Changing the orders of the day

Districts are having their pre-convention meetings to help delegates prepare for the work they’ll have to do in Houston here in a few weeks. I’ve been talking to folks from districts around the country and one of the interesting (to me, at least) issues under discussion is about changing the orders of the day. First, let’s talk about what this means.

You can go see a schedule for what happens at the convention, which runs from July 9 to July 17. Friday and Saturday are floor committee meetings and what not and the action really starts on Sunday, July 11. The election of our new president, as currently scheduled, won’t happen until Tuesday, July 13.

Some delegates are wondering whether they can move that vote up to the first day of business on Sunday the 11th. I’ve heard from people in attendance that the question was asked by delegates at a number of different pre-convention meetings. These include different parts of the country, obviously, but also delegates who support different candidates. I’ve also heard that some district presidents who are supporters of President Kieschnick are also hoping to change the orders of the day to enable an earlier vote.

Now, I have absolutely no idea if it will happen, but I thought it interesting that it’s being discussed. And to answer the question, yes, it’s possible to change the orders of the day.

Some advocates of President Kieschnick have already talked about the importance of not passing the Blue Ribbon Task Force if Harrison is elected President. So that probably explains why they would want to change the orders of the day. It will be hard for those people (whose view of the Blue Ribbon Task Force recommendations changes based on who is in leadership) to know how to vote on the proposals without knowing who the next president will be. On the other hand, some of President Kieschnick’s greatest skills, arguably, are political. Couldn’t he use those two days of complete control of the convention floor? Even if the orders were changed so that the vote would be on the first day, it would still come after a presentation by President Kieschnick of his “President’s Report.”

All this to say I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see a change in orders of the day to permit delegates to vote earlier on who will become their next Synodical President.


Changing the orders of the day — 37 Comments

  1. Normally the first main order of business is the election of the president. It is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, to have the first two-and-a-half days devoted to one floor committee before elections are held.

  2. I made my prediction of how President Kieschnick will attempt to conduct the first two days of the convention in this April 30th post.

    It appears that President Kieschnick’s supporters are indeed concerned.


  3. I hear statements like “normally the first main order of business is the election of the president,” and I wonder. My experience and recollection only go back so far. I only have the schedules going back to 2001 convention. Could someone scan and post the schedules for the 60 conventions prior to that? I would think THAT would be a more convincing argument from the microphone. “At the first 60 conventions of the Synod, the presidential election has been the first order of business after the establishment of the convention schedule and standing rules. Only at the previous two conventions have votes on resolutions from floor committees preceded the presidential election.” I would like to be able to verify that my statement in quotes is correct, but I do not have time to get to CHI before the convention.

    Can anyone else help me with that?

  4. If the delegates were actually to change the agenda to have the SP election at the beginning of the convention, and if Rev. Harrison were to be elected to be the next SP, then there should be a motion to select as convention chairman someone other than the current SP.

  5. Carl Vehse :
    If the delegates were actually to change the agenda to have the SP election at the beginning of the convention, and if Rev. Harrison were to be elected to be the next SP, then there should be a motion to select as convention chairman someone other than the current SP.

    What happened when Pres. Barry defeated Pres. Bohlmann?

    I would think that would be a lot more difficult to accomplish unless/until Pres. Kieschnick commits some act of gross malfeasance, and such a move made prior to that would further balkanize the delegates and sway the moveable middle into a sympathy vote for anything the current administration would be proposing.

  6. According to this 2003 link on Robert’s Rules of Order, putting in a chairman pro tem could be done:

    At the beginning of the meeting a member could move to suspend the rules relating to the duties of the president to preside at the meeting, and instead elect a chairman pro tem. If the motion to suspend the rules is adopted by a two-thirds vote, someone else will chair the meeting.

    Even if the rule that the president “shall preside at all meetings” is in the bylaws, it is a rule that is clearly in the nature of a rule of order (per RONR p. 15 duties of officers in connection with a meeting) and may be suspended (per RONR p. 17).

    One will need to be an expert on RONR p. 642 to actually pull this off (for a member to put the motion to suspend the rules and elect a chairman pro tem) while standing in his place.

    Specific parliamentary details are provided and there is even a link to a sample skiton how this might play out.

  7. I hope the order of things is changed and Harrison is elected. But the way to defeat this is for the delegates to read, read, read. Read the proposals. Its rough. Look at the by-law changes.

    In 8-04 regarding district conventions, they argue that the 50-50 lay clergy balance and two votes per congregation, is not the most “equitable, representative and cost effective way” for congregational representation.

    Yet in 8-05 regarding national conventions the second Whereas says,

    “WHEREAS, It is fundamental to our understanding that congregations have equal voice through two representatives, a lay member and an individual member of the Synod, thus preserving the balance of lay-clergy vote; ”

    Is it fundamental or not? It is fundamental nationally but not fundamental at the district level?

    And in 8-04, congregations with more than 750 in weekly attendance get two more votes at district, for a total of 4, only one of which has to be lay. (I don’t know how many congregations fall into this category. It would be helpful to know.) And comm ministers can now go in place of lay delegates or in place of clergy delegates to the district conventions, but they can only serve as a clergy delegates to the national convention. (I’m confused.)

    Dr. Noland points out in another post that a resolution was passed at the 2007 convention that read,

    “Resolved, That no proposed changes to the structure and
    governance of the Synod will conflict with Article II and Article
    VI of the Constitution.” (Convention proceedings, page 165.)

    They are proposing changes to Article II and Article VI. I guess changes to those Articles do not conflict with those Articles???

    The more informed the delegates are, the better decisions they can make.

  8. Carl and PPPadre,

    President Kieschnick remains president until (Deo volente) Pastor Harrison is installed. President Kieschnick is the rightful chair of the upcoming convention regardless of who is elected.

    President Kieschnick’s first problem is how to win both reelection and restructuring. The current order of the first three convention days is a huge gamble for him.

    His second (but more important) problem is how to win reelection if restructuring fails in those first two days.

    I suspect that President Kieschnick is counting on bad behavior from his critics in those first two days, allowing him to play both victim and unifier. Then, he can either support or oppose restructuring, depending on which position improves his chances of reelection on day three.

    That is, unless the election of president is moved up to day one. And, this seems more and more likely to me. That way President Keischnick and his supporters will know who the next president will be, and therefore whether or not to support restructuring.

    One thing is now certain of President Kieschnick and his supporters: Reelection is more important that restructuring. If forced to choose, restructuring will be sacrificed.


  9. I can’t help but wonder about this scenario:

    After two days of wrangling, the restructuring is passed – solidly, but not overwhelmingly.
    Then Harrison is elected president by those who came supporting him and by those who didn’t like what they saw from the incumbent.

    Then someone moves that the restructuring be repealed. All those who were originally against it are joined by the supporters of the incumbent who can’t bear the thought of Harrison having all that power, and the repeal is made (and two days of the convention’s time are wasted).

  10. @Jeff Samelson #10

    “Then someone moves that the restructuring be repeale.”

    Only someone who voted FOR restructuring can move to repeal it. Anyone who originally voted for defeat of restructuring is not eligible. I guess you’d say it has to be a “change of heart” or “change of mind.”

    Johannes (been there, seen it, voted accordingly–2007)

  11. If restructuring is a good idea then it shouldn’t matter who is President. Interesting it is only good if the current President is reelected. The difference between the 2 sides is those that support Rev Harrision including the man himself doesn’t want to see one person have that much power. The other side only wants their person to have that power. It is clear they want to get complete control of the synod and to silence the conservatives. It is important we pray for God’s will to be done. I hope delegates from both sides act like adults and not children.

  12. I know of several pastoral delegates who feel their primary duty on Sunday morning is to serve their parishes, and are planning to arrive Sunday afternoon/evening. (I myself have always felt it odd that we schedule a church convention over a Sunday morning.)

    I also know of several other delegates, pastoral and lay, who have reservations about missing worship in an actual congregation, and are planning to skip Sunday morning in order to attend a local Houston church. For instance, several have expressed an interest in seeing the famous new sanctuary of Our Savior.

    In both cases they aren’t too concerned about missing Sunday morning because, according to the schedule, that will merely be routine business along the lines of greetings from the mayor, etc. And of course they’ll be there for the “big vote” — on Tuesday. Somehow the word needs to get out that the “big vote” could come at any time — and if it seems enough delegates of one viewpoint are missing at a certain time that might actually be taken advantage of — so every delegate must be there for the entire convention (or defer to their alternate if appropriate).

    In fact it may be that those less inclined to vote for the incumbent would be more likely not to be present on Sunday morning, so that might be considered a good opportunity by the incumbents supporters to spring a surprise election on the Synod. Not that those absent could really complain, since once the gavel falls everything is fair game at any time and one has to be alert for rescheduling that may be made for the advantage or disadvantage of those of various viewpoints.

    I recall that after the incumbent was initially elected the elections which followed did not go along similar lines, which many attributed to the supporters of the president elect going out celebrate and not returning in time. Another common scheduling tactic is to hold something until the end of a session, or the day, or the entire convention, when many delegates — at least those unaware that a significant matter is going to be raised — have left early, and the body is anxious to conclude business.

    So, the word needs to get out: All hands on deck, all the time!

  13. >>I suspect that President Kieschnick is counting on bad behavior from his critics in those first two days, allowing him to play both victim and unifier.

    The word also needs to get out about this. At a gathering of pastors last week a number who are delegates talked about “exposing” the incumbent’s “true motives,” “manipulations,” etc. during those opening days, thinking that would hurt his chances of election. I tried to say that they’d only be “preaching to the choir” and if those in the middle on whom the election probably hangs come to see him as a victim it would actually help his chances of election.

    Criticism should not be directed toward the incumbent at all — that would just be counterproductive — but only toward the proposals, in an objective way detached from the current personalities involved. For example on Res. 8-18, I would stress that it is not all all about the incumbent or the election at this particular convention. For if adopted these would be longstanding changes, probably still in place after all the current personalities have changed. The issue is NOT who will or will not be elected President at this convention. These changes give the President too much authority REGARDLESS of who the President may be.

  14. I am a Lay delegate, I will read read study study and PRAY for wisdom. I hope to elect Harrison and Shave two days off convention be back home with my wife and kids. Wishful I know. God willing I be there from start to finish. Whatever Happens Men, God is in control!

  15. A quote from Douglas Adams comes to mind:

    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

    For a long time I’ve felt this is true for earthly (kingdom-of-the-left) leaders. How much more so for the leaders of our Synod! At least, to the extent that they might to want to lead for the sake of glory (power, prestige, etc.) rather than seeing a need to shepherd. (One is reminded of Moses, who never wanted to be a prophet!)

    Or, as one Michael B. put it on a Yahoo Answers regarding the same quote:

    The desire to rule is ethically a disqualification for the position […] why can’t we see that people who want power are equally unfit to wield it?

  16. boogie :
    Is the Eucharist served during the convention?

    The Convention open Saturday at 4pm with a Eucharistic Divine Service.

  17. @PPPadre #18

    @Rev. Roger Sterle #19
    Thanks. You knew where I was going with this. I could not partake in good conscience, due to [insert rant re. the practice of quasi-closed or open Communion in much of LCMS-dom.] Oops, that’s “close(d).”

    Like has been said, if the BR stuff passes, it will be harmful even if Harrison is elected. Conservative SP’s come and go; liberal SP’s come and go.

  18. Kebas :
    >>I suspect that President Kieschnick is counting on bad behavior from his critics in those first two days, allowing him to play both victim and unifier.
    The word also needs to get out about this. … delegates talked about “exposing” the incumbent’s “true motives,” “manipulations,” etc. during those opening days, thinking that would hurt his chances of election. I tried to say …[if] those in the middle on whom the election probably hangs come to see him as a victim it would actually help his chances of election.

    Amen to that.

    If you ask me, it’s part of Win-Friends-and-Influence-People-101: give people a reason to say Yes.

    One “wouldn’t it be cool to have a finger-picking-banjo-playing-son-of-a-gun as LCMS president” is worth 100 “now why would you vote for a such-and-such, so-and-so?”

  19. >>Which DPs? . . . I would like actual evidence

    I’m not sure this is the forum to be discussing individuals in such a way. If there have been instances where some have not attended or not received Communion, it seems to me it would be improper to jump to conclusions and publish on the Internet assumptions and speculation about their reasons or intent. Not everything revolves around Synodical politics! There are very valid spiritual reasons, wholly unrelated to such issues, for refraining at times from Communion. I am sure many of us have at times refrained from Communion for these various other reasons, and we would not want people speculating and gossiping about why–especially by name on the Internet!

    Likewise people sometimes miss opening services at conventions, conferences, etc. for reasons unrelated to Synodical concerns.

    In any case I fail to see how such a “naming names” conversation would serve the purposes of this forum, but I could see it doing a lot of damage. They may be District Presidents but that does not make them fair game for gossip.

  20. “I suspect that President Kieschnick is counting on bad behavior from his critics in those first two days, allowing him to play both victim and unifier.”

    You know, this year the opening Divine Service will be a “blended service.”

    The host congregation this year is Trinity Klein (which the majority of its members attend the Traditional service.) but for some reason the director of music at a Presbyterian church is directing the mass choir, and the worship is being planned by leaders of “Salem Ministries,” Tomball; Gloria Dei, Clear Lake; and Fishers of Men, Sugarland. The worship will also include a procession of the communion elements by “liturgical dancers.”

    Why have a blended service this year? is it to anger the confessionals ,and the incumbent will get what he wants? or is it the fact that none of the churches listed above have called Directors of Parish Music. The only two people who are helping who would have had the education on how to plan a worship service are Kantor Janet Muth, Memorial Lutheran, Houston; and Mr. Jeff Armstrong of Our Savior, Houston. These two amazing music directors will be leading the children’s choir.

    I hope that many will attend the Divine Service, and that we all be on our best behavior. 😉

  21. Comment deleted by moderators.

    Reasons for deletion:

    It is one thing to say “I am not going to attend the communion service because of my beliefs”, it is quite another to say “Here is a list of people who are not attending it” and assuming a reason behind why they are not attending it.

    Comment #23 has it right when s/he says “I’m not sure this is the forum to be discussing individuals in such a way”.

  22. @deleted #29

    Once again, comment #18–still posted–made an assertion without evidence. The right thing to do is ask for evidence. Therefore, no, #23 is not correct, as it misconstrues what was posted. Nonetheless, the assertion-without-evidence remains undeleted, as does #23’s assertion of ill intent…and now, #29, which perpetuates it.

    Really, if you’re not going to clean things up better than this, what’s the point of ‘cleaning them up’?


  23. The followup on #19 to the comment on #18 appears to be a prediction as to who will not be taking communion at Sat.’s 4PM service. One will have to wait until then to check out who doesn’t show up (for whatever reason).

  24. Carl Vehse :
    The followup on #19 to the comment on #18 appears to be a prediction as to who will not be taking communion at Sat.’s 4PM service.

    No, it does not appear to be “a prediction,” but a statement of fact, as in “some DP has stated that he will not participate” and “some (intentionally) have not participated in the past.”

    To return to the topic: Would such a DP be “on his best behavior,” or should he be condemned by those who consider themselves the arbiters of “wise as serpents, gentle as doves”?

    It’s funny how some here will praise a DP for his words that are not followed up by actions, but when someone attributes an action to one or more DPs, all of a sudden it is forbidden us to inquire as to whom had given such words as to make others think that he would not be communing.

    EJG (again, the ‘clean up job’ here is reminiscent of ALPB in the aftermath of the so-called ‘Society of the Holy Trinity’–which is acceptable to BJS–desecrating the chapel [and classrooms] at the Ft. Wayne sem with their unionistic Eucharist and female preachers)

  25. Rev. Roger Sterle :
    @Rev. Eric J. Stefanski #33
    Female preachers in the chapel at Ft. Wayne?

    To clarify:

    Female preachers conducting services in the classrooms at the sem, and an LCMS pastor conducting a unionistic Communion service for the so-called “Society of the Holy Trinity”–every bit as inaccurate as “Jesus First”–in the sem chapel.

    To clarify further:

    BJS sees nothing wrong with membership in the “Society of the Holy Trinity,” as long as one doesn’t commune in their regularly-schedule unionistic Eucharists. (I contend that membership in a self-described “ministerium”–i.e., association of pastors–that includes female ‘clergy’ is wrong in and of itself. Then again, I also consider it wrong to a) be a member of the LWF or b) be in fellowship with members of the LWF since the LWF’s self-definition is that all of its member bodies are in fellowship with one another…i.e., while we might complain about DP Benke communing with ELCA Bishop Boumann in the U.S., if they both went to any LWF-affiliated body with which the LCMS is in fellowship, e.g., the Lanka Lutheran Church, they can receive the Lord’s Supper together and there can be no complaint…and, strangely enough, I find that to be wrong. Then again, as is seen from the contentions between the ‘sides’ in the LCMS evident on this board and elsewhere, membership in the LCMS is unionism, anyway.)


  26. In his 2003 testimony to the DRP, Rev. Wallace Schulz summarized the blasphemous interfaith prayer service at YS:

    When LCMS President Kieschnick agreed to permit Pastor Benke to ‘worship’ with unbelievers, by attending the Yankee Stadium ‘interfaith service’ President Kieschnick, in effect, consented to permit Benke to go to a spiritual house of ill repute, or the whorehouse of heathenism…. when President Benke asked pagan clerics to ‘join hands’ with him in prayer, this was the spiritually copulative act of adultery.

    In a similar way the Society of Holy Trinity, which recognizes and permits females members to act as if they were ordained Lutheran clergy, is also a spiritual house of ill repute. Any Missouri Synod pastor who would be a STS member would have to justify to his congregation, his ecclesiastical supervisor and to God, that becoming a STS member is okay provided he only watches, but doesn’t physically join hands and engage in, any spiritually copulative acts of adultery.

  27. If anyone is still reading this thread and attended a previous convention, I have a question. I just received another update/newsletter from Charles Mueller, Jr. helping first time delegates. Regarding changing the agenda, he (or one of those helping him) wrote

    Every Synodical Convention I’ve been at has had someone stand up and ask to change the agenda. Sometimes they want to have elections earlier in the week. Other times people have asked to have time for candidate speeches. In my experience these attempts have always failed – and because they come every convention we’ve even had a “standard” response made by the parliamentarian and/or the CCM (Commission on Constitutional Matters) as to why these changes are “out of order.”

    Could someone who has been to a previous convention please share what this “standard” response is? What would render the assembly setting its own agenda as “out of order”?

    Forewarned is forearmed.

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