By Joe Isenhower Jr.
ST. LOUIS — The Synod Board of Directors took several actions and heard numerous reports during its Aug. 25-26 meeting here.
Among actions, the Board:
- appointed Andrea Pitkus of Buffalo Grove, Ill., to fill a lay vacancy on the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations.
- adopted revisions to its policies that reflect changes to the Synod’s system of governance adopted by the 2010 Synod convention.
- approved changes to the articles of incorporation of the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation, subject to the LCMS Commission on Constitutional Matters’ review and recommendations.
- approved clarifying the primary role of its property evaluation committee as listing all assets of the national Synod, evaluating the stewardship of those assets, and reporting back to the Board.
- approved a request from Concordia University, Irvine, Calif., to refinance two series of bonds into a single bond issue.
- designated $28,431 generated by the 2010 National LCMS Youth Gathering from “excess of revenue over expenses” to be used for future national Gatherings.
LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison reported on some 30 different meetings, activities and visits he has made since the Board’s last meeting in May.
Synod Chief Financial Officer Jerald C. Wulf wrote for the Board docket that he was “pleased to report” to the Board that at the June 30 end of the 2010-11 Synod fiscal year, “unrestricted net assets [of the national Synod] increased by over $3.6 million compared to the balance at the end of the previous fiscal year. However, $2.9 million of the increase was generated by bequests that were unrestricted. This is essentially one-time money.”
After the Board meeting, Wulf confirmed for Reporter that the Synod finished the last fiscal year “in the black.” (For a complete story about this, click here).
Also during the meeting, Wulf reviewed for the Board the “disposition” of three recommendations of the Funding the Mission Task Force that reported to the 2007 Synod convention.
Synod Secretary Rev. Dr. Raymond L. Hartwig gave a status report on resolutions adopted by the 2010 Synod convention that relate to the Board of Directors.
And LCMS First Vice-President Rev. Herbert C. Mueller gave an update on the Synod’s “Koinonia Project” aimed at enhancing “life together” in the church body.
Several representatives of Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich., addressed the Board, noting a number of developments for that CUS school. They include a new strategic alliance with Concordia University Wisconsin to enhance the Ann Arbor school’s educational offerings and student life, as well as several capital improvements on the campus.
Synod Chief Administrative Officer Ron Schultz and Aileen Sandoval, former director of special projects for the Synod, gave an overview summary of the status of the Synod’s new “Cross Connect” constituent-relationship management software system. Sandoval reminded the Board that Cross Connect’s mission is “to implement new business processes and supporting technologies that will enhance the LCMS and its ministries … to expand and optimize the mission of making known the love of Christ.”
The Rev. Michael L. Kumm, who is serving as interim general manager of the Synod’s KFUO Radio in St. Louis, reported to the Board about a number of improvements and operations efficiencies that have been put into effect and are planned for the ministry. Kumm is a member of the LCMS Board of Directors.
Val Rhoden-Kimbrough, executive director of Human Resources for the Synod, provided an update on the restructuring efforts that have been taking place at the Synod International Center.
As Harrison explained in his written report for the Board meeting, that restructure is entering its second phase, “to move the process forward in optimizing organizational design, re-establishing connections between departments and units across the organization, and establishing baseline measurements.”
Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) President Rich Robertson and Wayne Price, interim president of the LCMS Foundation, provided a progress report on activities and findings of their “senior leadership teams” concerning the Board of Directors action in May that LCEF and the Foundation consider “opportunity for consolidation or other efficiencies of operations.”
In their written report for the Board, they pointed out several regulatory, financial-statement and liability concerns “that create significant obstacles to a potential merger.”
Robertson and Price also said the joint leadership team reviewed several areas of existing cooperation and explored other ways the two entities might cooperate in the future.
The Board also heard a status report from representatives of the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg and devoted time to discussion with representatives of the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation, who spoke about the corporation’s work and provided information about the proposed changes to its articles of incorporation.
Posted Sept. 22, 2011