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.
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.
Voting members and advisory members who indicated in online registration that they will be driving will receive their mileage reimbursement directly onto their American Express per-diem card, which will be mailed to all voting members and advisory members in late July. To receive this reimbursement at the assembly, you will need to bring to the Cashiers Desk in the registration area all original receipts such as toll receipts as well as a print-out of the route you drove from your home to Columbus with mileage indicated. The documentation needs to be handed in prior to the end of the assembly. Churchwide staff will then add the appropriate funds to your Amex Go card up to a maximum of $400.
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.
If you are assigned to the Hyatt Hotel or the Sonesta, please park in the South Garage, 50 E Nationwide Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43215, which is attached to the Hyatt.
If you are assigned to the Hilton Hotel, please park at the Vine Street Garage, 45 Vine Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Validations will be provided for overnight guests.
Please, follow the below instructions to receive the discounted rate.
The standard Special Event rate of $15.00 will apply to transient tickets. This rate is valid from the time the ticket is pulled until 6 am the following morning and represents a 25% discount from the Daily Maximum rate. After 6 am, additional hourly rates will begin to accrue.
Voting members and advisory members will have their meals paid for by the ELCA during the Churchwide Assembly. Voting members and advisory members will receive an American Express per-diem card (in the mail to their home address). This per-diem card is for the purpose of purchasing meals not provided by the assembly when the voting members and advisory members are traveling to the assembly and for breakfast while in Columbus. The cards will be mailed directly to the voting members and advisory members around July 18. Voting members and advisory members should look for a welcome email from American Express (in early July) and a follow up email (after the cards are mailed about July 18) with their enrollment code to set up their Amex Go mobile app to track their spending if they choose to use that feature.
All other meals for voting members and advisory members will be provided and paid for by the ELCA during the Churchwide Assembly. Those meals are Monday, Aug. 8 dinner, Tuesday, Aug. 9 lunch, Tuesday, Aug. 9 dinner, Wednesday, Aug. 10 lunch, Wednesday, Aug. 10 heavy hors d'oeuvres dinner, and Thursday, Aug. 11 lunch.
For youth and young adult voting members, all youth and young adult voting members will be housed in the Sonesta Hotel as the Youth and Young Adult Hospitality Team is keeping them together as voting members. Those voting members will receive a per-diem card with a reduced amount to use while traveling as the Youth and Young Adult Hospitality Team will use funds to pay for the breakfast and snacks provided for the Youth and Young Adult voting members during the assembly.
For all other assembly attendees, meal tickets will be distributed on-site at registration for any purchased meals, dietary request, or special meals. Meal tickets will not be available for purchase on-site as all meal counts are due to the caterer prior to the start of the assembly.
Online visitor registration is closed. Visitor registration is allowed on-site at Columbus. 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.
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.
The ELCA will reimburse some expenses for voting members and advisory members. Please be considerate of the costs of any expenses for which you are requesting reimbursement as we steward together the resources that are given by ELCA members.
Voting members and advisory members who indicated in the online registration that they would be driving will receive reimbursement for their mileage directly onto the American Express per-diem card, which will be mailed to all voting members and advisory members in late July. To receive this reimbursement at the assembly, you will need to bring all original receipts such as tolls, a print-out of the mileage you drove from your home to Columbus. The documentation needs to be handed in to the Cashiers Desk in the registration area prior to the end of the assembly. Churchwide staff will then add the appropriate funds to your Amex Go card.
Voting members and advisory members who indicated they would be flying can receive reimbursement for any mileage to and from the airport, baggage costs for one piece of luggage, taxi, Uber, or Lyft fees for travel to the airport from your home or any airport parking fees for long term parking of your vehicle. All original receipts and a print-out of the mileage you drove from home to the airport needs to be handed in to the Cashiers Desk in the registration area prior to the end of the assembly. Churchwide staff will then add the appropriate funds to your Amex Go card.
Churchwide staff would like to include as much reimbursement to voting members and advisory members as possible before the card is deactivated. Voting members and advisory members can use the card until it is deactivated on Sept. 30, 2022.
Expense report forms will be available at the assembly registration desk and on the CWA Guide for voting and advisory members that did not submit these expenses at the assembly for reimbursement prior to August 12. Completed forms and original receipts must be itemized and submitted by Sept. 12, 2022, to the CWA registrar at email@example.com.
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]
Yes. A masking policy will allow us to continue forward with meeting in August in the safest way, keeping everyone’s health and safety as a top priority. N95, KN95, KF94 or medical procedure (surgical) masks must be worn while inside the convention center and attending worship. Exceptions will be made for those speaking at a microphone so that listeners with hearing impairments will be able to lip-read. Surgical masks will be provided to all attendees.
All participants planning to attend the Churchwide Assembly are strongly encouraged to take a self-administered rapid test, regardless of vaccination status, as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than three days). If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home, email firstname.lastname@example.org and contact your synod to let the staff know you won't be attending. Please remember to cancel your travel arrangements.
While daily testing is not a requirement at the Churchwide Assembly, it is strongly recommended. The churchwide organization will include multiple self-tests in the welcome tote bags for everyone to test themselves each morning of the four-day assembly.
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.
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 email@example.com.