(Politics in the LCMS is not a bad thing. It is a necessary thing. On this website we are committed to supporting the theology of the Lutheran Confessions and one crucial way of doing that is to elect good confessional leaders. We received the following letter from Pastor Rob Jarvis. He wrote it to folks in his circuit in Northern Minnesota. It is an excellent call to all of us, pastors and laity alike to get active in defending good theology in our church by getting involved in the political process that elects our leaders. Please take this advice to heart. Pastor Jarvis is a member of the CLCC. Other posts from the CLCC can be viewed here on our Regular Columns archive. For more help on LCMS politics go to our LCMSpolitics wiki.)
Our circuit, the Appleton circuit, has already put a date on the calendar for the circuit forum when we will select a delegate to go to the convention. All of us, speaking for our congregations, are going to have to ask two questions.
1) Who will be the lay representative who will be asked to attend the circuit forum? The wording in the handbook says this, “The privilege of voting shall be exercised by one pastor and one layperson from each member congregation of the circuit, both of whom shall have been selected in the manner prescribed by the congregation..” My guess is that in most congregations, the pastor selects whom he wants to attend the circuit forum. This could be the “manner prescribed by the congregation,” and is just the default. If your congregation doesn’t vote to select a representative, then volunteer to attend before he chooses someone, especially if your pastor is one who doesn’t tend to represent your ecclesiastical/political views. If you know who is likely to be chosen either by him or by the congregation and it is someone you trust, then let it run its course.
2) Who will your congregation nominate to be the delegates to the convention? A congregation is not obligated to nominate its own laymember. You want to make sure the one you nominate is present at the circuit forum, though. That name has to be submitted before the forum so there is a slate of candidates. Keep in mind the order of the election. First the pastoral delegate. That will have the effect of eliminating any lay delegates from his congregation. So make sure the lay delegate and the pastoral delegate you prefer are not from the same congregation. Then the lay delegate. Then the pastoral delegate alternate and then the lay delegate alternate. By the time you are done, you will have selected people from 4 different congregations, each one under a different pastor’s care (except for in the case of vacancies).
Copied below is the wording in the synodical handbook.
(c) The privilege of voting shall be exercised by one pastor and one layperson from each member congregation of the circuit, both of whom shall have been selected in the manner prescribed by the congregation. Multiple parishes shall be entitled to a lay vote from each member congregation. (Synod Handbook 22.214.171.124)
(e) Prior to the meeting of the electoral circuit, each congregation may nominate one layperson, either from its congregation or from the circuit. These names must be submitted to the circuit counselor prior to the day of the circuit meeting and shall constitute the slate of candidates. All congregational nominees, except those who have been eliminated through the election of the pastoral delegate, shallbe eligible for election. (Synod Handbook 126.96.36.199, page 90)
As you can see, these paragraphs aren’t all that refers to the circuit forums and delegate selection in the handbook, but it gives you a general idea.
This is duplicated on the LCMSpolitics.org site.