Churchwide Assembly 2022 FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions on the Churchwide Assembly

Below are responses to frequently asked questions regarding the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. For questions related to convening during the ongoing pandemic, please view the COVID-19 FAQs tab for the assembly.

The 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly will be held in Columbus, Ohio at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The assembly starts with orientation at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, August 8, 2022, and concludes at the close of the plenary session on Friday, August 12, 2022, at 12:30 p.m.
You will be receiving emails with information to help you prepare for your role as a voting member. In the weeks leading up to the assembly, you will be invited to become familiar with the preparation material by checking the assembly website at www.ELCA.org/churchwideassembly or 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly Guide, once the app is available.
The ELCA Churchwide Assembly Guide (also known as 2022 Churchwide Assembly Guide or CWA Guide for short) is a mobile app for tablets such as an iPad and commissioned by the churchwide office as an eco-friendly alternative to access the assembly documents and resources of the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. 2022 Churchwide Assembly Guide is available for 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. With the use of CWA Guide at this assembly, all attendees are asked to attend orientation and CWA Guide training on Monday, August 8 beginning at 4:00 p.m.
No, you do not need to purchase a tablet (e.g. iPad). When registration opens, you will have the option to choose to use an ELCA-issued iPad during the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. More information about the use of CWA Guide will be forthcoming.
Registration is now open. Registration materials sent via email on April 20, 2022, explain the online registration process for the Churchwide Assembly. Those with limited computer or Internet access will have the option to register over the phone. If you have questions or need further assistance, email the Churchwide Assembly registrar at cwaregistrar@elca.org or call the assembly hotline at 800-638-3522, ext. 2911.

Hotel room reservations must be made when completing the online assembly registration process. Do not contact the hotels directly or make your hotel reservations via Direct Travel or the Etta app; the Churchwide Assembly Registrar will make hotel arrangements for you.
You can make travel arrangments now. Your registration materials sent via email on April 20, 2022, explan how to do so. 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 Direct Travel, preferably using the travel app Etta (Powered by Deem): https://elca-dt.deem.com. In early March, voting members received a separate email with detailed instructions on how to create their individual travel profiles in Etta. If you did not receive it, please contact the Churchwide Assembly Registrar at cwaregistrar@elca.org.
Yes, you are allowed to bring family members with you. However, the ELCA does not pay for any costs incurred by family members. Additionally, given the ongoing pandemic and related public health considerations, visitors are encouraged to watch the assembly proceedings via the livestream and participate in worship virtually instead of observing in-person. We understand attendees will need to make their own assessments about their participation in relationship to their own level of comfort with COVID practices, and concern regarding health considerations for themselves, their families, and close contacts. If you do decide to bring family members, more information will be forthcoming about how to make travel arrangements, so you can book tickets on the same flight.
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 $400, not to exceed the lowest available advance airfare.
There are various lots available. The hotels have parking lots with daily costs averaging between $20 - $30 per day. Hyatt Regency is the only hotel that provides in/out privileges for hotel guests. As stated previously, the ELCA does reimburse the cost of parking for voting members and advisory members. More detailed information about the allowed amount for reimbursement will be forthcoming.
Voting members and advisory members will have their meals paid for by the ELCA during the Churchwide Assembly. Meals will be provided at the assembly site; a meal card will be provided for any meals not on-site that you will purchase elsewhere. Information regarding the purchase of meals for additional guests at the assembly will be included in your registration materials. Visitors will have the option of purchasing meals in advance of the assembly.
The two primary hotels will be the Hilton Columbus Downtown and the Hyatt Regency Columbus. Some assembly participants and guests may be assigned to the Sonesta Columbus Downtown. Room reservations must be made when completing the online assembly registration process. Please do not contact hotels directly. You will receive an email this summer with your hotel confirmation.
Yes, voting members and advisory members will have their hotel rooms paid for by the ELCA. Typically, voting members have been expected to share a room. Due to COVID concerns, voting members will be allowed to choose a single occupancy room option at no additional charge for the 2022 Churchwide Assembly only. If you are comfortable sharing a room, we hope as a matter of good stewardship that you will select the option of a double room. If you will be sharing a double room with someone you know, you will need to enter that person’s name as a roommate during the online registration process. Otherwise a roommate will be assigned for people choosing the double room option.

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 and will have access to 2022 Churchwide Assembly Guide, 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. The registration fee is $100; Transportation costs, housing, meals and related expenses shall be the responsibility of the registered observer or the sending congregation. You can register as a congregation observer through the following link before the May 31 deadline: https://community.elca.org/cwa-2022-congregation-observer-registration

Remember that all assembly attendees must either show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID–19 or provide upon arrival a negative COVID-19 test result taken 1–3 days prior to traveling to the assembly for unvaccinated individuals, in accordance with the guidance from public health officials, along with a valid photo ID (age 16+). The verification will occur on-site and can be shown on a phone.

As shared in the "Covid-19 FAQs" tab on this webpage, visitors are allowed to attend. Given the uncertainties of the pandemic, we do encourage visitors to watch the proceedings via the livestream. If a visitor does decide to attend in person, the registration fee is $100. Transportation costs, housing, meals and related expenses are the responsibility of the visitor. Visitor registration can be found at the following link: https://community.elca.org/cwa-2022-visitor-and-synod-staff-registration Please register before it closes on June 17.

Remember that all assembly attendees must either show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID–19 or provide upon arrival a negative COVID-19 test result taken 1–3 days prior to traveling to the assembly for unvaccinated individuals, in accordance with the guidance from public health officials, along with a valid photo ID (age 16+). The verification will occur on-site and can be shown on a phone.

No. In light of the ongoing pandemic and related public health considerations, there will not be a vendor space for exhibitors at the 2022 Churchwide Assembly.

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

The decision has been made to convene voting members in-person for the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly held in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 8-12, all things being equal. Given the uncertainties with COVID-19, there are likely questions about how we will convene. Below are some responses to frequently asked questions. The Churchwide Assembly Planning Team will continue to listen to research and advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local public health officials, professional meeting and event planner organizations, as well as our host city and the meeting venue. Please note that some of the responses below may change so come back for future updates.

The ELCA churchwide organization will require all participants (i.e., voting members, visitors, volunteers, contract staff and churchwide staff) attending the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly to either show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID–19 or provide upon arrival a negative COVID-19 test result taken 1–3 days prior to traveling to the assembly for unvaccinated individuals, in accordance with the guidance from public health officials.

There are several ways you can look for vaccination providers near you in the United States. Visit "How do I find a COVID-19 vaccine?" on the CDC website. Remember, to be considered fully vaccinated means you are currently either 2 weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine. You are strongly encouraged to stay up to date on your recommended COVID-19 vaccinations. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/.

No. While the 2022 Churchwide Assembly livestream will be available to watch, as usual, the churchwide organization does not have the capability to have voting members participating in debate and voting both in-person and virtually. Having voting members participate virtually would require the development of a system that could handle both in-person and online voting and queueing for debate in a manner consistent with the Churchwide Assembly rules for handling such things. While development of such a hybrid system may be possible, it would be very expensive, and it would be very unlikely it could be completed in time. In addition, there is a significant concern of equitable access and opportunity for voting member participation in such a meeting.

If a voting member who was elected to participate in the 2022 Churchwide Assembly is unable to attend, or if a voting member does not feel comfortable attending, they should notify their respective synod office immediately. "If a voting member elected by the Synod Assembly is unable to serve, the name of an eligible person chosen by the Synod Council shall be submitted by the secretary of the synod to the secretary of this church. If a vacancy occurs or exists within 30 days or less of the convening of the Churchwide Assembly or during the meeting of the Churchwide Assembly, the synod bishop may submit the name of an eligible person to the secretary of this church. The individual whose name is submitted to the secretary of this church shall be registered and seated by the Credentials Committee as a voting member from the synod. [ELCA Constitution 12.41.12]

Final decisions regarding a mask requirement will be made closer to the assembly time and the decision will be based on CDC and local health department guidelines.

Because voting members will be seated with their synod, physical distancing will be difficult. If you are unvaccinated, wearing a mask will be especially important in times when physical distancing is difficult.

We have learned a lot about best practices for COVID-19 safety measures at events, but we're still learning. We will use local, state, and federal public health guidelines to inform our decisions as they relate to necessary precautions needed to control the spread of COVID-19 onsite. Below are some important prevention measures you can take:

  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others who don't live with you.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Attendee and guest health and safety is the top priority of the ASM Global managed Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC). There are hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility, increased air filtration systems, UV light sanitizing on escalator rails, and more. The GCCC is committed to making sure that all of the attendees and guests are as safe and healthy as possible. The GCCC has developed a comprehensive and sustainable cleaning, training, and safety guide to lead their reactivation efforts and facility operation moving forward. The GCCC REACTIVATION AND SARS-CoV-2 MITIGATION PLAN has been crafted and informed by ASM's VenueShield® program. Click here for more information.

Yes. For this assembly only, due to the COVID pandemic, voting members will be provided a single occupancy room at no additional charge. During the online registration process, there will be an option for voting members to choose either a single occupancy room or a double occupancy room should they wish to share with someone. If you are comfortable sharing a room, we hope as a matter of good stewardship that you will select the option of a double room.

The two primary hotels will be the Hilton Columbus Downtown and the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

At this time, the Hilton Columbus asks that guests follow all local guidelines and laws with respect to wearing a mask in indoor public areas. Their Team Members will continue to wear face masks out of an abundance of caution. You can learn more at https://www.hilton.com/en/corporate/cleanstay/.

The Hyatt Regency Columbus currently implements enhanced cleaning measures as part of their COVID-19 special measures. Information on their special measures can be viewed at https://www.hyatt.com/info/coronavirus-statement.

Room reservations must be made when completing the online assembly registration process when we get closer to the assembly. Please do NOT contact hotels directly.

We are committed to honoring the churchwide organization Open Meetings policy and allowing visitors to attend in-person. However, we are encouraging visitors to watch the assembly proceedings via the livestream and participate in worship virtually. Not everyone who attends will be fully vaccinated and the Churchwide Assembly Planning Team acknowledges and respects that voting members will be at different levels of comfort with gathering in a large group. Several factors can contribute to the likelihood of attendees getting and spreading COVID-19 at large events. Visitors participating virtually is the safest choice, particularly for unvaccinated people.

If visitors do decide to attend in-person, they must either show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID–19 or provide upon arrival a negative COVID-19 test result taken 1–3 days prior to traveling to the assembly for unvaccinated individuals, in accordance with the guidance from public health officials.

If you have a question that hasn't been answered here, you may send it to the Churchwide Assembly Registrar at cwaregistrar@elca.org.