COP adopts five regions for elections (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

March 10th, 2011 Post by

Newly posted at the Reporter at lcms.org is news of the Council of Presidents adopting a plan of five geographic regions for elections at the 2013 synodical convention.

One thing that becomes immediately apparent from the map is that one of the current LCMS vice-presidents would be forced out by this plan. Since 2nd Vice-President John Wohlrabe is from the Central Illinois District and 4th Vice-President Daniel Preus is from the Missouri District, and those two districts are both in the “Central” region, one of those two men would have to go.

Also, the Indiana District and the Missouri District are both in the “Central” region, which means that the convention would be prevented from electing as vice-presidents both a professor from the Fort Wayne seminary and a professor from the St. Louis seminary.

As a delegate to the 2010 convention, I was opposed to the regionalization resolutions, because regionalization unnecessarily limits the choices of the Synod in convention to elect the officers it wishes, individuals who may otherwise be the persons best suited for various positions.

Also, the scheme of five regions used at the 2010 convention to elect the newly created mission boards greatly underrepresented the Upper Midwest and gave unfair advantage to the West Coast, for example. It remains to be determined if this new configuration remedies that inequity. Are all five regions around the 20% mark, in terms of congregations and communicant membership? I’d like to see the numbers.

Here is the text of the report:

Geographic regions

In business relating to the 2010 Synod convention, the COP adopted the plan of a committee convened by Synod Secretary Dr. Raymond Hartwig to determine the five geographic regions of the Synod for the purpose of electing in 2013 five Synod vice-presidents, five lay members of the LCMS Board of Directors and the members of the Synod’s two mission boards as outlined in Resolutions 8-14A (vice-presidents), 8-16A (Board of Directors) and 8-08A (mission boards).

The plan fulfills the requirement that the boundaries of the five regions be determined at least 24 months in advance of each Synod convention and that all Canadian congregations of the Synod be included in a single region.

The five regions and the LCMS districts comprising them are as follows:

East/Southeast Region (in yellow on map) — Ohio, Florida-Georgia, Southeastern, New Jersey, Eastern and Atlantic Districts, as well as the 16 Canadian congregations in the SELC and English Districts.

Central (blue) — Kansas, Central Illinois, Southern Illinois, Missouri, Mid-South, Indiana and Oklahoma Districts.

Great Lakes (purple) — Iowa East, Northern Illinois, North Wisconsin, South Wisconsin and Michigan Districts.

Great Plains (green) — North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota North, Minnesota South, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa West Districts.

West/Southwest (red) — Northwest, California/Nevada/Hawaii, Pacific Southwest, Texas and Rocky Mountain Districts.

For this configuration of the regions, congregations of the non-geographic English and SELC Districts — other than the 16 in Canada — are included in the geographic LCMS districts in which they reside.

The committee’s plan also was approved by the Synod’s Board of Directors at its Feb. 17-18 meeting.

The committee creating the plan was composed of three members each from the BOD and the COP, in addition to the Synod secretary.

With approval from both Synod bodies, the plan now becomes effective.

Per the Synod Bylaws, the configuration of the regions will be revisited after the 2013 convention.






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  1. Carl Vehse
    March 11th, 2011 at 12:53 | #1

    norm Fisher

    “Wouldn’t it have to somehow factor in the size of the congregations?”

    The current district apportioning guidelines would have to be adjusted for the smaller districts. However, the congregational polity of the Missouri Synod has historically emphasized congregational membership, rather than congregational size (or weight). Recent gerrymandering has attempted to give increased delegate strength to large (and more politically influential) congregations.

  2. Concerned Seminarian
    March 11th, 2011 at 13:26 | #2

    @Todd Wilken #46

    So your ideal district would be the New Jersey District with a part-time DP? :-P

    @Jason #50

    Perhaps if they were to go to smaller districts, they would also need something like regions, each with a DP also acting as President of the region. Oh, wait, I’m starting to sound EO/RC there!

  3. Jason
    March 11th, 2011 at 14:25 | #3

    Well, Jersey District is kinda nice. Small and compact, easy to get around. Full time DP with a secretary adn Business Manager. A consultant and one (soon to be two) mission pastors. Not sure how many are full time. I think more are part-time. 55 – 60 congregations, very few multi-pastor.

    Years ago growing up in North Dakota, a DP and District Exec. Didn’t really remember a sercretary 15 years ago. Not sure where they are at with other “staff”. About 95 ocngregations, but with small rural parishers in dual mode, around 67 pastors in the district. Geographically like 3 times the size, but at least you can move fast on the open highway, so probably wouldn’t take much longer to go form one end to the other compared to Jersey.

    I know some districts get A LOT larger. Jersey and ND only have 6 circuits, not into the 30′s and 40′s the monsters have. 100 district with 6 circuits each would translate to around 1200 voters for synodical convention. How much different is that form now?

    I think some sort of regional grouping would benefit for mission specialists, LCEF or other types of ministries that small districts would be challenged to independently support. Just throwing out crazy ideas. Can’t be worse than all the restructuring we are trying to do now.

  4. Richard Lewer
    March 11th, 2011 at 19:42 | #4

    Do people realize that in Canada there are still LCMS congregations? They belong to the English District and stayed with the English District of the LCMS when the Canadian LCMS churches became a separate Canadian church. Found this out just yesterday on tour with our high school choir to Canada (Toronto & Windsor).

  5. helen
    March 11th, 2011 at 20:32 | #5

    @Norm Fisher #49
    another district in the middle of a large populated area with 60 congregations with 1000 in weekly attendance on average.

    They had a “meeting of the megachurch pastors” here in Texas not long ago.
    The number in attendance was reported as 44. Norm, I don’t think your metropolitan area with 60 exists, (altho I’m not sure that confessional Pastors of large congregations were invited).
    Tim Rossow?

  6. March 18th, 2011 at 00:17 | #6

    All very interesting, this discussion, but it obscures the problem, bureaucracy. Bureaucracies always do what they do best, get bigger and feel themselves more important than the year before. At a meeting with our DP last week, we were discussing the plight of small congregations not being able to afford a full time pastor, etc. After some minutes of fruitless discussion I made a statement to the effort I would rather have 10 congregations subsidized and three less district programs. Dead silence.

    True, the salt water districts think they are the leading edge of a wave, so to speak that creates changes in the rest of Synod. That is their role in life I am coming to believe, and they are proud of it. Personally, I think the effect is more like leaven.

    Actually, the impact on the district by a congregation is pretty much independent from their size because the district works with them, most of the time, via their leadership. The minimal workload is when the congregation ignores the district completely except for elections and conventions.

  7. Jason
    March 18th, 2011 at 07:01 | #7

    @Gene White #56

    As always you are wise. Lving in one of the salt water districts, I have seen this hubris in various areas on various levels. I have seen congregations struggle and close, either because of poor local decisions coupled with lack of good guidance form the district, and for not following burdensome programming issued by the district to “revitalize” them. (No, I have no love for TCN)

    As for being the “leading edge,” I know of a few who think they are God’s gift and will lead us to the pormised land. I don’t buy into all that because I didn’t grow up here, I grew up in the Midwest and didn’t move here until I was 31. So I have a different life experience than most here. I have tried to make the argument (best construction) that Lutherans on the coast can give insight in dealing with multicultures and unchurched WHILE the coasts could learn deep insight the Midwest can develop with some areas incubating prevelant Lutheranism. Instead I run too often into an elitist attitude. So sad. And grossly inappropriate.

    And finally, I left my former congregation in part because they could care less about being involved in district, unless of course their praise band or something was highlighted or in a leading role. They seemed to have no interest in listening to others.

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