It may be bitterly cold outside this January, but in the Missouri Synod, nominations are heating up! These next few weeks are prime time for congregational nominations for the offices of President, First Vice-President, and other Vice-Presidents. Some congregations nominated in November or December, and others will nominate in February or early March, but I would not be surprised if 60-80% of the congregations submitting nominations will be doing so sometime between now and the end of January.
Are you interested in the direction our synod will be taking over the coming years? What happens at the synodical level sooner or later does impact what happens at the local level. If you are concerned–and you should be–then you need to show up at your congregation’s meeting and give your input on synodical nominations. Many congregations do not even bother to submit nominations, but you can take initiative to make it happen. Make sure “synodical nominations” gets put on the agenda for your voters’ meeting, talk to your congregational president, talk to your pastor, etc.
The official nominating ballot, which all congregations received from the Office of the Secretary, has space for two nominations for President, two nominations for First Vice-President, and four nominations for Other Vice-Presidents. (The same name can be nominated in any or all of those categories but can be nominated only once within a category.)
So, whom to nominate? Theoretically, any of the ordained ministers of the synod are eligible to be nominated, but realistically, the ones with the best chance of being elected will probably come from two sets of names, representing two different directions our synod could take.
If you like how the synod has been going in the nine years of the Kieschnick administration and want us to continue in that direction, then you would probably go with the slate recommended by Jesus First:
THE JESUS FIRST SLATE
President: Gerald Kieschnick, William Diekelman
First Vice-President: William Diekelman, Jeffery Schrank
Other Vice-Presidents (4 of 5): Victor Belton, David Buegler, Luther Brunette, Paul Maier, Dean Nadasdy
On the other hand, if you think President Kieschnick’s approach has not been working and that instead we should move forward in the direction called for by Rev. Matthew Harrison in his paper, “It’s Time: LCMS Unity and Mission (The Real Problem We Face and How to Solve It),” then you would probably go with the slate recommended by the United List:
THE UNITED LIST SLATE
President: Matthew Harrison, (Herbert Mueller)
First Vice-President: Herbert Mueller, (Matthew Harrison)
Other Vice-Presidents (4 of 5): John Wohlrabe, Daniel Preus, David Adams, Scott Murray, (Carl Fickenscher)
Now your congregation is certainly free to nominate other names, but realistically, it’s likely that all of the six officers elected in July will come from these two sets of names. The question is, which ones? The more nominations a nominee receives to get on the ballot, the more likely it is that he will be elected in July. So the congregational nominating process is important. And your initiative, and your voice at the voters’ meeting, can make a difference.
The deadline for nominations to be received is March 10. (If your voters’ meeting already met and didn’t nominate, most congregations have a provision for calling a special meeting.) Nominations must be submitted on the official nominating ballot and sent to the address printed on the accompanying envelope. (If your congregation has misplaced its ballot, you will have to contact Secretary Hartwig’s office.) I detailed more of the nuts-and-bolts of the process in my November 2 article, “Nominating ballots have now arrived!”
The convention starts six months from now, in the heat of Houston on July 10, but now in frigid January, it’s time to nominate!