The Rev. Dr. Chris C. Wicher of Cheektowaga, N.Y., was elected to his second term as president of the LCMS Eastern District at the district’s 97th Regular Convention, June 15-16 in Amherst, N.Y. Wicher, 55, was re-elected on the first ballot.
The theme of the convention was “CHOSEN,” from 1 Peter 2:9.
Also elected were:
- the Rev. Karl Haeussler, senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, North Tonawanda, N.Y., first vice-president/Buffalo Region vice-president.
- the Rev. Daniel Strussenberg, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, South Hills, Pa., second vice-president/Pittsburgh Region vice-president.
- the Rev. David Bernard, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Canastota, N.Y., third vice-president/Rochester Region vice-president.
- the Rev. Howard Alexander, pastor of St. Philip’s Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, fourth vice-president/Philadelphia Region vice-president.
All of the elected officers were installed during the convention.
Delegates also adopted resolutions that:
- “recommend that smaller congregations enter into ministry arrangements different from the traditional model used by most” — such as dual, bivocational and satellite parishes — and that they “seek opportunities to ‘reinvent’ themselves as they seek to further the growth of the kingdom of God in their communities.” The resolution also asks the district’s board of directors to establish a Small Congregation Task Force “to assist in this process.”
- encourage district congregations to make “disciple-making” a top priority and to support and participate in local and regional mission initiatives such as “LINC Rochester, CLIMB Buffalo, LINC Pittsburgh and PLM Philadelphia.” The resolution also commends district leaders “for challenging us with the basic operating principle for mission and ministry titled ‘Breaking New Ground,’ a theme which includes establishing a process for new ministry, mission and church starts; helping with the training and development of lay leaders; forming geographical clusters of pastors and congregations that will work together as we move into the future together; and improving communication/connections to local congregations.”
- commend the LCMS “for its bold and courageous work in addressing real need with a real solution through the adoption of alternate-route [pastoral] programs such as the Specific Ministry Pastor [SMP] program” and the LCMS seminaries for developing the SMP program. The resolution further asks the Synod in convention “to continue offering the [SMP program] so that new workers for specific ministries are prepared for service to the church.”
The convention received a report from Hope Lutheran Church in Rochester, N.Y., on the status of its full-length feature film, “King’s Faith.” The film, to be released this fall, is designed to reach people of all ages — but especially the younger generation — with an encouragement to “stand strong in your faith, even when severely tested,” according to a district spokesman.
During the opening day of the district’s convention at Daemen College in Amherst, tens of thousands of people were gathering at Niagara Falls — some 20 miles away — to watch daredevil Nik Wallenda make his historic June 15 high-wire walk across the falls.
As the second day of the convention began, Bruce Sutherland, a former member of the district staff and current regional representative for Lutheran Hour Ministries, told how a dozen members of a district evangelism team shared their faith with those who had gathered at the Wallenda event and met with Wallenda’s pastor, who travels with him.
Sutherland began his presentation by asking everyone at the convention to “raise your right foot about a foot off the ground. Now repeat these words: ‘All glory to God.’ ” That’s precisely how Nik Wallenda “begins every event … including his walk over the falls,” Sutherland said.
Posted June 19, 2012