Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Where will the 2016 Churchwide Assembly meetings be held?
The assembly will be at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at 900 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70130. We will be mainly in the Great Hall and halls B and C.

When does the Churchwide Assembly begin and end?
The assembly starts with orientation at 1 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. The orientation is followed by worship at 3 p.m. The assembly concludes at the close of Plenary Session Nine on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 12:30 p.m. Please do not plan to depart earlier than 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

I am a Churchwide Assembly registrant. How will I receive information about the Churchwide Assembly?
Voting members have been receiving important information about the assembly by email, from the address CWARegistrar@elca.org. On July 28th, all Churchwide Assembly registrants should have received a final confirmation letter by email, which included important details such as hotel confirmations (if applicable), making shuttle reservations to and from the airport, the assigned Experiential Learning Track and the assembly meals purchased. If you are registered for the assembly but did not receive a confirmation email, please send an email immediately to: CWARegistrar@elca.org so that the email can be re-sent. Should there be any corrections that need to be made to your registration, please contact the assembly team no later than 4:30PM central time on Monday, August 1. The assembly team can be reached by phone at (800) 638-3522 x2911 or by email at CWARegistrar@elca.org. We will not have the flexibility to accommodate changes or corrections on-site in New Orleans.

This is my first time as an assembly voting member. What do I need to know?
Welcome! We are glad you will be joining us. All first-time attendees are asked to attend orientation on Monday, Aug. 8, at 1 p.m. You are also invited to become familiar with the preparation material, reports and actions prior to arrival. This information is on ELCA Guidebook. Please see FAQ “What is ELCA Guidebook?” for more details. With the use of iPads at this assembly, first-time attendees are also asked to attend ELCA Guidebook training; training times will be posted on the Churchwide Assembly schedule.

When can I register?
Online registration is now closed for voting members, advisory members and visitors. Visitors can register on site throughout the assembly.

When can I make travel arrangements?
Travel costs for voting and advisory members are paid for by the ELCA and should have been booked through Direct Travel. Travel arrangements should have been made no later than July 8.

Will I be reimbursed by the ELCA if I am a voting member or advisory member and choose to drive instead of fly?
Voting and advisory members of the assembly will be reimbursed at the current IRS rate for mileage ($0.54 per mile), along with the cost of tolls and parking, up to the amount of the lowest available advance airfare. The lowest available airfare for each traveler is established by our travel agent at Direct Travel. For example, if round-trip airfare between your home and New Orleans costs $300 and the cost for you to drive is $400, you will be reimbursed $300 in travel costs. 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.

At which hotels are we staying?
Assembly participants and guests will be staying at two hotels in New Orleans: the New Orleans Marriott, 555 Canal St., and the Sheraton New Orleans, 500 Canal St. Room reservations must be made at the time of registration through the registration form. Do not contact the hotels directly.

How much does a hotel room cost?
A hotel room costs $120, plus applicable taxes, per room, per night at both hotels. Voting members will have their hotel rooms paid for as long as they share a room with another voting member. Those who wish to have a private room or who would like to share a room with a non-voting member (including a Grace Gathering participant) will be charged one-half of the room rate per night (approximately $70).

Is there Internet at the hotel and at the convention center?
Wi-Fi will be provided complimentary to all hotel guest rooms for voting and advisory members. Wi-Fi will also be available in designated spots at the convention center. However, as there will be many people using the Internet services at the convention center, we recommend downloading any large files onto your personal device before arriving in New Orleans, or at your hotel before heading to the convention center.

What is ELCA Guidebook?
Materials that comprise the Pre-Assembly Report will be posted online as they become available using ELCA Guidebook, an online resource. ELCA Guidebook is accessible by anyone and will have up-to-date information that can be accessed before and during the assembly using any iOS (Apple) or Android tablet with access to the Internet. You can access ELCA Guidebook here.

We encourage you to use ELCA Guidebook using a personal device before arriving at the Churchwide Assembly so that you can review materials as they become available. All voting and advisory members can receive an iPad, with the app loaded, at the assembly. You may also use your own personal device, with ELCA Guidebook downloaded at the assembly, instead of receiving a borrowed iPad. Please note that comments and notes made on ELCA Guidebook on a personal device will not transfer to a borrowed iPad; if you plan to make notes before the assembly and would like to refer to them, we recommend using your personal device. More information about ELCA Guidebook is available here.

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 Direct Travel. They can stay at one of our two hotels at the negotiated rate. You may make these arrangements during registration, using your personal credit card for payment. Direct Travel charges a $22 fee for using their service. You will be responsible for any costs not covered by the ELCA.

How do family members not attending the CWA make hotel and travel arrangements?
When voting members register for the assembly, they will have the opportunity to make hotel and travel arrangements for family members sharing a room with the voting member. For hotel arrangements, they may elect to share their room with a family member and pay the difference (approximately $70). Travel arrangements can be made (but are not required to be made) by calling Direct Travel at 800-543-8016, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (Central time). Direct Travel charges a $22 fee to use their service. Whoever is booking the arrangements will need to pay with a personal credit card.

What is a congregation observer, and how does this participant register?
Each congregation of the ELCA may register one congregation observer for the Churchwide Assembly. Congregation observers will have reserved seating in the observers section of the plenary hall. Such observers have neither voice nor vote in plenary sessions of the assembly. They will be able to download ELCA Guidebook on a personal device using the Guidebook app. Registration for congregation observers is now closed. Transportation, accommodations, meals and other related expenses are the responsibility of the registered observer or the sending congregation.

What is the Grace Gathering?
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is an opportunity to rejoice in the life-giving, liberating power of the gospel. As part of the observance, we invite guests and visitors to attend the Grace Gathering from Aug. 10-13, in partnership with the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. More information about the Grace Gathering is available on the website (ELCA.org/gracegathering). Below is a breakdown of what is included in the Grace Gathering registration.

Grace Gathering FAQ graphic

How do I get from the airport to the hotel?
Transportation will be provided for voting and advisory members from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to your hotel. Information on how to book your shuttle arrangements was sent to you by email in a final confirmation letter.

Transportation for visitors and congregation observers is available at a discounted rate to and from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to the New Orleans Marriott or the Sheraton New Orleans. You can make these arrangement by clicking here.

How do I get from the hotel to the convention center?
Complimentary shuttle service will be provided for Churchwide Assembly registrants daily between the New Orleans Marriott, the Sheraton New Orleans and the convention center.

I’m driving. Will there be parking at the hotels or Convention Center?
Parking is available at the convention center and is much more affordable for long-term parking. Parking is $10 per day (with no in-and-out privileges). You can leave your car at the Convention Center for more than one day and can pay for the entirety of your stay at once.

Valet parking is available at both hotels. The cost is about $45 per day, inclusive of tax. Please note that only one vehicle is allowed per room and vehicles must be standard-sized vehicles.

Parking expenses will be reimbursed for voting and advisory members who did not fly to New Orleans. Please save your receipts and see the section on expense reports for more details on reimbursable expenses.

How do I find more information on all that New Orleans has to offer?
Information is available at the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau website: neworleanscvb.com.

How do I get around New Orleans?
On free evenings during the Churchwide Assembly, you may wish to explore New Orleans. There are many ways to get around the city, as outlined under the “Getting around New Orleans” tab on the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau website: neworleanscvb.com/travel-professionals/group-transportation/getting-around/.

Will meals for voting members and advisory members be covered?
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, while others are “on your own” and you will need to find food off-site. For off-site meals, you will be provided with a debit card to cover the cost. The debit card is to be used only for meals and should not be used to purchase alcohol.

What about meals for visitors?
Information regarding the purchase of meals for guests at the assembly was included in the registration materials. Meals cannot be purchased on site.

How do I rent a scooter while I’m at assembly?
Anyone who needs to rent a scooter may make their own reservations by contacting Daniel White with Total Access Mobility at 504-231-4879 or dwhite@totalaccess.com. Scooters can be dropped off and picked up at either the Marriott or the Sheraton Hotel. ELCA guests who have already indicated on their registration that they have a special need will have housing at the Sheraton Hotel.

Here is the breakdown of costs:

Standard Scooter (for people weighing less than 250 pounds) - $35 per day; $175 weekly rate (5-7 days or more)

Larger Scooter - $45 per day; $235 weekly rate (5-7 days or more)

For people renting scooters for the Churchwide Assembly, the delivery and pick-up fee will be waived, but you will be responsible for the daily or weekly cost.

I’m a nursing mom. Is there a quiet room available?
Yes, in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, room 232 is designated exclusively for the use of nursing and pumping mothers. A small refrigerator will also be available in the room.

How do I file an expense report?
Expense report forms for voting and advisory members are available online here and on Guidebook. Completed forms and original receipts must be submitted by Thursday, September 15.  All receipts submitted must be itemized, including any receipts for meals.

Please send completed forms to:

Office of the Secretary
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
8765 W. Higgins Rd.
Chicago, IL 60631

New Orleans


Host City: New Orleans

In August of 2016, voting members will experience the culturally rich city of New Orleans, Louisiana.


Churchwide Assembly Resources

Download information, pdf, forms pertaining to ELCA's Churchwide Assembly.


2016 Churchwide Assembly Guidebook

Attendees can search for sessions by keyword and create personal to-do lists. | Guidebook FAQ.


Grace Gathering Connect. Reflect. Discover. Learn more about the ELCA Grace Gathering event.
Freed and Renewed in Christ
Learn more about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Social Media
Watch live and engage with the Churchwide Assembly on social media.