Delegates to the LCMS New England District convention, meeting June 1-3 in Springfield, Mass., re-elected by acclamation Rev. James E. Keurulainen of Dedham, Mass., to a fourth three-year term as district president.
Also re-elected by acclamation were Rev. Timothy Yeadon, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, New Hartford, Conn., first vice president; and Rev. Larry Nichols, pastor of Our Redeemer, Smithfield, R.I., second vice president.
On the first ballot, Rev. Scott Schuett, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Lebanon, Conn., was elected third vice president.
Keurulainen and other elected officers were installed during the convention.
Delegates adopted a resolution that designates this year’s convention theme, “Outreach New England: Ablaze in Jesus,” as the district’s mission theme for the next three years.
That resolution affirms the Synod’s Ablaze! initiative to share the Gospel with 100 million uncommitted and unreached people by 2017 and sets an Ablaze! goal for the district of 500,000 “critical events” in which members share their faith with those who have an opportunity to respond.
The action also “prayerfully encourage[s] our congregations and schools to find a way to enable their members to report the number of critical events to their congregation and then to the district/Synod.”
New England delegates also approved adopting the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK), an LCMS partner church, as an “official mission” of the district.
The resolution notes that members of district congregations have given more than $100,000 “and other material blessings” in recent years to assist the ELCK, and calls for such assistance to continue.
Another resolution adopted by New England delegates calls for the Synod to change the number of members on the LCMS Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM) and the way they are selected.
It notes that “all five voting members of the [commission] currently are appointed by the president of the Synod,” and that the president chairs the Synod convention, which the resolution refers to as “the only mechanism provided within the LCMS for overruling CCM decisions.”
The district’s resolution asks that CCM membership be increased to seven (four pastors and three attorneys). It also calls for the Synod president and LCMS Board of Directors to each appoint one pastor and one attorney, with the other three members to be elected by the Synod convention.
Delegates resolved to petition Lutheran Social Services of New England (LSSNE) to adopt a policy against placing adopted or foster children with homosexual couples.
That resolution directs the district president to “formally request” that the Lutheran agency “refrain from further placement of adoptions and/or foster care to lesbian and homosexual couples, and formally request the LSSNE Board of Directors [to] take this issue under serious advisement.”
New England District delegates also voted to:
- receive the Synod’s new Lutheran Service Book resources “with thanksgiving,” encourage district congregations to participate in introductory workshops this fall for the worship resources, and urge congregations to use those resources “in the coming months and years”; and
- encourage district congregations to offer their pastors three-month sabbaticals, recommending that they “be initiated after a clergyman has served in his present ministry for five years and offered every 10 years or as the congregation deems necessary for the health of the worker.”
Posted June 8, 2006