The 67th regular convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod will be held July 20–25, 2019, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.
Election of Voting Delegates
Bylaws 3.1.2–22.214.171.124 [2016 Handbook, pp. 96–98] set forth the primary provisions governing official voting representation at national conventions of the Synod.
a) An electoral circuit consists of one or two adjacent visitation circuits, as determined by each district’s board of directors. The total number of congregations in each electoral circuit must range from 7 to 20 congregations with a total of 1,500 to 10,000 confirmed members (Bylaw 3.1.2 [a]). Exceptions to these requirements can be made only by the President of the Synod upon request of a district board of directors (Bylaw 3.1.2 [b]).
b) Voting delegates are elected by the electoral circuit forum, which meets at the call of the circuit visitor(s). This meeting must be held no later than October 20, 2018, nine months prior to the opening date of the convention, and must be conducted according to the procedures provided by Bylaw 126.96.36.199.
c) Before the meeting of the electoral circuit forum, each congregation must determine which pastor (if it has more than one) and which layperson will serve as its representatives at the forum. Multiple-congregation parishes are entitled to a lay vote from each congregation at circuit forums. If meetings of electoral circuit forums are held in conjunction with district conventions, care must be taken that all congregations in multiple-congregation parishes have opportunity to be represented.
d) Prior to the meeting of the electoral circuit forum, each congregation may nominate one layperson from its own membership or from a sister congregation of the electoral circuit to serve as the lay delegate or alternate lay delegate to the Synod convention. The congregation must submit the name of this nominee to its circuit visitor prior to the day of the electoral circuit forum (Bylaw 188.8.131.52 [e]).
e) Electoral circuit forums must meet to conduct their business. Bylaw 184.108.40.206 (a) grants that “when in-person meetings are burdensome,” e-meeting and other technologies may be used so long as they satisfy certain requirements articulated in the bylaw (suitable and made available to all participants; provision for open and fair exchange of ideas; and secure, private, and confidential voting). Delegates to the Synod convention and their alternates must be elected by ballot, which may include mechanical, electronic, or other methods of casting, recording, or tabulating votes” (Bylaw 220.127.116.11 [b]). The four persons elected by the process specifically outlined in Bylaw 18.104.22.168 (two delegates and two alternates) must come from four different congregations (or parishes) of the electoral circuit (Bylaw 22.214.171.124 [d], [e], [f]).
f) The names, addresses, and email addresses of elected pastoral and lay delegates and alternates must be submitted by circuit visitor(s) to the secretary of the district by October 20, 2018, or as soon thereafter as possible.
Selection of Nonvoting Advisory Delegates
Bylaws 3.1.3 and 126.96.36.199 [2016 Handbook, p. 98–99] set forth the primary provisions for the selection of non-voting advisory delegates to national conventions of the Synod.
a) Advisory members of districts are represented at conventions of the Synod by one non-voting advisory delegate for every 60 advisory ordained ministers and specific ministry pastors, and one non-voting advisory delegate for every 60 commissioned ministers in the district. Fractions of these groups are to be disregarded, except that each district is entitled to at least one non-voting advisory delegate in each category—ordained and commissioned (Bylaw 188.8.131.52).
b) Advisory ordained ministers include pastors of independent congregations, assistant pastors, specific ministry pastors, rostered candidates for the pastoral office, and ordained ministers not in charge of congregations. It is important to note that in 2019, the convention removed “assistant pastors” from Article V B, and therefore, “assistant pastors” are now eligible for election as voting delegates and cannot be considered as “advisory”. (Constitution Art. V B; Bylaws 2.11.1–184.108.40.206; 2.13.1 [2016 Handbook, pp. 12–13, 58–59, 61]).
c) Advisory commissioned ministers include teachers with membership in the Synod, directors of Christian education, directors of Christian outreach, directors of family life ministry, directors of parish music, deaconesses, parish assistants, certified lay ministers, and rostered candidates for any of these offices (Constitution Art. V B; Bylaws 2.11.1–220.127.116.11 [2016 Handbook, pp. 12–13, 58–59]).
d) Advisory ordained and commissioned ministers who are eligible for selection in any category under Bylaws 3.1.4–18.104.22.168 [2016 Handbook, pp. 99–100] are not to be counted in determining the number of non-voting advisory delegates from a district, nor are they eligible to be selected or participate in the selection process (Bylaw 22.214.171.124 [c]).
e) Selections of non-voting advisory delegates are to be made by their respective groups at meetings called by the district secretary either during the district convention or at official pastor and teacher conferences. These selections must be completed no later than October 20, 2018—nine months prior to the opening day of the convention (Bylaw 126.96.36.199 [b]).
Submission of Overtures
Bylaws 3.1.6 and 188.8.131.52 [2016 Handbook, pp. 100–101] define who may submit overtures to a convention of the Synod, and Bylaws 3.1.7 and 3.1.8 provide the procedure for their reception and inclusion in the business of a convention [pp. 102–103].
a) Overtures are recommendations in the form of proposed resolutions requesting action by the convention (for an electronic template that may be used to submit overtures, see www.lcms.org/convention/overtures). They may be submitted by a member congregation of the Synod, a convention or board of directors of a district, an official district conference of ordained and/or commissioned ministers, the faculty of an educational institution of the Synod, the Board of Directors of the Synod, a committee established by a prior convention, a visitation or electoral circuit forum, or a board or commission of the Synod as listed in Bylaws 3.2.2, 184.108.40.206, 3.2.3, and 220.127.116.11 [2016 Handbook, pp. 105–106].
b) Overtures are to be submitted (with signature) to the President of the Synod no later than March 2, 2019 (20 weeks prior to the opening date of the convention). The preferred deadline for inclusion in the Convention Workbook is February 6, 2019, with an emailed copy provided to the Office of the President of the Synod at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Overtures submitted after February 6 will be accepted but may not be published in the Workbook. Overtures submitted after the March 2 bylaw deadline will not be accepted for convention consideration unless a committee consisting of the President, First Vice-President, and Secretary of the Synod adjudge them to be of overriding importance and urgency and not adequately covered by documents already before the convention (Bylaw 3.1.6 [a]).
c) Overtures involving capital outlay or current expenditures must be accompanied (to the extent feasible) by cost projections and the basis thereof (Bylaw 3.1.6 [b]).
d) The President of the Synod, with the assistance of legal counsel, will decide which overtures will be published in the Convention Workbook. He will determine if an overture contains information that is materially in error or contains any apparent misrepresentation of truth or character and in such case will not approve its inclusion (Bylaw 18.104.22.168 [b]–[c]).
e) As required by Bylaw 3.1.8 (b), the content of the Convention Workbook (convention manual, reports and overtures, the names and mailing addresses of all voting delegates, and other information) will be posted on the Synod’s Web site no later than April 27, 2019—twelve weeks prior to the opening date of the convention. Printed copies will be mailed to all delegates and alternates, officers of the Synod, and members of boards, commissions, and councils.
f) All overtures accepted by the President of the Synod will be referred by him to convention floor committees appointed from the voting and advisory delegates and representatives (Bylaw 3.1.7). Floor committees will receive the comments received regarding the reports and overtures assigned to them and will meet in St. Louis prior to the convention to discuss and formulate proposed convention resolutions.
g) After the Convention Workbook has been published, any member of the Synod (congregation, ordained minister, or commissioned minister) or any lay delegate to the convention may submit written comments regarding any of its content to the Secretary of the Synod by May 18, 2019 (nine weeks prior to the convention) for transmission to the appropriate convention floor committee for consideration (Bylaw 3.1.8 [c]).
h) As required by Bylaw 22.214.171.124, the content of the first issue of Today’s Business (proposed resolutions of the floor committees and other convention business) will be posted on the Synod’s Web site as soon as possible after the floor committees have met. Printed copies will be mailed to all registered delegates, all officers of the Synod, and all members of boards, commissions, and councils.
i) Responses to the proposed resolutions contained in the first issue of Today’s Business must be submitted to the chairman of the appropriate floor committee at least one week prior to the convention. Floor committees will meet at the convention site prior to the opening of the convention to review the responses received (Bylaw 126.96.36.199 [a]–[b]).
Nominations for President and First Vice-President
Bylaws 3.12.2 and 188.8.131.52 [2016 Handbook, pp. 169–170] set forth the primary provisions governing the nomination process for the offices of President and First Vice-President.
a) Opportunity to submit nominations for the offices of President and First Vice-President will be provided to every member congregation of the Synod. Each will have the opportunity to nominate two ordained ministers from the clergy roster of the Synod as candidates for the office of President and two ordained ministers as candidates for the office of First Vice-President. These nominations will require an official action of the congregation.
b) Only those congregations received into membership in the Synod according to the provisions of Bylaws 2.3.1–2.3.2 [2016 Handbook, pp. 53–54] and reported to the Synod’s Rosters and Statistics staff by their district presidents will be eligible to participate.
c) The Secretary of the Synod will mail official President and Vice-President nominating ballots by mid-October of 2018. All pastors (also vacancy pastors) should make certain that congregations are made aware of their reception of these ballots. Only official ballots received from the Office of the Secretary may be used to submit nominations. The ballots will require the signatures of the president and secretary of the congregation.
d) As required by Bylaw 184.108.40.206, the candidates for the office of President will be the three ordained ministers who received the highest number of votes in the nominating process and who consent to serve if elected. The candidates for the office of First Vice-President will be the 20 ordained ministers who received the highest number of votes and consent to serve.
e) The nominating ballots for President and First Vice-President must be received no later than February 20, 2019 (five months prior to the opening date of the convention). There will be no opportunity for additional nominations at the convention (Bylaw 3.12.2 [c]).
Nominations for Regional Vice-Presidents
Bylaws 3.12.1 and 220.127.116.11 [2016 Handbook, pp. 169 and 171–172] set forth the provisions governing the nomination process for the offices of regional vice-president of the Synod’s five regions: Central, East-Southeast, Great Lakes, Great Plains, and West-Southwest.
a) More than 24 months prior to the 2019 convention, the Synod’s Board of Directors and Council of Presidents designated the five geographic regions required by bylaw, taking into consideration geographical and number-of-congregations information. Canadian congregations were placed as a whole into the East-Southeast Region (Bylaw 3.12.1).
b) Each member congregation of each region (including the non-geographic-district congregations in the region) will be informed of its region and will be provided opportunity to nominate for its regional vice-president two ordained ministers from the clergy roster of the Synod with residence in its geographic region (Bylaw 18.104.22.168 [a]).
c) The Secretary of the Synod will mail region-specific vice-president nominating ballots to each congregation of each region by mid-October, 2018. Only official ballots received from the Office of the Secretary may be used to make nominations. The nominations will require an official action of the congregation, and the ballot will require the signatures of its president and secretary.
d) The names of the five ordained ministers residing within the boundaries of each geographic region that receive the most nominating votes and have consented to serve if elected will form the slate from which the Synod convention will elect by majority vote the regional vice-presidents.
e) As in the case of President and First Vice-President nominating ballots, nominating ballots for regional vice-president must be received no later than February 20, 2019 (Bylaw 3.12.2 [c]). There will be no opportunity for additional nominations at the convention.
Nominations for Regional Board Members
Bylaws 3.12.1 and 22.214.171.124 [2016 Handbook, pp. 169, 172] set forth the primary provisions governing the nomination process for regional board members. Bylaw 126.96.36.199 [2016 Handbook, p. 112–113] requires that one lay member of the Board of Directors of the Synod be elected, on a staggered basis, from each of the five designated geographical regions. Bylaws 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 [2016 Handbook, pp. 132, 134] stipulate that five laypersons and five individual members of the Synod are to be elected, on a staggered basis, to each of the Synod’s two mission boards, one of each category from each of the geographical regions.
(a) A significant change by the 2016 convention placed the regional LCMS Board of Directors, LCMS Board for National Mission and LCMS Board for International Mission positions under the responsibility of the CCN (Bylaw 220.127.116.11) and allowed for nominations to be received from inside and outside the region for which a position is open. Nominations for the regional board positions must therefore be submitted on the same form as all the other secretary, board and commission positions (see January 2018 call for nominations mailing from the Office of the Secretary, on behalf of the CCN, and web-available, fillable form, noted below).
(b) The 2016 convention also amended Bylaw 3.12.1 to make residence the sole standard of region membership, eliminating reference to congregational membership. All nominees for a particular region must reside within the boundaries of the region for which they are nominated.
(c) The Secretary of the Synod is responsible for the preliminary work of the CCN (Bylaw 18.104.22.168 ff., p. 173). This began already at least 24 months prior to the convention with the solicitation, from those agencies with positions to be filled, of descriptions of criteria for qualified candidates. With such criteria in view, the Office of the Secretary issued the first call for nominations through The Lutheran Witness and Reporter and on the Synod website 18 months prior.
(d) Descriptions of the offices, boards and commissions requiring nominations for the 2019 convention including information regarding the eligibility of incumbents, and the Nomination Form is available at lcms.org/convention/2019-nomination-form. The final deadline for submitting nominations will be October 20, 2018.
Posted June 11, 2018