By Megan K. Mertz
MILWAUKEE (July 13, 2016) — Floor Committee 11 on Structure and Administration brought 15 resolutions before delegates to the 66th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod on Wednesday afternoon. All but one of these resolutions were adopted.
According to the Rev. Terry Cripe, Floor Committee 11 chairman and president of the LCMS Ohio District, the resolutions adopted are important, even though they are “very mundane compared to other floor committees.”
“It’s like the inside of a car,” he continued. “You’ve got to have the mechanics working right. It’s not the most glamorous thing, but there are things that need to happen so that we can continue to function smoothly.”
14 resolutions adopted
To accomplish its business in a more efficient manner, the committee recommended that eight of its resolutions be bundled together. These resolutions, which passed by a 923-32 vote, will:
- streamline the process of certification and verification of delegates to a district convention by allowing delegates to present the proper paperwork “either by mailing them to the district office at a date determined by the district or by presenting them to the district secretary at the opening of the convention” (Res. 11-04B).
- amend the bylaws regarding district administration and electoral circuit requirements. These changes would “strengthen requirements for congregations’ submission of annual statistical information,” “restore the day-prior requirement for submission of names of circuit visitor nominees,” and amend Bylaws 3.1.2 and 5.3.3 to “provide clarity for distinguishing between visitation circuits and electoral circuits” (Res. 11-08A).
- “Clarify Convention Matters” by designating the Synod’s chief administrative officer as convention manager and allowing districts to distribute convention workbooks and proceedings “by means of electronic communication” (Res. 11-11).
- “Clarify Synod Administration Matters” about staggering terms, the role of the Synod president in executive appointment processes, commissions’ meeting requirements, the responsibility of the Commission on Handbook, and “the ordination or commissioning and installation procedures” for missionaries (Res. 11-12).
- “Update Bylaw 126.96.36.199 to Include Mention of [the] Office of National Mission” (Res. 11-13).
- amend Bylaw 188.8.131.52.3 about the “Responsibilities of [the] Commission on Constitutional Matters” (Res. 11-15A).
- amend Bylaw 184.108.40.206 to require the executive directors of the LCMS Offices of National and International Mission to join the “chairman or another board or commission member” in representing the Boards for National and International Mission at Synod conventions (Res. 11-17).
- “Clarify and Confirm the Distinction between Synod and Corporate Synod and to Provide Consistency for the Meaning of ‘Property of the Synod’ Regarding Definition of Property of the Synod” (Res. 11-20).
The Synod in convention also adopted the following resolutions to:
- “strike ‘assistant pastors’ from the list of Advisory Members of the Synod” in the Synod’s Constitution. This resolution allows “Voting Privilege for Assistant Pastors” (Res. 11-09).
- “Clarify and Confirm the Distinction between Synod and Corporate Synod and to Provide Consistency for the Meaning of ‘Property of the Synod’ ” regarding “Article IV powers” (Res. 11-18) and Article XI (Res. 11-19).
- empower the Bylaw 3.2.5 committee selected by the Committee for Convention Nominations (CCN) “to act on behalf of and in the name of the CCN for actions needed subsequent to the issuing of the CCN’s final report prior to convention” (Res. 11-14).
- create a task force “to review existing nominations bylaw procedures in the interest of combining them into a comprehensive process with appropriate time frames to facilitate convention preparations” (Res. 11-10).
- “Revise and Enhance Nomination and Election Process for Regional Board Members” (Res. 11-05).
Since Res. 11-09, 11-18 and 11-19 call for amendments to the LCMS Constitution, they will be submitted to each voting congregation of the Synod for consideration, as specified in the Handbook. A two-thirds majority is needed to ratify changes to the Constitution.
One resolution declined
Only one of Floor Committee 11’s resolutions — Res. 11-07A, “To Amend Constitution to Grant Lay Vote/Voice to Every Congregation” — failed.
This resolution would have given “all organized congregations that hold membership in the Synod the opportunity to be represented by a lay delegate and a pastoral delegate at district conventions,” while also retaining “a single vote for a pastor who represents more than one congregation.”
During debate, delegates spoke both for and against the resolution.
“The problem is as we go forward, we are going to have more and more dual parishes, more and more triple parishes,” said Joseph Dorsett, lay delegate from Boardman, Ohio, who spoke in favor. “We’re asking those congregations to pay money for convention, but they are not allowed to go.”
On the other side of the issue, the Rev. Steven Briel, pastoral delegate from Maple Grove, Minn., asked, “Doesn’t this throw off the traditional balance between pastoral and lay votes at conventions? … I serve a rather big congregation, and we have two votes. But if a pastor served two smaller congregations, [they] would have three votes.”
After discussion ended, the resolution failed narrowly after receiving 66.42 percent of the vote — just shy of the two-thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment.
The 2016 LCMS convention is meeting July 9-14 at the Wisconsin Center convention complex under the theme “Upon This Rock.” Among the 1,500 convention participants are some 1,125 clergy and lay voting delegates.
Megan K. Mertz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a staff writer and managing editor of Lutherans Engage the World with LCMS Communications.
Posted July 14, 2016
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