By Stacey Egger
TAMPA, Fla. — Floor Committee 3 on Mercy presented a variety of resolutions during the 67th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), all of which were passed by the voting delegates.
Floor Committee Chairman Rev. Dr. Jamison Hardy, president of the LCMS English District, addressed the delegates before the resolutions were presented, commending the mercy work of the Synod:
“Mission work has been at the center of the LCMS from its beginning. We are known far and wide for our disaster response, and are growing in consistent presence at life marches across the country, which provide a visible and vocal witness as we defend life. There are congregations and districts reaching out to refugees and immigrants in our communities. As a Synod, we are focused on providing care and support for our church workers. Our chaplains and deaconesses serve in hospitals, prisons and homes for the aged, and care for the physically and mentally challenged.”
Several of the committee’s resolutions gave thanks for ongoing mercy work throughout the LCMS.
Resolution 3-01, “To Commend and Give Thanks for the Work of Synod regarding Disaster Response,” resolved to recognize the work of LCMS Disaster Response and its agencies and partners, including individual congregations and various organizations, “during the early response and long-term recovery process” following disasters. The resolution passed with 99.2 percent of the vote.
Resolution 3-02A, “To Commend Lutherans for Life and LCMS Life Ministries,” recognized LCMS Life Ministry and Lutherans For Life for their advocacy of the dignity of all life, “from conception to natural death, particularly mothers, unborn children, those who are physically and/or mentally challenged, those who are gravely ill, and those who are dying.” The resolution passed with 98 percent of the vote.
The resolution also included:
- Condemnation of specific recent legislation (in New York, Illinois and Virginia) which allows for post-birth abortions, and commendation of other specific legislation (Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia) which limits abortions;
- Resolution to provide “Gospel love and care” for those “hurting from the guilt of the devastation of abortion or premature loss of life”;
- Encouragement for each LCMS congregation to participate in life marches and events, and for each circuit to send at least one pastor, lay adult and youth representative to future LCMS Life Ministry conferences; and
- Recommendation of the Eyes of Life resources from LCMS Life Ministry and resources from Lutherans for Life and the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty for congregations.
Pastoral care for mental illness
After some discussion, Res. 3-04A, “To Encourage Training of Our Pastors, Church Workers and Congregations to Recognize and Provide Pastoral Care for Those Suffering from Clinical Depression, Mental Illnesses, and Other Mental Disorders,” passed with 84.1 percent of the vote.
Discussion among the delegates surrounded the terminology used in the resolves. The committee agreed to replace all references of “mental health” in the resolves (e.g., “that our seminaries … continue to strive for improved training in mental health and wellness”) with the words “mental illness.” This change reflected a desire to clarify and strengthen the intent of the resolution to encourage education and awareness about the affliction of mental illnesses, not just the characteristics of mental health.
Among the points of the resolution as adopted are:
- Encouragement for seminaries, universities and LCMS Recognized Service Organizations to “continue to strive for improved training in mental illness and wellness for those studying to be pastors and church workers,” and to provide continuing-education opportunities and resources on these topics; and
- Encouragement to pastors, church workers and congregations “to actively advocate” for mental wellness in their congregations, and to minister to those in need “through prayer, private confession and absolution, and the means of grace.”
Posted July 29, 2019
The 67th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod met July 20–25 in Tampa, Fla., at the Tampa Convention Center under the theme “Joy:fully Lutheran.” For more convention news: