With Barbara A. Below
With less than a year to go until the 2013 LCMS convention, there has already been a lot of work toward putting in place its basic structure.
The electronic voting system that will be used at the convention has been selected. We look forward to using this wireless system that is extremely accurate and easy to use. It includes features that will allow delegates to identify themselves as a “pro” or “con” speaker when they enter the speaker queue — adding to the efficiency of the convention’s business.
We have interviewed several parliamentarians and feel confident that we will select a certified, experienced convention parliamentarian who will serve from a position of neutrality and help assure that the right and fair process is followed — to allow delegates to be heard and further help the convention to proceed efficiently.
Traditionally, each convention gathers a national offering. The national offering — collected at the convention opening service — is designated in advance for a specific use or uses. Preliminary ideas for the 2013 convention offering have been suggested. President Harrison will discuss these suggestions with the Council of Presidents at its September meeting, after which a decision and announcement will be made regarding how we will move forward with the national offering.
Individuals and congregations are encouraged to participate in the national offering by sending a special offering along with their delegates to the convention (or via mail). Look forward to more communication and encouragement about ways to participate in the national offering. In the past, the national offering has raised between $388,000-$873,000. It is hoped that with widespread participation, we can raise much, much more for the Lord’s work in the LCMS.
During the next several months, the president will receive overtures for consideration by the convention. Overtures are recommendations in the form of proposed resolutions requesting action on the part of the convention. Overtures can be submitted by any of the following:
- a member congregation of the Synod;
- a district convention;
- a district board of directors;
- a district conference of ordained and/or commissioned ministers;
- the faculty of an educational institution of the Synod;
- the Board of Directors of the Synod;
- the board of directors of Concordia Publishing House;
- the board of directors of the Concordia University System;
- the board of directors of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund;
- the board of trustees, Concordia Plans;
- the board of trustees for the LCMS Foundation;
- the board of regents for each college, university and seminary of the Synod;
- the board of governors of Concordia Historical Institute;
- the LCMS Board for National Mission;
- the LCMS Board for International Mission;
- the LCMS Commission on Constitutional Matters;
- the LCMS Commission on Doctrinal Review;
- the LCMS Commission on Handbook;
- the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations;
- a circuit forum; and
- a committee established by a prior convention.
Overtures should be submitted to the president of the Synod as soon as they have been approved and signed by the appropriate authorities (refer to Bylaws 3.1.6 and 18.104.22.168). Because of printing timetable requirements, an early deadline of Feb. 1, 2013, is recommended for submission of overtures.
While all overtures submitted by the official March 2 deadline will be forwarded to floor committees of the convention, overtures that are submitted by the earlier date are more certain to be printed in the Convention Workbook.
No overture received after the official deadline of March 2, 2013, will be accepted for convention consideration, unless a committee of the Synod president, first vice-president and secretary determine it is of overriding importance and urgency, and not covered by other overtures already accepted.
When the president receives the overtures, it is his responsibility to determine if any overtures contain information that is materially in error or contains any apparent misrepresentation of truth or of character. Those with such errors will not be included in the Convention Workbook and will be referred back to the district president who has ecclesiastical supervision over the entity submitting the overture for action.
An electronic template is available at lcms.org/convention/overtures to facilitate submitting and processing overtures. While an electronic copy is helpful, printed copies with appropriate signatures are required.
The long list of groups that can submit overtures for convention consideration demonstrates how the business of the convention is a part of the living out of our life together. Certainly, this life together has many struggles, challenges and difficulties.
We pray that the Holy Spirit bless and guide the Synod over the next year leading up to convention — to focus on our life together in our fellowship rather than our divisions, our opportunities rather than our failures, our blessings rather than our disappointments. Through repentance and faith in Christ, we pray the blessing of God as we prepare for the convention and bear “with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2b-3).
Barbara A. Below is an assistant to the Synod president.
Posted Aug. 23, 2012