The Rev. Dr. Roger C. Paavola was elected president of the LCMS Mid-South District by delegates to the district’s 18th Regular Convention, June 22-24 in Memphis, Tenn. He was elected on the fourth ballot.
A resident of Cookeville, Tenn., Paavola, 64, has served the past 12 years as pastor of Heavenly Host Lutheran Church, Cookeville, and was the district’s second vice-president during the past triennium. He is a second-career pastor, having served 23 years as an administrator in hospital medical systems before enrolling at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., where he earned Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees.
Paavola succeeds the Rev. Kenneth E. Lampe, who is retiring after nine years as district president. Along with giving thanks to Lampe for 39 years of service, the convention named him president emeritus of the Mid-South District.
The convention, meeting under the theme “Founded in Christ, Focused on Community,” also elected:
- the Rev. Charles J. Neugebauer, senior pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Memphis, first vice-president.
- the Rev. John P. Gierke, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, Conway, Ark., second vice-president.
- the Rev. Paul E. Hass, pastor of Bella Vista Lutheran Church, Bella Vista, Ark., third vice-president.
- the Rev. Richard M. Elseroad, senior pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Knoxville, Tenn., fourth vice-president.
The officers were installed during the convention.
Citing an LCMS goal to begin 2,000 new ministries by 2020 and the experience of church-planting initiatives that reached many people with little or no connection to the church, the convention voted to affirm and encourage the initiatives of the district’s church-planting team and the pastors and congregations actively involved in church-planting efforts that focus on reaching the lost.
The convention also voted to continue a relationship with the East of Lake Victoria Diocese (ELVD) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania, East Africa. Discussion included comments from those who expressed disappointment with the ELVD’s decision to ordain two women, but also included recognition that many souls would be lost by a Mid-South decision to turn away from a mission where many continue to be baptized.
The resolution states, in part, that the district continue working with the ELVD to encourage its Lutheran identity, use dedicated funds ($12,500) to present pastoral workshops in the areas of biblical hermeneutics, and provide a follow-up report to the 2015 district convention.
Delegates also adopted a resolution to affirm the deacon ministry in the Synod. Debate centered on the appropriateness of using deacons to perform Word-and-sacrament ministry. Yet discussion noted that eliminating licensed deacons would also “eliminate the regular exercise of the means of grace for dozens of congregations in approximately half” of LCMS districts.
Posted June 26, 2012 / Updated June 27, 2012 / Updated July 19, 2012