At the LCMS Minnesota North District convention, meeting April 16-18 in Alexandria, Minn., delegates re-elected on the first ballot the Rev. Dr. Donald J. Fondow of Park Rapids, Minn., as district president.
Fondow, 58, was re-elected to his fourth three-year term.
Delegates also re-elected three vice-presidents; heard presentations from Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, Lutheran Hour Speaker Rev. Greg Seltz and LCMS Executive Director of Pastoral Education Rev. Dr. Glen Thomas; welcomed two special guests from The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia; and took action on 36 resolutions.
Vice-presidents re-elected were:
- the Rev. Paul E. Cloeter, senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Sauk Rapids, Minn., first vice-president.
- the Rev. Kirk E. Lee, senior pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Parkers Prairie, Minn., second vice-president.
- the Rev. Dan C. Abrahams, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Dent, Minn., third vice-president.
District officers were installed during the convention, which met at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria.
Delegates unanimously adopted two separate resolutions affirming the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life.
One of those urges members of district congregations to support a proposed Marriage Protection Amendment coming to a statewide public vote on Nov. 6. That amendment to the Minnesota constitution defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The other resolution memorializes the 2013 Synod convention to direct Concordia Plan Services (CPS) to reimburse enrolled church workers for the funeral expenses of their children who die before birth. Delegates speaking for the resolution stated that it speaks for the pro-life, sanctity of life stance of the Synod.
Other significant resolutions adopted by Minnesota North delegates:
- approve “Project 24” — a partnership initiative with the LCMS North Dakota District that aims to build 24 “rescue centers” in Kenya to serve orphaned children. North Dakota convention delegates also approved the project at that district’s convention in January.
- memorialize the 2013 Synod convention to adopt a resolution calling for use of the term “closed communion” in all Synod publications.
- encourage harmony in worship throughout the district by urging congregations to “offer public worship services exclusively according to the rites and services of the Synod’s hymnbooks, agenda and other worship resources prepared or approved by the Synod’s Commission on Worship,” as stated in the action.
- authorize the district to continue to call two full-time mission and ministry facilitators.
As stated in the Minnesota North convention’s April 16 online daily digest, “the primary goal of each rescue mission is to bring the Gospel to the children and to provide hope, love and mercy, while providing an elementary education and meeting their daily physical needs of food, clothing and shelter.” The resolution encourages Minnesota North District congregations to hold a “Project 24 Sunday” each year for the next three years to raise funds for building the rescue centers.
“One of the arguments for this resolution was that the opposite of ‘closed’ is ‘open’ and hence ‘closed’ accurately expresses our practice,” the digest states. “One of the counter points was that the word ‘closed’ may have a negative impact on a person before they have had a chance to consider why the LCMS practices this doctrine. This resolution elicited a tremendous amount of debate, but passed by a significant margin.”
The online digest notes that similar resolutions “have been defeated or tabled at previous conventions.”
This resolution reportedly drew considerable debate. Those speaking against it, according to the digest, “were concerned with costs and the stewardship of district funds. Pro speakers addressed the need of two facilitators to accomplish the necessary work of the district.”
Posted April 20, 2012