Sept. 18, 2016 Special Congregation Meeting Details and Supporting Documents

 Special Congregation Meeting

Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 at 12:15 p.m. - FELC North Site

The Congregation Council has spent almost two years discerning First English’s response to the request from the ELCA’s Presiding Bishop for congregations to seek guidance from their congregation regarding same gender weddings.  Following discussions in Council, feedback from a Marriage Task Force looking into the issue and other invitations for input from the congregation, the Council established Listening Sessions on our Wedding Policy to seek further feedback from the congregation.  The Council was grateful to those who attended and voiced their opinions, as well as, communicated directly in writing to the Council.  

On Aug. 30, 2016, the Congregation Council met to reflect on the work that had been accomplished.  At this meeting the Congregation Council voted 14:1 to approve the following motion:

As a Council, we vote to affirm our current marriage policy (Wedding Policy) and allow our pastors to use their best judgment following current requirements to decide if a couple is ready to be joined in marriage regardless of gender.”

Independent of this action, a group of 70 members of the congregation petitioned the Council to call a special meeting of the congregation to address the FELC Wedding Policy and same gender weddings.  Based on the FELC Constitution and By-Laws, the Council approved a special meeting of the congregation to be held on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 at 12:15 p.m. at the North Site to allow the congregation to affirm the action of the Council. Members were mailed a letter Sept. 6, 2016 announcing the meeting.

The Council encourages all eligible, voting members to please attend and participate in this meeting.  According to the FELC Constitution and By-Laws:

*C8.02.c.  Voting members are confirmed members. Such confirmed members, during the current or preceding calendar year, shall have communed in FELC and shall have made a contribution of record to FELC. Members of FELC who have satisfied these basic standards shall have the privilege of voice and vote at every regular and special meeting of the congregation.

Supporting background documents are available below or in the church office at both sites.  Absentee ballots are available only at the Downtown Site office during office hours, and they must be returned to the office by noon on Friday, Sep. 16.

June 2016 – Council letter enclosure – “Ground Rules for Conversation” provided by ELCA

September 4 – Worship verbal announcement of Council update and special Congregation Meeting 

September 6 – Council President’s letter inviting the Congregation to special Congregation Meeting

September 6 – Council President’s letter enclosure providing background information

Sample Absentee Ballot