Governance — 2019-2023

Guide to Triennium Phases

Specific Processes for Congregational Participation


Opportunities for your congregation’s participation in the governance of the district and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod throughout the Triennium occur on a regular schedule.

The timing of phases 1, 2, and 3 varies by district and circuit. Importantly, some phases overlap in time. You should receive communications from your district indicating dates, places, processes, and deadlines related to each of these opportunities.

For the Synod convention (phase 4), in addition to official notices in the Reporter and Lutheran Witness and a few special mailings to your congregation’s office address, your pastor, congregation, and lay leaders with accurate emails registered on the annual (February) lay leader report will receive timely reminders. Your church administrator can update lay leader records at any time at lc.lcms.org.

Please ask the person who maintains these records on behalf of your congregation to make sure these email records are kept up to date (through LISN for Congregations at lc.lcms.org), as the old “It’s Time” postcards will no longer be sent.

Bylaw references below are to the 2019 Synod Handbook, which has been mailed to each congregation and is also available online.


Triennium Phases



 

1. Visitation Circuit Forum (Pre-District Convention)


Visitation Circuit Forum


Your circuit visitor will announce a date and agenda for a meeting of your visitation circuit to select a circuit visitor. This selection will be ratified as an election by the upcoming district convention, which reserves the right to amend the slate of circuit visitors selected by the circuit forums (Bylaw 5.2.2).

The circuit may also (Bylaw 5.3.1) engage in study together; review how the circuit, district, and Synod are serving for and on behalf of the congregations; or take up other business, like adopting an overture to the upcoming district convention (Bylaw 5.3.5). Every circuit is encouraged to send an overture to its district with suggestions for development of the Synod’s triennial priorities and goals (Bylaw 5.3.4).

Actions your congregation can take in advance to participate in the circuit forum:

 

1A. Representation at Visitation Circuit Forum

The visitation circuit forum consists of one called-and-installed pastor and one layperson from each member congregation or multi-congregation parish, as designated by the congregation or parish (Bylaw 5.3.2).

If your congregation or parish has more than one called and installed pastor, the congregation or parish must also determine which pastor will represent it. Unless your congregation or parish has authorized another official way to do this, a voters meeting should make these decisions in advance of the upcoming circuit forum. The selected representatives should be able to demonstrate to the circuit visitor that they have been selected by the congregation as its official representatives to the forum.

If your congregation is part of a multi-congregation parish, the parish should have an agreed-upon means of selecting its circuit delegates from among its called-and-installed pastor(s) and lay membership. If your congregation is not the congregation sending the parish’s voting lay delegate, it may send an advisory lay delegate, with voice but no vote.

 

1B. Nomination of Circuit Visitor

This will require official action by your voters assembly (or other governing body authorized by the congregation to conduct such business on its behalf) prior to the circuit forum.

Synod Bylaw 5.2.1 speaks of a circuit visitor as the principal officer of the circuit. His considerable duties are further described in Bylaws 5.2.3–5.2.3.3. According to Bylaws 4.3.1 and 5.2.2 (d), pastors on the clergy roster of the district who are either actively serving congregations or having emeritus status are eligible for nomination. Specific ministry pastors (SMP) are not eligible to serve in this capacity (Bylaw 2.13.1 [b][4]).

The bylaws leave open the possibility of nominating active or emeriti pastors from outside your congregation’s circuit (but not outside your congregation’s district). Note that pertinent [biographical] information regarding each pastor should be available for presentation at the circuit forum (Bylaw 5.2.2 [d] [1]). Nominations and the related biographical info must be submitted to the circuit visitor prior to the day of the circuit forum.

The district president is also able to suggest nominees, which can be included on the ballot by a vote, prior to the election, of the assembled circuit forum. A circuit visitor faced with a lack of congregational nominations at the time his circuit gathers may well request such a suggestion from the district president to allow the forum to proceed with the selection of a visitor.

 

1C. Overture Submission Through Circuit

How well are the Synod’s present triennial mission and mission priorities serving for and on behalf of your congregation? The circuit forum provides an opportunity for your congregation to voice its opinion regarding mission and ministry areas where the Synod should concentrate efforts.

The present mission and ministry emphasis, established in 2019, is “Making Disciples for Life,” with its seven associated priorities (2019 Res. 4-03A, 2019 Proceedings, pp. 134–35). Your congregation has this opportunity for input.

According to Synod Bylaw 4.2.1 (b): “The district convention is the instrument to receive overtures (Bylaw 3.1.6.2), including overtures and recommendations for synodwide mission and ministry emphases submitted by member congregations and adopted by a circuit forum.”

“The district convention shall, through delegate vote, forward to the national convention a list of two or three triennial mission and ministry emphases for consideration by the national convention” (Bylaw 4.2.1 [d]). The emphases adopted by the Synod convention provide primary focus for the Synod’s mission offices and foster specific goals to support ministry at the congregational level (Bylaw 3.3.1.1.1 [a]).

A report of the Synod Boards for National and International Mission is made available in advance of each round of district conventions to provide background for this work (Bylaws 3.8.2.3, 3.8.3.3

Does your congregation have other ideas for work that needs to be done, teaching or practice that needs to be strengthened in the Synod, problems that need to be confronted, opportunities to be met, or structural changes that need to be made? Your congregation may suggest any action it considers helpful to the district or Synod by submitting an overture, a request for the convention’s action in the form of a proposed resolution, stating its rationale and the course of action to suggested for the district or Synod to resolve upon.

For a template and instructions, see lcms.org/convention/governance/overture. (Your district may have provided material specific to your district’s overture submission process.)

It is always helpful to give your circuit visitor advance notice of any overture your congregation’s delegates might be bringing to the forum so that other congregations’ delegates can be prepared to discuss it.

 

 

2. District Convention


District Convention


The Synod, with its component parts, most especially its districts, “is regarded as an extension of the congregations to the extent and for the purposes determined by the congregations acting through conventions.

The Synod and its component parts are designed to assist congregations and their members in conserving and promoting the unity of the faith and in carrying out their mission and ministry.

The Synod, including its component parts, also serves as the structure through which congregations carry out certain functions that can be performed more effectively and efficiently together with other member congregations.” (Bylaw 1.3.3)

Conventions of the Synod and the districts are the congregation’s principal means of gathering officially together, by way of their elected delegates, to grow together in and to apply together the confession of the Synod (Const. Art. II), to review the objectives for which they have formed the Synod and its districts (Const. Art. III), to review the work of officers, boards, commissions, and agencies in furthering those purposes, and to govern and direct the work their Synod or their district, subject to that confession and those objectives.

More specifically, “Conventions of the districts shall afford opportunities for worship, nurture, inspiration, fellowship, and the communication of vital information. They are the principal legislative assemblies, which amend the district’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, consider and take action on reports and overtures, and handle appropriate appeals.” (Bylaw 4.2.1)

“The delegate convention of each district of the Synod receives reports and counsel from the national Synod, makes recommendations thereto, assists in implementing decisions of the Synod, and adopts or authorizes programs to meet the unique needs of the district.” (Bylaw 1.4.2)

Actions your congregation can take to participate in the convention of its district:

 

2A. Representation at District Convention

The voting body of the district convention consists of one pastoral delegate (one of the called and installed pastors of your parish) and one lay delegate (a member of your congregation it has “elected and deputed” to serve as representative) from each member congregation or parish (that is, the number of congregations served by one pastor or pastor(s) as a multi-congregation parish) of the district, as designated by the congregation or parish (Const. Art. XII 10 a).

If your congregation or parish has more than one called and installed pastor, the congregation or parish must determine which pastor will represent it. Unless your congregation or parish has another official way to do this, a voters meeting should make this decision in advance of the upcoming circuit forum.

Your district will provide a means for these delegates to be credentialed by the congregation (means which involve the signature of two congregational officers), and these credentials will need to be presented to the district secretary either before or at the district convention for the delegates to be seated (Bylaw 4.2.2).

If your congregation is part of a multi-congregation parish, the parish should have an agreed-upon means of selecting its delegates and voters from among its pastor(s) and lay membership. If your congregation is not the congregation sending the parish’s voting lay delegate, it may send an advisory lay delegate, with voice but no vote.

Please take care to register delegates, voting and advisory, for the district convention as requested by your district.

If your congregation is home to any other individual members of the Synod (perhaps an ordained minister other than the voter, whether active, candidate, or emeritus, or any commissioned minister on the roster of the Synod), it should know that these are, apart from a valid excuse, also to “serve as advisory delegates” (Bylaw 4.2.3). The congregation might consider helping them to overcome obstacles to their attendance at the district convention, to exercise their rights and responsibilities as individual members of the Synod.

As it considers the work the district and Synod for and on behalf of the congregation and the service of district officers, boards, and commissions, and as it reviews material in the district Convention Workbook, the congregation or parish may well visit with its delegates regarding these matters so that they may be encouraged in and prepared for their service, which is on behalf of the whole congregation or parish.

 

2B. Nomination of District Officers, Boards, and Commissions

Your district is served by a number of officers, boards, commissions, and/or committees, many of which are elected (either in whole or in part) by the district convention. These include an elected, ordained Secretary and a lay Treasurer, who may be either elected or appointed, depending on the district’s bylaws (Bylaws 4.3.1–2).

Your district also has a board of directors and other commissions or committees responsible for various areas of mission governance or provision of various services to the district. (Circuit visitors are officers of the district, treated separately under Action 1A; district presidents and vice-presidents are treated separately under Action 2C, below.) The proper filling of all these offices depends on thoughtful nominations.

A district convention sometimes has the responsibility for electing individuals to serve beyond the district itself. If your district is home to a campus of the Concordia University System, it may also, on behalf of the Synod, elect regents to the university’s board. Also, in alternating conventions, half of the districts at a time supply either an ordained/commissioned minister or a layperson to serve on the Synod’s Committee for Convention Nominations (CCN).

These district representatives are elected by the district convention, and nominations may be submitted as for other elected district positions (Action 2B; Bylaw 3.12.3.1). Your congregation should be notified by your district’s secretary if your district convention is accepting nominations for such positions.

While the exact process and timeline for nomination of individuals to these positions may vary from district to district (specific instructions and forms should be provided to your congregation by its district secretary), often, any member of the congregation can obtain the appropriate form and submit a nomination for any of these positions.

These nominations are generally submitted to an elected nominating committee of the district that prepares slates of well-qualified and willing candidates for election by the convention.

There is often a shortage of highly-qualified candidates, nominated with strong and clear rationales for their prospective service. Various positions require aptitudes ranging from theological insight to governance skill to financial acumen, including expertise in some specific areas of work or mission oversight. Your congregation should ensure that its members are fully informed about their opportunity to nominate to these positions (or, in other cases, about how to contribute to congregational decisions to nominate), as well as the qualifications for service in each of them.

All officers and members of boards of the district are required to be members of member congregations of the district. Where nominations are solicited for regional positions in the district, those nominated must have membership in a congregation assigned to that region. (Bylaw 4.3.3)

It is always a good practice to inquire of a person to be nominated whether he or she will be willing to serve if elected, although it is not wrong to submit the name of a person who is yet unsure about his or her ability or availability to serve.

Nominations submitted are generally followed up on by an elected district nominations committee, which is charged to select the best qualified, willing candidates to the district convention for election.

 

2C. Nomination of District President / Vice-President

While the exact process and timeline for nominations of district president and vice-president, as well as the regionality of the vice-president offices, vary somewhat from district to district, generally, each congregation is entitled to cast nominating ballots for each office, and the slate for each office comprises a certain number of the eligible and willing nominees receiving the most nominating votes.

Any ordained minister (other than a specific ministry pastor, Bylaw 2.13.1 [b][2]) on the roster of the Synod may be nominated for the office of district president; any ordained minister (other than a specific ministry pastor, Bylaw 2.13.1 [b][2]) on the roster of your district may be nominated for the office(s) of vice-president.

The work of district presidents and vice-presidents is described in Const. Art. XII 6–9 and (by analogy to the Synod President) XI B 1–5, as well as Bylaws 4.4.1–8. District vice-presidents assist the president in the performance of his office and stand in line of succession to the presidency, should a vacancy arise.

Where nominations are solicited for regional vice-president positions in the district, those nominated must have membership in a congregation assigned to that region.

 

2D. Overture Submission Submitting to/through District

Your congregation’s input is important to the governance of your district. Your congregation has the opportunity to propose actions, in the form of “overtures” (proposed resolutions), to the district convention, which by adopting them can give direction to its officers and agencies and advice and encouragement to the congregations, schools, and church workers of the district. Your district secretary will publish specific dates and instructions important to the overture submission process.

How well are the Synod’s present triennial mission and mission priorities serving for and on behalf of your congregation? The district convention provides an opportunity for your congregation to voice its opinion regarding mission and ministry areas where the Synod should concentrate efforts.

According to Synod Bylaw 4.2.1 (b): The district convention is the instrument to receive overtures (Bylaw 3.1.6.2), requests for action in the form of proposed resolutions, including overtures and recommendations for synodwide mission and ministry emphases submitted by member congregations and adopted by a circuit forum

The present mission and ministry emphasis, established in 2019, is “Making Disciples for Life,” with its seven associated priorities (2019 Res. 4-03A, 2019 Proceedings, pp. 134–35).

The district convention shall, through delegate vote, forward to the national convention a list of two or three triennial mission and ministry emphases for consideration by the national convention. The emphases adopted by the Synod convention provide primary focus for the Synod’s mission offices and foster specific goals to support ministry at the congregational level. (Bylaw 4.2.1 [d]) These might be suggested by your congregation, again, in the form of an overture to the district convention.

A report of the Synod Boards for National and International Mission is made available in advance of each round of district conventions to provide background for this work (Bylaws 3.8.2.3, 3.8.3.3).

Does your congregation have other ideas for work that needs to be done, teaching or practice that needs to be strengthened in the Synod, problems that need to be confronted, opportunities to be met, or structural changes that need to be made? Your congregation may suggest to the district or Synod any action it considers helpful by submitting an overture stating its rationale and the course of action to suggested for the district or Synod to resolve upon.

An overture might seek to speak directly to the district and its congregations—or to ask the district convention to consider speaking as a whole to the Synod in convention, itself to propose some action, decision, or statement of Synodwide significance.

For a template and instructions, including an overview of how an overture is typically constructed, see details about Overture Preparation and Submission. (Your district may have provided material specific to your district’s overture submission process.)

 

 

3. Electoral Circuit Forum (Pre-Synod-Convention)


Electoral Circuit Forum


Each electoral circuit of the Synod must meet to elect voting delegates (and alternates, who attend in place of delegates who ultimately are unable to attend) to the 2023 LCMS Convention. These circuit meetings are called by the circuit visitor and must take place no later than nine months prior to the opening day of the convention, or by October 29, 2022.

Your congregation’s electoral circuit may be the same as your visitation circuit, or it may consist of two or more geographically adjacent visitation circuits, assembled by your district’s board of directors into a single electoral circuit to meet the minimum requirements of Bylaw 3.1.2. (An electoral circuit consists of 7 to 20 congregations and 1,500 to 10,000 confirmed members, unless the President of the Synod grants a special exception requested by the district board of directors.)

Detailed instructions for the conduct of these meetings are provided in Bylaw 3.1.2.1 (2019 Handbook, pp. 99–101). It will be the responsibility of your circuit visitor to conduct your meeting accordingly. However, your congregation should note the following details in particular:

  1. The date and time for the electoral circuit meeting will be announced by your circuit visitor.

  2. Each congregation or parish is represented at the forum by one lay member and its pastor (who each cast a single vote, even if serving or representing the multiple congregations of a parish).

  3. Prior to the day of the electoral circuit meeting:
  • Each congregation of the circuit (or the governing body authorized by the congregation to do so on its behalf) may nominate one layperson from the electoral circuit for possible election as the circuit’s lay voting delegate or alternate lay voting delegate to the convention, by submitting the name to the circuit visitor prior to the day of the circuit meeting.

  • Only names submitted before the day of the meeting will be available for election as lay delegates and alternates.

  • Each congregation or parish of the circuit (or the governing body authorized by the congregation or parish to do so on its behalf) must also designate one of the called and installed pastors of the congregation or parish and one layperson who is a member of the congregation or a congregation of the parish to represent the congregation or parish at the circuit forum.

Actions your congregation can take to participate in the electoral circuit forum:

 

3A. Designating Pastoral and Lay Electoral Circuit Forum Delegates

The electoral circuit forum consists of one called-and-installed pastor and one layperson from each member congregation or multi-congregation parish, as designated by the congregation or parish (Bylaw 5.3.2).

If your congregation or parish has more than one called and installed pastor, the congregation or parish must determine which pastor will represent it. Unless your congregation or parish has another official way to do this, a voters meeting should make this decision in advance of the upcoming circuit forum. The selected representatives should be able to demonstrate to the circuit visitor that they have been selected by the congregation as its official representatives to the forum.

If your congregation is part of a multi-congregation parish, the parish should have an agreed-upon means of selecting its delegates and voters from among its called-and-installed pastor(s) and lay membership.

If your congregation is not the congregation sending the parish’s voting lay delegate, it may send an advisory lay delegate, with voice but no vote.

 

3B. Nominating a Lay Delegate to the Synod Convention

The nomination must be offered by your congregation or by the governing body authorized by the congregation to take such actions. The lay delegate nominee must be a layperson (not on the ordained or commissioned rosters of the Synod) who is a member of an electoral circuit congregation.

The circuit forum will elect one lay delegate and one lay alternate, who will attend the convention in the delegate’s place if he or she is unable, ultimately, to attend. It is well to consider that the delegates and alternates elected by the forum must be from different congregations and that none of the other delegates or alternates can be from a congregation served in more than an assisting capacity by the pastoral delegate or alternate.

 

3C. Proposing a Synod Overture

An overture is a request, in the form of a proposed resolution, for the Synod convention to undertake some action—for example, to revise the Synod’s Constitution or Bylaws; to speak to or call for study on matters of theological or practical import; to revise the Synod’s mission emphasis and priorities; to address problems or meet opportunities; or to adjust in some way the work the Synod does for and on behalf of its member congregations.

Your congregation may suggest to the Synod any action it considers helpful by submitting an overture stating its rationale and the course of action proposed in a form that will allow a convention floor committee to readily develop it (perhaps along with others treating the same topic) into a resolution for presentation to the convention.

The pre-Synod-convention circuit forum is a great opportunity for your congregation to participate with others in its area in proposing or refining overtures to the Synod convention.

It is always helpful to give your circuit visitor advance notice of any overture your congregation’s delegates might be bringing to the forum so that other congregations’ delegates can be prepared to discuss it.

For a template and instructions, including an overview of how an overture is typically constructed, see Overture Preparation and Submission. Please use the official template in submitting overtures ultimately intended for the Synod convention.

 

 

4. Synod Convention


Synod Convention


Two bylaws lay out the purpose and power of the national Synod delegate convention, scheduled to convene on July 29, 2023:

  • “The delegate convention of the Synod is the legislative assembly that ultimately legislates policy, program, and financial direction to carry on the Synod’s work on behalf of and in support of the member congregations. It reserves to itself the right to give direction to all officers and agencies of the Synod. Consequently, all officers and agencies, unless otherwise specified in the Bylaws, shall be accountable to the Synod for all their actions, and any concerns regarding the decisions of such officers or agencies may be brought to the attention of the Synod in convention for appropriate action. This provision does not apply to specific member appeals to the Concordia Plans, which has its own appeal process for such cases.” (Bylaw 1.4.1)

  • The national convention of the Synod shall afford an opportunity for worship, nurture, inspiration, fellowship, and the communication of vital information. It is the principal legislative assembly, which amends the Constitution and Bylaws, considers and takes action on reports and overtures, and handles appropriate appeals. It establishes general positions and policies of the Synod, provides overall program direction and priorities, and evaluates all such positions, programs, policies, directions, and priorities in order to provide responsible service for and on behalf of its members. Only a national convention of the Synod shall authorize affiliation or association and the discontinuance of such affiliation or association of the Synod with other church bodies, synods, or federations.” (Bylaw 3.1.1)

The convention also conducts the election of officers (other than the President, who is elected a few weeks before the convention), members of boards of the Synod and of its national agencies and synodwide corporate entities, and members of the Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations.

Congregations of the Synod are represented at the Synod convention by voting pastoral and lay delegates elected by the electoral circuit of which your congregation is a part.

Congregations also have the ability to submit overtures, or proposals of the convention to act in some matter; to make nominations for President, vice-presidents, Secretary, and boards and commissions of the Synod; and to participate, through their or their parishes’ voters, directly in the election of the President of the Synod.

Actions your congregation can take to participate in the Synod convention:

 

4A. Designating Pastoral and Lay Presidential Voters

Your congregation or parish has the right to vote directly, through a pastoral voter (a pastor called and installed to the congregation or parish) and a lay voter (a member of the congregation or parish who is not an ordained or commissioned minister on the roster of the Synod, whether active, candidate, or emeritus) for President of the Synod.

Watch the mail for an envelope to be sent on October 22, 2022, with information on how to register your congregation’s or multi-congregation’s pastoral voter and lay voter. Voter registration must be completed by the end of March 19, 2023, at midnight central time.

Your congregation should make certain that your voter(s) will be available to participate (see dates below). Voters without computers should plan to obtain the use of a computer and, if needed, assistance perhaps from a family member or the church office. Accurate mail and email addresses are essential to provide this necessary election participation information.

The list of voters, including their contact information, is kept confidential and is not disseminated. District presidents will be informed of the registration status of congregations and they may contact congregations to encourage registration of voters. (Bylaw 3.12.2.3)

If your congregation has registered its voter(s) before the deadline but needs to make changes to emails or addresses or to replace a voter who is no longer available, it may do so until the end of June 9, 2023, at midnight central time, through the same site used to register its voter(s) initially. Instructions are provided in the initial registration packet.

About one week prior to the election, Yes Elections will send (via U.S. mail) information to all voters regarding the voting process, the candidates, and the code numbers needed to participate.

The LCMS Presidential election, conducted by Yes Elections (formerly Election America), will take place by electronic ballot (via the Internet) between June 17–20, and if run-off elections are required, June 24–27, July 1–4, and July 8–11, 2023.  The process is administered by the Secretary of the Synod according to Bylaw 3.12.2.4.

Results of each electronic ballot will be known almost immediately and will be announced on the Synod website. Run-off elections take place if no one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast. Voters will be notified by email of a need for subsequent ballots and will continue to vote using the same participation information received by mail during the week prior to the first ballot.

Information on the candidates should be shared with the congregation as it becomes available in the Biographical Synopses and online, and the congregation might discuss with its voters the choice among candidates for Synod President, First Vice-Presidents, and Regional Vice-President. The congregation would also do well to remind its voters to vote when the time comes.

 

4B. Nominating Synod Officers, Boards, and Commissions

The members of your congregation are invited to submit nominations to the Committee for Convention Nominations for certain officer, board, and commission positions to be filled by the 2023 Synod convention.

Nominations must be received no later than nine months prior to the opening of the convention, or October 29, 2022. (However, submission prior to August 20, 2022, is strongly encouraged!)

Eighteen months before each convention of the Synod, detailed information on offices up for election at the upcoming convention is provided in a mailing to all officers, agencies, congregations, and ordained and commissioned ministers of the Synod. These may submit nominations for these offices, as well as all lay members of member congregations of the Synod.

All necessary information-including a frequently-updated version of the detailed information mailed 18 months prior to the convention—is available on the Secretary, Board, and Commissions nominations webpage. An electronic auto-fill nomination form is available at www.lcms.org/convention/2023-nomination-form. Please save this PDF form on a computer, fill it out and submit it to the email noted on the form. Electronic submission makes the process go much more smoothly for everyone concerned. There is no need, as in the past, to submit a separate signed, printed copy by U.S. Mail.

All persons nominated must be members of a member congregation of the Synod. While those nominated for a regional position (Boards for National and International Mission and some lay Board of Directors positions) must reside within that region, nominations for a regional position may originate from any region. Each office has specific requirements described in the documentation available on the noted website.

For further information on the offices for which nominations are requested, see the Secretary, Boards, and Commissions nominations webpage.

 

4C. Nominating Synod President / Vice-Presidents

Each member congregation of the Synod is entitled to cast nominating votes for those to appear on the ballots for President and vice-presidents (First Vice-President, a full-time position, and the vice-president for your region, a part-time position ranked by the convention in the line of succession as one of the second through sixth vice-presidents).

This triennium, this nomination process is being conducted using an electronic system developed by Yes Elections, the vendor that has supported our Synod’s electronic presidential election process (under a former name, as Election-America).

Watch the congregation’s mail for an official mailing from Yes Elections, to be mailed October 17, 2022, containing the congregation’s login credentials for the nominating ballot and necessary instructions. The envelope will be clearly labeled as containing “LCMS OFFICIAL NOMINATION MATERIALS.” If this envelope is lost or misplaced, a duplicate must be requested through the Office of the Secretary of the Synod. This envelope must immediately be brought to the attention of your congregation’s chairman.

The chairman of your congregation should determine when your congregation will be able to meet to discuss and determine the names that it will submit in nomination. This must be done as an official congregational act, or done by a governing body of the congregation, officially empowered by the congregation to take this action on its behalf.

Starting October 29, 2022, two attesting officers of each member congregation will be able to use the congregation’s credentials to enter two nominations for each of the following on the contractor’s website:

  • President of the Synod (nominate up to two)

  • Vice-President of the Synod (nominate up to two)

  • Regional Vice-President for the congregation’s region (nominate up to two; the congregation’s region is indicated in materials)

All nominees must be ordained ministers (not specific ministry pastors) on the roster of the Synod. Nominees for regional vice-president must reside within the congregation’s region. While a congregation may nominate the same individual for multiple offices, it may not nominate the same individual twice for the same office.

Nominations close with the end of February 28, 2023, at midnight central time.

Full results of the nominating ballots will be included in the Convention Workbook and posted on Synod’s website by May 6, 2023. (Basic information on the slates of candidates for President and vice-presidents is typically announced approximately two weeks after the close of nominations.)

Information on the candidates is published in the Biographical Synopses and Statements of Nominees <link>, which is published at the same time as the Convention Workbook, no later than 12 weeks prior to the opening of the convention (Bylaw 3.1.8 [b]).

 

4D. Submitting a Synod Overture

An overture is a request, in the form of a proposed resolution, for the Synod convention, the “principal legislative assembly” of the Synod, to undertake some action—for example, to revise the Synod’s Constitution or Bylaws; to speak to or call for study on matters of theological or practical import; to revise the Synod’s mission emphasis and priorities; to address problems or meet opportunities; or to adjust in some way the work the Synod does for and on behalf of its member congregations.

Any Synod-member congregation may suggest to the Synod any action it considers helpful by submitting an overture stating its rationale and the course of action to suggested for the Synod to resolve upon in the form of a resolution developed by a convention floor committee from overtures like yours.

Your congregation has the right to submit overtures to the Synod convention directly. For important details, including an overview of how an overture is typically constructed, a template, and instructions consult the Overture Preparation and Submission webpage. Please use the official template in submitting overtures ultimately intended for the Synod convention.

Overtures to the Synod convention are required to be received by March 11, 2023, in order not to be late. Overtures received after that date can be accepted only under the circumstances indicated in Bylaw 3.1.6 (a). It is requested that overtures be delivered, if at all possible, by February 10, 2023, to ensure time to review, edit, and organize them for print and Internet publication in the Convention Workbook.

For a template and instructions, including an overview of how an overture is typically constructed, see details about Overture Preparation and Submission. (Your district may have provided material specific to your district’s overture submission process.)

 

 

Every Year


Report Statistical and Lay Leader Information

Each February, LCMS Rosters, Statistics & Research Services collects statistical information from all member congregations of the Synod. As one of the “requirements of membership,” congregations have agreed to provide annual membership and statistical information. Timely submissions enable the Synod “to plan current and future ministry efforts and to lend accuracy and integrity to the Synod’s delegate representation and voting processes.” (Synod Bylaw 1.3.4.3).

With the cooperation of the Synod’s 35 district presidents, a process has been developed to obtain 100% participation. The process will feature electronic reporting via the Internet as well as district office monitoring and assistance.

During the second week of January, every congregation will receive a letter containing web link and login information to access its electronic report form. The due date for submitting congregation statistics for the previous year is the last day of February.

District presidents will receive status reports identifying the congregations in their districts that have not yet responded and will provide assistance as needed. Our goal is a 100% response — the same anticipated by Synod Bylaw 1.3.4.3.

Congregations are asked also to make sure that they enter names and contact information for their current lay leaders into the same system, both at the time they report their statistics in February and at any time that this information changes. It is particularly important that email addresses for these lay leaders be kept up to date, as these will be used to provide timely reminders of many opportunities for the congregation to participate in governance of the Synod and district throughout the triennium.

Watch for the above-mentioned mailing from the Synod’s “OFFICE OF ROSTERS, STATISTICS & RESEARCH SERVICES” in your congregation’s mailbox. In addition to Web-link and login information, it will provide additional instructions for completing the report online.

Please direct any questions to rosters.stats@lcms.org or the LCMS Church Information Center at 888-843-5267.

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose, when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution toward another aspect of ministry that aligns closely the contributor’s goals and values. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent.

Consistent with Synod Board policy and in recognition of the joyful response and generosity of God’s people over the past fiscal year, not more than 10.5 percent of any charitable contribution will be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors (compared to a not-more-than ceiling of 13.5 percent the previous fiscal year). Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

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