With Barbara A. Below
The district convention season is in full swing, and important work is going on in those conventions that will lead to the 2013 national convention of the Synod. Districts and their conventions play several new roles in laying important groundwork for the Synod’s national convention.
1. Delegates must attend their district convention in order to vote for president. District convention delegates will cast their congregation’s votes in the national election of the president of the Synod. Delegates will only be permitted to cast their ballots for president in June 2013 if they have attended their district convention in 2012. If the voting delegate is not able to attend the district convention, the alternate delegate must attend the district convention in order to participate in the vote.
2. Districts send in overtures and recommendations of triennial mission and ministry emphases for the Synod.
An important element of the district conventions has changed. Mailing number 4 from the secretary of the Synod stated, “prior to the 2010 LCMS convention, no synodwide approach existed for determining goals and emphases. … The 2010 convention provided a process for congregations, circuit forums, districts and the national convention to participate in determining triennial mission and ministry emphases for the Synod.”
“The district convention is the instrument to receive overtures … , including overtures and recommendations for synodwide mission and ministry emphases submitted by member congregations and adopted by a circuit forum” (Bylaw 4.2.1[b]. These triennial emphases should have been developed through the circuit forums (Bylaw 5.3.1 [b]). This important work goes back to one of the stated objectives of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance to “broaden and amplify the participation and voice of the congregation.”
This key role of district conventions to submit mission and ministry emphases to the national convention unfortunately has been largely neglected as we approach the 2013 Synod convention. It is already too late for circuit forums to be involved (though they could caucus at district conventions), but districts might still consider sending on to the national convention the mission and ministry emphases called for by the bylaw.
3. District conventions pass on overtures to the national convention of Synod.
Convention overtures may be submitted by a member congregation of the Synod, a convention or board of directors of a district, an official district conference of ordained and/or commissioned ministers, the faculty of an educational institution of the Synod, the Board of Directors of the Synod, or a board or commission of the Synod. Overtures are due to the president of the Synod no later than March 2, 2013 (20 weeks prior to the opening date of the convention). To meet printing deadlines, it will be helpful to receive the overtures by Feb. 1, 2013. Overtures involving capital outlay or current expenditures must be accompanied, to the extent feasible, by cost projections and the basis thereof. The president of the Synod is given the task to decide which overtures will be published in the Convention Workbook. He is to determine whether an overture contains information that is materially in error or contains any apparent misrepresentation of truth or character and, if so, will not approve its inclusion.
May God bless our Synod and districts in convention with wisdom, insight, patience, courage and strength as we deal with pressing matters and live our life together in koinonia.
Barbara A. Below is an assistant to the Synod president.
Posted May 31, 2012