Good Stuff Found on the Web — Free Professors Garages on ABC3miscellany

One thing I love is reading history and how our forefathers handled the situations that come up in our daily interactions. Pastor Albert Collver III over on abc3miscellany has been reading the memorials to the 1944 Synod Convention, and found something that interested him. Keep an eye on abc3miscellany for more reports as he looks through our common history.

Pastor Collver speaking:


Free Professors’ Garages — Memorial to Synod 1944

Lately to help me go to sleep at night, I have been reading the Reports and Memorials for the Twenty-Fourth Delegate Synod (Thirty-Ninth Regular Convention) Assembled at Saginaw, Michigan June 21-30, 1944. A number of fascinating and potentially  relevant  reports and memorials can be found there. Look for more to come in the near future. Imagine if overtures about Professors’ Garages appeared in 1944, what other overtures might appear, such as “Supreme Authority of General Conventions,” “Enlarging  Electoral  Circuits,” “Reduction of Number of Delegates to Convention.” As the Preacher (Qoheleth) said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

One report and memorial that particularly caught my eye was titled, “Free Professors’ Garages.”The PDF of it can be viewed/downloaded Here. I sure am glad I don’t need a Synod in Convention to have a garage.

Click on the images to the right to view them more clearly; the text has been transcribed below.

Free Professors Garages Saginaw 1944, Page 1
Free Professors’ Garages
The Synodical Handbook, edition 1937, pp. 69 ff., regarding the salaries of the professors at our seminaries and at our seminaries and colleges, adds the statement: “Salaries herein mentioned are understood to include a place of abode.”

In the proposed Handbook revision now before Synod for approval we find the same regulation expressed in section 436 D as follows: “In addition to the above (salaries), Synod shall provide a suitable residence for each professor.”

Twenty to fifty years ago the “place of abode,” the “suitable residence,” under the then prevailing conditions included also the use of outbuildings, such as coal or woodshed, buggy shed, etc., furnished by Synod. But times and conditions have changed. Residences in our time have not such outbuildings as in former times. Only one attachment is generally connected with the “suitable residence” of the present time, perhaps built under the same roof with residence or erected as a special building as the only outbuilding. It is the shelter for the automobile, the garage. Synod also recognized this change in the regulation recorded in Synod’s Handbook, p. 65, reading: “Boards of Control and Synod’s Board of Directors shall build garages for professors at our institutions whenever it seems necessary or expedient.”

The Boards do that at present, as the Boards in by-gone days built outbuildings as needed under the prevailing conditions of former times. But in one respect there is a difference, namely, in respect to the use of the outbuilding. Synod’s regulation says, p.69, 5: “However, the professors are held to pay a reasonable amount of rent for the use of such garages.” The former outbuildings could be used by the professors without paying rent for them.

When this ruling demanding rent for the use of the garages was made, there may have been a plausible reason for it, because the automobile was something new and not in use as a common which is no longer the case.

Free Professors Garages Saginaw 1944, Page 2Therefore, as the change of time and conditions has outdated the common use of the formerly needed outbuildings, the use of which was given to the professors without rent, this conditions has made the automobile a thing of general use in all the communities of our country and makes the demand of rent from our professors for the use of the garage to appear also as outdated, causing difficult situations for the Board of Control in bringing about just and fair settlements.

It is for this reason that the undersigned petition Synod to eliminate the demand for rent for the use of the garage by our professors and to furnish the use of the garage free with the free use of the suitable residence to all the professors of our seminaries and colleges.


[128] Free Professors’ Garages

In the annual meeting on January 7, 1944, the voters of our congregation adopted the following resolution:

WHEREAS, We should expect the professors at our institutions to be situated so that they may enjoy the ordinary conveniences of the average American family; and
WHEREAS, The average American family enjoys the convenience of an automobile; and
WHEREAS, Most ministers own automobiles; and
WHEREAS, It is the custom that congregations furnish a garage for the pastor’s automobile; therefore

Emanuel Ev. Lutheran Church at Hamburg, Minn., herefore petitions the Delegate Synod of 1944 to adopt a resolution to furnish garages for those of our professors who desire to own and automobiles.

L. F. WOHLFEIL, Pastor

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,, 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


Good Stuff Found on the Web — Free Professors Garages on ABC3miscellany — 16 Comments

  1. One other item that I note here .. memorials nowadays give simply the actual whereas’ and resolved (“petition the delegate synod”! I love that wording!). This memorial gives several paragraphs of history of why this memorial is needed and what it’s trying to do. I know it would greatly lengthen the workbook to include text such as found above, but wouldn’t it be nice for delegates to have this type of information?

    I know as a delegate to the CID convention several years ago I had questions about several of the items in the workbook .. it would have helped me to have this type of information immediately available! It just felt to me that things were being pushed though without communication to the delegates as to the reasoning behind the overtures. That and all the “call the question” motions before any real discussion on the issues really frustrated me.

  2. @Norm Fisher #1
    At the risk of beating a dead horse, “calling the question” has been a very big problem at the synodical conventions, to say nothing of district conventions. From first-hand knowledge, there is one particular group, “PoliticsFirst,” that has made it part of their strategy to cut off debate and ram resolutions through. Of course, I know they are not the only ones doing this, but it was part of their political operations in 2001, 2004, and 2007. As y’all can tell, it stuck in my craw then, and its’ still there!

    Knowing the background to some of these resolutions/memorials would have helped me a great deal, and I’m sure it would greatly help others.


  3. “Boards of Control and Synod’s Board of Directors shall build garages for professors at our institutions whenever it seems necessary or expedient.”

    I’m glad you explained. I took “at our institutions” literally and thought that garages to keep the profs’ cars out of the weather during the day were meant.
    I remember my son describing the use of such an amenity on CTS campus to get out of the wind while he did some mechanical work for another seminarian. “Not much warmer” to lie on a concrete floor in November, but better than the snow.

  4. @Helen #3
    Interesting side note-the “garage” at CTS was built primarily for the faculty when the campus was built as the Senior College. The students, at the time, were not allowed to have personal vehicles. As that was relaxed in the late ’50’s the students were also allowed use of the “garage” to maintain their own vehicles and that of the faculty. In this case the “garage” was not to store and protect the cars but a place built for the purpose of maintenance to practice good stewardship. (Yes, Synod, Inc. used to/can do some really great things with proper leadership.)

  5. “At the risk of beating a dead horse, ‘calling the question’ has been a very big problem at the synodical conventions, to say nothing of district conventions.”

    How has it been a big problem? That’s certainly a prerogative for any member under Robert’s Rules, and there’s a good policy reason for it being part of the Rules.

    Has it been handled contrary to Robert’s Rules?

  6. @Don Kirchner #5

    I haven’t looked at Robert’s Rules recently, but when virtually everything presented to the board had 1 or 2 people step to the mics and make a statement, then the next person calls the question .. when there is still a line of people at the mics .. that to me is abuse of the procedure.

  7. I can understand why such a scenario seems frustrating, but I think the frustration is, in part, due to a misunderstanding about the procedure and the the purpose for the motion in general.

    IOW, looking to Robert’s Rules of Order is not going to justify the frustration but, instead, may alleviate it by finding it misplaced.

  8. More specifically, if Robert’s Rules is followed how is it an abuse of procedure?


  9. @STEVEN BOBB #4

    “As that was relaxed in the late ’50’s the students were also allowed use of the “garage” to maintain their own vehicles and that of the faculty.”

    Thanks for the additional information! And now that you mention it, I remember Bill saying that he also worked on faculty cars from time to time, although I believe that was usually done at their homes. (This was in the early ’80’s.)

    Possibly the most useful part of his senior year in high school was the time he spent with Chilton’s and various manuals, teaching himself shadetree mechanics by rebuilding an ancient pickup. (I could believe in heredity, as the grandfather he never knew was similarly skilled.)

    Sorry to go off topic!

  10. @Don Kirchner #5

    Pr. Kirchner,
    There may be good reason in Robert’s for “calling the question” when all sides have been heard but if it is used to cut off debate before anyone with an alternate point of view can speak, I would call it ‘an abuse of procedure’, too.

    As an item of “parliamentary procedure” it makes a good steamroller!

  11. No, Miss Helen, the point of “calling the question” is to cut off debate. If all sides were heard then there would be no need to do so.

    One must have the floor to move the previous question, it must be seconded, and it requires a 2/3 vote to pass. So, think about that, and you’ll realize that there’s a good policy reason for the procedure to cut off further debate, and it is hardly an abuse of procedure.

  12. At Zone LWML, I encouraged the move when we’d heard both sides (sometimes twice). 🙂
    I’ve never been to a district or synodical convention.

  13. The point is that to move the previous question saves time and keeps things from unnecessarioy being bogged down.

    Assuming the motion that’s being addressed is one that neeeds a simple majority to pass, to move the previous question requires a 2/3 or super majority to pass. Bottom line- the main motion is gpoing to pass by a simple majority anyway if the “call the question” passes by a supermajority. There’s no need for debate; it’s a waste of time.

    So, one who “calls the question” knows that they have the votes, so why put things off? If it doesn’t pass then whether the main motion will pass is a closer call.

  14. Pr. Kirchner,
    I think you are avoiding the possibility that some (the middle third?) of the delegates are uncommitted on many issues and might vote differently if they heard both sides of the question.
    “Calling the question” after one or two scripted (I have read how.) comments prevents discussion of the issue.
    The one who “calls the question” just might be afraid the vote will get away from his side if the delegates know what they are voting for. Whether or not there is truly a “majority” they can spare the time to listen. If a rubber stamp was wanted, we wouldn’t need a convention, would we?

    (And if we get all the ideas of the “Blue Ribbon” group enacted, that may be the next suggestion.
    Call it “transforming synod”.) 🙁

  15. In that scenario, the uncommitted members/delegates would vote “no” to a “calling of the question.” If they truly are uncommitted, why would they vote “yes”?

    Furthermore, as stated above, a substantially higher burden is necessary for such a motion to pass; it can only pass by a 2/3 super-majority, so the vote must be definitive.

    So, Ole General Robert had a logical and efficient policy reason for such a motion.

  16. Brother Kirchner:

    Is that in the Christian spirit of love to cut off discussions on an issue that one political party wants passed, when lines are at the mikes, after only two comments? 1 Cor. 13:5 says otherwise: “Love does not behave rudely.”

    It would be just as rude for the other side to stand up at the mikes and filibuster like they do in congress to avoid a vote. But this is not given the chance when only 2 people speak for a limited amount of time.

    If people want to behave rudely in this manner, I guess that can be on their conscience. But they then should be reprimanded and called to repent for their behavior.

    I have seen conventions where a controversial issue came up, and because of the discussion at the mikes, people who were going to vote for something voted against it because they were convinced by the Scriptural points made at the mike.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Fullerton, NE

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