HOUSTON—Delegates to the Missouri Synod convention here adopted two more resolutions offered by the Floor Committee on Ecclesial Matters (Committee 7) July 16.
Those actions call for a study of time limitations—or specific spans of time—that might apply in the Synod’s dispute resolution process for church members and add wording to a Synod bylaw to specify that congregations should financially support the Synod and provide it with annual statistical information.
The 64th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is meeting July 10-17 at the George R. Brown Convention Center under the theme “ONE People—Forgiven.” Among the approximately 3,000 participants are some 1,200 clergy and lay voting delegates.
The essence of the two approved resolutions is as follows:
- Resolution 7-08, “to study time limitations for initiating dispute resolutions process,” asks the Synod secretary to study the issue of time limitations for that process—in consultation with the LCMS Council of Presidents—and “report to the next convention of the Synod, making any recommendations which would address” and improve the process. It was adopted by a vote of 997-40.
- the Synod has established the process “to resolve disputes, disagreements or offenses which arise among members of the body of Christ … in a God-pleasing manner”;
- no time span is specified for the process, especially the period in which either side in it must initiate it, “thus possibly placing the potential respondent in a position of never knowing if the dispute has been resolved or if action may be taken at some undetermined date in the future”; and
- “delays in resolving disputes can inflict harm [on] individuals and organizations.”
- Resolution 7-07A, “to add wording to bylaws regarding expectations of Synod membership,” was adopted by a 731-306 margin.
The resolution’s single “resolved” follows three “whereases” that note:
Bylaw 1.3.4, where the action adds one sentence, concerns matters to which “congregations and other members of the Synod obligate themselves” to fill the requirements of Synod membership “and to diligently and earnestly promote the purposes of the Synod by word and deed.”
Floor Committee Chairman Dr. Lane R. Seitz, president of the LCMS Minnesota South District, told the assembly that the resolution “addresses both blessings and commitments we make to each other.”
The new wording added to the bylaw states, “Members of the Synod, compelled by love for each other, accept the responsibility to financially support the work of the Synod and provide annual statistical information to enable the Synod to plan current and future ministry efforts based upon an accurate picture of the results of current ministries ‘within our churches, communities, and world.’ “
In brief discussion of the resolution, Rev. Ryan Wendt, a delegate from Billings, Mont., expressed concern over whether the added portion about reporting statistics places too much emphasis on the results of congregations’ programs rather than “faithful proclamation and teaching” of Holy Scripture.
Seitz answered that the report of the Synod’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Funding the Mission, which made a number of recommendations to the 2007 LCMS convention, pointed out that when the Synod was established in 1847, gathering data was listed as one of the purposes of the new church body.
Posted July 16, 2010