Delegates affirm dispute resolution process

 HOUSTON – Delegates to the 63rd Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod adopted a resolution that calls on Synod members to honor their commitment to utilize the Synod’s dispute-resolution process, quoted in its Bylaws, which says the process is “the exclusive and final remedy” to resolve disputes, conflicts, disagreements, or offenses within the Synod.

Resolution 8-02A was presented to the convention by the Floor Committee for Synod Structure and Governance. Delegates adopted it as presented, 665-341.
 “This resolution calls on us to honor Bylaws already in place,” said Rev. Dan P. Gilbert, LCMS Northern Illinois District president and committee co-chair.
The resolution cites 1 Cor. 6, noting “that brothers and sisters in the faith not enter into lawsuits against one another.”

The resolution referenced the Synod’s Bylaws, and noted a 2005 opinion of the Synod’s Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM). That opinion states that Synod members must resolve matters of dissent or disputes using the Constitution and Bylaws of the Synod “without resorting to secular courts and without resorting to avenues, means, structures, or communications that are foreign or contrary to the synodical agreements and which are not in harmony with the polity of the Synod.”

The CCM opinion stated that lawsuits are not a legitimate avenue of dissent and that a lawsuit “would be a gross violation” of the Synod’s Bylaws, unless the dispute concerns property rights or contract arrangements, as provided for in the Bylaws.

Following adoption of the resolution, Dr. Larry A. Stoterau, LCMS Pacific Southwest District president and committee co-chair, asked the delegates to respond to a series of questions aimed at assisting the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Structure and Governance.  The questions concerned Synod core values, Synod-District relationships, reporting relationships, suggestions for improvement, conventions matters, and election of delegates.

The theme of the convention, meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center, is “One Message – Christ! His Love is Here for You!”


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