calendar August 13, 2022 in Communications

ELCA elects Siddiqui as vice president

Imran Siddiqui, a senior investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor, was elected vice president of the ELCA on Thursday, Aug. 11, becoming the first Asian American elected to the national post. His six-year term will begin Nov. 1, replacing interim Vice President Carlos Peña, who himself took on the role after the unexpected passing of Bill Horne in 2021. Siddiqui was elected on the fifth ballot during the Churchwide Assembly in Columbus, Ohio.

The vice president is the highest-ranking lay leader of the denomination, overseeing the ELCA Church Council and serving as one of four leaders of the church. The first-generation American currently serves as vice president of the Southeastern Synod, representing Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Siddiqui initially said of his election. “When I first thought about this and I put my name in, I was thinking, ‘Well, you know, on the pre-identification form there will probably be 50 or 60 people doing it,’ and it came out that there were 13. And I thought there’s a good chance I’m going to be in the top seven, and that’s as far as I thought.”

Fifty-six candidates appeared on the first ballot, which was composed of the initial 13 nominees prior to the Churchwide Assembly and the 43 who were nominated during the first day.

The voting process began Tuesday morning during the first plenary session. Each voting session began with a Taizé-like hymn sung a capella followed by a prayer for God’s guidance for deciding who will be the next lay leader of the church. Voting members nominated all the candidates, including those who filled out the nomination forms prior to the assembly, during the first ballot. Tracey Beasley, a member of Reformation Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, received the most votes on the first ballot, with 135 votes. Before the second ballot 25 people removed their name from consideration.

After the second ballot, the seven remaining candidates were Beasley, Imran Siddiqui, Roberto Lara Aranda, Carla Borchardt, John Auger, Paul Archer and Clarance Smith. The seven addressed the voting members on Wednesday afternoon preceding the third ballot, where the threshold to win election dropped from 75% to a two-thirds majority.


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