The LCMS Board of Directors met for its final regular meeting of the 2013–2016 triennium May 26-27, 2016, in St. Louis. The use of a “consent agenda” again expedited the board’s conduct of its business by including routine matters that require board review or action under a single resolution adopted at the beginning of the meeting.
President Matthew Harrison spoke of key matters to be addressed by the 2016 convention, mentioning in particular the licensed lay deacon and the uncalled candidate pastors issues. He also reported that while the budget-setting process has become increasingly difficult, work at the International Center is “humming,” especially in the area of foreign missions.
Interest worldwide by other Lutheran and Christian groups and church bodies in becoming Lutheran entering into fellowship with the Synod continues to grow.
The business of the board conducted in open session included the following:
- Chief Financial Officer Jerald Wulf called attention to the January 2016 financial statement, noting that unrestricted income continues to diminish but has been matched by reductions in spending. While congregational offerings have increased significantly over recent years, work-at-large offerings continue to decrease, demonstrating what he called a “distribution problem.” He also noted that the fund-raising cost ratio stands at about 12% for the Synod’s Mission Advancement Unit, which remains well below recommended allowable amounts for charitable organizations.
- The board having already granted a 3% salary increase pool for non-officer employees at its February 2016 meeting now also granted a 3% annual salary increase of officers’ salaries. It then approved the 2016/2017 Mission and Ministry Budget totaling $90,065,354 and a Capital Equipment and Facility Budget totaling $835,990.
- Chief Mission Officer Kevin Robson provided an oral report of the Synod’s three international schools, Hong Kong International School, Concordia International School Shanghai, and Concordia International School Hanoi. All three schools are thriving. The Synod continues to work to maintain strong relationships with the schools and promote its anticipated outcomes for these schools.
- The board appointed the following persons to positions in the Synod:
• Timothy Hecht (Vienna, Va.) was appointed to fill a vacant position on the Board of Directors of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C.
• William A. Northend (Sonoma, Calif.) was appointed to fill an ordained position on the Concordia Plan Services Board of Directors/Concordia Plans Board of Trustees.
• Dennis C. Becker (Fort Wayne, Ind.); Brenda Blisk (Vienna, Va.); Carol A Huebner (San Antonio, Texas); James R. Jaacks (St. Louis, Mo.); and Judy K. Strombeck (Minneapolis, Minn.) were appointed to fill lay positions on the Concordia Plan Services Board of Directors/Concordia Plans Board of Trustees.
• Dennis Becker (Fort Wayne, Ind.); William H. Nau (Midlothian, Va.); James R. Saalfeld (Grand Rapids, Mich.); and George Vincent (Cincinnati, Ohio) were appointed to positions as Lutheran Church Extension Fund—Missouri Synod members-at-large. Appointed as alternates were James Ingersoll (Orlando, Fla.); Charles Olander (New Holland, Ill.); and Sally Bucrek (Pinckney, Mich).
- The board approved a $3 million loan for dormitory and athletic field renovations by Concordia University Nebraska.
- The board approved financing not to exceed $12 million dollars for a Concordia University Chicago residence hall project.
- The board approved the submission of an overture to the 2016 LCMS convention, “To Study and Recommend Improvements to the Process to Consolidate, Relocate, Separate, or Divest a College or University.”
—Raymond L. Hartwig, Secretary