and developing servant leaders. All of the synod’s ministers of word and service were recognized as deacons in the opening worship service.—Linda Pedersen


Continued on page 49 Bishop elections


Elected: Robert F. Humphrey as bishop of the Virginia Synod, effective Sept. 1. When: June 11, on the fifth ballot, with 217 votes. Kelly Bayer Derrick, pastor of St. Philip Lutheran Church, Roanoke, Va., received 167 votes. Bio: Pastor of Zion and Grace Lutheran churches, Waynesboro, Va.; Muhlenberg Lutheran, Harrisonburg, Va. Received degrees from the University of Richmond (Va.) and Lutheran Southern Theological Seminary, Columbia, S.C. Replaces: James F. Mauney, who retires Aug. 31. —George Kegley


Mira DeGroat nails the way her congregation is reforming their ministry to a door at the Northwestern Minnesota Synod Assembly, just as Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses nearly 500 years ago.


Re-elected: S. John Roth as bishop of the Central/Southern Illinois Synod on the fifth ballot over Tony Metz, pastor of Luther Memorial Church, Quincy, Ill., by a 160-123 vote.


LIVINGLUTHERAN.ORG 41


Photo: Norman A Kjos


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