WMLT — They’ll Be In the Mail

Found on the Witness, Mercy, Life Together blog:

 


 


As conventions season approaches, we are faced with a bit of a Synod-wide dilemma. How shall our congregations become informed in a timely manner of convention- and election-related changes made by the 2010 convention, some of which are very significant?

Usual Channels of Information

District presidents surely will want to share some of this information at Fall Professional Workers Conferences, which will then be shared with congregations by the pastors and teachers. And circuit counselors surely will want to keep pastors and congregations informed in their circuits.

To facilitate this sharing of information, the Council of Presidents has set aside a bloc of time during its September 2011 meeting to review the changes that have taken place. District presidents will want to provide this information to their circuit counselors for distribution on the congregation level.

But will this provide enough notice? And will it be timely enough to enable all 6,000-plus congregations of our Synod to actively participate, especially since some of the changes have almost immediate consequences as 2012 district conventions approach?

Unusual Channel of Information

As Secretary of the Synod, I hope to lend my hand to this communication effort. With the help of my staff and others, I am putting together a mailing campaign that hopefully will provide timely information directly to congregations to help make certain that no congregation is left unaware.

On September 1, the first in a series of 18 5 ½ x 8 ½ postcard mailings (clearly labeled as official business) will be mailed to all congregations, circuit counselors, and district presidents. These mailings will provide the information they need to know at the time they will need to know it. An article in the September Reporter will alert the Synod to the receipt of these mailings over the next 20 months.

The first postcard, calling congregations’ attention to “District Convention Delegate/Alternate Delegate Elections,” will describe the change in the manner in which the President of the Synod will be elected beginning in 2013—by direct participation by the congregations of the Synod. The postcard will call attention to the important rules for participation.

The second postcard, calling attention to congregations’ need to elect their representatives to their circuit forums (which must take place prior to their 2012 district conventions) is scheduled to be mailed on September 15. The third, scheduled for September 30, will address the new process by which the 2012 circuit counselor nominations and elections must take place.

Becoming-the-Usual Channel of Information

The recognition behind the mailings is that the U.S. Mail is still the most dependable method at this time to make certain that every congregation is reached. However, recognizing that the Internet is the preferred source of information for increasing numbers of people, the content of the postcards will be posted on the Synod’s Website at www.lcms.org/convention/procedureupdates following each mailing.

Raymond Hartwig
Secretary, LCMS

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.

Comments

WMLT — They’ll Be In the Mail — 40 Comments

  1. After some previous threads that dealt with hard-hitting issues and some flaming posts, it’s a nice change-of-pace to have a lighthearted column on BJS that ponders the question:

    “As conventions season approaches, we are faced with a bit of a Synod-wide dilemma. How shall our congregations become informed in a timely manner of convention- and election-related changes made by the 2010 convention, some of which are very significant?”

    And the answer is. . . “Postcards.” Over 115,000 of them. Addressed to congregations, circuit counselors, and district presidents.

    In a Lutheran tradition, maybe the postcards will be nailed to the church door, so the congregational members, by reading them, can become informed.

  2. Apparently, Rick, you did not read the entire message, did you? Or you did, you simply wanted to take yet another pot shot and again drag down the level of discourse on this web site.

    Dr. Hartwig also indicates everything will be put on the LCMS web site.

    I wonder what it is about you that leads you to pick nits and find fault in every single post about anything related to The LCMS?

  3. Timely information for most, a little late for some. The first District Convention is North Dakota (January 22-25), so our nominations and delegate elections will basically be completed by the time we get the information.

    Still, I’m not about to complain, a little late is better than being left completely in the dark. My congregations’ (already elected) delegate has been asking plenty of questions, and in a few weeks I’ll have a few more answers to give him.

    And just like three years ago, if there’s something learned at the Convention about the new process that might be beneficial to the rest who meet later, I’ll try to pass it along.

  4. A good source of information for the impact of the 2010 Convention is The Lutheran Clarion. Several of the recent issues have given explanations and interpretations of the 2010 changes. See http://www.lutheranclarion.org/newsletter.html for all the issues.

    And don’t forget the upcoming LCA (Lutheran Concerns Association) conference that will be January 16, 2012, in Fort Wayne, IN. The September issue (http://www.lutheranclarion.org/images/NewsletterSep2011.pdf) includes the list of speakers and their subject matter. The effects of the 2010 Convention will undoubtedly be discussed. The September issue also includes a registration form.

  5. No, Paul, you’re just wrong again. I read the entire message and even looked at the (currently empty) website where the first copy of what will be over 115,000 mailed postcards will be posted in September. As I told you previously, your posts are the best opportunity for BJS readers to see just what kind of person currently works as Publisher and Executive Director of Concordia Publishing House and calls himself an “LCMS pastor.”

  6. Rev. Paul T. McCain :
    Dr. Hartwig also indicates everything will be put on the LCMS web site.

    It costs 28 cents as of 05/11/09 for postcards with a maximum size of 6″ x 4.25.”
    .28 x 115,000 = $32,200. I am sorry, they want to use larger postcards. Its 44 cents per card. .44 x 115,000 = $50,600. If my math is correct, I think the right course of action is to post everything on website; forget about using snail mail. Use technology! Everybody has cell phones! Create a LCMS news application so that everyone can subscribe and use their phones to receive the information. Yes, use the website, by all means, but acknowledge that is the first method and preferred method to communicate- using technology!

  7. @Rick, again, by resorting to typically slanderous ad hominem, as you always do, you again underscore the concern I have raised about your comments on this forum. I thank you for once more proving my point.

    @Walter: It would be wonderful if we could get everyone to “tune in” via the Web, but it is just not that way among us yet. I think Dr. Hartwig’s plan is the most cost effective and best way to get the word out, as best he can.

  8. Considering how many people have told me that they never heard about mailed information in their “liberal” churches; we may be recycling a lot of paper. (I’m glad if they can limit it to post card rates.)

    [But the USPS is a worthy charity and needs all the help it can get, I read.]

    PTM, if you can wring an “ad hominem” out of a suggestion that people re read your own posts, maybe you should re read them yourself?

  9. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #7
    In response to a rather light hearted and humorous observation by the poster “Carl Vehse” you launch a direct personal attack on the poster and then whine when he slaps back ? In the other thread you are making statements publically to others, many of whom are also synodical employees, that they censor the comments of this user.

    Just don’t go all VDMA here….. It don’t scare anyone.

    For what it is worth I had seriously been planning to buy a copy of the Lutheran Study Bible’s new Apocrypha edition. Due to this sort of unprofessional and unChristian attacks I am not going to. Don’t hurt the brand image further.

  10. Isn’t it wonderful that a simple announcement can be turned into a confrontational situation? I guess anything is possible if you try hard enough to put the worst construction on everything. Good thing that is not what we are instructed to do, right, oops, I may be wrong and I’m certain I will be informed…

  11. Could anyone recommend a Christian blog for mutual prayer and constructive encouragement for shining like stars “in a crooked and depraved generation?”  This is a sincere (not sarcastic) question.

  12. @John Rixe #12
    Perhaps I’m old school, and I know that (unlike a blog) it involves putting on pants, but I like “brick and mortar churches” for mutual prayer and constructive encouragement. Perhaps you can talk your pastor into praying the hours, or at least Matins and Vespers/Compline. You could also start a confessional reading group.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

    (If you ever start to feel as though you are shining like a star “in a crooked and depraved generation” you might want to re-read Luther’s explanations of the 10 commandments.)

  13. Walter Troeger :
    It costs 28 cents as of 05/11/09 for postcards with a maximum size of 6? x 4.25.”
    .28 x 115,000 = $32,200. I am sorry, they want to use larger postcards. Its 44 cents per card. .44 x 115,000 = $50,600.

    Actually, the non-profit, automated rate on standard bulk mail is between 8.9 and 9.9 cents per piece, depending on their entry point discount, so divide your figure by 5. Yes, $10k is a significant amount, but it’s worth it to make sure everyone is informed. Can you hire someone to create a mobile app for all platforms for $10k? (I don’t know the development side of things, so I really don’t know.) Combine the cost factor with the fact that 1/3 of the pastors in my circuit and 1/10 of my church council cannot even check voicemail on their cellphone, let alone negotiate a news app, and you have dramatically reduced your cost efficiency.

    Recently I helped organize a district wide activity. Notice was sent to every congregation via e-mail well in advance and leading up to the six week response period. A week before the deadline (end of the response period), I get a phone call from a church secretary who had seen the event in a neighboring congregation’s newsletter wondering why we hadn’t sent any information to her congregation. When told every congregation had been e-mailed, her response was “Only Pastor gets to see e-mail. If it’s regular mail, I go through that, but I don’t get to see e-mail.” How many lay officers would not receive these important updates if they were to come only through a phone based app that more than likely mostly only pastors would know about?

    I agree that we should strive to better use technology for faster communication, but the truth is we are not ready for exclusively technological news distribution yet. There are too many who would be excluded from the process. Though “low-tech,” this really is the most cost effective way to reach the maximum number of people. And using a postcard format instead of a letter format saves a bundle on printing costs (there is no difference in Standard Non-Profit postage between a postcard and a letter weighing up to 3 ounces).

  14. @Matthew Mills #13

    Good point – I agree.  The blogs I’ve run across seem to be mostly just arguing, dividing, and discouraging.  The positive stuff happens in our local churches and schools

  15. The PPPadre :

    Padre, Oh, yes, sorry, I forgot about the non profit status. I agree that some churches have no Internet access. I never did say use email for communicating as the only way to communicate. Most of the email gets unread or filtered by the users junk mail settings. In addition, using email is only one form of communicating. It’s time for Synod to think of new ways using technology, hand-held devices, etc. All we have to do is look at high school kids and see what they are doing. Go look at college students and see how they are communicating. For now, it’s all about Ipods, cell phone apps and texting. Its more than just having a website. This generation wants information now. I disagree with Rev. Mccain statement above that “It would be wonderful if we could get everyone to “tune in” via the Web, but it is just not that way among us yet.” I also think Seminary President Dale Meyer would also disagree with that statement too. He has made public statements that it is time to start re-thinking how we reach out to the lost using technology. Sorry, it is time to step up by our Synod and seriously focus on the use of technology both at the International center and our seminaries.

  16. Walter, you are making sweepingly inaccurate comments.

    My statement is in fact true. Read PPadre’s remarks.

    There a lot of our congregations and church workers who do not yet prefer to receive all their information via e-mail. Sorry, just the way it is.

    Our Synod does use technology to get the news out, as indicated in Dr. Hartwig’s message.

    Another sad example of the hysterics and overstatements that are typical of many comments on this blog site, sadly.

  17. Speaking of which, Paul, did you find that “slanderous ad hominem” you earlier claimed existed? Or was your comment another sad example of the hysterics and overstatements that are typical of your comments on this blog site, sadly?

  18. 1 Peter 3:8

    Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. 

  19. I agree with Rev. McCain. Turning a post like this into a soap box is a sad indictment of what the libs shove in our faces about ‘conservatives’ being more interested in being obstinate than anything else. I for one grow tired of Mr. Vehse’s retorts to practically every post.

  20. @John Rixe #12
    Could anyone recommend a Christian blog for mutual prayer and constructive encouragement for shining like stars “in a crooked and depraved generation?” This is a sincere (not sarcastic) question.

    Second the suggestion of weedon.blogspot.com Sincerely!

    A MAXIM FOR VIKINGS

    Here is a fact
    that should help you fight
    a bit longer:
    Things that don’t act-
    ually kill you outright
    make you stronger. 🙂

  21. @Paul Faulkner #23
    I for one grow tired of Mr. Vehse’s retorts to practically every post.

    I look forward to them. His presence and his practices are unique, witty, well thought out, and abrasive while his grasp of Lutheran church history is uncanny and helpful. He stirs the discussion.

  22. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #7
    Captain Hyperbole strikes again! Rev.(?) McCain: use of words like “slanderous” is not only over the top and unwarranted, it is a dangerous accusation. If you cannot, or will not, provide a justification for using such a word, as Carl has asked you to do, please recant and appologize. As usual, you burst into the virtual room screaming “Hate!” hysterically, then proceed to say the most vlie and hateful things posted on this blog. Please try to develop at least a modicum of restraint.

    Respectfully,
    Eric Ramer

  23. @Paul Faulkner #23
    And I agree with Howard Jonson’s agreement with Emil Jonson’s agreement with Gabby Johnson’s…

    Mr Faulkner: “I agree with Rev. McCain. Turning a post like this into a soap box is a sad indictment of what the libs shove in our faces about ‘conservatives’ being more interested in being obstinate than anything else. I for one grow tired of Mr. Vehse’s retorts to practically every post.”

    Really? Which of the two is always so insistanc on playing the role of Fire Marchal Bill in these comment strings? I enjoy Carl Vehse’s insights, even when I disagree with them because even when snarky, they tend to be witty and worth consideriation. Sadly, I can’t say the same for his personal foil, Mr. McCain.

    Eric Ramer

  24. walter troeger :
    <it is time to start re-thinking how we reach out to the lost using technology. Sorry, it is time to step up by our Synod and seriously focus on the use of technology both at the International center and our seminaries.

    I agree that we should always be examining the tools we have at our disposal for reaching the lost and erring. I’m just not sure what that has to do with this post. Do the lost need to know how congregational delegates to district conventions are selected? Do those who are not a part of the visible Church need to know what modifications have been made in how congregations select circuit counselors?

    One important tenet in communication is “know your audience.” Just as you have called for the Synod to know the audience of the lost in this generation that wants information now, I would ask that you recognize the need for Synod to know it’s audience when communicating with potential Convention delegates. The reality is that a number of potential delegates do not communicate in the manner you propose. Though a minority, it is still quite a significant number. Surely you are not suggesting relegating these potential delegates to second-class status by providing information to them only by secondary or tertiary means.

    If you feel strongly that such technological communication be the primary method for communication of information regarding conventions, I would suggest that you go to your congregational voters assembly or circuit forum and propose an overture to change the qualifications for convention delegate to include primarily (only?) those who communicate using the latest technology. That way, this decision can be made by the Synod as a whole in convention and not at the executive fiat of a single individual. I am not sure that I would necessarily disagee in principle – but it is not a change that should be made by an officer of Synod abdicating his responsibility to communicate primarily with everyone.

  25. And why the need for a question mark after Rev. McCain’s title? I’m pretty sure the “Rev” part was established at the time he was ordained as Pastor at St. Paul in Waverly, Iowa. This then was followed by his service as Assistant to Synod President Barry, was an interim director of CHI before Dr. Noland, and Interim President at CPH for many years prior to his current position.

    Furthermore, to the original topic, Rev. Dr. Hartwig is making a good faith effort to keep people informed in the Synod. The fact is, many members of my home congregation and current congregation where I serve as organist do not so much as own a computer, let alone have an email address. The Secretary is attempting to inform members and members of member congregations important information. This is a laudable goal, and not worth a comment dripping in sarcasm. Are there better options? Perhaps indeed. But I’m not about to sit idly while something that is intended as a positive (Dr. Hartwig trying to do his job) get the sarcastic treatment.

    And when a comment comes across so ‘snarky,’ despite its ‘witticisms,’ I tend to ignore it. If you have an honest, thoughtful consideration that needs to be shared, I’m sure that would be welcome by those trying to do their administrative tasks. But when nothing in the positive is offered, it’s not beneficial, but serves to tear others down.

    I’m reminded of a comment paraphrased from Star Trek VI: Just because we can say something, does not necessarily follow that its the best idea to do so.

  26. @Paul Faulkner #32

    “This is a laudable goal, and not worth a comment dripping in sarcasm… But I’m not about to sit idly while something that is intended as a positive (Dr. Hartwig trying to do his job) get the sarcastic treatment.”

    Rev. Faulkner, are you referring here to a hypothetical comment or an actual comment you consider to be “dripping in sarcasm” in its treatment of Dr. Hartwig trying to do his job? If the latter, what was the comment?

  27. @Paul Faulkner #32
    Mr. Faulkner:
    To paraphrase Forest Gump, Reverand is as Recerand does…

    Believe me, it grieves me to address anyone with less respect than they SHOULD deserve. My point is / was that Rev. McCain’s comments were WAY outside the bounds for civil discourse, even as accepted in this forum, and as such it bringgs the honerific into question. “Slanderous” is a very serious legal accusation that cannot be sustained, as evidenced by the fact that Rev. McCain has refused to defend it. It would be outside the bounds coming from layman, but from a (former?) holder of the Pastoral office, it’s even more serious. Pastor McCain, please either defend yourself, or appologize.

    Rev. McCain’s resume is irrelevant in this forum. He’s just another commenter. My comments are in direct response to WHAT HE HAS POSTED HERE. I think if you search through the comments I’ve posted at BJS over the years, you’ll find that I always strive to address everyone with the respect they deserve. I may be sarcastic and even snarky, but never disrespectful, unless and except as their own comments or behavior require it.

    “And when a comment comes across so ‘snarky,’ despite its ‘witticisms,’ I tend to ignore it. If you have an honest, thoughtful consideration that needs to be shared, I’m sure that would be welcome by those trying to do their administrative tasks. But when nothing in the positive is offered, it’s not beneficial, but serves to tear others down.”

    How sad… “Snarky” is commonplace among adult conversations everywhere, as well as part of our rich Lutheran heritage. I find it unbearably insulting when Pr. McCain and others presume to scold or lecture the readers / commenters here as though they’re speaking to kindergardeners, and he is somehow more loving and grown up than they are, especially when his own comments are far more beyond the pale than anything that’s been said prior to that. I could be much less “snarky” (what an amazingly stupid word, sigh…) but to do so I would have to be much more direct, and I know that the weaker among us would find that even more offensive. I find a little humor is ultimately more loving than a blunt objective argument. BTW, I find nearly every comment offered in this forum to be offered as “positive” even when they anger me and I disagree, even Rev. McCain’s. I very seldom see any real “tearing down” but rather people having open and honest discourse, giving and taking the kind of hard critique they need to stay honest and well focused. I find that to be much more loving and respectful than just “playing nice.”

    Respectfully,
    Eric Ramer

  28. The PPPadre :

    walter troeger :
    <it is time to start re-thinking how we reach out to the lost using technology. Sorry, it is time to step up by our Synod and seriously focus on the use of technology both at the International center and our seminaries.

    I agree that we should always be examining the tools we have at our disposal for reaching the lost and erring. I’m just not sure what that has to do with this post…

    My comments I posted had to do with the post because the quote from the original article reads:
    “The recognition behind the mailings is that the U.S. Mail is still the most dependable method at this time to make certain that every congregation is reached.” by Raymond Hartwig.
    I don’t believe it is and that is my opinion. Just because “churches” might not have Internet access most people do, if not their town library does. And most people have cell phones that have access to the Internet. Don’t fight and ignore technology, embrace it.

  29. Quite a few people among my acquaintance do not have internet.
    They don’t feel they’d use it enough to justify the expense. Some had it and dropped it.

    So, no, we are not ready to go to internet alone. Some locations, not far from major cities are still served only by dial up. That can be slow and frustrating, especially when people who assume “everyone” has DSL send huge text or graphic files which take forever to download.
    [Those acronyms people complain about now were considered necessity not long ago.]

    I was w/o home computer service within the city limits of Austin for several years because there was no DSL in my area. (I could communicate at work.)
    People are not necessarily going to “go to the library” to read e-mail unless it’s already a habit.
    [“The library” with its budget repeatedly chopped, couldn’t accommodate them if they did!]

  30. walter troeger :
    “The recognition behind the mailings is that the U.S. Mail is still the most dependable method at this time to make certain that every congregation is reached.” by Raymond Hartwig.
    I don’t believe it is and that is my opinion. Just because “churches” might not have Internet access most people do, if not their town library does. And most people have cell phones that have access to the Internet. Don’t fight and ignore technology, embrace it.

    I am glad that you have shared your opinion, but the fact that it is your opinion does not trump the fact that so many of the potential delegates do not have cell phones with reliable Internet service (my iPhone is thusly equipped but where I live, Edge covers only about 65% of the area – closest 3G is about a two hour drive away) or regular, convenient access to the Internet. Sure, the Library has it, but when the library is open 15 hours per week and only one evening, is that really a viable, reliable option? If you would like to donate the $2trillion the state says it will take to update the infrastructure, be my guest.
    I will try to find the survey again, but I thought I had read that at the last Synodical Convention, somewhere around 15% of the delegates said if the materials were not mailed out, they would not have been able to access them. Are you saying that nearly 1/8 of the delegates to the last convention should no longer be qualified to serve because they won’t/can’t access the technology?

  31. my church simply asks the members if they prefer to receive printed materials or electronic materials. thus, no duplication or waste. surely a similar program would be beneficial in a larger context?

  32. helen :So, no, we are not ready to go to internet alone. Some locations, not far from major cities are still served only by dial up. That can be slow and frustrating, especially when people who assume “everyone” has DSL send huge text or graphic files which take forever to download.[Those acronyms people complain about now were considered necessity not long ago.]

    That’s my grandma’s case (dial-up) and they won’t provide DSL in her area.

  33. @walter troeger #35

    I think the reliability Hartwig is talking about is the overall likelyhood of
    – getting to the right person
    – being taken seriously as official business
    – being something that can be properly filed and found later

    make sense?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.