The Rev. Dr. Russell Sommerfeld of Seward, Neb., was elected to his fourth term as president of the LCMS Nebraska District by delegates to the district’s 17th convention, meeting June 8-9 at Concordia University in Seward.
Delegates also elected four vice-presidents:
- first vice-president — the Rev. Richard Snow, senior pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Battle Creek, Neb., to his third term;
- second vice-president — the Rev. James De Loach, senior pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Kearney, Neb., first term;
- third vice-president — the Rev. Scott Porath, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Eagle, Neb., first term; and
- fourth vice-president — the Rev. Rick Kanoy, senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Arlington, Neb., first term.
This is the final three-year term that Sommerfeld will serve as president, due to term limits in the district. He and other district officers were installed during the convention.
The 343 voting delegates gathered under the theme of “The Good Life,” based on Gal. 6:9-10. They devoted time to worship, Bible study, education, prayer and consideration of work in the district. The total attendance at the convention was 546 with 117 advisory delegates and 86 guests and staff.
As the delegates discussed the ministry of the Nebraska District, as well as the ministry of the LCMS, they voted to recommend to the LCMS a mission focus seeking those who have not heard the Gospel and those who are disconnected from the church — with specific emphases on family-life ministry and rural/small-town ministry. Delegates also agreed to encourage Christian citizenship and vigilance regarding termination of unborn life through government-mandated health programs, including a memorial to the 2013 LCMS convention.
Other Nebraska District convention recommendations to the LCMS convention include restoring the sole authority of the Synod in convention to declare altar and pulpit fellowship and the selection of a faithful translation of the Holy Scripture to be used in the Catechism if permission is not obtained for continued use of the 1984 version of the New International Version. Delegates also encouraged the financial support of the Nebraska District by member congregations and spent considerable time in debate over the nature of the pastoral office and removal of men from that office.
During the opening worship service at St. John Lutheran Church, Seward, the Rev. Dr. John Wohlrabe, LCMS second vice-president, delivered the sermon. He said there could be a dilemma for some people if they are not doing good deeds for the right reason or if they despair that their efforts are not appreciated. For Christians who glory in Christ and “keep their nose straight ahead on the cross of Jesus Christ, there should be no dilemma,” he continued.
“In Christ, we not only have the good life, but we have the only life,” Wohlrabe said.
The Rev. Dr. Richard Marrs, associate professor of Practical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, spoke on a spirit of reconciliation. He focused on the difference between conflict resolution and reconciliation, saying that Christians need to seek peace, joy, harmony and forgiveness with each other so that the world may see and be drawn to the same reconciliation with Jesus Christ.
LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison also reported to the convention and answered questions from delegates.
The LCMS Nebraska District has 251 congregations with more than 111,000 baptized members.
Posted June 12, 2012