South Dakota Lutherans will gather at Augustana

South Dakota Lutherans will gather at Augustana An estimated 800 Lutherans from across South Dakota will gather for the 15th annual assembly of the South Dakota Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The assembly will be held at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, Thursday through Saturday, June 6-June 8.

Attending from this area are the Rev. Judy Johnson, the Rev. Ed Anderson, Cindy Osborne and Scott Munger representing Trinity Lutheran Church, Vermillion.

The Rev. Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl, bishop of the South Dakota Synod, will be the preacher at the opening worship service, which will be held at the Augustana College Elmen Center at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Speakers at a prayer breakfast on Friday morning will include Ruth Galeano Areas and Zelmira Gamboa, who are respectively the development director and a lay pastor with the Iglesia Luterana de Nicaragua Fe y Esperanza (Lutheran Church of Nicaragua, Faith and Hope). Other representatives of the Nicaragua church will bring greetings as well. Tom Madison, a Watertown native and recent Augustana College graduate who has been doing volunteer service in Nicaragua since last fall, will translate. The South Dakota Synod and the church in Nicaragua are partners in the Companion Synod program of the ELCA.

The Rev. Randall R. Lee, churchwide representative of the ELCA, will present the keynote address to the assembly. Lee is executive assistant to the secretary and associate for bilateral dialogues in the Department for Ecumencial Affairs, Office of the Secretary of the ELCA.

Among the business to be transacted at the assembly are: the election of vice president and a treasurer of the South Dakota Synod Executive Committee; the election of voting members to the 2003 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and several resolutions pertaining to mission and ministry efforts of the church.

In addition, voting members will consider the adoption of a $2,173,976 budget for the year 2003. Bishop DeGroot-Nesdahl will preside over all business sessions.

Making the 15th annual South Dakota Synod Assembly unique is participation in a concomitant ecumenical assembly, Together in Christ�A Dakotas Celebration, which is being held at the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center June 7 and June 8.

Designed as a celebration for Christian unity, Together in Christ is the result of three years of work by several planning partners: the United Methodist Church; the Presbyterian Church (USA); the United Church of Christ; the Episcopal Church; the Roman Catholic Church; the American Baptist Church; and the South Dakota Synod, ELCA.

Keynote speakers and musicians at the ecumenical assembly include singer-songwriters Ken Medema and Peder Eide; theologians Martin Marty and Wendy Wright; Native American minister Joseph Dudley; preachers Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly and Tony Campolo; and speaker and Olympic wrestling coach Dan Gable. In addition, "breakout" sessions will cover topics from rural ministry to peacemaking to spirituality.

The South Dakota Synod, ECLA, numbers 121,555 baptized members. Membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is 5.125 million.

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