Three very interesting people I've met at Churchwide Assembly over the past two days. After meeting these three, I have a lot of hope for the ELCA - both today and in the years to come.
1) Vice President of some synod in Wisconsin. She was outspoken and articulate, passionate about many issues (GLBT welcome and disability concerns among others). She shoots from the hip - she's very direct and not afraid to say what she means.
2) Bishop of a synod in Pennsylvania. One of the few female bishops in the ELCA. She was talking openly about a public conflict with the bishop of a European companion synod. She did not feel fear or anxiety about it, but was ready to engage the bishop as gracefully as she could. She was also just very energizing to talk to, and not at all like a gatekeeper (how I often experience bishops).
3) 18 year old voting member from Wisconsin. He is of British descent and a new convert to the Lutheran church. He has some exciting new opinions about how the ELCA should be organized and the relationship of Goodsoil and CORE. I expect he will accomplish some great things in the ELCA in the years to come. And we need those youth voices to remind us about the truths that we so often forget - like the fact that we don't have to remain organized in the exact same way forever, like the fact that consensus is not possible when we're such a broad denomination.