By Joe Isenhower Jr.
ST. LOUIS (July 25, 2013) — Passing three resolutions from the Floor Committee on Administration and Finance, the 65th Regular Convention of the The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod ended its business this morning.
“We stand between you and going home,” Committee Chairman Rev. John Wille told the assembly as the committee came to the dais to offer resolutions.
The convention met July 20-25 at the America’s Center Convention Complex under the theme “Baptized for This Moment.” Among convention participants were some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.
The Administration and Finance committee originally intended to offer just two resolutions today.
Resolution 6-19, “To Amend Bylaw 126.96.36.199 (g), Ranking of Regional LCMS Vice-Presidents of Synod,” was adopted by a margin of 54.5 percent.
“This was one of the tightest votes yet,” Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison observed as the vote flashed on the big screens.
The change now ranks for future conventions the Synod’s second through sixth vice-presidents with individual simple-majority convention action, rather than the previous ranking system — used for the first time at this convention —that ranked them based on the number of votes each man received in the balloting for second vice-president.
Resolution 6-20, “To Amend Floor Nomination Process,” passed by a 90.2 percent majority vote.
As an amendment to Synod Bylaw 188.8.131.52, the words “and shall be voted on individually without discussion” are now added to the process for dealing with Synod-convention floor nominations.
During discussion of the resolution, Dr. Gerhard H. Mundinger, a lay voting delegate from the LCMS Southern District, noted that the proposed action “would [enhance] the smooth polity of the Synod convention.”
When Wille announced the conclusion of his committee’s business, the Rev. Ryan Wendt, a pastoral delegate from the Montana District, moved that the convention reintroduce Resolution 6-16A, “To Encourage Conversation and Education About Commission on Constitutional Matters [CCM] Opinions.”
That resolution first came to the convention floor July 23, but the committee’s time ran out before a vote was possible.
The proposal notes that “the binding nature of Commission on Constitutional Matters opinions has caused controversy”; the Synod president, Council of Presidents [COP] and the CCM itself “acknowledge a need for greater mutual communication and understanding” and that “there is confusion about how members of the Synod may inquire of the [CCM].”
It resolves that the Synod president, the COP and the CCM meet at least once a year “to discuss matters pertinent to [CCM] opinions”; that “the president convene the [CCM], the Commission on Handbook and representatives of the [COP] to discuss making the [CCM] a more integrated servant of Synod, to offer suggested Bylaw changes to the next convention”; that the CCM provide resources about its work and processes; and that the COP and the CCM work together “to equip circuit counselors [now circuit visitors, by this convention’s action] to be resources for those wishing to inquire of” the CCM.
Prior to the vote adopting the resolution by a margin of 80.5 percent, Wille told the assembly, “most delegates don’t know that the CCM is aware of the frustrations we deal with. They’re committed to this resolution.”
As the committee left the stage, Harrison leaned into the mic and said, “I want to make it clear to all delegates that we have dispensed with all the resolutions of this convention.”