President, DPs get OK to call special convention

Delegates to the Synod’s 63rd Regular Convention said they “stand ready to serve” if President Gerald B. Kieschnick and two-thirds of the 35 district presidents decide that a special convention should be called to amend the Synod’s structure and governance.

Substitute Resolution 8-07, adopted by a vote of 793-325 July 19, directs the president to discuss the subject with the Council of Presidents within 90 days, after consulting with several other specific groups and individuals.

An original resolution 8-07, which delegates began debating earlier in the week, called for the special convention after district conventions are completed in 2009, as determined by the Synod president.  It would have amended the Bylaws to limit a special convention to the “specific stated purpose” and would have required a two-thirds vote to be adopted.

Because of its wording, the substitute proposal required only a majority vote. But Floor Committee Co-chair and Pacific Southwest District President Larry A. Stoterau moved that “in the spirit of working together,” the substitute resolution require a margin of two-thirds to adopt.

Before the vote, Kieschnick said he and others believed that it would be better for the 2007 convention delegates to deal with structure and governance, instead of a new group of delegates in 2010.

“The chair believes a sense of trust has been established during this assembly,” Kieschnick told the delegates.

The delegates voted their agreement that a two-thirds vote should be required to adopt the substitute resolution, which was originally offered by a delegate. After their voting, Kieschnick expressed his “deep appreciation” for the “charitable manner” in which the delegates addressed the topic.

Earlier in the week, Stoterau said “there is urgency about facing the issues.” Although he said that the cost of such an assembly, expected to last two to three days, is estimated at between $600,000 and $1 million, he stressed that the cost would not affect the mission and ministry of the Synod, nor would it affect the Synod’s doctrine.  He emphasized that many Synod leaders believe that action on restructuring and governance matters cannot wait until 2010.

The work of the current Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance was cited in the original resolution for a special convention.  It said the task force has identified “areas of overlap and duplication of responsibilities, declining resources from unrestricted funding, inequitable representation on elected boards and commissions, and other substantive issues.”

Two former Synod presidents — Dr. Ralph A. Bohlmann and Dr. Robert T. Kuhn, both members of the Synod’s Task Force on Structure — spoke in favor of such a special convention.

Also on July 19, delegates adopted Resolution 8-13, amending the Synod’s Bylaws to pave the way for a special convention.

Posted Aug. 3, 2007

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