From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Assembly Vice Presidential Election Goes To Fifth Ballot

Date Fri, 15 Aug 2003 13:48:37 -0500


August 15, 2003

ELCA Assembly Vice Presidential Election Goes To Fifth Ballot

     MILWAUKEE (ELCA) -- The 2003 Churchwide Assembly of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) advanced two
nominees for the position of vice president. The assembly will
decide between Carlos Pena, Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, and
Mary Froehlig, Southwest California Synod, on the fifth ballot
Aug. 16.
     The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of
the ELCA, is meeting here Aug. 11-17 at the Midwest Airlines
Center. There are about 2,100 people participating, including
1,031 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly is
"Making Christ Known: For the Healing of the World."
     After the fourth ballot Aug. 15, Pena received 441 votes,
46.5 percent of the total; Froehlig received 310 votes, 32.7
percent of the total; and Glenndy Sculley, Minneapolis Area
Synod, received 198 votes, 20.9 percent of the total. No nominee
reached the 60 percent of votes required for election.
     Prior to the fourth ballot, nominees addressed voting
members with five-minute speeches.
     Pena, 50, made his introductory comments in Spanish. He
listed gifts he could bring to the position as "gifts you [the
church] have nurtured in me," including leadership experience,
business knowledge and fairness. PeZa spoke of his love for the
ELCA, which he joined as a young adult, saying he felt "a oneness
with my fellow workers -- community, kindredship, and
fellowship." PeZa called his nomination "evidence of growth in
[the ELCA's] spectrum of membership." He concluded, "Let's make
it clear to fellow Lutherans -- to everyone -- that this is a
church for all people." Pena is a member of First Lutheran
Church, Galveston, Texas.
     Froehlig, 43, shared biographical information about herself,
and identified herself as Sansei, the third generation of
Japanese Americans living in the United States. Lutheran campus
ministry at the University of Southern California helped guide
her to Lutheranism when she was a student. Froehlig expressed
humility upon her nomination, adding, "I believe we [nominees]
have been called to present our gifts and blessings to you."
Froehlig said she is drawn to biblical references to "philia,"
which she defined from the Greek as "a willingness to go to a
great extent in order to support your friends. What I hold
central to my belief is that we love one another." She praised
the experience of being part of the ELCA, and said, "I pray we
will be able to carry this passion, this "philia," with us when
we leave this place." Froehlig is a member of Trinity Evangelical
Lutheran Church, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
     The position of vice president is filled by a lay person --
a person not ordained by the ELCA. Service is voluntary and
involves chairing meetings of the Church Council, which is the
ELCA's board of directors and the interim legislative authority
between churchwide assemblies.
-- -- --
Information about the ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be found at on the Web.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

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