Board actions support schools, other ministries

The Synod’s Board of Directors approved resolutions and discussed matters supporting an array of ministries at its Feb. 14-16 meeting in St. Louis.

Actions on behalf of schools included approval of a $1.8 million grant to help Concordia College, Selma, Ala., recover from a financial setback and prepare for an upcoming reaccreditation visit; OK for construction of and financing for a new $17.5 million library/learning center at Concordia University, Portland, Ore.; endorsement of a new master plan for Concordia University Wisconsin; and appreciation for the ministry of Hong Kong International School.

The Board endorsed 24 projects proposed by the Corporate Synod Executives for the next fiscal year — projects made possible by $1.46 million of block-grant funding from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Also adopted were two communications-related resolutions. One calls for a study on the future of KFUO-AM and -FM — the Synod’s radio ministry, and the other for a review of Board for Communication Services responsibilities in light of Synod Bylaws, to aim toward achieving “more efficient and effective communication services for the Synod.”

The actions on KFUO and the review of Synod communications-related Bylaws came after the Board heard from three representatives of the LCMS Board for Communication Services: Chairman Dennis Clauss, board member John Bush, and BCS Executive Director David Strand.

Their presentation responded in part to a series of questions from the Board of Directors about the work of the communications board and how the Board of Directors can support it.

The grant for Concordia, Selma, will come from the Concordia University System Risk Endowment Fund, and earlier was endorsed by the LCMS Board for University Education and Board for Pastoral Education.

The BUE recommendation endorsed by the Board also includes a requirement for $700,000 in additional funds to be provided by the college, and conditions for its receiving and using the Risk Endowment and other funds.

Dr. Portia Shields, interim chief executive officer of the college since November, spoke to the Board of Directors about efforts to bring about improvements to campus facilities, student recruitment, administrative structure, business processes, financial aid procedures, and other areas — under the theme of “Turn the Beat Around.”

“The beat is turning around gradually,” Shields told the Board.  In November, the retired president of Albany State University in Albany, Ga., began work at Concordia–Selma, the country’s only historically Black Lutheran college.

Also addressing the Board to support Concordia–Selma’s request for assistance were BUE Executive Director Kurt Krueger, Chairman Elmer Gooding, and staff member Alan Borcherding, as well as LCMS Southern District President Kurtis Schultz.

Following its approval of the extra funding for the college, the Board of Directors adopted a resolution to “respectfully request” that Concordia–Selma’s Board of Regents appoint Dr. Victor Belton to fill a vacancy on that Board of Regents.

Belton, a member of the Board of Directors from Atlanta, also is a member of the Black Clergy Caucus of the LCMS, Inc.

Concerning Hong Kong International School (HKIS), the Board of Directors’ resolution of support came after a delegation from the Board and LCMS Board for Mission Services visited with school leaders in Hong Kong this past fall.

Those discussions centered on what Board Chairman Donald Muchow described as “misunderstandings” after a series of developments that began with school officials approaching the board more than a year ago for approval to move ahead with capital improvements it planned to make.

The resolution last month expresses the Board’s “thanks for the Christian charity in accepting our apology for our lack of timely response and for graciously hosting our delegation visit”; offers the Board’s “appreciation for HKIS’s collaborative efforts in Asian missions”; and “commits [the Board] to the continued development of a healthy and respectful partnership” with the school.

The Board also approved revised policies governing the Recognized Service Organization (RSO)-granting and -monitoring process; and also established an RSO Standing Committee to oversee those processes.

Among other actions, the Board of Directors:

  • approved a request of the Board for Mission Services to transfer a parcel of property to the Synod’s partner church in Venezuela, after rescinding a resolution it adopted in November concerning property there.

  • made several reappointments: of Ron Schultz as the Synod’s chief administrative officer; Thompson Coburn, LLP as legal counsel for the Synod; and Brown Smith Wallace LLC as independent auditors for the corporate Synod.

    The Board also approved reappointment of Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger as executive secretary of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), as requested by the ILC. Nafzger is executive director of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations, which also approved his reappointment to the ILC post at its Feb. 19-20 meeting.

  • thanked God and Dr. Paul Middeke for his years of service as president of Concordia Plan Services (CPS) and vice-president — finance/treasurer of the Synod.  Middeke retired March 3 after four-and-a half years in the CPS post. He was the Synod’s vice president — finance/treasurer from 1999 to 2001.

The Board heard several reports, including one from its three representatives to a joint “Committee on Concord,” on which three members of the LCMS Council of Presidents (COP) also serve.

That committee was appointed after the Board and COP met together in November to begin work on restoring harmony and trust in the Synod, a task assigned to them in a resolution adopted at the 2007 Synod convention.  That meeting resulted in identifying some 40 initial “discussion points.”

Members of the committee told the Board that the group is working to distill those points down to no more than 10 open-ended questions which it plans to pose for discussion at a number of regional meetings throughout the Synod, as it works on a report for the 2010 Synod convention.

“This is one of the most exciting things happening in our church,” Board Vice Chair Betty Duda — and a member of the six-person committee — told the Board.

The Board also heard an update on the Fan Into Flame campaign from Jeff Craig-Meyer and Leonard Fiedler, associate executive director and senior principal gift officer, respectively, with LCMS World Mission.

Craig-Meyer reported that, as of Feb. 15, pledges to the campaign totaled $28.5 million, with $12.97 million in cash received. 

Posted Feb. 28, 2

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