Another Convention, Another Chance to Vote on ULC? Let’s Make that Happen.

Found over on


Visitors to our humble little blog are probably aware that we’ve been doing what we can for some years to help University Lutheran Chapel (ULC) and get the word out about the sale of the campus ministry property by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.  We don’t claim any credit for any of the good things that have happened so far, but we’re glad to play some small part.

It appears as if we have another chance to do some good, or, more accurately, all of you have a chance to do some good before and during (and after, if you like!) the upcoming convention of the The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod July 20 – 25 in Saint Louis.  The good news is that there is an excellent memorial in the Convention Workbook on page 139 “To Commend and Support Campus Ministry at University of Minnesota”:



So the convention will get to vote on this, right?

Well, maybe, maybe not.  This gets a little arcane, but the process goes something like this.  Memorials to a synodical convention are sent to one of several floor committees.  In this case, that is floor committee #1 (also called “Witness”; I won’t try to explain this beyond saying the names are apparently an attempt to designate the general topic area of the committee).  So floor committee #1 should do their thing, and decide what to do with the memorial.

The process might involve taking a memorial, then fashioning it into an overture, which then may or may not become a resolution (more details later will be added to this very rough description).  Floor Committee #1, however, has decided to ask the convention to decline to consider this memorial in the First Issue of Today’s Business:



The reason given for their action is “Issue has already been resolved by Minnesota South Distr”, which apparently means the Minnesota South District.  But this is precisely what did not happen.  From 2008 to the present, the district president, directors and officers of the Minnesota South District refused to let their district “resolve” in any way the question of the sale of the campus ministry property in Minneapolis, or Mankato.  In fact, the district president refused to let his own convention vote on the matter by ruling a motion to do exactly that out of order.  And to make matters worse, the officers and directors of the Minnesota South District continue to refuse to discuss the sale, or to respond to the process in the LCMS Handbook which specifies how to “resolve” disputed issues (dispute resolution).

More posts will follow, but please consider contacting Floor Committee #1 to have them send the original memorial 1-15 to the convention delegates to have them vote on it.  If you do, make sure you are courteous, polite, respectful and follow the words of Scripture, “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). From what I can tell, the floor committee is open to more information, and is willing to correct whatever incorrect data it has been given to date. If it helps, you can Read the Letter I sent to Floor Committee #1 on 2013 June 17 . If you are interested in the supporting documentation, you can see the other entries on this blog, or you can see the dispute resolution letter from 2013 February 28. The dispute resolution letter from 2012 March 6 is available here

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


Another Convention, Another Chance to Vote on ULC? Let’s Make that Happen. — 15 Comments

  1. Here is the resolution, as submitted, which is currently slated to be declined (not even considered by the convention):

    To Commend and Support Campus Ministry
    at University of Minnesota

    Whereas, Our forebears in the faith built strategically located
    chapels to conduct Word and Sacrament ministry at major college
    campuses across our country and to promote Lutheran Christian evangelism
    among students and community members; and

    Whereas, Ministries at these chapels are a refuge and a help to
    Lutheran and other Christian college students, many of whom are
    away from home for the first time, and to others who are brought to
    faith in our gracious God in that context; and

    Whereas, These ministries serve students from all over the country
    and from international locations as well, and thus their ministries
    are a service to the Synod at large and indeed to the Church as a
    whole; and

    Whereas, One such active congregation, University Lutheran
    Chapel in Minneapolis, MN, serves one of the biggest public universities
    in the country, provides a vibrant town/gown ministry, has
    been the source of dozens of pastoral and diaconal students for service
    in our Synod, and has provided leadership in theological studies
    that have been helpful to many other congregations; and

    Whereas, This faithful congregation’s strategically located campus
    church home was sold by the Minnesota South District’s board
    of directors for demolition by a developer who paid $3,250,000 for
    it; and

    Whereas, The congregation was left without a church building;

    Whereas, Although the Minnesota South District board of
    directors did not provide any funds for the continuation of this congregation,
    the Minnesota South District in convention granted the
    congregation part of the proceeds ($2,000,000) from the final sale
    price of $3,250,000; and

    Whereas, On-campus property is extremely expensive, but campus
    ministry effectiveness is immeasurably assisted by the presence
    of such a church location; therefore be it

    Resolved, That the LCMS thank the congregation and pastor of
    University Lutheran Chapel–Minneapolis for their service to our students
    and to the broader Church; and be it further

    Resolved, That the LCMS grant this congregation $1,250,000 to
    assist them in building a replacement campus chapel and to more
    justly compensate them for their loss; and be it further

    Resolved, That the LCMS express our sincere thanks to God and
    to all of the campus congregations and pastors of the Synod for their
    service to the Church and particularly for their service to students
    who are blessed to attend universities that have them; and be it finally

    Resolved, That the LCMS encourage the title holders of existing
    campus ministry chapels to regard these properties as sacred trusts
    on behalf of the Church at large and to retain them for posterity to
    the glory of God.

    Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
    San Jose, CA

  2. Carol Broome :
    Resolved, That the LCMS grant this congregation $1,250,000 to
    assist them in building a replacement campus chapel and to more
    justly compensate them for their loss; and be it further

    Hence, why the LCMS doesn’t want a vote on it.

  3. I’ve said it before, but if ULC had been flattened by a tornado or flood, there would have been a big full color spread in the LW, and a synodically supported national campaign to “build it back.”

  4. I know where we in the LCMS can get the $1,250,000: by freezing any money that would be given to the Minnesota South District until the MNS pays ULC the amount and they defrock the “pastors” who voted to sell the ULC.

  5. Except that the Synod does not give the MNS money. The money flows from the districts to the Synod. It would be nice if the congregational money went to the Synod and then was redistributed to the Districts. That would also be more constitutional. Districts are supposed to be mere administrative divisions of Synod as a whole. As it is, they consider themselves semi-independent.

    Obviously that won’t happen.

  6. Overture 1-15 was (the only overture) declined by Floor Committee 1:

    Chairman: James Baneck (ND)
    DPs: Vice chair: Daniel May (IN); John Denninger (SE); Dwayne Lueck (NW); Dean Nadasdy (MNS); Roger Paavola (MDS);
    SVP: Daniel Preus (MO);
    Voting Ordained Ministers: Eric Andrae (EA); Ruben Dominguez (TX); Brandon Jones (PSW); Keith Lingsch (FG); Jeffrey Ries (NOW);
    Voting Layman: Neal Breitbarth (MNS); Martha Mahlburg (MI); Gerhard Mundinger, Jr. (SO);
    Alternate Ordained Minister: Ted Krey (EN);
    Alternate Commissioned Minister: Duane Nyen (RM).

    The following instruction (2013: Today’s Business, p. 17) was sent to Floor Committee 1:

    “A positive and forward-looking resolution encouraging and supporting campus ministry is needed. It is a new and bright day for LCMS campus ministry. There is a late overture [L1-19, 2013 Today’s Business, p. 31] that lifts up the new effort (LCMS U) developed by ONM [Office of National Ministry]. See also Committee 3 and Ov. 3-21.”

    Resolution 1-15 (2013: Today’s Business, p. 58) is based, in part, on Late Overture L1-19, from Catalina Lutheran Church,Twin Lakes, AZ, not on Overture 1-15.

  7. @Carl Vehse #6

    I grew up in North Dakota. Kinda know Jim Baneck. Pretty decent guy. I have seen his writing in the district newsletter (my mom sends me news from home). I get the impression he is more attuned to Pres. Harrison.

    Jon Denniger from Southeast is a “neighber” and up for regional VP. I am not impressed, and would really he rather not get elected. People say Daniel May from Indiana is pretty good. But I cannot fathom why he allows one of his congregations employ Matthew Becker as their vacancy pastor.

    But there is really only one reason at all, only one reason necessary, for Overture 1-15 to get killed in committee: DP Dean Nasdasy, Minnesota South. He is of the persuasion of Kieshnick and retired DP Lane Seitz. And can’t really have egg thrown in his face at synodical convention. This overture died the day Nasdasy was appointed to Committee 1.

  8. @Jason #9,

    Thanks for the update on the Floor Committee 1 members.

    Oh, and in #6, ONM should be “Office of National Mission.”

  9. We don’t know who may be against the proposal or why. There may be some good reasons that we do not know, or there may be some misinformation that could be cleared up with facts. The floor committees worked extremely hard in May, and very prayerfully. I’m not willing to judge anyone’s motives or even guess at anyone’s actions in this matter–that’s not putting the best construction on everything.

  10. @Carol Broome #7

    @John Rixe #8
    My mom isn’t going to see anything w/ a “.org” on the back, and she’s not the only one. These are nice articles, but if you think that these sites have the readership of the LW, or LW’s ability to bring national attention to an issue you’re wrong. Publishing on Lutheran Blogs is preaching to the choir; publishing in the LW is reaching out to the synod.

  11. Joshua,
    And what DP’s are going to let such a resolution get on the table? We are stuck with the fact that the constitution of Synod with districts as mere administrative units has been subverted. District officials seem to think that we have a federation of districts instead of divisions of Synod itself. They like it that way.

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