By Raymond L. Hartwig
For many members and church workers of LCMS congregations, the U.S. Mail will contain a communication from my office (Office of the [LCMS] Secretary) during the next five months that may be quite unexpected, or even a surprise. It will be related to the 2016 LCMS convention-nominations process.
It has become increasingly important to identify well-qualified candidates for Concordia University System (CUS) boards, given the challenges facing our Synod’s colleges and universities today. For this reason, the 2013 Synod convention adopted new bylaw paragraphs advocating that CUS board of directors members “should have demonstrated familiarity and support of the institutions” (Bylaw 220.127.116.11) and that CUS boards of regents members “should be knowledgeable regarding the region in which the institution is located” (Bylaw 18.104.22.168 7).
Both bylaws also expect candidates for board positions to have demonstrated familiarity and support for the doctrinal positions of the Synod, and they require that board members have two or more of the following qualifications: theological acumen, an advanced academic degree, experience in higher-education administration, administration of complex organizations, finance, law, investments, technology, human resources, facilities management, or fund development.
Each nomination for a CUS board position must also be reviewed by the secretary of the Synod and either the chief administrative officer of the Synod or the president of the Concordia University System, to verify that the nominee meets bylaw requirements.
Hence the surprise in the mail.
To make this required review possible, the surprise you may receive in your mail will be a questionnaire for you to fill out and return. You may have already received one of these questionnaires because you have already been nominated to a position on a Concordia University System board. In such a case, along with the usual response form from my office asking for biographical and reference information, you have received an additional “Supplemental Nominee Information Form for Concordia University System Board Positions.”
This form provides opportunity for you to inform the reviewers and the Committee for Convention Nominations of your familiarity with our Synod’s schools, your support for the Synod’s doctrinal positions and the particular qualifications you would bring to a CUS board position if elected.
And what if you are not nominated for a CUS board position, but you are nominated for a position on the Commission on Theology and Church Relations or the Synod Board of Directors or the board of a Synodwide corporate entity such as Lutheran Church Extension Fund or Concordia Publishing House? You, too, will receive a “Supplemental Nominee Information Form for Concordia University System Board Positions.”
The 2013 convention of the Synod decided to widen even further the search for qualified CUS board members. It adopted paragraph (f) of Bylaw 22.214.171.124, requiring that “a list of names from all who have been nominated for [other] Synod boards and commissions” who meet the qualifications for CUS board positions be generated — these names also to be available as nominees for CUS board positions and considered by the Committee for Convention Nominations. To create this list, the supplemental nominee information form is being sent to all such nominees. Those nominees for other board or commission positions who are willing to be considered for CUS board positions must fill out and return the form to be added to the list of potential candidates.
What if you are not nominated for a CUS board position or other board or commission position under the responsibilities of the Committee for Convention Nominations? You may still receive one of these surprises in the mail. The Commission on Constitutional Matters has ruled (Opinion 15-2768) that the above-mentioned requirement of Bylaw 126.96.36.199 (f) must also be applied to all who are nominated for regional board positions.
On or around Oct. 1, my office will be mailing out nominating ballots for regional Synod Board of Directors and mission-board positions (along with the president and vice-president nominating ballots). If you receive even one ballot nomination for one of these regional board positions, you also will receive in the mail a “Supplemental Nominee Information Form for Concordia University System Board Positions.”
If you receive the form and would be willing to be considered for a CUS board position, you will need to fill out and return the form. Your information will be reviewed and your name may be added to the list of potential candidates for CUS board positions that will be published in the Convention Workbook and thereby made available for floor nominations, should the convention so decide.
So, if you receive one of these forms from my office, know that you have been identified as someone who is thought to be qualified to hold an important elected position in our Synod. Your experience, gifts and abilities may qualify you for consideration for service on one of our CUS boards. Do give this “Supplemental Nominee Information Form for Concordia University System Board Positions” your prayerful attention.
The Rev. Dr. Raymond L. Hartwig (firstname.lastname@example.org) is secretary of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
Posted Aug. 27, 2015