We Preach Christ Crucified – Day 2 of the LCMS National Convention
Sunday, July 30
Contributed by Pastor Steve Heinsen
Northwest District Secretary
The morning light was still peeking out as the Northwest District delegates met at 6:15 a.m. on the fourth floor of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center hotel in downtown Milwaukee for breakfast. We met with the delegates and representatives of the California-Nevada-Hawaii and Pacific Southwest Districts for a joint gathering.
President Mike Gibson from the Pacific Southwest District began with a prayer for Cindy Linnemann following her cancer surgery on Friday. Bart Day, the President of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, then shared how the LCEF is blessing the church, including the congregations and workers of the LCMS. He reviewed several resolutions affecting the LCEF.
Dr. Michael Thomas, the president of Concordia University Irvine, then shared of overview of who CUI is and what they are doing to make a difference. CUI is a comprehensive Lutheran University that has a mission to develop wise, honorable, and cultivated citizens. CUI has the largest theological faculty in the Concordia University System. A new building for health care programs has been purchased. Dr. Thomas shared several details about Resolutions 7-04 – To Revise Bylaws to Revisit and Renew Relationship of Colleges and Universities with the Synod and 7-05 – To Bring Accountability to Concordia Board of Regents and to Improve Doctrinal Fidelity and Amenability to Ecclesiastical Supervision. The University Presidents had sat at the table with the floor committee to help fashion and make multiple corrections to these documents. Many people do not realize that the Concordias have not received a Synod subsidy for more than 20 years.
Three years of work had been put into Resolution 7-04. Yet, the final result, 24 pages of significant Bylaw changes, were drafted at the last minute by the Synod Board of Directors, after the deadline to submit overtures had passed. A major issue with this late overture was a question of who has oversight of the Concordias. Supervisory authority is currently at the University level. The current version of the Resolution moves authority away from the universities and to the Synod level. According to Dr. Thomas, there has been inadequate time allotted to ensure that the Resolution does not conflict with state laws in the states that the Concordias are located.
Resolution 7-05 was a major concern for Dr. Thomas. It would change the composition of the Boards of Directors for Concordias, limiting the voting rights of appointed regents. There is also an accreditation concern. In order to be accredited, the Board of Regents must have the fiduciary responsibility and governance control of the university. If that switches to the Synod, there is significant concern that accreditation could be lost.
Mike Von Behren, the 1st Vice President of the Northwest District, shared that an overture made to support and give thanks for the Hong Kong International School, part of the Northwest District, had been moved to Omnibus A (look ahead for more information on what an Omnibus is). He also covered several elections that would be held that day.
At 8 a.m., more than 1,000 delegates, in addition to many other guests and observers, presented themselves for the beginning of the day. The morning began with the celebration of Matins. We heard a message from the Reverend Peter Lange, the First Vice President of the LCMS.
Following a review of the credentials and resolving a number of issues with the voting system, President-Elect Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison then presented the third part of his report to the convention.
Omnibus Resolutions A, B, and C were then presented. On occasion, overtures are presented to the Synodical Convention that, for a variety of reasons, do not make it past the floor committee onto the floor of the convention itself. Overtures placed in Omnibus A are assigned to other entities in the Synod to be handled at a more direct level than by the entire convention itself. Mike Von Behren, 1st Vice President of our District, moved that Overture 2-05 to Thank God for the Synod’s International Schools be moved from Omnibus A for further discussion with Floor Committee #2 when it is their time to share resolutions. The motion was approved by the convention floor. This was the only overture placed in Omnibus A that was moved to its designated area to be dealt with.
Omnibus B are overtures sent to each floor committee that a floor committee determined Synod had already spoken to in a previous convention. The floor committees determined that there was insufficient rationale in them to alter or change the stated position of Synod. No overtures in this Omnibus Resolution were referred back to their floor committees.
Omnibus Resolution C with requests for recognition of noteworthy labors of love brought to the Synod’s attention were shared. These resolutions, all moved to this Omnibus from their initial floor committees, were received as expressions of gratitude.
The President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Egger, then presented the first Convention essay titled, “We Preach Christ Crucified – An Overview.”
Floor Committee #4 (Life Together) presented resolutions for adoption. Resolution 4-01 – To Commend and Encourage Continued Use of The Koinonia Project and Give Thanks to God for the Sainted Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller, Jr., had a major amendment made that took substantial discussion time. It was sent back to the Floor Committee. No resolutions were adopted from this committee in the morning session.
At this point, the assembly recessed for a lunch break. Following the lunch break, Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray, the 3rd Vice President of the Synod, and West-Southwest Region Vice President, led the assembly in Midday Prayer.
It was now time for elections. The following are the newly elected Vice Presidents for the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (the ballot number is for their Regional Vice President election):
1st Vice President – Rev. Peter K. Lange – Re-elected – 1st Ballot
2nd Vice President – Rev. Benjamin T. Ball – Re-elected – Central Region Vice President – 2nd Ballot
3rd Vice President – Rev. Scott R. Murray – Re-elected – West-Southwest Region Vice-President – 1st Ballot
4th Vice President – Rev. Nabil S. Nour – Re-elected – Great Plains Region Vice President – 2nd Ballot
5th Vice President – Rev. Christopher S. Esget – Re-elected – East – Southeast Region Vice President – 2nd Ballot
6th Vice President –Rev. John C. Wohlrabe Jr. – Re-elected – Great Lakes Region Vice President – 3rd Ballot
Following a greeting from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) President Rev. Bart Day, a video presentation was shared titled “International Mission: From Generation to Generation.” Floor Committees #5 (Theology and Church Relations) and #3 (Mercy) then presented resolutions for adoption.
Floor Committee #5 – Theology and Church Relations presented resolutions to recognize altar and pulpit fellowship with several international church bodies. The following resolutions were adopted in the afternoon session for Committee #5:
Committee #5 – Theology and Church Relations
5-01 – To Recognize Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Sudan and Sudan
5-02 – To Recognize Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland
5-03 – To Recognize Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Lutheran Church of Uganda
5-04 – To Recognize Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine
5-05A – To Recognize the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sri Lanka as a Self-Governing Partner Church
Floor Committee #3 (Mercy) was up next. This committee focused on loving and caring for those in very challenging situations in life. Distributions from the Million Dollar Life Match were shared for several congregations.
The following resolutions were adopted in the afternoon session for Committee #3:
Committee #3 – Mercy
3-01 – To Encourage and Support More Fervent Teaching, Proclamation, and Efforts to Promote Culture of Life among God’s People – This is an effort to increase awareness of how our church body can show mercy by providing options to abortion and other life ministry issues.
The session concluded with Evening Prayer led by Conference Chaplain Rev. Sean Daenzer. LCEF sponsored an ice cream social later in the evening. Tomorrow, we will have another District Breakfast at 6:15 a.m. followed by the continuation of the Convention beginning at 8 a.m.
Please continue to pray for the convention itself and the delegates, that we would all be guided by the Holy Spirit in making decisions that are God-pleasing and that focus us on the mission of connecting people to Jesus.
Pastor Steve Heinsen
Northwest District Secretary