HOUSTON—The convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has charged its Board of Directors to appoint a task force to research efficiencies that can be achieved through cooperative interaction between the 12 LCMS colleges, universities and seminaries.
The action, (Res. 4-04A), notes the rising costs and limited resources for higher education. It charges the task force “to research the efficiency of cooperative interaction for the fiscal strength of the LCMS system of colleges, universities and seminaries” and make recommendations that can be immediately implemented. Any recommendations that require convention action are to be brought to the 2013 convention.
The action was taken July 14 by the Synod’s 64th Regular Convention, meeting July 10-17 at the George R. Brown Convention Center under the theme “ONE People–Forgiven.”
Brought by the Floor Committee on Administration and Finance (Committee 4), the resolution specifies an 11-member task force with qualifications in higher education and finance. Membership is to include two from the Board, persons from the institutions and from the Synod-at-large.
Delegates also adopted a resolution “to address student indebtedness,” (Res. 4-17), encouraging individuals, groups and congregations to increase their support for the colleges, universities and seminaries “with prayers, referrals of prospective students and financial gifts.” The resolution calls on the institutions to require all students enrolled in church-work programs to receive instruction in biblical stewardship “to increase their ability to manage their personal finances wisely.”
As rationale, the resolution notes that 74 percent of seminary students and 75 percent of Concordia University System students graduate with educational debt. “Carrying large amounts of education debt while receiving a modest salary results in stress for the church worker, which negatively impacts his/her family, health and service,” it states.
The convention also adopted five resolutions involving bylaw changes:
- “To amend Bylaw 3.1.7 regarding convention committees,” (Res. 4-09), as amended, specifies that convention floor committees shall be appointed by the Synod president in consultation with the Council of Presidents and the praesidium (the president and five vice-presidents of the Synod). Previously the bylaw said the president appointed floor committees in the name of the convention. In response to a question from the floor, the floor-committee chairman, Rev. Donald Fondow, president of the Minnesota North District, noted that the bylaw says “consultation, not concurrence.”
- “To return LCEF Bylaw 126.96.36.199 to pre-2004 wording,” (Res. 4-10), which says that district church extension board or committees independent of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund shall be administered “in conformity with policies established by the Synod’s Board for Church Extension and in accordance with district regulations.”
- “To provide definition for term ‘operating board,’” (Res. 4-11), as amended, defines an operating board as “The Board of Directors and mission boards of the Synod, the Board of Directors of Concordia Plan Services and the governing boards of the synodwide corporate entities.” The bylaw provides an official definition for current and future use in the Synod.
- “To change auxiliary terminology,” (Res. 4:13), changes the word “president” to “chief elected officer” in bylaws dealing with auxiliary organizations. The change anticipates a potential change in the International Lutheran Layman’s League title for its chief elected officer.
- “To amend Bylaw 1.5.3 regarding agency meeting,” (Res. 4-14), gives agencies flexibility to select a meeting manner consistent with Board of Directors policy, ability to accomplish the agency’s mission, consideration of open exchange of ideas, availability of technology, stewardship of resources, fairness, controversial nature of agenda items and whether secret ballots will be used. Previously, some bylaws required or implied that agencies meet face-to-face.
Posted July 14, 2010