The 2019 convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (in Session 4, by a vote of Yes: 873; No: 77, more than the required two-thirds majority) adopted Res. 9-05, “To Amend the Constitution to Address Individual Membership and Advisory Representation,” a resolution that will — if ratified — amend the Synod Constitution. On September 16, 2019, the resolution was submitted to the congregations of the Synod for ratification under the procedure of Article XV. After taking official action on this matter, congregations must use the official ballot to cast their affirmative or negative votes on each amendment, returning it to the Secretary of the Synod. The amendment must receive a favorable two-thirds majority of all votes cast by congregations within six months of the date of the mailing of the ballots. The deadline for this ballot to be received in the office of the Secretary of the Synod will be March 16, 2020. Any congregation needing a replacement ballot may obtain it from the Office of the Secretary (contact information below).
The amendment before the congregations of the Synod acts in a concerted manner on Articles V, VI, IX, XII, and XIII to address accumulated unclarities and contradictions resulting from piecemeal amendment of the Constitution over many years, while maintaining the essential substance of the Constitution. The amendment, proposed by Synod’s Commissions on Handbook and Constitutional Matters, has five effects: (1) it clarifies who is an advisory delegate at the district convention; (2) it restores the ability of a congregation that is part of a multi-congregation parish, but not sending the parish’s voting delegate, to send an advisory lay delegate to the district convention; (3) it straightens out a long-standing confusion of individual membership with advisory representation, a confusion that has cost a few congregations their pastoral representation; (4) it uses consistent language of ordained and commissioned ministers throughout the Constitution and shifts the list of the various types of commissioned minister, relatively frequently amended, to the Bylaws; and (5) it adopts the proposal of Concordia University Wisconsin/Ann Arbor to retitle certified lay ministers as directors of church ministries, consistent with other commissioned offices.
Structurally, the constitutional change will make Article V, which presently deals with both membership and convention representation, deal with membership only, with details of representation left to Articles IX and XII 10. It will also have the Constitution treat the broadest categories of individual membership more clearly and in a manner more explicitly reflecting Walther’s Church and Ministry, leaving often-amended details to the Bylaws. It is intended by the Commission on Handbook to have the same sense as (but greater clarity than) existing constitutional language, except where the noted problems are addressed.
Full detail on the attached amendment, including the full text of the amendment and concomitant changes to Bylaws 2.6, 2.11.2, 126.96.36.199, 3.1.3, and 4.2.3, may be obtained in Res. 9-05 of the 2019 Convention Proceedings. Questions or concerns may be addressed to my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-996-1417.
John W. Sias, Secretary
Posted Feb. 3, 2020