Sunday, July 07, 2019

Dear Friends in Christ,

Dear Friends in Christ,

The 67th regular convention of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod takes place this month in
Tampa, Flonda: I was elected pastoral delegate for the Mapleton Circuit, so I will be attending my first Synod Convention.

A synod is. a group of congregations who have agreed to join together to support needed work that
they cannot do individually. One congregation cannot operate a seminary to train pastors, for example, but a synod can . The word synod means "walking together," and the congregations of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are committed to "walking together" in doctrine and practice, based on the Scnptures and the Lutheran Confessions.

A Synod Convention is the place where the business of our church body is discussed. Some
important business is done before the convention takes place. As I write this, voting for the President of Synod is taking place online; by the time you read this either Rev. Matthew Harrison, Rev. Timothy Klinkenberg, or Rev. David Maier will have been elected to a three-year term as President of our Synod.

Whoever is elected President will have the opportunity to set the vision for the work of the Synod for the next three years. Each congregation has a pastoral and a lay voter in the election for Synod President. (Brent Friedrichs was our lay voter.)

The convention has the responsibility of election the other officers of the Synod, including the First
Vice-President, five Regional Vice-Presidents, Secretary of Synod, several positions on the Synod Board of Directors, and positions on several boards and commissions of Synod and its institutions, including the Boards of  Regents of the two seminaries and the eight schools in the Concordia University System.

The preliminary work of the convention is done in twelve floor committees, each responsible for an
area of ministry. Each floor committee reviews overtures sent in by congregations, districts, and
seminary faculties, and decides whether they will be brought to the floor of the convention as resolutions. Sometimes similar overtures are combined into a single resolution. The resolutions will be presented to the convention delegates for a vote.

Many important resolutions will be up for discussion at the convention. One that affects Iowa
District West (and our area in particular) is Resolution 1-03: To Study Shared Ministry Among Small
Congregations. Part of this resolution directs "That the congregations, circuits, and districts of the Synod be encouraged to explore greater opportunities for collaboration for the care of members and the mission to proclaim the Gospel to those who have not yet been brought to faith in our communities". The resolution recognizes that the changing rural and small town landscape and the declining number of seminary graduates have increased the need for congregations to work together in order to provide Word and Sacrament ministry to our members.

Another important issue at the Tampa Convention will be the recruitment of students for the pastoral
ministry, including the continued exploration of the best routes to ordmat!on to the m1mstry. Resolution 6-02: "To Promote Residential Seminary Education as the Preferred Option for the Preparation of Men for the Pastoral Ministry" and Resolution 6-03: "To Enhance the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program." are likely to receive considerable discussion. Our Savior in Denison recently ordained Rev. John Jacobsen as an SMP Pastor, meaning that as a member of Our Savior he has completed the necessary education for ordination into the pastoral ministry and is now called to serve Our Savior while continuing to work at his previous vocation.

The Synod Convention is the business side of the church, but it is important work. Please pray for
the delegates as they consider the resolutions and make decisions for the good of the church-at-large.
Ours is a "partnership" in the Gospel" (Philippians 1 :5) as we continue "walking together" as "JOY:
FULLY LUTHERAN" Christians committed to proclaiming the pure Gospel of salvation by grace
through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

God's Peace in Christ,
Pastor Merrill

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