Issues expected to come before the Convention of the Minnesota South District

(This anonymously written article is circulating around the internet. If you know of anyone in the Minnesota South Distirct you may want to cut and paste it and send it to them. Better yet, just send them the BJS link and have them read it here. Pastor Rossow, BJS Editor)

  1. The Restructuring of Synod Structure and Governance: We recommend that you listen carefully to all the recommendations made by President Kieschnick’s task force to restructure our Synod.
    1. Resist the recommendations which give more power to the president such as appointing the program boards or decreasing the number of elected officials.
    2. Resist the recommendations aimed at changing the historic formula of equal lay and pastoral representation. This change is unnecessary. Any attempt to give more representation to larger congregations would undermine the very principles upon which the Synod was originally formed—namely, that each congregation is divinely established by Christ who works graciously even where only two or three Christians are gathered in His name.
  2. theAlley: theAlley is a new congregation established by Woodbury Lutheran Church and is funded largely by the District. The District Board of Directors voted not to admit theAlley into membership of the Synod. We recommend that you affirm the decision of the Board of Directors.
    1. Based upon public written statements by the pastor of theAlley, their communion practice is not limited to members of LCMS congregations and those congregations with whom the Synod is in fellowship (understanding that unique pastoral exceptions may occur occasionally). Rather the policy of theAlley according to its written documents is to give communion to all “who are repentant of their sins, are seeking forgiveness in the body and blood of Jesus and have examined their hearts.” This position is not the position of the Synod.
    2. In theAlley’s public statement of faith located on its website, there is no mention of justification by faith, Baptism, Holy Communion, absolution, the power of the Gospel or any of the distinctively Lutheran articles of faith. Their confession is weak and not clear.
    3. theAlley refers to itself as “the Alley Lutheran Church” in their communication with the District and District congregations. But in their bulletins, on their website and on their church sign they continue to use the name “theAlley” without the name Lutheran, despite the continued encouragements of the Board to comply with a 1995 Synod resolution which requires LCMS congregations to boldly use the name Lutheran.
  3. Close(d) Communion for Mission Churches: The Board of Directors passed a resolution requiring mission congregations to show the Board their willingness to practice close(d) communion by providing samples of communion announcements. We recommend that you affirm the decision of the Board of Directors. Our Synod has repeatedly affirmed the Biblical practice of close(d) communion. Some new missions have not practiced close(d) communion, notably theAlley. The Board action simply makes it necessary for congregations to walk together with the Synod before they can expect subsidy with your funds. The President of the District is responsible for the supervision and enforcement of close(d) communion, a process which is necessarily slow and patient. Funding, however, is a fiduciary responsibility of the Board. This is an entirely different matter based upon different criteria, although complementary to that of the District President. Funding should not be blindly given by the District to congregations that do not walk together with the Synod.
  4. Use of Lutheran Service Book by English-speaking mission congregations: The Board of Directors passed a resolution which requires consistent use of the LSB by English speaking congregations in order to receive District subsidy. We recommend that you affirm the decision of the Board since 95% of the congregations of the District use a hymnal. The Synod encourages the use of the LSB through a resolution adopted at its 2007 convention. The Synod’s decision requires the District through the Missions Committee and Missions Executive to encourage the use of the LSB to subsidized congregations—an endeavor they have not done as is evidenced by the number of new missions which do not use any hymnal.

    The Missions Committee and the Missions Executive have expressed their belief that congregations grow faster without hymnals. In no way has the Board ever expressed a desire to impose the LSB on existing unsubsidized congregations. No existing subsidized congregation has been deprived of expected subsidy because they have not adopted the use of LSB. The Board believes that the congregations of the District desire to see their funds be used to establish new congregations which use hymnals.

  5. Campus Properties: A motion was brought to the Board of Directors by the Missions Committee asking that the properties of the campus ministries be sold. This resolution was brought without any discussion with the campus ministries themselves. A task force was subsequently appointed which is currently researching the issue. We recommend that the convention retain these properties. We further recommend that the District Convention pass a resolution which would require that the sale of campus properties could only be done with the approval of the District in Convention. This would prevent the Missions Committee or the Board of Directors from being authorized to sell the properties. The two campus ministries were purchased and built using donations from individuals and congregations of the District. Therefore the sale of the property should be left to the individuals and congregations of the District through its Convention.
  6. 2004 Synod Resolution 3-08a: The Synod adopted resolution 3-08a at its 2004 convention. This resolution allows congregations to have women elders, presidents, and vice presidents. At the 2006 District Convention, a decision was postponed to request the Synod to reconsider Resolution 3-08a because this resolution is controversial, far-reaching, divisive, and possibly unbiblical and was passed hastily at the Convention without adequate study. These far-reaching changes need to be reconsidered both for the unity and the purity of the Synod.
  7. Board of Directors elections: We encourage you to elect men and women to the District Board of Directors who:
    1. are not afraid to assert the historic and Biblical values of our Synod,
    2. believe that God is able to extend His kingdom even when the historic liturgy is used,
    3. believe in and willingly practice close(d) communion,
    4. recognize their unique fiduciary responsibilities as Board members, and
    5. respect the District President and are willing to disagree with him on occasion.

Please read the minutes to the Board of Directors on the District website for a record of how various Board members voted on the important issues outlined above.

(For stories on theAlley Church from the BJS archives click here.)

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