Statements

FAQs regarding CCM Opinion 14-2724 on Bylaw 3.8.3

Comments (2)
  1. Mark R. Pflug says:

    This Council ruling report/faq says nothing of the current dilemma caused of the new requirement that missionary spouses must complete full deaconess academic requirements in order that their husbands can continue their foreign missionary calling and status.

    That ruling appears to be an unnecessary disruptive and detrimental force in driving men out of their fields or forcing them to secure support outside of synod’s foreign administration in order to continue their calling.

    If there has been a public response to that concern I missed it.

    What’s the deal?

  2. Dan Lorenz says:

    As a former member of the CCM, I am saddened by this opinion. As a lay person, I am not allowed to request reconsideration of this opinion. I believe, however, that a number of districts, including my own, are considering efforts to overturn the opinion., including its overture 1-02:

    OVERTURE 1-02
    OVERTURE TO OVERRULE CCM OPINION 14-2724
    WHEREAS, CCM Opinion 14-2724 indicates that 1981 Res. 1-05A “instructed that districts consult [for coordination, not for permission] with the Board for Missions before directly funding a synodical overseas mission”, it clearly means that districts can directly fund synodical overseas missions, but when they do they must consult [for coordination, not for permission] with the Board for Missions; and
    WHEREAS, when CCM Opinion 14-2724 indicates that the 1981 Convention “greatly expanded the bylaw section governing the Board for Mission Services” which resulted in newly adopted Bylaw 2.213 requiring the Board for Mission Services to “formulate, recommend, review, and supervise the mission policies of the Synod [“Synod” defined in Bylaw 1.2.1(u) as referring collectively to the association of self-governing Lutheran congregations and all its agencies, and not including individual members, congregations, auxiliaries nor recognized service organizations], recommend and monitor budgets, review organizational effectiveness, and provide for an aggressive and united mission effort for the Synod” it clearly means that other agencies of the Synod connected to the Synod may have their own foreign mission efforts, but such agencies should inform and consult with the Board for Mission Services about their efforts to the end that there will be a “united mission effort for the Synod,” and such bylaw does not address at all the mission efforts of congregations, auxiliaries and recognized service organizations; and
    WHEREAS, when CCM Opinion 14-2724 indicates that the 1981 convention expanded the role of the Board for Mission Services, requiring the Board for Mission Services to “call, appoint, assign, withdraw, and release missionaries (pastors and teachers) and other workers for the ministries and areas within its direct responsibility (emphasis added),” it clearly means that other agencies of the Synod may have their own foreign mission efforts within their own direct responsibility (emphasis added), and such bylaw does not address at all the mission efforts of congregations, auxiliaries and recognized service organizations; and
    WHEREAS, CCM Opinion 14-2724 refers to 1983 Res. 5-37, resulting in the adding of a new paragraph “c” into the bylaw instructing that the mission board “serve as the only sending agency through which districts and other entities send at their expense workers to the mission areas of the Synod,” but 1983 Res. 5-37 may be unconstitutional (Cf. Articles III, VI and VII and XII), the constitutionality of which can be better determined by a thorough Synod-wide study of the Constitution (Cf. 42 2010 Convention Res. 8-32B, “To Study Article VII of Synod’s Constitution”); and
    WHEREAS Opinion 14-2724 concludes “that for the sake of good order and 6 – 4
    effectiveness, the Board for International Mission is to serve as the Synod’s only sending agency through which workers and funds are sent to the foreign mission areas of the Synod” but it does not include the words from 1981 Handbook Bylaw 2.213, to “call, appoint, assign, withdraw, and release missionaries (pastors and teachers) and other workers for the ministries and areas within its direct responsibility, always safeguarding the rights of the partner churches and workers involved” (emphasis added), which language limits the authority of the Board for Missions for the mission workers within its direct responsibility; and
    WHEREAS, CCM Opinion 14-2724 refers to the 2013 Res. 1-08, “To Work Together in Mission,” indicating a two-fold response: “Resolved, That the Synod, by the next convention, develop and provide a mission best-practices policy document for districts and congregations engaged in mission projects to assist them to better carry out their mission and their life together” which indicates that districts and congregations have and are recognized to have mission work and practices of their own, and that because they have their own mission work and practices that the Synod should assist and support those efforts by developing a best-practices policy; and second “that these best practices include encouragement to districts and congregations to communicate their mission activities to the Synod’s Director of Church Relations and Offices of National and International Mission for the purposes of healthy coordination and stewardship (underlined portions indicate emphasis added),” and
    WHEREAS, CCM Opinion 14-2724 develops and applies a definition not heretofore approved by the Synod for “foreign area” by using a portion of a definition from the American Collegiate Dictionary, namely as “located away from one’s native country”; and WHEREAS, CCM Opinion 14-2724 Section C. Congregations and Foreign Missions, referring to the Task Force II Report to the 1981 Synod Convention indicates “two basic functions guiding the Synod in its restructuring at that time,” both of which indicate the Synod has no “control” over congregations (in this area the Synod is not hierarchical, but congregational in polity), first “In support of the congregation,” where the Synod is to “help” the congregations and “assist” the congregations in their mission and ministry,” and second “In behalf of congregations,” where the Synod serves “in behalf of the congregations by enabling congregations to do together that which individual congregations could not do by themselves or could not do very well, such as foreign mission work and the training of pastors and teachers at colleges and seminaries,” and which clearly indicates (“could not do very well”) that congregations can and are free to do foreign mission work, albeit perhaps not as well as when assisted by the Synod; and WHEREAS, CCM Opinion 14-2724 continues with the two basic functions being “closely reflected in paragraphs (a) and (b) of current Bylaw 1.1.1 (2013 Handbook, p. 23): (a) The Synod functions in support of its member congregations by providing assistance as congregations conduct their ministries locally, as well as their ministries at large and (b) The Synod on behalf of its member congregations 6 – 5
    administers those ministries that can be accomplished more effectively in association with other member congregations through the Synod. In this way member congregations utilize the Synod to assist them in carrying out their functions (underlined portions indicate emphasis added) of worship, witness, teaching and nurture, service and support,” which in no way indicates the Synod has the authority to control the congregations; and
    WHEREAS, CCM Opinion 14-2724 then refers to Constitution Art. VII, drawing its own conclusions in regard to it, which interpretation would be better conducted only after the Synod has studied Article VII as 2010 Res. 8-32B, “To Study Article VII of Synod’s Constitution,” calls upon the Synod to do; and
    WHEREAS, in regard to Auxiliaries and Foreign Missions, CCM Opinion 14-2724 correctly uses the bylaw words that auxiliaries are required to “operate with freedom and self-determination as a ministry…while complying with the responsibilities outlined (Bylaw 6.1.2 [c]),” then lists those responsibilities as “coordinat[ing] plans and programs with those of the Synod through regular sharing and contact” (Bylaw 6.1.2 [d], to “report annually to the President of the Synod, provide an annual program report to the Synod, keep the Synod advised of any new program under consideration, honor and uphold the doctrine and practice of the Synod, and, while operating with freedom and self-determination in their mission independent of control by the Synod, respect protocol documents that exist between the Synod and her partner churches (Bylaw 6.1.3)” (underlined portions indicate emphasis added), in no way gives the Synod control as it indeed denies control on the part of the Synod, and
    WHEREAS, in regard to Recognized Service Organizations and Foreign Missions, CCM Opinion 14-2724 correctly indicates “Therefore Bylaw 3.8.3 does not apply to recognized service organizations,” but it wrongly adds “per se” after that phrase, for Bylaw 3.8.3 simply does not apply to recognized service organizations, regardless of any other bylaw wording that the CCM might wrongly conclude in regard to the Board of International Mission (a policy-making board in regard to congregations, districts, auxiliaries, and recognized service organizations, as well as to colleges, universities and seminaries, even though Opinion 14-2724 does not refer to colleges, universities and seminaries) or the Office of International Mission, for neither the Board or the Office of International Mission is given any “control” 36 over these entities connected to the Synod; therefore be it
    RESOLVED, That the Synod overrules CCM Opinion 14-2724 and declares it null and void; and be it finally
    RESOLVED, That the Northwest District memorialize the Synod the adoption of this Overture.