Synod elects administration, Board of Directors

Delegates to the 63rd Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod July 15 elected Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick to his third three-year conv praesidiumterm as president of the 2.5 million-member church body. 

The convention also re-elected Dr. William Diekelman to his second term as Synod first vice president on the third ballot.

Other officers elected by the convention were:

Second vice president — Dr. Paul L. Maier, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Third vice president — Dr. John C. Wohlrabe Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.

Fourth vice president — Dr. Dean W. Nadasdy, Woodbury, Minn.

Fifth vice president — Dr. David D. Buegler, Avon, Ohio.

Vice president-finance/treasurer — Dr. Thomas Kuchta, Town and Country, Mo.

Secretary — Dr. Raymond Hartwig, St. Louis.

Board of Directors

Elected July 16 to six-year terms on the Synod’s Board of Directors were two ordained ministers, one commissioned minister, and four laypeople.

In the ordained category, on the second ballot, incumbent Dr. Robert T. Kuhn from Oveido, Fla., was returned to the Board, receiving 640 votes. The delegates also elected Dr. Donald K. Muchow of Buda, Texas, who previously served on the Board and holds membership in the Southeastern District. He received 629 votes.

Kurt M. Senske of Austin, Texas, was elected as the commissioned minister with 646 votes.

Laypeople included Kermit A. Brashear of Omaha, Neb., with 905 votes; Curtis W. Pohl, St. Michael, Minn., 804 votes; Gloria S. Edwards, Portula Valley, Calif., 710 votes; and Walter Brantz, Cody, Wyo., 683 votes. 

A Bylaw states that only one person can be elected to the Board from a particular district. Previous elections for the pastoral and commissioned candidates rendered ineligible a number of laypeople whose names appeared on the original ballot: Jeffrey C. Coyne, Edward A. Dollase, and Brad L. Hewitt.


Kieschnick, 64, was elected on the first ballot on the opening day of the convention, receiving 644 votes (52.3 percent).

Other nominees for the presidency were Dr. John C. Wohlrabe Jr., of Virginia Beach, Va., who received 514 votes (41.8 percent); Rev. Wallace R. Schulz of Augusta, Mo., 27 votes (2.2 percent); Rev. Daniel Preus, St. Louis, 23 votes (1.9 percent); and Dr. William R. Diekelman of Ballwin, Mo., 23 votes (1.9 percent).

In remarks following his re-election, Kieschnick acknowledged the support of the Council of Presidents; other officers of the Synod; and his family, including his wife, Terry, who joined him briefly on the podium. He also recognized Dr. Robert King, who served the Synod as a vice president for 21 years and decided not to stand for election this year.

First vice president

Diekelman, 60, was elected to his second term as first vice president on the third ballot. Other candidates for first vice president were Wohlrabe, Schulz, Preus, and Charles Mueller Jr. of Bloomingdale, Ill.

Diekelman previously served as pastor of Faith, Owasso, and as LCMS Oklahoma District president. He and his wife, Carol, have six children.

Other vice presidents

* Maier was re-elected as second vice president with 675 votes on the first ballot for vice presidents two through five.

Maier, 77, of Kalamazoo, Mich., is professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University. He previously served as second vice president (2004 to present) and as fourth vice president (2001-04). Maier has served
on the LCMS Commission on Church Literature and on the Board for Higher Education/ Concordia University System.

* On the second ballot, delegates elected Wohlrabe, 53, of Virginia Beach, Va., as third vice president with 685 votes.

Wohlrabe is a graduate of Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Mich., and received S.T.M. and Th.D. degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He has served as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy since 1987 and was assistant director of Concordia Historical Institute from 1986 to 1987.

* Nadasdy, 59, of Woodbury, Minn., was elected fourth vice president with 666 votes.

Nadasdy currently serves as the Synod’s third vice president. Since 2000, he has been pastor of Woodbury Lutheran Church. He was on the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, from 1997 to 2000. He served on the Task Force for the Reorganization of Synod (1993-95) and on the Board for Communication Services (2001-03). He also served the Minnesota South District in various capacities.

* Buegler, 60, of Avon, Ohio, was elected to his second term as fifth vice president with 593 votes. 

Since 2003, he has been executive director of the Cleveland Lutheran High School Association. He has served on the Board of Regents of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne (1989-96 and 2004-present) and on the Board of Directors of Lutheran Church Extension Fund (1998-2004). He was the LCMS Ohio District president from 1988 to 1996.

Vice president-finance/treasurer

Kuchta, 65, of St. Louis, was the only nominee to receive 100 percent of the votes cast — all 1,147—returning him to his position as vice president-finance/treasurer. Kuchta, who ran unopposed, is
completing his second three-year term in his current office. He also served on various synodical, district, and university committees and boards.


Hartwig,  61, of St. Louis, was returned to his office as secretary of the Synod during elections July 16.

Hartwig has served as Synod secretary for the last nine years. Previously, he was president of the LCMS South Dakota District for 10 years and also served as a parish pastor.

Hartwig received 708 (59.1 percent) of the votes cast. Rev. Philip J. Esala of Kettering, Ohio, received 425 votes (35.5 percent) and Rev. David L. Mahsman of St. Louis, Mo., received 64 votes (5.3 percent).

Posted Aug. 3, 2007

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