The Synod’s Board of Directors has introduced a new question-and-answer feature to its Web site that it says is intended to “clear up … confusion and provide assurance to the members of our Synod” about some of the Board’s recent actions.
The first installment of the new feature, called “Board Briefs,” addresses the legal opinions on the Board’s authority under Missouri law that the Board obtained last year. To find it on the Web, go to www.lcms.org/?3990.
“The LCMS Board of Directors is concerned that a number of its recent actions have prompted confusion and even consternation in the Synod,” says a description of “Board Briefs” on the Web site. “This series of Q&A briefs published Synodwide on a more-or-less biweekly basis is intended to clear up that confusion and provide assurance to the members of our Synod.”
In response to why the Board obtained the special legal opinions, “Board Briefs” says that the Synod’s Bylaws “require that the Board of Directors have the powers and duties accorded to it not only by the Synod’s official documents (our Constitution, Bylaws and resolutions) but also by its Articles of Incorporation and the laws of the State of Missouri. Questions regarding the scope of these powers and duties under Missouri law have been a topic of discussion by the Board on several occasions in recent years.
“What prompted the latest discussion — and the decision, finally, to seek a special legal opinion to clarify matters — was a sudden rash of challenges to the Board’s authority, the Synod’s deepening financial difficulties (an increasing concern, obviously, of the Board), and the Board’s interest in doing its part to advance the mission of the church,” says the Board. “When the special opinion was received, its validity was questioned, prompting the Board to obtain a second opinion, which affirmed the first.”
Other questions answered in the first “Board Briefs” are:
- “Why did the Board obtain this opinion from outside legal counsel when the Synod already has regular legal counsel?”
- “But weren’t these special opinions extraordinarily expensive?”
- “Why have these opinions not been made public?”
- “Why have the opinions been provided to the Commission on Structure?”
- “What might some of those proposed changes be?” This question refers to the changes in the Synod’s Constitution and Bylaws that might be recommended to this summer’s Synod convention by the Commission on Structure as a result of the legal opinions.
Future topics to be addressed in “Board Briefs,” says the first installment, will include “the role of the Commission on Constitutional Matters over against the Board of Directors,” synodical funding issues, and “the Board’s proposal for meeting the serious fiscal challenges facing our church.”
To make it possible for readers to propose a topic for “Board Briefs” or to ask a question, the Web site provides e-mail addresses for Board Chairman Robert Kuhn, Synod Secretary Raymond Hartwig and Vice President Finance-Treasurer Thomas Kuchta.