ST. LOUIS — “I’m so delighted after all these years that The Wittenberg Project is coming together so nicely,” said the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, at the Synod’s Board of Directors (BOD) meeting here Nov. 7-8. He was referring to the Synod’s work of renovating the historic building that was once the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany, and turning it into a Lutheran education and outreach center in the town where Martin Luther taught and nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door — which marked the start of the Reformation in 1517.
That work is expected to be complete in time for the building’s dedication planned for next May.
Others addressing the Board on progress of The Wittenberg Project included BOD Chairman Rev. Michael Kumm (who also chairs the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg supervisory board that oversees the project); the Rev. Dr. Jon Vieker, senior assistant to Harrison and chairman of the chapel committee for the building in Wittenberg; and LCMS Executive Director of Mission Advancement Mark Hofman, who reported on the special initiative (campaign) providing financial support for the project.
Besides those on Wittenberg, much of the Board’s time at this meeting was devoted to hearing other reports, including those from Board and Synod officers, as well as one on the triennial retreat held in conjunction with the Board’s August meeting. Also at this meeting, the BOD held a joint executive session with representatives of the Concordia University System.
Board member James Carter, who served as chairman of the committee for the Board‘s retreat, and Synod Chief Administrative Officer Ron Schultz reported on the outcome of a survey of Board members about the retreat, which focused on “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod of the Future.”
“The committee was quite pleased with the responses,” Carter told the Board, which held its retreat in executive session.
For the future and discussed at its most recent meeting, the Board identified eight “next steps.”
Schultz said the survey results indicated that “what Board of Directors members liked most” about the retreat included “good opportunity to discuss further direction” and that there was “honest exchange” of ideas.
“The retreat allowed us to spend more time on subjects and issues for which we don’t seem to have enough time,” Carter said.
In other actions, the Board:
- approved several revisions to the Bylaws of the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation.
- appointed the Synod’s chief administrative officer as the manager for triennial LCMS conventions.
- ratified creation of the position newly filled by the Rev. Randall Golter as special assistant to the Synod president. A story in last month’s Reporter was about Golter accepting that position, in which he leads the Synod’s observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 and also its “Preach the Word” program to enrich preaching throughout the church body.
- resolved that in years to come, the Board would return to holding its fall meeting in conjunction with the Lutheran Church Extension Fund Fall Leadership Conference, when possible.
The Board also received the audited financial statements of the corporate Synod for the fiscal year that ended June 30. (See a related item in “Official Notices.”)
Later, as the meeting drew to a close, members offered several suggestions about how the Board might most efficiently make use of its time together — including the possibility of one-day meetings.
The next meeting of the Synod’s Board of Directors is set for Feb. 13-14, also here in St. Louis.
Updated Nov. 26, 2014