“We have come to this Assembly to do the hard, hope-filled, and holy work of this synod, for the world is about to turn...”
These words ushered in the 2023 Northern Illinois Synod Assembly, held June 16-17, 2023, at Augustana College in Rock Island. The Assembly's theme, "Be the Body," guided the hard, hope-filled, and holy work of this synod. Bishop Stacie Fidlar of the Northern Illinois Synod took the stage, inviting Rostered Ministers, lay voting members, and visitors of the assembly to rediscover what it means to be the body of Christ in the now and not yet.
The assembly was gathered as the body of Christ and conducted the business of the assembly, including passing the 2024 Northern Illinois Synod budget and electing members to Synod Council and various committees. The assembly passed two resolutions: R-1: Growing in Faith: The diakoniatm Program for 2023 Northern Illinois Synod Assembly and R-2: Memorialize Churchwide to update the Social Statement on Abortion. The assembly also approved updated Compensation Guidelines for Rostered Ministers and approved synod constitution changes from the 2022 Churchwide Assembly.
Over the course of our assembly, those gathered engaged in worship experiences cultivated with congregations in mind, with the intent and hope that these worship services will be resources congregations can use throughout the year. Friday afternoon, Bishop Stacie Fidlar proclaimed the word during our Festival Worship, “Beloved ones, can you see it? God is about to, is always, doing a new thing. God was not done with Eli or the people of Israel. God was not done with the work of Jesus or the disciples. And God is definitely not done with us.” Bishop Fidlar’s sermon was a powerful reminder that God is at work in the here and now— we are being called to be open to where and how God is working in the now and not yet.
Outside of worship, the assembly engaged with our guest speaker, the Rev. Dr. Char Rachuy Cox. Rev. Cox is the Director of the Nourishing Vocation Project through the Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community at St. Olaf College. Rev. Cox isa familiar face in our synod as our presenter at the Congregational Resourcing Event in March. Rev. Cox, and colleague Rev. Peter Carlson Schattauer, Associate Director of the Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community at St. Olaf College, led the gathering through two breakout sessions. These breakout sessions explored each person's vocation and how we might live into our role in the body of Christ. The conversations also guided congregations to discern how our church is called to Be the Body, together.
New to this year's assembly was the Ministry Fair on Friday evening. This time together in Gavle Hall was a wonderful celebration of the various ministries throughout and connected with the synod. Those gathered celebrated milestones and ministries of Rostered Ministers and congregations. We capped off the evening with Augustana College’s noteworthy strawberry shortcake. Prior to ending the Synod Assembly, Bishop Stacie Fidlar installed the called staff of the synod. The Rev. Jennifer Beamsley, the Rev. Josh Ebener, the Rev. Julie Monnard, and the Rev. Mack Patrick were welcomed and installed as Assistants to the Bishop. These leaders were called with a particular set of gifts that help the synod enter into a new era of ministry under Bishop Fidlar’s leadership. Also, the entire assembly, from pastors and deacons to lay members, received the following blessing: “God bless your openness to a process of becoming together. For these are gifts of God. And so are you.”
To view recordings of the plenaries and worship services, along with reports from committees, officers, agencies, and institutions please visit www.nisynod.org/assembly
To view a summary of actions taken at the 2023 Synod Assembly, please click here or visit www.nisynod.org/assemnbly