Convention 2016: The United List, a helpful guide for elections (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

Last month, congregational electors re-elected Synod President Matt Harrison to another term. In a few days, convention delegates will begin electing a host of vice-presidents, officers, board members, and the like, to serve with him. Hopefully, those elected will want to take the Synod in the same positive, confessional direction as President Harrison. But how to choose which nominees are the most likely and best equipped to do so?

Delegates have received a copy of Biographical Synopses & Statements of Nominees. But that’s 144 pages of hundreds of names, most of which any delegate will not know. Is there any help or guidance available to delegates to assist them in making the best choices?

There is. It’s called The United List (, a voting guide that’s been around for every convention since 1992, with a proven track record of recommending good nominees for office. As a delegate myself, I will be giving The United List’s suggestions my “default mode” preference for casting my votes.

In some ways, elections are as important, if not more so, as resolutions. The people we elect to office are key to setting and implementing policy throughout their terms. And not all the nominees on the ballots–especially this year–are on the same page as far as the direction the Synod should go. Several of the critical elections could be very close this time. So this makes careful, unified voting all the more important.

With that in mind, then, here are The United List recommendations for this convention. Also, delegates can print out this handy pdf file, The United List for 2016, which is the latest updated version (v. 4, May 19, 2016).

The United List

The United List 2016

KEY: *= Incumbent; ( ) = District; Rev.= pastor or other ordained minister; Tchr.= commissioned professor, teacher or principal; Dcs.=deaconess; Dr.= Ph.D., M.D., or other doctoral degree; Atty.= attorney or judge.


Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison* (MO)


Rev. Dr. Herb C. Mueller, Jr.* (MO)


Rev. Dr. John W. Sias (MT)


Great Lakes: Rev. Dr. John C. Wohlrabe, Jr.* (SW)

Great Plains: Rev. Nabil S. Nour* (SD)

West-Southwest: Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray* (TX)

East-Southeast: Rev. Christopher S. Esget* (SE)

Central: Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus* (MO)


Ord: Rev. Dr. Michael L. Kumm* (SD)

Ord: Rev. M. Alan Taylor (TX)

Lay-At-Large: Ed H. Everts* (FG)

Lay-Great-Lakes: Atty. James W. Carter* (NI)

Lay-Great-Plains: Atty. Larry Harrington (WY)

Lay-East-Southeast: Keith Frndak* (EA)


Ord/Com – Great Lakes: Rev. Peter C. Bender (SW)

Ord/Com – Great Plains: Rev. Steven C. Briel* (MNS)

Ord/Com – West-Southwest: Rev. Dr. Alfonso O. Espinosa*(PSW)

Ord/Com – East-Southeast: Rev. Timothy J. Droegemueller* (FG)

Ord/Com – Central: Tchr. Martha J. Milas* (CI)

Lay – Great Lakes: Robert Knox (NI)

Lay – Great Plains: Carla M. Claussen* (MNS)

Lay – West-Southwest: Carol Hack Broome (CNH)

Lay – East-Southeast: Julia Habrecht* (SE)

Lay – Central: Ernest E. Garbe* (CI)


Ord/Com – Great Lakes: Rev. David P. Stechholz (EN; cong. in MI district)

Ord/Com – Great Plains: Rev. Bernhard M. Seter* (ND)

Ord/Com – West-Southwest: Rev. Samuel Cosby (TX)

Ord/Com – East-Southeast: Rev. Roberto E. Rojas, Jr. (FG)

Ord/Com – Central: Rev. John F. Temple* (MO)

Lay – Great Lakes: Atty. K. Allan Voss* (SW)

Lay – Great Plains: Robert Van Gundy* (MNS)

Lay – West-Southwest: Terence Lung (CNH)

Lay – East-Southeast: James S. Wolf (EN; cong. in EA district)

Lay – Central: Dr. Kristine Bruss (KS)


Ord (parish pastor): Rev. Arlo W. Pullmann* (MT)

Com (parish teacher): Tchr. Timothy D. Hardy* (MI)

Lay: Dr. Jack D. Kilcrease III (MI)


No positions in 2016


Ord: Rev. Dr. Alvin J. Schmidt* (MO)

Com: Tchr. Dr. Mark L. Bender* (MO)

Lay: Natalie L. Oleshchuk* (MO)

Lay: Gretchen A. Roberts* (MDS)

Lay: Elaine Graff (RM)


Ord/Com: Rev. Benjamin D. Haupt (MO)

Lay: Susan J. Elsholz* (EN; cong. in MI district)

Lay: Chris A. Anderson (KS)


No positions in 2016


Ord: Rev. Dr. Byron Northwick* (IE)

Com: Tchr. Jonathon Giordano (SI) [FLOOR NOMINATION]

Lay: Dr. Gerhard H. Mundinger* (IN)

Lay: Ellen R. Lange (PSW)


Ord: Rev. M. Alan Taylor (TX) [FLOOR NOMINATION] (1ST choice)

Rev. G. Brent McGuire (TX) [FLOOR NOMINATION] (if Taylor elected to BOD)

Com: [no recommendation]

Lay: Mark K. DeYoung* (TX)

Lay: Noreen L. Linke* (TX)


Ord: Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth (AT)

Com: Tchr. Dr. Ross E. Stueber (SW)

Lay: Dr. David Wolf (NE)

Lay: [no recommendation]


Ord: Rev. Scott C. Klemsz (CNH)

Com: Tchr. Dr. Jeffrey S. Beavers (PSW)

Lay: Sandra J. Ostapowich* (TX)

Lay: Richard P. Fielitz, Jr. (CNH)


Ord: Rev. David C. Fleming* (MI)

Com: Dcs. Lynnette A. Fredericksen* (SI)

Lay: Atty. Kenneth B. Bowman* (EN; cong. in PSW district)

Lay: Dr. Deborah J. Davidson (SW)


Ord: Rev. Dr. Gregory N. Todd (SI)

Com: Tchr. Keith E. Brosz* (PSW)

Lay: Michael P. Borg (WY)

Lay: Dr. August C. Schwark (NOW)


Ord: Rev. Roger B. Gallup* (NI)

Com: Tchr. Mark P. Muehl* (IN)

Lay: Dr. Debra Grime* (IN)

Lay: Atty. Mark O. Stern* (NI)


Ord: Rev. David A. Kind* (MNS)

Com: Tchr. Dr. Mark J. L’Heureux (NEB)

Lay: Willis R. Myers (SO)

Lay: Marvin H. Schultheis (KS)


Ord: Rev. Dr. Carl L. Beckwith (SO)

Com: Dcs. Deborah L. Rockrohr (IN)

Lay: Dr. James E. Tallmon (WY)

Lay: Carol Schmidt (MO)


Ord: Rev. James D. Woelmer (TX) [FLOOR NOMINATION]

Com: [no recommendation]

Lay (Seward Co.): Jill M. Johnson* (NEB)

Lay (non-Seward Co.): Dr. Timothy Hu (WY)


Ord: Rev. Dr. Ronald M. Garwood* (WY)

Lay: Dr. Leo S. Mackay, Jr.* (SE)

Lay: Dr. Bradd Stucky* (SW)


Ord: Rev. Dr. Harold L. Senkbeil* (SW)

Lay: Dr. Paul Edmon (NE) [FLOOR NOMINATION]

Lay: Atty. Kurt E. Johnson (SI)

v. 4, May 19, 2016


Convention 2016: The United List, a helpful guide for elections (by Pr. Charles Henrickson) — 9 Comments

    Ord: Rev. Dr. Alvin J. Schmidt* (MO)

    You’re kidding, aren’t you?!?

    In his Regina (Eastern Church) Press-published 2005 book on cremation, Schmidt claims, “I did not write this book to indict Christians or to make them feel guilty,” but then he writes:

    “Christians must not in ignorance assist in bringing back an age-old pagan practice that symbolically detracts and undermines the cardinal doctrine of Christianity — the physical resurrection of the body. In short, cremation is not an adiaphoron, as many clergy have either explicitly told their members or led them to believe indirectly. For Christians, cremation simply is not a God-pleasing option. As James Fraser, a Christian pastor, has written, ‘Burial is the only God-given way of honorably disposing of the dead.’”

    In a June 15, 2005 11:27 PM post on a 2005 blog discussion of cremation Schmidt again asserted:

    “As I say, anyone who has been a party to cremation and upon repentance can have that sin also forgiven. As I say in the book, it’s similar to what Jesus told the adulterous woman, ‘Go and sin no more.’ In other words, if you, as a Christian, have been party to a cremation, don’t do it again.’”

    Schmidt asserts that cremation is a sin and anyone who is a party to the cremation of a person needs to repent! Since God through Scriptures does not declare cremation as a sin, Rev. Schmidt in effect blasphemously presumes to be God in pronouncing, to the contrary, that it is.

    Sometime between the end of 2009 and the start of 2010, the CTCR’s FAQ on cremation was altered by an unknown party to included references and statements from Schmidt’s book. In 2011, after being informed of the heresies in the book, the CTCR removed from its LCMS FAQ on cremation all references to and false statements from Schmidt’s book.

    Schmidt is one person who should be nowhere near a BOD chair of a Lutheran publishing company.

  2. I respectfully disagree with the previous comment. The Rev. Dr. Schmidt is more than qualified to serve in the position under consideration. His books, THE GREAT DIVIDE (regarding the differences between Christianity and Islam), HOW CHRISTIANITY CHANGED THE WORLD (showing the societal impact which, by God’s grace, Christianity has made with regard to many social institutions), THE AMERICAN MUHAMMAD (discussing to resemblance of Mormonism to Islam), et al are second to none. Dr. Schmidt knows quite well what needs to be done in directing the activities and endeavors of CPH. As for the cremation issue, it’s best to answer or discuss his assertions with Scripture just as he makes them based on Scripture.

  3. @David Rosenkoetter #2: “As for the cremation issue, it’s best to answer or discuss his assertions with Scripture just as he makes them based on Scripture.”

    In fact the “cremation issue” has been discussed on the basis of Scripture by the LCMS in its FAQ on cremation, and by Lutheran church bodies such as the LCC, WELS, ELS, and CLC. All agree that Scripture does not forbid the practice of cremation or declare it a sin, and that cremation is a matter of Christian freedom.

    However Dr. Schmidt does claim that Scripture declares cremation a sin and those who are a party to cremation need to repent so that their sin can be forgiven.

    A false teacher is one who arrogantly claims to speak for God what God has not spoken. Dr. Schmidt is a false teacher. He should not be on the CPH BOD, even if he otherwise rightly holds that Islam and Mormonism are not Christian.

  4. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 1 Corinthians 10:29b
    Cremation does in 30 minutes what natural processes do in 30 years. God can work with dry bones or ashes.
    It seems an undue burden to lay on a believer’s conscience especially if disposal is done with respect and prayer.

  5. Is it okay to be cremated?
    Since the Bible is silent on the subject of cremation, Christians are free to choose burial or cremation.

    There was a time not that long ago when some voices in the Christian church cautioned against cremation. In a day and age when some unbelievers utilized cremation as a way to defy God (“Let’s see if this supposed God can put me back together some day.”), some Christians advocated that followers of the Lord not cremate their bodies, so as not to be associated with unbelievers or an activity of unbelievers. That element of taunting God has largely disappeared from the practice of cremation, so Christians today who make use of cremation are not likely to be confused with unbelievers.

    The choice of cremation over burial often includes ecological, economical and convenience factors. In the end, cremation essentially speeds up the process that occurs with burial: “Dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). And, regardless of cremation or burial, “…all who are in their graves will hear his [Jesus’] voice and come out” (John 5:28-29). What a blessing to know and believe in “the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting” (The Apostles’ Creed).

    From a June 24, 2016, WELS FAQ, “Cremation or burial?

    Here is the LCMS FAQ on Cremation (on p. 4).

  6. My question is, who in the heck decides to recommend this slate. I know two people on the slate personally. One is very qualified while the other I have no idea why he is recommended. In a congregation that he and I were members of, he hardly ever showed up for church. He was regarded as a marginal member. Now his name appears on this list? How did that happen and who is making these decisions?

  7. @Mark #4

    I’m not going as far as Rev. Dr. Schmidt (whom I otherwise greatly respect) in saying that cremation is always sinful, but I want to help clear up the notion that cremation results in ashes. What’s left after cremation are bones and bone fragments. The largest leftover pieces are, of course, the arm and leg bones and skull. The bones and skull are placed into a crusher to reduce them in size. The results of this crushing process are the so-called “ashes” which are presented to the family of the deceased.

    Neither the cremation itself nor the crushing of the bones and skull are natural. In my opinion this is a gruesome and distasteful way to treat a body which was the earthly dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19).

    When I was in the parish ministry I would shudder to think of the bodies of those sweet little old ladies who I would visit regularly in the nursing homes (it was almost always little old ladies!) being burned and crushed. My feelings are probably more tender than they should be, but that’s just the way I am.

    I do agree with the WELS FAQ cited above which stated, “…regardless of cremation or burial, ‘…all who are in their graves will hear his [Jesus’] voice and come out’ (John 5:28-29)”, but I just can’t agree with Mark that cremation can be a respectful way to treat the deceased.

  8. @Rev. Robert Fischer (Emeritus) #7

    Thanks, I’m getting queasy thinking about it. Five of seven of my family members have been cremated. I was alone when I drove to a secluded area in Southern Utah to spread my father’s remains two years ago. It was my own respectful handling and prayer to which I referred, not the crematory’s. The whole business of death and dying is a dark affair and one that tugs the conscience like no other. It’s just one more thing added to a list of accumulated experiences and sins for which to feel guilty, even after receiving absolution for sins known and unknown.
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

  9. There’s nothing wrong with indicating personal preferences and opinions, even associating them with Scriptural analogies/imageries for burial, rather than cremation (or vice versa).

    But when one uses rhetorical jargon, eisegetic wordplay, or sophistic handwaving to claim that, according to Scripture, cremation

    • does not have God’s approval.
    • undermines the cardinal doctrine of Christianity.
    • is not an adiaphoron.
    • simply is not a God-pleasing option.
    • is a sin for which repentance and forgiveness are needed.

    then one adds to Scripture, forces man-made laws on Christians to burden them, and becomes a false teacher. Such a person should not be involved in Lutheran publishing decisions.

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.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.