District convention input added to task force report

Responses from delegates at the 2009 LCMS district conventions will be used by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance to further refine its proposals for restructure prior to completing its final report, due in the Office of the President Oct. 15.

The document deals with relationships between congregations and districts, including consideration of the number of districts; relationships between congregations and the national Synod, including the number of boards and commissions and national staff; congregational representation at district and national conventions; and frequency and function of district and national conventions.  The final report will be presented to the 2010 Synod convention for action.

Following the election of convention delegates, Synod President Gerald B. Kieschnick will host nine regional delegate gatherings (formerly referred to as caucuses) to present the report for discussion.  District presidents will inform their district’s respective delegates about the specific locations and times of the gatherings they will attend.

The dates and cities of the gatherings are:

  • Dec. 4-5 — Denver
  • Dec. 11-12 — Detroit
  • Jan. 8-9, 2010 — Madison, Wis.
  • Jan. 15-16 — Minneapolis
  • Jan. 22-23 — Boston
  • Jan. 29-30 — Newport Beach, Calif.
  • Feb. 5-6 — Atlanta
  • Feb. 12-13 — Dallas
  • Feb. 19-20 — St. Louis

“The goal of the gatherings is to help the convention delegates gain an understanding of the major proposals of the task force report,” said Pacific Southwest President Larry A. Stoterau, member of the task force and chair of the floor committee on Synod Structure and Governance at the convention.  “The meetings will also provide an opportunity for delegates to ask questions and obtain clarification about the changes in the report.”

Following the gatherings, Stoterau says delegates will take the information obtained back to their circuits for additional discussion and dissemination.

After the report leaves the President’s Office, it will be posted on the task force’s Web site at www.lcms.org/lcmsfuture

The task force will be disbanded following its final report to the President’s Office. Stoterau said its members had many surprises during its four years of work.  “I think one surprise was that we found a real openness by the people of Synod to hear and listen to what we are trying to do, even though there is some criticism of the proposals.  We found great receptivity to our work.” 

Rev. Robert C. Greene, chairman of the task force, said he was surprised to find as much support for the recommendations as evidenced by the survey results.  “The task force was encouraged by the positive reception of all within the Synod — the laity, commissioned, clergy — for the proposals,” he told Reporter.  “When we identified areas of concern from the survey or from individual notes sent to us, we looked at those and carefully considered each in crafting the recommendations.”

The results from the 7,500 surveys taken at district conventions are posted on the task force Web site.  “We encourage everyone within the Synod to go to the site and review these results,” Greene said.

Stoterau gave members of the task force a grade of “A” for their “diligence and patience in really hearing what the church is saying,” and said that the final report will present to the church some “new and exciting opportunities, if the church is ready.”

The 64th Regular Convention of the Synod will be held July 10-17, 2010, in Houston, under the theme “One People — Forgiven.”

Posted Sept. 23, 2009

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