URGENT — 3-10A Task Force Overture

2016_SynodConvention-side2With the upcoming (Feb 20th) deadline of overtures to the 2016 LCMS Convention (see this post), and the late arrival of the 3-10A Task Force Report (PDF file here), there is very little time to get an overture submitted to attempt to correct the issue raised at the 2013 convention. See also President Harrison’s Response to the report (PDF file).

If you have a congregational voter’s meeting scheduled prior to Feb 20th, please consider submitting this overture and get it submitted to synod for consideration at the 2016 convention.

See also Rev. Alan Kornacki’s blog post on it. Rev Kornacki is the author of the book Lutheran Purgatory, Pastors without Calls, reviewed here.

We of course continue to welcome submission of alternate overtures that address this or other problems in our synod.

 

To Amend Bylaw 2.11.2.2 to Provide for the Placement of Candidates

WHEREAS, the 2013 Synod Convention passed Resolution 3-10A; and

WHEREAS, the 3-10A Task Force has submitted its report; and

WHEREAS, the 3-10A Task Force noted, “Short of changing Synod’s bylaws that will accommodate the placement of candidate status ministers as they do for first call graduates, we must continue to follow the existing call processes.”; therefore be it

Resolved, that Bylaw 2.11.2.2 be amended with the addition of

(d) The Council of Presidents, acting as the Board of Assignments, regularly assign candidates of the Synod those calls that have been duly extended to fill active member positions as identified in Bylaw 2.11.1 for ordained and commissioned ministers if positions for which candidates are qualified are available.

 

Click here for a PDF of this overture.

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

URGENT — 3-10A Task Force Overture — 36 Comments

  1. Dear BJS,
    In the 2nd WHEREAS, you state “ordained and commissioned ministers”. There is a difference. Are not teachers called “commissioned ministers”?

    So this should only speak to ordained men, correct? Drop “commissioned ministers”.

  2. Pastor Prentice-
    if you read the task force report and refer back to 2013 3-10A, you’ll see the task force dealt with both ordained and commissioned ministers (as defined in the Constitution and Bylaws of Synod) on candidate status. If you look at bylaws 2.10 and 2.11 the membership and placement status of both of these categories is dealt with – together. So to properly amend the bylaws within the context, both categories would be added into a amended 2.11.2.2 (d)

  3. Who cares? It systematically destroyed my soul, sucked away my desire to serve, killed my marriage, perverted my wife and led my life into the pits of hell.

  4. Jason-
    I’m sorry to read your post. I don’t know what the “it” is. Candidate status? A congregation? Synod? I don’t know if you are a pastor or not, if you like you can email me off list- my address is on the LCMS website, if you need a pastor I can certainly find one near you. Or at least lend an ear.

    The intent of the overture is to create a mechanism where active candidates could be placed in congregations, similar to initial first call and placement. There is no such thing now. It would be a step in the right direction, I think.

  5. Dear BJS,
    I understand the Resolution, but the wording, what does it really say? The language does not truly speak the difference between first call, and subsequent call placement for men that have lost their initial (or second, third, etc.) placement.

    Yes, I agree with the tone, the Council of Presidents should review all calls, all eligible men.

    Do they also review commissioned ministers too?

  6. Pastor Prentice-
    the wording is lifted from the wording from the earlier bylaw regarding initial placement. What it says is that candidates can also be placed by the Board of Assignments to congregations who extend calls through the same Board of Assignments (which is the COP).

    So as an example. A man is on candidate status, without call because he RIF’ed. He could be placed in a congregation that extends a call through the Board of Assignments. He might not be placed, but currently there is no ability in our bylaws to place him. This bylaw change would do that make it possible. It doesn’t mean that candidates without call would be placed, it simply opens the door.

    Commissioned ministers are also placed through the Board of Assignments, though practically these days it is done much differently than ordained men.

  7. @The Rev. BT Ball #7
    Pastor Ball,
    So:
    01) We have a classic way for pastors to receive a (usually) second call, congregations extend the call. Period. Yes, there is “noise” that sometimes gets in the way.
    02) With this, “The Board of Assignments” will include all candidates, men newly eligible for first call, and men on candidate status.

    Of course, the Board needs to truly do some diligence to find a place for all men. Perhaps the Board has the ability to “bend the ear” of all DP’s and their districts to truly, truly consider candidates for a call.

    Yes??

  8. Yes. They might not find a place for all, probably won’t, based in congregations asking for candidates, but some could be placed.

  9. Pastor Ball,

    Perhaps the last component would be for Synod to via resolution or whatever, to also enjoin all DPs and their district people to utilize all eligible candidates as viable resources as they assist congregations in finding their next pastor.

    In my case, President Gilbert and Rev. Haney, the District “call man helper” would be urged to use the candidate list and try and see if these men would be good fits. Perhaps they already do that, I truly do not know.

    We cannot force a Church to accept, but we can and should make available good men that need a call to continue the Lord’s work.

  10. @Pastor Prentice #10

    It would seem there is already a resolution to do just as you describe. Resolution 3-10A specifically states: “Resolved, That LCMS congregations be encouraged to give prayerful consideration to calling professional church workers who are on candidate or non-candidate status and who desire a call;”

    Since this taskforce was specifically tasked with making recommendations – one would assume that those recommendations would include how we should encourage LCMS congregations to give prayerful consideration to calling candidate/non-candidates who desire a call.

    In the absence of any other avenue, the appropriate person to do such “encouragement” is the DP who oversees the call process in a given congregation.

    I still find it exceedingly interesting that in the original summary of the taskforce’s work this resolved was missing (see: https://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/05/are-we-resolved-or-not/). Perhaps that’s why the task-force report contains no encouraging words.

    I was heartened to see it was actually included in the reprint of the resolution in the final report. Yet, the only “encouragement” (and it can’t really be called that) is a washing the hands of the matter and a statement that, “Short of changing Synod’s bylaws that will accommodate the placement of candidate status ministers as they do for first call graduates, we must continue to follow the existing call processes.”

    “Disappointed” does not begin to exhaust my emotional response to this report which comes 8 MONTHS LATE (“Resolved, That this task force make a report and recommendations to the Synod NO LATER THAN ONE YEAR PRIOR to the 2016 Synod convention” – emphasis added), with little to no substance, and at the 11th hour for submitting any overtures to address any deficiencies.

  11. @Rev. M. Dent #11: “… this report which comes 8 MONTHS LATE (“Resolved, That this task force make a report and recommendations to the Synod NO LATER THAN ONE YEAR PRIOR to the 2016 Synod convention” – emphasis added), with little to no substance, and at the 11th hour for submitting any overtures to address any deficiencies.”

    … such as an overture containing a chastisement of the task force for its failure to make a report and recommendations to the Synod NO LATER THAN ONE YEAR PRIOR to the 2016 Synod convention, and which report contains little to no substance.

  12. @Carl Vehse #12

    At least I feel better for the 4-06A report. We at least worked hard on coming up with something a bit more substantive (even if controversial to some/many) AND we delivered on time.

    My concern about the the 3-10A report is that it talks about a Board of assignment, which is typically the COP. However, reports and anecdotes appear that it is the DP’s that are sometimes overly silent on their blocking of call-less men. (they should at least communicate and work with these men to understand and resolve potential issues). I am concerned about the foxes guarding the hen house.

  13. @Rev. M. Dent #11
    No,
    I see a difference, this “current” resolution adds the extra work to the Board of Assignments to keep tabs on the new candidate call list (men ready to be ordained) ((which they do already), and now also current candidate men, awaiting a call.

    What you say is just ‘a nice nudge”, this may put some teeth to the Board actively reviewing calls of this nature.

  14. Pastor Fiene accurately described the likely result of handing the Candidate problem over the to the people who cause it, for a “report”, three years ago. [I would link the video, if I knew how.]

    Apparently it hasn’t occurred to some of you that the COP might assign “killer” first calls to confessional pastors who then become candidates … unplaced. There’s a reason so many men are “out of the ministry” in five years… it’s intentional.

    When many districts haven’t changed their DP’s since the Kieschnick era, what else can you expect?

    [That “report” could have been written in an hour after the last convention…maybe less.]
    Like: “Gee, it’s tough, but we can’t do anything about it…because we don’t want to.”

  15. Dear Helen,
    (and I hope the Rev. Ball chimes in).

    This is our Synod, this is our polity, and it is all guided by the Lord through Holy Scripture, guided to proper theological review by the Confessions.

    We must work within the guidelines allow. Perhaps for you and many in this ACELC, there is nothing good men like myself and others are seen as trying to correct errors.

    Yes, we can redo and correct error in polity, that is why we meet this summer (and I am going to be there as my Circuit 18 rep.)

    But you dwell on the fact that no matter what we do, it is of no use.

    Yes, sin is a kicker, gets in the way, subverts all; and we as pastors deal with that daily. And in our polity, we as pastors do call out error.

    You Helen are a pessimist, but I urge you to be an optimist. The Lord is at work through His Church, and we are dealing with this until He comes back.

  16. Dear BJS,
    The more I think about this, so many out there are pessimists. Yet, why?

    We are truly optimists, or should be.

    As we approach Lent, we are reminded of our sinful selves, what a mess…but the Lord came into this mess as promised; Word made flesh.

    And I am so optimistic, joyful, etc.; that no matter what happens, heaven with Jesus and the saints is what I await.

    And yes, in the meantime, we try and fix things up here at home. Please support the men that are trying to help.

  17. May gratitude and generosity be our daily joy.  May your Spirit overcome the fears that diminish our faith.  Amen

  18. @Pastor Prentice #16

    You Helen are a pessimist, but I urge you to be an optimist.

    When I was young and thought all people capable of better behavior than they in fact were, I was labeled “an idealist”.
    Some years later, when I had learned otherwise, I was accused of “cynicism”.
    And someone wrote: “A cynic is an idealist who has been beaten up by reality.

    Now you say I am a “pessimist”. But why?
    Because I now recognize reality?

    “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.
    It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.”

  19. @helen #19: “And someone wrote: “A cynic is an idealist who has been beaten up by reality.”

    And Lily Tomlin said, “No matter how cynical I get, it’s never enough to keep up.”

  20. @Carl Vehse #20

    And Lily Tomlin said, “No matter how cynical I get, it’s never enough to keep up.”

    But I am (inadvertently, unless he’s reading this) reprimanded by Dr. Scott Murray in this morning’s Memorial Moments.

    “Optimists always see the good in every situation. Pessimists are capable of seeing the black cloud surrounding every silver lining. It just depends on your perspective. Just as in the story of the two children one of whom, a pessimist, receives a pony as a birthday gift and the other, an optimist, is given a pile of manure as a birthday gift. The pessimist, upon seeing his little equine gift, moans about all the work entailed in mucking out his pony’s stable. The optimist, dives into the manure pile, shouting excitedly, “where there is manure, there has to be a pony!” … MM, 02/05/2016

    For complete comment, see MemorialMoments.org

  21. @helen #21

    As a veteran, I’ve been told enough times to eat a crap sandwich and like it.

    I no longer live under such compulsion, and so I feel free to identify the difference between fine cuisine and fertilizer… adjusting my diet accordingly.

  22. @Pastor Prentice #17

    Pr. Prentice,

    I don’t think it’s fair to label the hearts of so many people as pessimists, when often they are reflecting their own pain, disappointment, and betrayal by an organization which should be doing much better than it is.

    Besides, calling these wounded realists pessimists, is kind of a pessimistic appraisal of them, isn’t it? 😉

    Peace to you.

  23. @Brad #23

    Besides, calling these wounded realists pessimists, is kind of a pessimistic appraisal of them, isn’t it?

    “wounded realist” Thanks, Brad; that’s much more accurate than “cynic” or “pessimist”!

    Every cloud may have a silver lining, but nobody denies the cloud exists. Perhaps the silver lining consists of the faithful Pastors who labor unrecognized in “unimportant” nooks and crannies because, in each of those, several dozen people have Word and Sacrament, beneath (Thank God!) the notice of the princes of the church [who would rather strike up the band]!

  24. Pr Brad

    Certainly we should constructively be working on improvements.  Except for the fine sermons, I just question the lack of balance around here “where seldom is heard an encouraging word.” 🙂

    …but I guess that’s not the purpose of the blog.

  25. @John Rixe #26

    The purpose of the blog, originally, was to elect a man who would “change things” in St Louis. The purpose of the topic at hand, a resolution, shows how little things have changed, or are likely to change, with this resolution.

    “Be warmed and filled”, you starving cold candidates!
    (Rixe wants me to say an encouraging word.)

    @Jason #13

    My concern about the the 3-10A report is that it talks about a Board of assignment, which is typically the COP. However, reports and anecdotes appear that it is the DP’s that are sometimes overly silent on their blocking of call-less men.

    Exactly.

    Power has been assumed by the District Presidents. It was not theirs, but they have gotten it, one “by-law” at a time. I doubt any of those by-laws could be backed by Scripture, which theoretically rules what the church does.
    Certainly you could not justify the DRP in that way! (Only DP’s may decide if you even have a grievance.) CYA for the COP!

    A way to shut up Pastors, and leave the argument to ‘cynical’ old harpies without a job to lose….

  26. Dear BJS (Helen, Brad, all),

    Nay, nay…I say, optimism is easier on the stomach and body, pessimism eats you away.

    Yes, we live in a world that is not yet finished, creation fell, Jesus came, we are all good (soul wise); yet we await the final days when ALL is well and good. Our bodies united with our soul at the resurrection of all dead bodies.

    Until then, we:
    01) Give thanks…daily.
    02) We look for wisdom and strength from the Lord.
    03) We “go to Church” for all the gifts of Word and Sacrament.
    04) Then we love our neighbor and ourselves, we look to ease pain, we do our best at works, etc. You know, “sanctification.”

    In the mean time as we help “fix up a messed up world” for the parts God allows, we look to optimistic support for all that try and fix things up. And if we fail, we try it again.

    So:

    I guess, what are we truly lacking? Be optimistic. This does not mean you test problems, call out error, see reality for what it is; but we have the Lord in heaven reigning over all.

    And I guess if things “ain’t so good”…well, we suffer along too, as Christ suffered, as the saints suffered. That is not a bad thing. Does not feel so good, yes…but we plod along…no, we move along with heads optimistically up high.

    Let the devil scowl and fret, he has no power over us, the baptized into Christ Himself.

    And yes, when some bad and sinful people scowl and mess things up, we will lovingly call the out.

  27. @Pastor Prentice #28

    Pr. Prentice,

    I don’t think the underlying point is optimism or pessimism, but frankly, where we put our trust. I don’t have to be optimistic nor pessimistic about the Word and Sacraments, because I know by faith that God’s Word will accomplish the purpose for which it is sent out.

    Likewise, I don’t have to be optimistic nor pessimistic about human associations and bureaucratic constructs which grow like kudzu all over the Church and society, because I know they are fallen works of fallen men.

    Optimism and pessimism are usually just emotional expressions of misplaced trust. I’m not terribly fond of either of them.

  28. @Brad #30
    Dear Brad,
    Bingo…but do put “some” trust in good men like me, and others who want to do something, and who will travel up to try and make some change.

    Yes, many will have agendas, I may differ with some…but we want to affect positive change.

    To some people that think all the work that must be done, it will be for naught…why do I bother? Taking on this extra duty is crazy from a pure economies of life…but I feel compelled because I may affect some change, for the good I do hope.

    And in this resolution, if the Board gets more duties, and then fails, we call them out for not following through.

    Perhaps the next resolution (or some new one) will take this power out of the COP and the BOARD, place it into a Board made up of fellow pastors from all walks. Now that would be interesting.

  29. @Pastor Prentice #31

    Brother, I don’t trust in your goodness anymore than I trust in my own, because I know we are both simil justice et peccator. But I do trust the Word which enlivens us both to do our duty according to our vocations, and will accomplish His will in spite of the brokenness we both bear.

    We do our duty, regardless of how effective we think we might be, walking by faith in the Word which sends us. May the Lord bless our work, according to His Word.

    Peace to you.

  30. @Judy #34

    I think the COP. So kinda synod, kinda the DP’s And the DP’s need to talk to each other, for when they supply names for a call list to a vacant congregation.

  31. The DP’s know who they have rostered without a call. To make a public list would be to admit how often they have allowed unjust dismissals to occur.

    [If they were dismissals “for a Lutheran reason”, they should be off the roster, shouldn’t they? But man after man is forced to resign while being told that he has done nothing to impede his being called elsewhere!]

    It’s my understanding that this is not the only resolution sent in, in response to the late and inadequate [best construction] “Report”.

    Perhaps some others could be given a little ‘light and air’ before they are buried in committee, or mangled beyond recognition? Are they all published anywhere?

    Or am I asking for something limited to delegates?

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