During its Nov. 17-18 meeting in Indian Wells, Calif., the Synod’s Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Julie Martinez — one of its members — and called for Synod leaders to develop a “comprehensive plan” before the next Synod convention “to accomplish … desired efficiencies in governance” of the 10 LCMS colleges and universities.
Martinez, of Pagosa Springs, Colo., asked for a “point of privilege” as the meeting started, and then read her resignation letter to her “Brothers and Sisters in Christ” on the Board.
“I have tried to serve faithfully and to the best of my abilities in what I have been asked to do in my congregation, and as a member of this Board of Directors,” she said in the letter. “However, I have been extremely disappointed with the political in-fighting that seems to color everything at the synodical level.”
Martinez laid out a number of points leading up to her decision.
“A decision such as this is one that can only come through much anguish, and also much prayer,” Martinez said in her letter. “It is therefore incumbent upon me to inform you that I hereby resign my position on the Board of Directors, effective immediately.”
Martinez said she had come to the meeting “so that I could inform my colleagues on this Board face-to-face, for it would be cowardly to do otherwise. Additionally, it would be unethical for me to participate, having so announced my intent. I shall therefore absent myself from the remainder of this meeting.”
Immediately after Martinez read her letter, Board Chairman Robert Kuhn noted, “Luther says we can’t go against conscience,” and he added, “With regret, as chairman, I receive that resignation.”
Near the end of the two-day meeting, the Board adopted a resolution expressing its “great thanks and appreciation” to Martinez, who was elected to the Board by the 2004 Synod convention.
In its action on college and university governance, the Board declined to approve “at this time to separate a university [specifically, Concordia University, Portland, Ore.] from the Synod” and “reconnect” it as an LCMS recognized service organization (RSO).
The Synod’s Board for University Education (BUE) had asked the Board of Directors to approve such a move to test an “RSO governance model” for the 10 schools.
The Board of Directors’ action last month asks the CUS to “develop a detailed plan for selecting members of Boards of Regents, “taking into consideration the needs of the universities,” and requests the CUS “to review present internal management procedures between the CUS and synodical universities with the desired goal of increased efficiencies.”
The action also states that the Board of Directors and the president of the Synod “indicate their strong desire and pledge to work with” BUE and CUS leaders to develop the comprehensive plan aimed at “efficiencies in governance.”
The Board first took up the matters of governance, including reconnecting a school as an RSO, at its meeting in August. For that meeting, it considered a detailed description of the RSO governance model that the BUE adopted at its May meeting.
Dr. William F. Meyer, who at that time was the BUE’s interim executive director, made the following three points in a memorandum with that description:
“1) The BUE [is searching] for a way to strengthen the colleges/universities in the Concordia University System; 2) election of Board of Regents members who have few or no qualifications to govern a complex educational institution do not provide the expertise to strengthen the institution; and 3) attempts to modify the governance model at synodical conventions [have] failed in the past three conventions.”
During the November meeting, the Board discussed the governance matter with the presidents of four CUS schools, including Dr. Charles Schlimpert of Concordia, Portland.
In other action, the Board approved “in principle” the concept of relocating the campus of Concordia University, Austin, Texas. The university’s Board of Regents called for that relocation, with endorsement from the BUE, primarily because the size of the current campus is hampering the school’s growth.
The Board of Directors’ approval stipulates, “future proposals regarding the sale, new location, Master Plan, and financing plan will be submitted [for its] approval.”
In other education-related action, the Board gave the CUS permission to buy a facility for its CUENet operations in Bend, Ore., subject to several conditions.
CUENet, which describes itself as “a collaboration of LCMS entities with vested interest in electronic technologies for instructional purposes,” has been renting facilities in Bend since 2000, and faces escalating rental fees over the next several years.
The Board passed a resolution expressing support for Lutheran Service Book, the Synod’s new hymnal, and related resources scheduled for publication in fall 2006.
That action designates $50,000-70,000 in fiscal year 2007 to underwrite introductory workshops at more than 250 sites around the United States and “encourage[s] all congregations and entities of Synod to participate in the introductory process for the benefit of the entire Synod.”
The Board elected two men to fill vacancies on the Board of Directors — Concordia Plan Services/Board of Managers — Worker Benefit Plans. They are Rev. Fred Schroeder of Lander, Wyo., and Ron Wolf, St. Louis.
Posted Dec. 1, 2005