The Rev. Dr. David H. Benke, pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., was elected to his eighth consecutive term as president of the Synod’s Atlantic District during the district’s 58th convention, June 8-9 in Bronxville, N.Y. Benke ran unopposed and was elected by acclamation.
Also elected were:
- the Rev. Dr. Dien Ashley Taylor, pastor of Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bronx, N.Y., to his first term as first vice-president.
- the Rev. Paul R. Sauer, pastor of Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Bronx, N.Y., second vice-president of Region 2, second term.
- the Rev. Derek G. Lecakes, pastor of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Niskayuna, N.Y., to his first term as third vice-president of Region 1.
- the Rev. Charles R. Byer, pastor of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Aquebogue, N.Y., as fourth vice-president of Region 3, second term.
All of the elected officers were installed during the convention.
Delegates also adopted new mission and vision statements for the district. The new mission statement reads, “The Atlantic District’s congregations, workers and agencies share God’s grace in Christ Jesus to nurture Christians and reach out to others.”
According to the new vision statement, the district is “engaging the world with the Gospel of hope” through:
- “vitalized congregations that grow in the grace and work of the Body of Christ through Word and Sacraments while reaching their neighborhoods and the world with the life and love of Christ”;
- “sanctified workers who are supported so that they love, teach and lead the baptized while seeking the lost and sharing the Gospel with all people”; and
- “dynamic agencies that are committed to partnerships in the Gospel that edify the faithful while transforming our society.”
In other action, delegates adopted resolutions that:
- “thank God for women” by recognizing the service of women to the church; affirming Resolution 3-08A, adopted by the 2004 LCMS convention, that supports the 1994 Commission on Theology and Church Relations report on “The Service of Women in Congregational and Synodical Offices”; and encouraging “all people to use their gifts to the extension of the kingdom of God.”
- “encourage church-work vocations and formation” by thanking God “for the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing workers for the harvest through the various programs — residential, alternate-route and colloquy — which have produced … ordained and commissioned rostered workers.” The resolution also thanks the Synod “for the variety of church-worker formation programs that allow for the extension of Christ’s kingdom including residential seminary and commissioned programs, alternate route/specific pastor programs, and colloquy programs,” and asks the district’s praesidium to share with the 2015 convention a list of all the district’s church-work students “in order to mark progress on church-worker recruitment.”
- “support the pastoral office of the synodical president” by asking for the repeal of LCMS Bylaw 3.3.1 (a), which restricts the LCMS president from holding an office other than assistant pastor.
- “foster harmony throughout the LCMS” by asking the Synod to “establish Lent 2014 for fasting and praying for unity, harmony and concord that consists of reconciliation in the Body of Christ” and to “work with the Koinonia Project so that it enable dialogue without premature threats to unity that would impinge on honest dialogue.”
- “engage interested Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA] workers and congregations” by asking LCMS district presidents to “be open to engaging … in conversation” rostered members and congregations of the ELCA and other church bodies that are interested in joining the LCMS.
- “address ministers of religion-commissioned” by inviting a district task force composed of national and district church workers, ordained and lay, “to develop a comprehensive approach to the issue of appropriate decision-making representation for [the district’s] commissioned, rostered church workers, including both theological and practical concerns.” The resolution also asks that the conclusions of the task force be presented “in a timely way” so that the district’s board of directors may prepare a related overture to the 2013 LCMS national convention.
Posted June 12, 2012 / Updated June 13, 2012