Of 66 overtures submitted on higher education, Committee 5 has developed 25 resolutions for convention action. Topping the list is a resolution that would require the education of all professional church workers to include courses in evangelism, outreach strategies (especially for use by congregations and in urban areas) and contemporary U.S. culture.
Other overtures call for:
- creating separate governing boards for LCMS seminaries and colleges/universities;
- increasing the number of Synod-certified teachers;
- including directors of family-life education on the “ministers of religion-commissioned” roster;
- researching how the Council of Presidents can be involved in the certification of pastors;
- developing a “core curriculum” for district lay-training programs;
- requiring seminary professors to have at least five years of parish experience; and
- supporting continuing education for all church workers.
Several other resolutions propose changes in the structures of the schools’ boards of regents and in the Concordia University System Council of Members, and suggest various bylaw changes relating to higher education.
Noting that there are only 10 human-care overtures in the 2004 Convention Workbook, Committee 6 (Human Care) proposes 12 resolutions.
Its first-priority proposal asks the Synod convention to “call for repentance for any misplaced priorites” and to commend study of LCMS World Relief and Human Care’s document “Theology for Mercy.”
That proposed resolution also encourages congregations to be involved in appropriate “cooperation in externals” with others who address human need and challenges every congregation to conduct at least one “work of care” in its community.
Another resolution acknowledges the need for choices to make the health-care plan for church workers flexible, asks the Board of Managers of the Synod’s Worker Benefit Plans to make “reasonable health-care coverage a high priority,” and calls on parish boards to adopt compensation policies that reflect the high priority Scripture places on church workers.
The floor committee proposes other resolutions:
- asking individuals and groups to identify and make contributions to help “Veterans of the Cross” — retired church workers under the old Pension Plan for Pastors and Teachers;
- commending and asking support for Lutherans For Life;
- encouraging congregations to adopt “suitable guidelines” for safe environments for the interaction of church workers and children;
- urging the church to petition government offices to continue funding refugee-resettlement efforts and asking congregations to seek information and help for resettling at least one refugee family “as soon as possible”;
- promoting health-and-healing ministries at all levels of the church;
- encouraging congregations to start and to support pregnancy-care centers;
- calling on the Board for Human Care Ministries to review birth-control products; and
- supporting quilting ministry, which provides hundreds of thousands of quilts each year for Lutheran World Relief to distribute among those in need.
Structure, Planning and Administration
With 121 overtures to sort through, Committee 7, for Structure, Planning and Administration, may have had the toughest floor-committee assignment of all.
Most of the 20 resolutions prepared by the committee involve bylaw or structure changes or “reaffirmations” of existing bylaws or administrative structures. A number of the resolutions are aimed at clarifying the responsibilities of the Synod’s Board of Directors and other officers, and reaffirming the role of the Commission on Constitutional Matters.
Committee 7 resolutions that ask for bylaw changes address topics such as:
- elections of Board of Directors members;
- Board and officer responsibilities;
- adoption of the revised Synod Handbook;
- indemnification of directors and officers;
- district membership of recognized service organization employees;
- selection of convention floor committees;
- equalizing tenures on the Board for Black Ministry Services;
- removal of boards of regents members;
- appointments by the Board of Directors;
- filling board and commission vacancies; and
Resolutions that pertain to the Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM) reaffirm the function of the CCM and the selection of its members, and ask that the CCM publish all of its opinions.
- address concerns regarding the “advisory nature” of the Synod.
- authorize the appointment of a special Blue Ribbon Committee to study and make recommendations regarding delegate representation at future conventions.
- clarify “interim appointments” and review the appointment process.
- ask Synod members to continue to “use the Holy Scriptures in our dealings with one another” and “follow the Constitution and Bylaws of the Synod.”
- ask all Synod officers, officials and employees to “reaffirm and recommit themselves to the rules of confidentiality and due process.”
Ecclesiastical Supervision and Dispute Resolution
Floor Committee 8 is recommending only five resolutions. But its top-ranked proposal, “To Amend Bylaws on Ecclesiastical Supervision and Dispute Resolution,” at 26 pages in draft form, is the lengthiest offered by any floor committee.
The resolution recommends additions and clarifications to the Bylaws regarding ecclesiastical supervision and the procedures for considering the expulsion of a congregation or individual (including Synod officers) from LCMS membership.
The committee said that before forming the resolution, it considered “all related overtures” and the report of a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Ecclesiastical Supervision and Dispute Resolution appointed last year by Synod President Gerald Kieschnick.
Another proposed resolution affirms “the work and opinions” of the Commission on Constitutional Matters in the last three years regarding ecclesiastical supervision.
- thank God “for providing resources and guidance” during such tragedies as occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.
- ask the convention “to reaffirm the need for charity in our life together.”