A Questionable Pre-Convention Convention, by Klemet Preus

A notice has gone out from the Synod Office for Travel and Meeting that a series of “gatherings” will take place this winter in anticipation of the upcoming convention. At these gatherings, all of which President Kieschnick plans to attend, an effort will be made to convince the delegates to approve the restructuring proposals that his committee is promoting.

The cost of the meetings, reportedly, will be born by the circuits. Typically regional meetings are a bit less glitzy than synodical gatherings. Since people can drive, you can go to cheaper out of the way places. But not these gatherings. Ours will be held at the Minneapolis Hyatt, reported to be a bit more expensive than the Super 8 in Mankato where the pastors usually met. And in case you want to save your circuit a couple of bucks and find some cheaper digs forget about it. The district treasurers are supposed to make all the arrangements. Apparently the financial gurus at our district offices have plenty of time on their hands.

Obviously the administration wants to influence the delegates to regard the restructuring proposals in a favorable light. It is not enough simply to discuss things at the convention and decide. Now we have a preconvention convention and with only one purpose; to win the delegates to the president’s views. And unfortunately these meetings will not be voluntary or for interested parties only. Delegates brace yourselves for you will be told that this is your responsibility. Never mind that none of you knew about this before you were elected.

These meetings are, frankly, unprecedented. Never in the history of the synod have the deliberations of issues begun at an official meeting with the delegates before these delegates have actually been placed into office. And there is some question as to their constitutionality. The Bylaws say, “the delegates shall serve a three year term beginning with the convention” ( Maybe someone should ask the CCM what their opinion is – or not.

Part of me actually thinks this is not such a bad idea. I just wish President Kieschnick had had it at previous conventions.

Think if there had been a preconvention convention prior to the controversial 2004 convention. Remember, that’s the one where in resolution 308a we accepted a CTCR report by a 52% majority about the role of women in the church and then after the convention president Kieschnick had to appoint a commission to decide what it was that we had just approved. Or imagine if we could have actually been able to discuss 2004 resolution 801a ahead of time, the one on dispute resolution, rather than being given just one evening to analyze a thirty page document full of all sorts of technical language. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have had at least a couple a months for the delegates to analyze the change they made to the Constitution – a change which was subsequently overturned by the congregations.

Or remember before the 2007 convention when all the nuances of the resolution to establish a Specific Ministry Pastor Program were being hashed about in coffee clutches and classrooms. Wouldn’t it have been great actually to have a preconvention convention so that the delegates could have been better informed? Or think of the Bylaw amendment passed in 2007 which actually said that “in the case of any conflict or uncertainty relative to the applicability of the laws of the State of Missouri, such issues shall be resolved in accord with the provisions in the Constitution and Bylaws of the Synod.” Remember that one? If our Bylaws are against Missouri law then we will settle the issue by appealing to the Bylaws. That one might have merited a bit of pre-convention convention discussion. Or think of 2007 resolution 7-03 to amend Bylaw 3.3.5. This was the resolution which changed the bylaws so that a CCM opinion could be justified even though the CCM opinion was ostensibly based on the bylaws before they were changed, which change effectively deprived the Board of Directors the right to nominate from the floor of their meetings those whom they wanted for filling vacancies and boards even though Roberts Rules of Order, which the synod avers to follow, asserted precisely the right of the Board to do so. Confused? So were the delegates. Wouldn’t a pre-convention convention have been nice back in 2007?

So why the change now? I can only believe that President Kieschnick believes that the work of his appointed Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance is more important than all the other controversial issues which have come before the church during his eight year tenure. I can only conclude that President Kieschnick is willing to spend more of the church’s money and more of his time and other people’s time on these issues than anything else he has done. I wonder why this is so important to President Kieschnick.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.


A Questionable Pre-Convention Convention, by Klemet Preus — 41 Comments

  1. Pr. Preus said, “Never mind that none of you knew about this before you were elected.”

    Actually, our circuit forum was aware of this preconvention convention & that the delegates, even alternates, would have to attend. I guess it helps to have your circuit forum late.

    Still, all your other points on this are fairly valid.

  2. This whole process is being driven by the president. The “blue ribbon” task force would appear to present an unbiased proposal, but it is clear that their work was at the direction of the administration. I can’t remember how many times we were told this was being driven by or in support of individual congregations!

    Being in the middle of Pennsylvania, we will have to travel to Boston for our regional preconvention meeting. But as Rev. Preus ponits out–is this even permitted under existing rules? And if these meetings are to be informative, will there be a meaningful response to present the negatives of the proposals?

  3. For those of us in Iowa East is means a trip to the Holy Land–no not Rome but to the purple palace. One has to wonder in which hotel we will all be placed and if our delegation will be separated so we are unable to compare notes before, during and after the meetings.

    I personally already knew last year that we would have these “pre-convention” “convention” meetings. So sorry that most of the rest of the synod seems to have miss the information.

    I do plan on asking our newly elected DP if he is of the opinion that these meetings are indeed “legal” and wehther or not we as a district could even have out own little meeting before we go to St. Louis.

  4. Can there be any doubt that Restructuring is President Kieschnick’s baby and brainchild, and not the grassroots will of the pastors and laity of the Synod?

    If the pastors and laity of the Synod were calling for Restructuring, President Kieschnick wouldn’t have to lobby them in this heavy-handed way.

    This is truly a top-down sell-job.


  5. I don’t see a problem with such meeting under the bylaw quoted above (the content is a different story). This issue I see is, who can attend it? I was just elected as the lay delegate for my circuit. However, my term does not start until the convention is convened. Since a delegates terms starts at the convention and then runs for three years, it would seem that these pre-convention conventions should be comprised of the delegates to the last convention.

  6. Can there be any doubt that Restructuring is President Kieschnick’s baby and brainchild, and not the grassroots will of the pastors and laity of the Synod? –TW

    No doubt. In fact, it’s even called “The President’s Blue Ribbon Task Force.” If it were from the grassroots, it would be “The Bluegrass Task Force.”

    “The Bluegrass Task Force”. . . . Say, that could be the name for Matt Harrison’s new band!

  7. In response to #6

    Hopefully Pr Harrison will be too busy being Synod President to have time for a band.

  8. Our circuit forum to elect delegates is this Sunday. I’ll be sure to bring this up if nobody else does. I hadn’t seen the part about alternates being required to go as well, but I will bring it up as well.

    As far as location, it seems that the Purple Palace has forgotten about stewardship. Our regional gathering is in Newport Beach which from Wikipedia is, “… one of the wealthiest communities in the United States and has even been ranked first in some categories.” You would think they could have found a nice and less expensive place somewhere in the state of California. Add to that the expense of flying the Hawaiian delegates over and they’ve put a tremendous financial burden on the CNH District.

  9. I don’t think they can require delegates to go to these regional gatherings, which are not part of the convention. That said, as a delegate, I want to go, so I can be better prepared to help defeat the proposals.

  10. This is not the first time I have been chilled by the correlation of goings on in the Right and Left Kingdoms. Prez Kieschnick attempting to shove through the restructuring = Prez O. pushing health care reform. Lord have mercy!

  11. These meetings, to be held in December 2009 through February 2010, have been officially labeled caucuses. President Kieschnick wrote of them in his “Letter to Pastors” dated 24 July, 2009. It was the first I had heard of the caucuses.

    He said: “… each delegate to the convention and a number of district leaders will be invited to one of nine regional caucuses in December, January, and February to review the final task force report. The chairman and vice chairman of the convention floor committee on Synod structure and governance, select members of the task force, and I will conduct the sessions.

    Those being invited to attend the regional gatherings include:

    * voting delegates (lay and clergy);
    * district presidents and vice presidents;
    * five additional members of each district board of
    directors, selected by the district; and
    * one or two commissioned advisory delegates, as
    decided by each district. …”

    It’s not clear to me that this involves alternate delegates. Is there some place that has been officially and explicitly stated?

    And what’s this about circuits paying the bill? I’ve not heard anything about that. Circuits don’t have funds for this sort of thing. Do they have authority to assess congregations for regional synodical caucuses? It’s hard to believe such authority has been granted by the bylaws since I’ve never heard of such caucuses before.

  12. I just looked for answers to my questions at the Synod Structure and Governance section of the LCMS website. I didn’t find any answers, but did discover a page titled:

    “District Convention Feedback – 2009”

    I haven’t digested what’s there yet, but it would be worth a look.

  13. #8 “Add to that the expense of flying the Hawaiian delegates over and they’ve put a tremendous financial burden on the CNH District.”

    Is that why CNH district is so anxious to appropriate a church from a group of senior ladies they’ve refused to provide with a pastor?

    Wine ’em & dine ’em and lobby ’em till they plumb forget the money is all coming out of their own pockets!
    He’s been doing it since 2001… of course, various Boards figured it was coming out of the laity’s pockets… so drink up!

  14. John #11,

    At my circuit forum we were told by a district official that the alternate delegates were included. But his information could’ve been incomplete. From what I understood, it seemed like the Synod hadn’t really gotten information to the districts in a very timely fashion regarding what these caucuses entailed. But that’s just my impression; there could be other reasons for the confusion we had on what these caucuses required.

    As for paying for them, I think it is the district that will pay for people to attend, although travel is not included. I’m not sure on that one, though. I wasn’t, thankfully, elected to go to convention so I may have been missing a lot of the finer points that they would’ve told the delegates after their nomination.

  15. Wondering just how it will get paid for. To Chas. Hendrickson has Missouri ///dist have the funds to shell out. Seems I know of many cong. are behind in their weekly budget, and I mean behind! And oh yes Christmas is coming too, that is something else to put on the menu.

  16. I would hypothesize that this is not just about the Task Force. It sounds more like a whistle-stop tour for a presidential candidate.

  17. This sort of meeting is wrong on many levels. The main one is that it makes the elections even less fair than they already are.

    The candidate sets another agenda (besides the convention). The candidate has endless face time. The candidate prays and preaches and smiles and seems to pick up the tab. If one says a word, he will “not be putting the best construction” on the matter.

    The positive side: Our meeting, at least, is in December. This gives the events of, and assertions made at, this meeting much time for scrutiny. And if there is not an actual proposal presented, as there may not be, someone ought to scream bloody murder for the waste.


  18. I have been told that the “Regional Gathering” costs are going to be included in the Convention assessment – This does not include travel, and I don’t know about lodging.

  19. According to Mapquest, the distance from my home congregation to our “regional” meeting is 945.88 miles, travel time one way: 14 hours 31 minutes. If driving, that would be two days of travel. Pretty poor stewardship of time and money, imho. What about the internet? Surely they know how to set up webinars at 1333 S. Kirkwood Rd.
    The President’s Commission, paid for by the people who thought their offerings were going to spread the Gospel.

  20. Ahhh…okie dokie. From a pewsitter view, I MAY see where this is going. If I may, as a psaltry pewsitter…now, it is understood, that BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONAL LUTHERANS (what they call confessional, as they think it now an insult LOL) OWN two things (more but here,two) THEY LACK. A CONSCIENCE AND COMMON SENSE. Our consciences would dictate, knowing the economic state of our members & thus congregations, how they are hurting IN THEIR DAILY NEEDS, no “confessional” would attend depending on money that was given by those who have no knowledge or info on this, let alone waht they do not have to give. Common sense, would dictate, those who can attend & are “confessional”, would look at distance, prices of accomodations, transportation, etc. and be vexed at what to do. You KNOW & FEEL THEY WEIGHT OF THE RESPONSIBLITY YOU BEAR. They don’t & don’t care a wit about people like me or my family.
    Well, since many years worth of MY TITHE, was trustingly (ignorantly) was given to
    I can honestly say, they know you won’t go OR will & feel guilty & you will be bound by what THEY LACK: empathy, conscience & common sense.
    STUMP THEM BOYS!!! Now, that may mean, you RESPECTED, MOST RESPECTED gentlemen, will MAY have to take a fair bit out of your pocket books (Faith dictates if you fight for what He says, His promises ARE FOR YOU!), if this REALLY MEANS to you all, what you say HERE AT BJS, it means to you all, is it or is it not worth it?! Overwhelm them with what they do not expect:
    paper (emails, letters, etc. bury them in what they send u!

    numbers:put aside the adiphoria,& unite in what u speak here

    controlled but passionate words:do your homework & keep you tongue, not like the last few times.

    AND THE TRUTH! They have none, notwithstanding

    However the outcome, NO MATTER WHAT IS DECIDED ABOVE OR WHAT IT COSTS YOU ALL, you must now decide, go speak & THEN ACT, NOT TALK, NOT POST, ACT!! Many & I do mean MANY wait upon what you all, who hold yourselves to be “founded in S.S., S.G. & S.F.” DO…NOW. Many are watching & waiting on you. Do credit, to the offices you all hold, that THOSE WHO WOULD SEE US “RESTRUCTURED-DESTROYED” do what they will not, do not & can not. Volley to you, serve to you.

  21. My E.C., is off work today & home, & we chatted over this article. If BJS, is willing to set up a fund, (I can only do paypal) we 4, will put up $50.00 per person, per our family. To be able to fund, outright, above & beyond what the Synod expects. Mr. Fischer, you set it up, we will give, if you can fix the request for funds. I’m a stay home Mum, this is my pay check, but QUITE THE VALIANT CAUSE, (I’m no widow, even if I live in Packerland) but this is worthy I think. Let us here at BJS, support with our effort that which we support with our words! If your game, & we leave the rest to those who run this site!!!!!
    R,D,A, & C, S.
    Any takers?

  22. I am trying to understand what the calling of these meetings means.

    First, they are not supposed to be “caucuses.” The term means meetings designed specifically to promote a candidate or issue prior to, or in the midst of, a legislative assembly. The president of synod stated that the purpose is only “to review” the final proposals, not to advocate for them. I assume he will adhere to that purpose.

    Second, I don’t remember these meetings being part of the original plan for the Blue Ribbon Task Force.

    Third, I thought that two extra days were being added to the synodical convention, so that time would be provided for reviewing the proposals and discussing them, prior to taking action.

    I believe that the meetings have been called due to the administration’s feeling of necessity, which is not possible for anyone else to assess, until we see the final proposals. That should be October 16th, at the lcms website.

    One possibility is that the final proposals are so complex that a long review session is the only way people are going to understand them. This is what happens when you try to make too many changes in bylaws at once.

    Another possibility is that the responses to district convention presentations were either negative or indifferent. As far as I know, probably two-thirds of the conventions went that way. This may have alerted the administration to the fact that the proposals will fail, unless they are more actively promoted to the actual people who will vote on them.

    Another possibility is that the new electronic media, such as this web-site/blog, has been effective in dissecting the original proposals and their ideas, so that the administration realizes it needs a counter-action.

    It would be too bad if the good proposals fail, because the bad proposals color the whole process. So having extra time to “digest and discuss” is a good thing, if it results in better educated delegates.

    Although I am always in favor of more discussion, and a better educated set of delegates, the BIG PROBLEM HERE is the constitutionality of the meetings.

    I don’t think the president has the authority to call such a series of meetings, on his own. The Special Sessions clause, Constitution VIII.B., is not being invoked and can’t be invoked in this case.

    Bylaw 4.9.1 would allow the district presidents, in unison, to call such meetings which would “not be regarded as official conferences.” I assume that the president received the unanimous approval of the district presidents at a Council of Presidents meeting for these special caucuses. If not, the meetings are unconstitutional.

    Furthermore, since they are not official conferences, NO ONE CAN BE ASSESSED COSTS FOR THE MEETINGS. Those who attend will have to bear their own costs, unless the synod Board of Directors or all the district Board of Directors voluntarily pay for these meetings out of their own budgets. I also don’t think there was provision for these meetings in the 2007 resolution, but my 2007 proceedings are still packed away, so I can’t answer that question for sure.

    At the present time, synodical congregations or circuits cannot be assessed, unless the synodical convention delegates pass a resolution that approves an assessment for specific purposes (such as synod and district conventions, which is a standing practice). If the present action is allowed to stand, then the president of the synod (or Council of Presidents) will be allowed to assess congregations however and whenever they want. I think that the administration wants this power of unilateral assessment, and that may be one of the most significant powers it is seeking in the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Synodical Structure and Governance.

  23. What is so funny is that so many were complaining about a lack of time to talk about these issues….to rushed, not enough time for thought.

    Now we have these caucuses to give delegates time for thought and OH, they too are a bad thing.

    What is funny is that your arguments prove the point: the very fact that bringing together our delegates to educate them about important votes in the upcoming convention is something that (some of you believe) our structure does not allow is the very indication that our structure needs changing, eh?

    From what I have heard, the congregational assesments will be increased this year to pay for these caucuses.

    To your point Pr Preus: perhaps the need for a caucus is because there are *several* adjustments that will need to be made. The issues that you speak of were all one topic issues.

    The SMPP report is a good example. The recommendations were out there ahead of time and people had opportunity to discuss them. I certainly remember a great deal of discussion on the topic. The vote was one of a single issue–not several different items.

    But I myself would not be opposed to having caucuses to discuss all of the theological resolutions in the upcoming convention. Perhaps you could offer that resolution? I’d recommend it to my delegate.

    For what it is worth, most of the people that I speak to, here in my liberal district think that most of the revisions will fail. Little will change. So, take heart and be glad–it looks as though your desire for educating the Synod to the dangers of restructuring has worked out so far!

  24. Mark L,

    Your comment would make sense if this was really about having an open discusion of the proposals. Every attempt to have a discussion of the proposals has been thwarted by the President and the Task Force. For example:

    1. The surveys were taken at the convention before people had the time to actually digest the material. They had all of 50 seconds for each propoal, about how long it would take to read it through one time.

    2. The discussion of the proposals in the district conventions was held after the survey was taken, thus silencing any negative points.

    3. I personally asked the Task Force to allow a dsitribution of both pro and con comments but was told in writing that the committee did not see it as its job to give opinions on the proposals and so by default, the rationale they give is the only one that delegates will here.

    4. Why are the meetings not open to anyone and the mnicrophones open to anyone? This is clear, as opposed to what you claim, that the President and the Task Force are seeking to control the spin on the proposals.

    5. President Benke sent a threating e-mail to the four interested laymen who put up a website giving both the rationale of the committee (pro) and some well thought out, constructive criticism (con) and the entire Council of Presidents was instructed to tell their constituents to avoid the website. (Thankfully, only a few of them actually took this insane, paranoid controlling advice.)

    You are full of beans on this Mark. The evidence in clear and open daylight is agaiinst your opinion.


  25. SP Kieschnick will be very surprised if confessional delegates appear at his caucuses.
    He’ll count on you doing the “economical” thing and spend his/(our) money on the usFirst crowd.

    (They are caucuses, Pr. Noland, because the intent is to insure the 52% necessary to pass the restructuring GK wants. Caucuses are gatherings of your own party.)
    He’s not interested in the opinions of anyone else. If he were, the survey results would be public, the independent web site would be approved instead of undermined by our Atlantic DP, and there would be open and honest discussion of all the activities of synod.
    Mark Louderback:
    The fear that the proposals will fail probably was the reason for setting up the caucuses.
    I pray your liberal district is correct in its prognosis.

  26. Oh, yes, District, Circuit and congregational proposals would all appear on the floor of the convention for discussion instead of being buried in committee, discarded by the SP, or re written till the only accurate thing left of them was the title.

  27. “SP Kieschnick will be very surprised if confessional delegates appear at his caucuses”

    … or else he will have his henchmen identify any trouble-making “speedbumps” at these gatherings, and make sure they are ‘steamrolled’ before the convention.

  28. Helen wrote:

    “He’s not interested in the opinions of anyone else. If he were, the survey results would be public . . . ”

    Check out this link: http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=15756

    I don’t know when it was posted, but “District Convention Feedback – 2009” is now publicly available from the Blue Ribbon Taskforce. This certainly isn’t as big a deal as the final report due the middle of next month, but it’s worth reading and considering. Especially interesting will be how much influence it seems to have had in shaping the final report.

  29. Interesting presentation of the “Feedback” data. Typically, as I understand how polls are conducted and reported, much more context is presented – for example – the actual wording of the question and if there is surrounding context (for example, a scripted discussion or “set-up”) that is included in the report as well…

    What would be more “instructive” in this report are 3 things. (1) The full transcript and power-point of the context in which these questions were asked. (2) The ACTUAL questions asked instead of a reference to a vague subheading without content. (3) ANY AND ALL non-categorized responses (i.e., marginal notes, comments, clarifying questions written on the surveys, etc.).

    The data, as it’s presented, seems very much to me like a means to deflect criticism that feedback was not shared. Now, any and all criticism that feedback hasn’t been shared will be met with, “We issued the report where we detailed the responses to our questions.”

    I am, quite frankly, insulted by these “survey results”. They are nothing more than numbers on a page meant to placate and are not in any way “informative.”

  30. Figures Don’t Lie writes:

    “What would be more “instructive” in this report are 3 things. (1) The full transcript and power-point of the context in which these questions were asked. (2) The ACTUAL questions asked instead of a reference to a vague subheading without content. (3) ANY AND ALL non-categorized responses (i.e., marginal notes, comments, clarifying questions written on the surveys, etc.).

    I won’t disagree with the gist of these comments, but the situation isn’t quite so bleak as it might seem.

    With regard to #1 see the first link under “Presentations” at the Structure and Governance page at the LCMS website. The presentation is there and the slides pretty much were the script the task force representative used.

    For #2, the site at which the four laymen posted the survey without approval from the task force still seems to be live. Go to http://blueribbonsurvey.org/ and you can find the full text of what was presented at all but the earliest district conventions (along with thoughts and concerns the laymen shared.)

    For #3, I doubt that information will ever be made public. It’s in the possession of the task force and they’ve kept their cards quite close to the vest up until now.

  31. John –

    I’m not disputing the fact that the information is “out there” – but the fact that it is NOT part of the “official” report is the problem. Many people, especially the laity of our congregations, will not read/listen to/trust things without the imprimatur of the Synod. These people will see nothing but a list of numbers without context – and what information about the proposals IS in the report is fairly benign and without significant meaning.

    “The truth is out there” as they say, but those in charge of disseminating information aren’t sharing it. That’s my problem with the report.

  32. FDL:
    To paraphrase my pastor, those numbers are as useful as the Ablaze counter. I was a delegate to my district convention, and the surveys were pointless. Most people had no idea what the survey questions actually meant. I would guess that the vast majority didn’t understand the sweeping constitutional changes that were inferred by a single question. I only knew about this because I had been following the other conventions on BJS.

    As you point out, the survey method is important and the method the BRTFSSG used was horrible. They would first present a problem and then propose a solution and then you gave your feedback. Whether the problem was actually a problem was never a point of discussion.

  33. Nor whether the proposed solution was the best one.

    As far as the presentation went it was: This is a problem. Here is the solution. This will solve the problem.

    Beyond no discussion of “whether the problem was actually a problem,” no alternate solutions were discussed and no downside to any of the identified solutions was identified by the task force.

    There are always consequences to making changes. Some, positive and negative, can’t be anticipated. Others, however, become clear as possible changes are considered. The task force identified what they saw as positive outcomes. They didn’t acknowledge any downside to their proposed solutions at all.

    That’s not a process that leads to making the best decisions, not in your family or business or congregation, and certainly not in our synod.

  34. Building on what John (#37) has said, it is same mentality as with my favorite subject, Transforming Churches: “We have to do something. This is something. Let’s do it!”

    The caucuses or whatever you wish to call them are no doubt a campaign for re-election. They are also meant to sell the structure “fix.” Surely, both delegates and alternate delegates should attend. If indeed, they are caucuses, then those with opposing viewpoints ought to have the opportunity to speak to the issue.

    However you slice it, an extra two days is nowhere near enough time to vote on this stuff. And, any constitutional changes that are approved must be then approved by 2/3 of the congregations. This could easily throw all the by-law changes back into total confusion, as happend after the 2004 convention. The whole business is fraught with danger.
    This is especially important in view of how many first-time delegates will be in attendance. It reminds me of congress passing the stimulus bill without reading it.

  35. From the SP’s July 2009 Letter to Pastors (http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=15462)

    Dec. 4-5 in Denver—Rocky Mountain, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas (western circuits), and Nebraska districts.

    Dec. 11-12 in Detroit (Dearborn, Mich.)—Michigan, Indiana, English (northern circuits) and Ohio districts.

    Jan. 8-9 in Madison, Wis.—North Wisconsin, South Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, and SELC districts.

    Jan. 15-16 in Minneapolis—Minnesota North, Minnesota South, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa West districts.

    Jan. 22-23 in Boston—New England, Atlantic, New Jersey, and Eastern districts.

    Jan. 29-30 in Newport Beach, Calif.—Pacific Southwest, California-Nevada-Hawaii, English (western circuits), and Northwest districts.

    Feb. 5-6 in Atlanta—Florida-Georgia, Southeastern, and English (southern circuits) districts.

    Feb. 12-13 in Dallas—Texas, Oklahoma, Mid-South, and Southern districts.

    Feb. 19-20 in St. Louis—Missouri, Kansas (eastern circuits), Iowa East, Central Illinois, and Southern Illinois districts.

  36. Thanks,

    Find it interesting that in the second largest district I have to drive to Madison. Shorter trip than lots of folks but still…

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