By Paula Schlueter Ross
ST. LOUIS (July 21, 2013) — Banging once, twice, three times with a historic gavel, LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison formally opened the first business session of the 65th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod on Sunday, July 21, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
The convention, which included an opening worship service on the evening of July 20, is meeting through July 25 at the America’s Center Convention Complex here under the theme “Baptized for This Moment.” Among the convention’s registered participants (as reported July 21) are 1,191 clergy and lay voting delegates.
Like every LCMS president since 1911, Harrison used the intricately carved gavel — bearing the likenesses of Martin Luther and C.F.W. Walther, the Synod’s first president — to mark the official opening of the convention, the church’s highest legislative body. Harrison was elected to his second three-year term as president prior to the convention.
The gavel is made from the wood of the first log cabin built in Perry County, Mo. — where German Lutherans settled in 1839. After the convention the gavel will be returned to its display at the Concordia Historical Institute museum at the LCMS International Center in St. Louis.
Over the next five days, convention delegates will hear official reports and guest greetings, pray together, elect national officers and vote on more than 100 resolutions prepared by Floor Committees on Witness, Mercy, Life Together, Theology and Church Relations, Seminary and University Education, Administration and Finance, and Structure and Ecclesiastical Matters.
Live streaming video from the convention is available at lcms.org/convention/live.