Delegates to the LCMS Florida-Georgia District’s 31st Regular Convention elected district President Rev. Gregory S. Walton to his second term. Walton, 50, of Orlando, Fla., was elected by acclamation on the first ballot. He was unopposed.
The convention met June 22-24 in Lake Mary, Fla., under the theme “Stewards of God’s Grace: Empowered by the Word,” from 1 Peter 4:10.
Also elected were:
- the Rev. David C. Brighton, pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Warner-Robins, Ga., first vice-president.
- the Rev. Dr. John D. Roth, pastor of First Lutheran Church, Gainesville, Fla., second vice-president.
- the Rev. James R. Guelzow, pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church, Tampa, Fla., third vice-president.
- the Rev. Stephen K. Wipperman, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Lake Worth, Fla., fourth vice-president.
- the Rev. Dr. Brian N. Kneser, pastor of Woodlands Lutheran Church, Montverde, Fla., fifth vice-president.
All the vice-presidents were elected to their first terms, except for Brighton, who formerly served as first vice-president. Roth formerly served as the district’s secretary. All the elected officers were installed at the convention.
Prior to this convention, the district had two elected vice-presidents — one from Florida and one from Georgia — and four pastoral/regional representatives on its board of directors.
The first resolution adopted by delegates at this year’s convention realigned the district from four regions to five regions, essentially splitting Georgia from one region into two. In that same action, the board of directors was adjusted from the former two vice-presidents and four regional pastor representatives to five regional pastor vice-presidents. The board also includes two lay representatives from each region and three at-large commissioned ministers of religion.
Delegates also voted to:
- urge congregations to “engage in foreign mission work” by praying, identifying and encouraging missionaries, providing financial support and taking part in hands-on activities such as mission trips.
- endorse the Luther Institute of Southeast Asia (LISA), which helps train church workers for service primarily in Cambodia and Thailand. Passed unanimously, this resolution asks congregations to support the institute with prayers, encouragement and financial gifts. LISA was the recipient of the convention’s worship offering of $4,260. LISA’s executive director is the Rev. Dr. Gerhard Michael Jr., president emeritus of the Florida-Georgia District.
- continue the district’s support of Mission: Haiti, asking congregations to pray for and provide assistance to the ministry. Mission: Haiti was established in 1999 to serve the spiritual, educational, vocational, material and other needs of the people of Haiti. It works with Haitian Lutherans to train church workers, plant churches, construct schools and orphanages, provide medical clinics, drill wells and support many other self-sufficient projects.
- affirm the importance of campus ministry in the life of the church. Also adopted unanimously, this resolution asks the district to appoint a task force to propose ways to strengthen existing campus ministries and develop new programs.
- encourage continuing education for church professionals. This resolution, which generated pro and con discussion, directs the district president to oversee the development and implementation of a system for “lifelong learning” for the district’s professional church workers.
Also at the convention, Doulos tou Christo (Servant of Christ) awards were presented to:
- Educator Roger L. Walker, for more than 45 years of service to the church — the last 30 of those in the Florida-Georgia District.
- Florida-Georgia District Presidents Emeriti Rev. Thomas R. Zehnder (who was president from 1987 to 1997) and Rev. Gerhard Michael Jr. (1997-2009), for their service to the district.
- layman Don Lauher, who served as the district’s business manager from early 2000 until his retirement last November.
Posted June 26, 2012