HOUSTON—With three bangs of a historic gavel, LCMS President Gerald B. Kieschnick July 11 opened the 64th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The gavel has a long history of service at the conventions of the 163-year-old church body. The intricately carved gavel, bearing the likenesses of Martin Luther and C.F.W. Walther, the Synod’s first president, has been used by every LCMS president since 1911 to signal the convention opening.
Some 1,200 delegates are meeting July 10-17 at the George R. Brown Convention Center under the theme “ONE People—Forgiven.” The convention is the highest legislative body for the church.
Before Kieschnick formally opened the convention, delegates and attendees joined in an hour-long service of prayer that marked the beginning of a national 24-hour, seven-day prayer vigil that will end at 11 a.m., Sat., July 17, just before the convention is scheduled to adjourn. More than 4,000 members of LCMS congregations have signed up to be prayer-vigil participants.
Also before the convention officially opened, registration committee Chairman Rev. Russell Sommerfeld, president of the LCMS Nebraska District, reported that 1,195 voting delegates — 603 pastors and 592 laymen — had registered as of Sunday morning.
An amendment to revise the convention schedule, which sought to move the balloting for president to Sunday’s agenda from its original date of Tuesday, was defeated by a vote of 608 (52 percent) to 572 (48 percent).
Col. Jeffrey Williams, a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Houston, and author of The Work of His Hands, which features photos taken during his assignments aboard the International Space Station, welcomed the delegates to Houston. Echoing the theme of the convention, he asked that the “Lord awaken anew the power of forgiveness we share in Christ Jesus, in order to witness and bring witness to those around us — both here and in our home congregations.”
Also welcoming delegates was Texas District President Kenneth M. Hennings who said the state “was blessed” to be home to several institutions, among them Concordia University Texas, Austin; Lutheran Social Services of the South; Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Texas; LINC—Houston; the Lutheran Foundation of Texas; the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League; and the Lutheran Laymen’s League.
Posted July 11, 2010