2010 LCMS Convention Resolution 8-12

This resolution to me seems innocuous, and I’m surprised by some discussion over on the Wittenberg Trail talking about the power this gives the BOD. To me, this is something that is necessary given the amount of changes to the Bylaws that are being recommended. If all pass, the bylaws are probably fine. If some of the items pass, someone will have to go in detail through the bylaws and clean portions up. Bylaw 7.1.2 already exists, but needs action by the convention to enact.

7.1.2 In exceptional circumstances and upon the express direction of a convention of the Synod, amendments may be made by a two-thirds majority of the Board of Directors.
(a) Such amendments to the Bylaws shall be necessary to implement resolutions adopted by a convention of the Synod.
(b) Such amendments shall be drafted by the Secretary of the Synod and shall be reviewed by the Commission on Constitutional Matters.

I’m hearing that some of the fear is this basically gives the BOD authority to change the bylaws; perhaps we need to amend this to require informing the LCMS before approving the bylaws? Has this been done in the past? Is this something that is normal, or is it unusual this year?

If you want to discuss a specific resolution, see our Resolutions page. If the one you want to discuss is not yet posted, please contact us and we will add the resolution to start discussion.

Congregations Walking Together in Mission
To Direct the Board of Directors to Amend the Bylaws as Necessary

TF Report (CW TFR)

WHEREAS, Despite the careful work of the floor committees of the convention, the complex work of making major interrelated changes to the Bylaws can result in unintended gaps or ambiguities; and

WHEREAS, Bylaw 7.1.2 provides a mechanism for resolving such issues; therefore be it

Resolved, That the Synod in convention authorize and direct the Board of Directors, pursuant to the procedure provided in Bylaw 7.1.2, to amend such other bylaws as may be necessary to implement the spirit of the resolutions involved in the restructuring of the Synod as adopted by the 2010 convention, to be prepared by the Secretary of the Synod and reviewed by the Commission on Constitutional Matters.

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.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


2010 LCMS Convention Resolution 8-12 — 8 Comments

  1. Resolution 8-12 really says “despite the propaganda and the Bravo Sierra shoveled to the masses about the BRTFSSG recommendations giving more power to congregations, we’re really going to give the power to change the Bylaws to the BOD. Suckers!”

    This is idiotic because if there are ambiguities, it is the CCM (in theory) that is supposed to provide reasonable interpretation, or as they have in the past, pull an opinion out of their keister.

    And if there really is a gap or conflict that requires rewriting a bylaw, the convention delegates are still active until the next convention. They can be polled to discuss and vote on a correcting motion, either with or without another formal convention.

    Furthermore, Resolution 8-12 can be treated as a civil court would treat corroboration from a hostile witness, in that Resolution 8012 provides clear evidence and admission that the BRTFSSG resolutions should be rejected or at least deferred until the next convention during which time the recommendations can be thoroughly checked, by all parties for the potential existence of such ambiguities and gaps.

    Resolution 8-12 is another black mark on the members of the BRTFSSG and Floor Committee 8. They should be ashamed!!

  2. >> as may be necessary to implement the spirit of the resolutions

    No preview button here, don’t know if my emphasis is going to work. “The spirit of” are risky words, and they should be dropped.

  3. @Carl Vehse #1

    This is in “THE SPIRIT” of the BRTF–there is so much confusion and obfuscation, that they had to issue a catch-all, CYK (Cover Your Kiester) resolution. SSDD

    By the way Carl, I’m not an expert, but I think that “Kiester”, being German in probable origin, ought to be spelled with the “i” before the “e.” But then, I’m not a Kiester-Meister.

    Johannes (New baloney dectector beeping furiuosly. Burned the old one out yesterday)

  4. It worked, Joe, and you are correct in emphasizing the risk of delegates to rely on such a weaselly phrase.

  5. Joe :
    @Johannes #3
    Huh, who’da thunk, but supposedly it’s British: keister from satchel

    Well, you can’t win ’em all. But I am right about the CYK aspects of the BRTF’s machinations.
    I guess one of two ain’t bad…

    Johannes (Keister-Meister)

  6. The problem that I have with this Resolution is this: it gives a blank check.

    The resolution states that the changes are to be “in the spirit of the BRTFSSG proposals,” but some of the resolutions aren’t in the “spirit” of the BRTFSSG proposals.

    Example #1 – Resolution 8-05, in the second rationale, states, “It is fundamental to our understanding that congregations have equal voice through two representatives…” but Resolution 8-04 seeks to change the number of representatives that congregations receive so that some get more than two.

    Example #2 – Resolution 8-02 amends Bylaws 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 with regards to the composition of the Cicuit Forum (or is it the amendment that comes from Resolution 8-03, it really isn’t clear in the resolutions). In 5.2.2.c “the vote shall be exercised by one pastor and one layperson from each member congregation of the curcuit, both of whom shall have been selected in the manner prescribed by the congregation (cf. Bylaw 5.3.2).” (emphasis added) In 5.3.2 – “The circuit forum consists of an individual member of Synod of each congregation and one lay member of each congregation, both designated by the congregation.” (emphasis added) So which is it? Is the congregation to be represented by the pastor or by any rostered member of the Synod? Unlike district convention delegates, there is no language indicating that the pastor is the preferred delegate – the language says that it is entirely up to the congregation which individual member of the Synod they will elect to represent them. So which is in the spirit of the proposals? (Since the phrasing “an individual member of Synod” is in the rationale of the resolution, it could very well be argued that the spirit is for the latter rather than the former. This means that a congregation could vote to send their retired pastor to be their representative at the forum rather than their pastor, regardless of the desires of the pastor.)

    Dozens of overtures were submitted to give us more time to make sure that these bylaws did what the resolutions and proposals say they should do. At the regional gathering, we were told we had plenty of time (months) to look at that. Noting several contradictions, even within the bylaws, let alone between the proposals and the bylaws, I asked how we could do in a few months what the Task Force had been unable to do in several years. I was told those would be cleared up when the CCM and CTCR finished reviewing the language. The enabling resolutions were not published until less that 40 days before the opening of the convention. This resolution is an admission that they are not ready.

    I fully understand why Resolution 8-12 is there and why bylaw 7.1.2 is in place. I don’t like the resolution because it requires a trust that we are all in agreement about what the spirit of the proposed changes are, and given the “the convention can do whatever it likes” mealy-mouthed responses out of the Task Force at the regional gatherings, I don’t know that there is consensus on that. Approving such powers is writing a blank check and involves a great deal of trust. I do not trust the Structure and Governance process as it has played out thus far, so I am reticent to extend trust, without checks and balances, into the future.

    Rather than giving the BoD power to approve bylaws (a power granted to change bylaws when wording changes aren’t proposed – as in “here’s what we want, you write the bylaw to make it happen”), if the adopted bylaws need to be amended, amend them at the next Synodical Convention. If that means you have to wait four years instead of three… well, you made your bed, now you have to lie down in it.

    The other thing that I do not like about this resolution is that it does not limit such BoD action to the next quadrennium. The way the resolution is phrased, the BoD could still be making changes to implement these resolutions in 20 years. I hate having to parse things this precisely, but our current administration has used such ambiguities contra what many in our Synod have understood to be the spirit of certain bylaws and resolutions.

  7. I don’t like the resolution because it requires a trust that we are all in agreement about what the spirit of the proposed changes are, and given the “the convention can do whatever it likes” mealy-mouthed responses out of the Task Force at the regional gatherings, I don’t know that there is consensus on that.

    It requires a trust in the Blue Ribbon Task Force, Floor Committee 8, and synodical president who have already demonstrated by their actions that they are untrustworthy.

    BRTFSSG members: Dr. Ralph Bohlmann, Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger, Rev. Jon Braunersreuther, Dr. Jeff Schrank, Dr. David Buegler, Mr. Ron Schultz, Dr. William Diekelman, Mr. Tim Schwan, Rev. Robert Greene, Dr. Will Sohns, Dr. Raymond Hartwig, Dr. Larry Stoterau, Dr. Tom Kuchta, Ms. Virginia Von Seggern, Dr. William Moorhead, Ms. Jane Wilke

    Floor Committee 8 members: Dr. Larry Stoterau, Dr. David Buegler, Rev. Joel Hoelter, Rev. Bill Klettke, Rev. Paul Linnemann, Rev. Ron Burcham, Rev. John Gierke, Rev. Daniel Teller, David Hegert, David Schilling, Kent Warneke, Rev. James Pragman

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