Report from the Southern Illinois District (SID) Convention: A Model for Other Districts, by Pr. Rossow

We interviewed Pastor Michael Kumm of  Trinity Lutheran Church – Millstadt, Illinois,  this  evening to get a fresh word from the SID convention that just ended this afternoon. This was a model convention for others to follow since the convention acted boldly to  ask the Board of Directors to cease and desist in their efforts to hinder the Issues. Etc. trademark application, to  reject  President Kieschnick’s Fan Into Flame fundraising efforts for Ablaze and resolved to reject various components of the Blue Ribbon Committee’s proposed changes.

On the first topic, Pastor Kumm reports that the vote to ask the Board of Directors to cease and desist in the Issues trademark matter was an open and shut case. Pastor Kumm wrote the motion and brought it to the floor of the convention. He went to a microphone. The District President acknowledged him. He made the motion. There were numerous seconds. He gave the rationale for the motion. The president asked for debate. There was none. The vote was taken and it passed 108 – 15. (Next week we will run a longer article on how to get motions on to the convention floor using this as an example.)

During his presentation President Kieschnick  was asked why the Board of Directors (which includes President Kieschnick) was threatening legal action against Issues, Etc. He told the convention there was no lawsuit, there never was a lawsuit and that he wouldn’t wish a lawsuit on anybody. According to Pastor Kumm he never really did answer the question. He just made this demonstrative little speech about how there  was never a lawsuit. In our opinion, whether there was a lawsuit or not, it is very clear that the attorneys for the Board of Directors, being funded by our  offerings, wrote a letter to the attorney for Issues, Etc. threatening legal action of some sort if Todd and Jeff would not sit down with them to negotiate a settlement. In actuality there is nothing to negotiate  except more proposed gag orders from the synod and other such attempts at leveraging the wind. The trademark was let go, the synod cancelled the show for financial reasons and that is the story. (We recommend you read Scott Diekmann’s petition  and sign it in order to send a message to President Kieschnick and the Board of Directors.)

The other issue of note from the convention floor was a motion to support the Fan Into Flame fund-raising program. Fan into Flame is President Kieshcnick’s fund-raising effort  for the Ablaze program. Instead of approving a motion to commend the Fan into Flame efforts, a substitute motion was offered, seconded and approved to support the needs within the Southern Illinois District.

There was a Blue Ribbon  Committee presentation made. There is more on it in Pastor Henrickson’s post  from earlier today. According to Pastor Kumm it was “a colossal waste of time.” As Pastor Henrickson points out, everything is very fuzzy. It is a moving target and yet President Kieschnick wants us to vote on these issues at the next synodical convention. According to Pastor Kumm it would be very difficult to vote on something that has so few details ready to go. He also commented that those he spoke with discerned that this was an  unnacceptable  top down effort to grow government in the LCMS. The SID passed several motions sending a message to President Kieshcnick and the synod that they reject the proposed changes. For example they were opposed to the proposed changes  in how congregations would be represented at convention, the redistricting of the synod, etc. As at the North Dakota convention, delegates were asked to answer survey questions about the Blue Ribbon proposals before the question and answer time was conducted. Thus delegates were giving their opinions on the proposals before they were allowed to question them to discover more about them and to learn what others might have to say in favor of them or in opposition to them.

This was a model district convention. We congratulate District President and Bishop Herbert C.  Mueller on a well run convention and pray that more conventions will follow suit. We also call on President Kieshcnick and the Blue Ribbon Commission to allow both sides of the committee’s proposals, pro and con,  to be presented before delegates are asked to complete the survey and to take to heart other criticisms of the recent direction of the LCMS identified by this august group of conventioneers.

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