Frequently Asked Questions
Always being made new
Where will the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly be held?
The assembly will take place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
When does the Churchwide Assembly begin and end?
The assembly starts with orientation and e-binder training at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, August 12, 2013, and concludes at the close of Plenary Session Eleven on Saturday, August 17, 2013, at 4 p.m.
This is my first time as a Churchwide Assembly voting member. What do I need to know?
You will be receiving emails with information to help you prepare for your role as a voting member. Throughout the weeks leading to the assembly, you are invited to become familiar with the preparation material by checking the assembly website at www.ELCA.org/assembly.
With the use of e-binders at this assembly, all attendees are asked to attend orientation and e-binder training on Monday, August 12 at 1:30 p.m.
When can I register?
Registration is now open! Hotel accommodations are made at this time. Please check the website (www.ELCA.org/assembly) to register online. Those with limited computer or Internet access can register over the phone by calling the Churchwide Assembly Registrar at 800-638-3522, ext. 2807 or 2840, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. After July 15, online registration for voting members and advisory members will no longer be available, and registrations will only be accepted at the Assembly Registration Desk located at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. In the spirit of good stewardship, we ask that you register and secure your air travel reservation as soon as possible.
When can I make travel arrangements?
Your registration materials explain how to make your travel arrangements. If you are a voting or advisory member your travel costs are paid for by the ELCA, but keep in mind that you must make your air travel arrangements through Best Travel.
I am a voting or advisory member and am bringing family members with me. How do I make those travel arrangements so we can book tickets on the same flight?
All other assembly guests can make their airline reservations through Best Travel by calling 773-380-2440 (Monday – Friday between 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CDT). Please have your credit card ready when calling.
At what hotels are we staying?
Assembly participants and guests will be staying at four properties in Pittsburgh: the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown, Omni William Penn Pittsburgh, Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, and Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh. Room reservations must be made when completing the online assembly registration process. Please do not contact hotels directly.
How much does a hotel room cost?
A room costs $140 per room, per night. Note: Voting members and advisory members will have their hotel rooms paid for as long as they share a room with another voting or advisory member. Those who wish to have a private room will be charged one-half of the room rate + tax, per room, per night, which is approximately $70.00.
What is a congregation observer, and how do they register?
Each congregation of the ELCA may register one congregation observer for the Churchwide Assembly, prior to May 31. Congregation observers will have reserved seating in the observers' section of the plenary hall and will receive a copy of the report of recommendations for assembly actions, as well as materials distributed on the plenary floor to voting members, advisory members and non-voting members during the assembly. Such observers shall have neither voice nor vote in plenary sessions of the assembly. Transportation costs, housing, meals and related expenses shall be the responsibility of the registered observer or the sending congregation.
How do visitors make hotel and travel arrangements?
When visitors register for the assembly, they will have the opportunity to make hotel and travel arrangements. Visitors are welcome (but not required) to use Best Travel, and stay at one of our four hotel properties at the negotiated rate. You may make these arrangements during registration, using your personal credit card for payment. Best Travel charges a $22 fee for use of their service.
How do I get from the airport to the hotel?
Please go to www.supershuttle.com for more information. Note to voting members and advisory members: when registering online, you will learn how to schedule transportation so your shuttle charges are direct billed to the ELCA.
I know that voting members and advisory members have their airfare paid by the ELCA, but what if I choose to drive?Voting and advisory members of the assembly will be reimbursed at the current IRS rate for mileage, along with the cost of tolls and parking, up to the amount of the lowest available advance airfare. In no case may this reimbursement exceed $350. For example: if round-trip airfare between your home and Pittsburgh costs $300, and the cost for you to drive is $400, you will be reimbursed $300 in travel costs. The lowest available airfare for each traveler is established by our travel agent. The maximum total driving reimbursement amount is $350, even if the lowest airfare is greater than this. You must attach original receipts (including parking, tolls, etc.) to your expense report in order to be reimbursed. Expense report forms will be available online following the conclusion of the assembly.
I am driving. What about parking?
There is a parking garage adjacent to the convention center. The cost is $10 per day. There are other area parking lots available for $8 per day. Note: the parking garage adjacent to the convention center often fills up by 8:30 a.m. on weekdays. If the lot is full and you need handicapped parking, please pull up to the parking lot gate and ask the attendant to guide you to a handicapped parking space. The hotels have parking lots with daily costs averaging between $20 - $30 per day.
What about meals?
Voting members and advisory members will have all of their meals paid for by the ELCA during the Churchwide Assembly. Some meals will be provided at the assembly site, and others you will need to go offsite for. Information regarding the purchase of meals for family members at the assembly will be included in your registration materials. Visitors will have the option of purchasing meals in advance of the assembly.
What will my offerings support?
An offering will be taken at each worship service. Offerings will be distributed as follows: Opening Day: ELCA Malaria Campaign; Tuesday: ELCA New Congregations; Wednesday: ELCA Fund for Leaders; Thursday: ELCA Global Church Sponsorship; Friday: ELCA World Hunger and Saturday: Anticipated Commitment to Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA.
How do I file an expense report?
Expense report forms for voting and advisory members will be available online upon the completion of the assembly. Completed forms and original receipts must be submitted by September 15 to:
Churchwide Assembly Registrar
Office of the Secretary
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631
For more information on Pittsburgh contact:
The Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau website (www.visitpittsburgh.com/