Convention 2013: Electing delegates, by October 20 (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

We are freshening the date on this post to bring it to your attention again. It was originally published on Sept 1st.

 

St. Louis, July 20-25, 2013

 

It’s that time again, time to prepare for the LCMS national convention. The convention will be held in St. Louis July 20-25, 2013, but there are a number of things that need to take place before then, especially these: electing delegates; nominating for various boards, commissions, etc.; nominating for synod president and vice-presidents; and submitting overtures. (Electing the synod president also will take place, oddly enough, before the convention. That’s a new procedure we’ll explain at another time.)

The election of delegates to the 2013 convention is the first thing that needs to take place, and it needs to happen by October 20 of this year. And to do that, between now and October 20 several steps need to be followed at the congregational and circuit levels:

1. Your circuit counselor needs to schedule a circuit forum, to be held no later than Saturday, October 20. Make sure that he has done so and that all the congregations know the details.

2. Your congregation needs to schedule a voters’ meeting, to be held no later than the day before the circuit forum. This can be part of a regular voters’ meeting, or it can be a very brief special meeting, even just 5-10 minutes, since the purpose will be simply a) to nominate one circuit layperson for convention delegate and b) to select one congregational layperson to vote at the circuit forum.

3. At this congregational voters’ meeting, your congregation may nominate any layperson from any circuit congregation (whether your own or another in the circuit) to be elected as the circuit’s lay delegate to the 2013 convention. (Before you nominate, try to find out if that person is willing and able to attend next year’s July 20-25 convention.) The name of the lay nominee needs to be reported to the circuit counselor prior to the day of the forum.

4. At this same congregational meeting, your congregation should designate a layperson from your own congregation to be an elector at the circuit forum. Your congregation will get one pastoral and one lay vote at the forum. (For a multiple-point parish, the pastor gets only one vote.) Let the circuit counselor know who those electors are.

5. Your congregation’s pastor and your designated lay representative should attend the circuit forum. Others may attend also, but only your two electors will cast votes for the election of circuit delegates to the 2013 convention. The pool of nominees for pastoral delegate consists of all the active parish pastors of the circuit–i.e., not vacancy, SMP, emeritus, assistant, or advisory status. The pool of nominees for lay delegate consists of only those previously nominated by the congregations and reported to the circuit counselor. At this forum, then, the circuit will elect, in this order: a) the pastoral delegate, b) the lay delegate, c) the alternate pastoral delegate, and d) the alternate lay delegate. These four need to represent four different congregations. The circuit counselor will know the prescribed procedure for conducting these elections.

All these steps on electing voting delegates are explained in greater detail in the 2010 Handbook, Bylaw 3.1.2.1 (pages 100-01).

The election of delegates is a very important first step in preparing for the 2013 national convention. We need to take the initiative now to see that those elections take place by October 20. Nominating individuals for various synodical boards, commissions, etc., also has an October 20 deadline, and we’ll take that up next. Other important steps will follow–e.g., nominating for synod president and vice-presidents, submitting overtures–but those actions have later deadlines, and so we’ll take them up at another time.


Comments

Convention 2013: Electing delegates, by October 20 (by Pr. Charles Henrickson) — 7 Comments

  1. Just to be clear on #3 regarding lay delegates eligiible to go to the Synod convention, I was under the impression that only those who were lay delegates to the prior District Convention, were eligible to be delegates to the Synod Convention; your post seems to say that any lay delegate in the circuit is eligible to go to the Synod convention as a delegate, is this correct? Do District Convention delegates only matter in terms of voting for Synod President then?

  2. Rev Michael Schmidt: Just to be clear on #3 regarding lay delegates eligiible to go to the Synod convention, I was under the impression that only those who were lay delegates to the prior District Convention, were eligible to be delegates to the Synod Convention. . . .

    No, that proposal did not pass.

    Rev Michael Schmidt: your post seems to say that any lay delegate in the circuit is eligible to go to the Synod convention as a delegate, is this correct?

    Any layperson in the circuit, nominated prior to the day of the circuit forum, is eligible to be the circuit’s lay delegate (keeping in mind of course the rule about the four delegates and alternates coming from four different congregations).

    Rev Michael Schmidt: Do District Convention delegates only matter in terms of voting for Synod President then?

    Yes.

  3. @Tim Schenks #4
    Well, that is what we tell ourselves, but it is like Bel & the Dragon: a pious and often hilarious fiction.

    In 2010 Rev. Matt Harrison ran for Synod President and I’m very glad he did. Phone calls were made, mailings went out, books and platforms (It’s Time!) were published, etc. That’s running a campaign and we should be honest about it. And likewise with Dr. Kieschnick: a new book came out, an organization existed to get nominations in, etc.

    And all of that is OK. Really, it is. It’s not a sin: it’s an election. If we didn’t want an election we could draw names out of a hat until one of the men drawn accepted the position.

    I think there is every reason to suppose that Dr. Kieschnick will again be running in 2013. But who knows? We’ll know who’s running when the nominations come out – not because the LCMS presidency magically arises from the bottom, but because if you get several hundred nominations that means 1) You are an incumbent or 2) Your friends are running a campaign for you and you have OK’d it.
    +HRC

  4. Dear Pastor Henrickson,

    Thank you very much for bringing this to people’s attention!

    Everyone is going to have to be patient with each other at this convention, because so many procedures have changed. Folks who complain will need to be reminded that the confusion is due to the last convention’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synodical Structure and Governance (BRTFSSG). This is not something that President Harrison or Secretary Hartwig requested, promoted, or approved. They just have to implement it now.

    The impression I am getting from laymen, as they begin to figure how things will work, is that they feel “it’s a done deal, so why bother.”

    The delegates going to the synodical convention will not be able to elect the president, “that’s a done deal.”

    The delegates will not be able to elect the first vice-president, “that’s a done deal,” because the president “selects” only those candidates for that position who are acceptable to him.

    The delegates will not be able to alter the slate, by floor nominations, for other vice-presidents or regional laymen on the Board of Directors, “that’s a done deal.” They can only pick and choose from the top five for each office.

    Furthermore, all sorts of overtures that come from congregations may not show up at the convention, because they have to be approved first by the president, then by his floor committees, then they rewrite and consolidate those overtures to whatever suits their fancy, “that’s a done deal.”

    Why go to the convention and waste a whole week of vacation time, if it’s a done deal?

    Well, for one, for the first time in a decade, we will have a president who will actually let the synod be the synod. So don’t judge the 2013 convention on previous experiences. You have a new guy on top, so you should take a “wait and see” attitude.

    Second, there are only ten “done deal” elections. The other 71 (I think that’s the number) are still open to the regular system of nominations and floor nominations, at least as far as I understand the new system. So there is still a whole lot of room for direct democratic input in elections.

    Third, “done deal” is just an impression. Every member congregation of the LCMS will soon have the opportunity to make its voice heard, by its nomination for president, 1st VP, regional VP, and regional lay Director (if Central or West-Southwest). Every single vote counts on these ballots from Secretary Hartwig, so make sure your pastor and/or congregational president attend to that business as soon as they receive it! Make sure it is returned by the deadline, or it literally won’t count.

    Fourth, if you are a delegate, you can make a big difference on overtures by what you say at the microphone and how you say it. I don’t expect that the chairmen will be squelching voices they don’t like, as has been done in the past. Because we have a new president and chairman, I expect that the discussions of overtures will be much more fruitful than in the past. Let’s pray for more light than heat, in any event!

    Thanks, again, Pastor Henrickson. I am looking forward to your upcoming posts on the subject.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  5. I was sick with the flu and unable to attend our circuit forum earlier this week–and much to my surprise they elected me the pastoral delegate! I’ve been a delegate several times before but it will be quite different this time, with the election of the President already completed before the convention.

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