Kumm reminds BOD of its ‘true purpose’ at triennium’s first meeting

LCMS Chief Mission Officer Rev. Kevin Robson introduces discussion of a document titled “Life Together — A Guide to Board Duties and Etiquette” during a joint orientation session for the Synod’s Board of Directors and its two mission boards. (LCMS/Joe Isenhower Jr.)

LCMS Chief Mission Officer Rev. Kevin Robson introduces discussion of a document titled “Life Together — A Guide to Board Duties and Etiquette” during a joint orientation session for the Synod’s Board of Directors and its two mission boards. (LCMS/Joe Isenhower Jr.)

By Joe Isenhower Jr. (joe.isenhower@lcms.org)

ST. LOUIS — The Synod’s Board of Directors’ Sept. 8-9 meeting — its first of the 2016-19 triennium — began with a reminder of its “true purpose.”

At that meeting, the Board welcomed three new members, elected its officers, spent half a day in orientation, adopted six resolutions and heard reports from Synod leaders.

The Rev. Dr. Michael L. Kumm, who the Board later re-elected as its chairman, read from “Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod,” which the Synod’s first president, the Rev. Dr. C.F.W. Walther, delivered at the Iowa District convention in 1879. In “Thesis I” of his address, Walther pointed out that the “primary duty is to be faithful to the [Lutheran] Confessions in word and deed.”

“In this meeting,” Kumm said after reading Walther’s thesis, “we as a board will be discussing the beginning of a new triennium and financial and legal concerns surrounding the Synod. We do this not just because we are the legal entity of a Missouri not-for-profit. We do it because we are about our Father’s business — to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

Officers of the LCMS Board of Directors elected at its Sept. 8-9 meeting are, from left, Christian Preus, at-large member of the executive committee the Rev. Dr. Michael L. Kumm, chairman, and Ed Everts, vice-chairman. (LCMS/Joe Isenhower Jr.)

Officers of the LCMS Board of Directors elected at its Sept. 8-9 meeting are, from left, Christian Preus, at-large member of the executive committee; the Rev. Dr. Michael L. Kumm, chairman; and Ed Everts, vice-chairman. (LCMS/Joe Isenhower Jr.)

“So,” Kumm continued, “may we who have been given this extremely important responsibility in our Synod remember that our true purpose is the proclamation of the Gospel, the right administration of the Sacraments and [to see that] the gifts of our precious Lord are distributed to the world.”

The Board also elected Ed Everts as its vice-chairman and Christian Preus as the at-large member of its executive committee.

New Board of Directors members elected by the 2016 Synod convention are the Rev. Eric Ini-Obong Ekong of Jackson, Mich., and Larry Harrington, Casper, Wyo. New Synod Secretary Rev. Dr. John W. Sias is on the Board by virtue of his office. And re-elected to the Board by the convention were Kumm, Everts, Keith Frndak and James W. “Jim” Carter Jr.

Also at this meeting, Kumm assigned the following members of the Board’s three sub-committees:

  • Audit committee — Frndak (chair), Dr. Kurt Senske and Everts;
  • Personnel committee — Kathy Schulz (chair), Carter and Harrington; and
  • Governance committee — Preus (chair), Gloria Edwards and Ekong.

The Board adopted resolutions to:

  • approve funding for an expanded new dormitory project at Concordia University Chicago, at River Forest, Ill.;
  • release the Synod’s claim to a parcel of property sold in 1933 to Holy Cross Lutheran Church in St. Louis;
  • appoint three individuals to the Concordia University System Council of Members — Myrna Baneck of Mandan, N.D.; Mark A. Kalthoff, Allen, Mich.; and Bethany Kilcrease, Grand Rapids, Mich.;
  • appoint five others as LCMS Foundation members (and an alternate) — Kurt Battles, Arden Hills, Minn.; Douglas P. Fuge, Murrayville, Ga.; Don Graf, Lubbock, Texas; Marilyn Langemeier, Bridger, Mont.; Mark Moksnes, Chanhassen, Minn.; and alternate Constance L. Denninger, Springfield, Va.;
  • adopt a consent agenda for the meeting; and
  • set dates for its subsequent meetings in the triennium.

Synod Chief Administrative Officer Ron Schultz chaired the first part of the meeting, until elections for officers took place — in line with Board policy for its first meeting of the triennium.

For its half-day’s orientation, the Board heard about financial reporting from Synod Chief Financial Officer Jerald C. Wulf and Executive Director of Accounting Ross Stroh; and heard from Mark Hofman, executive director of LCMS Mission Advancement, about donations.

The Board also met with the Synod’s Boards for National and International Mission, when the three boards went over a document titled “Life Together — A Guide to Board Duties and Etiquette.”

The Synod Board of Directors hears a report from at least one LCMS staff unit executive at each of its regular meetings. For this meeting, Office of National Mission (ONM) Executive Director Rev. Bart Day spoke about the work and leaders of the 18 ministries in that office.

“I have the opportunity daily to work with some of the greatest men and women in the Synod,” Day said. “The individuals … in the ONM are not only faithful Lutheran pastors, teachers, deaconesses, DCEs [directors of Christian education] and lay men and women. but these are people who are truly subject-matter experts in specific ministry/programmatic ministry work … who have a passion and desire to vigorously do that work.”

He added that the ONM’s work is set to “increase exponentially,” with some 40-plus resolutions from the 2016 Synod convention that either directly or indirectly give work and tasks to the ONM.

Also speaking about the convention were Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, Sias and Schultz.

Harrison referred to the convention as “really pretty calm … [and] remarkable” for the amount of work it accomplished, including 132 resolutions that delegates for the most part adopted by “large margins” — including several that could be seen as controversial.

“I think the Synod is poised and ready to move on,” Harrison concluded.

Sias noted that former Synod Secretary Rev. Dr. Raymond L. Hartwig was finishing work on the 2016 Convention Proceedings and that its electronic version should be ready “very soon.” Sias also spoke of the three constitutional amendments that came out of the convention that are being voted on by LCMS congregations, that he would next be working with Synod commissions to update the Handbook [containing the Synod’s Constitution and Bylaws] and that he and the LCMS Office of the President are working together to compile “a table of assignments of activities assigned by the convention.”

Schultz outlined four matters from the convention for the Board to consider, which he indicated would be in a packet for its next meeting — Nov. 17-19, in conjunction with the 2016 Lutheran Church Extension Fund Fall Leadership Conference in Schaumburg, Ill.

Posted September 22, 2016

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