Today at Convention – Sunday, July 21st

What’s on tap, generally
After a day of floor committee hearings, delegate orientation, dinner, and the opening Divine Service (Let’s get the party started!), Sunday brings the first full day on the convention floor. Here’s what to expect:

  • Opening matters, including practice voting and the President’s Report, part 3
  • Convention Essay from 1st Vice-President Herb Mueller
  • Various Floor Committees bringing the first resolutions of the week to the convention for consideration
  • Balloting for First Vice-President and Regional Vice-Presidents
  • LCEF Ice Cream Social!

Key Items of the Day
The key item(s) of the day are the elections: A new First Vice-President of Synod and the regional vice presidents will be elected. It is very helpful to have a group of vice presidents who work well with the President of the Synod. See below for our recommendations.

Here’s Today’s Business for July 21 (Note: 2 parts!):
Today’s Business #2A
Today’s Business #2B

VP Elections
As mentioned above, one of the chief items of the day is election of the 1st Vice-President and Regional Vice-Presidents of the Synod:

With 1st VP Herb Mueller retiring later this summer, a new 1st Vice-President will be elected here in Tampa. The slate put forward by President Harrison is a fine slate all around – every man on the list would serve faithfully and well. However, we at Synod Convention Update recommend Rev. Peter K. Lange for election to the office of 1st Vice-President. Here’s an article highlighting our choice. The United List has also endorsed Peter Lange for election as 1st VP.

In the Central region, because there is no incumbent up for election, we recommend a vote for the Rev. Benjamin T. Ball. (Also see here, scrolled down a bit.) Pastor Ball is a wonderful pastor who also has experience serving at the District level. He would fit in very well amongst the rest of the Praesidium and will contribute to a supportive and faithful group, working closely with President Harrison.

In the other regional elections, we recommend a vote for all of the incumbent VP’s:

  • East-Southeast: Christopher S. Esget
  • Great Lakes: John C. Wohlrabe, Jr.
  • Great Plains: Nabil S. Nour
  • West-Southwest: Scott R. Murray

Convention Essay – Herb Mueller
Today 1st Vice-President Mueller will present the opening essay of the convention – Joy:Fully Lutheran: Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks. We’d be remiss not to rejoice, pray, and give thanks for the faithful work that Pastor Mueller has given to the Church over decades, as a parish pastor, District President, and 1st Vice-President of the Synod. Thanks, Herb!

The Martyr Church: a Devotion for the Church in Convention

Rev. Anthony Dodgers posted a sermon/devotion at Gottesdienst that we at Synod Convention Update commend to you as we prepare for the work in Tampa in just a few more days.

A highlight:

In one sense, the Church is both winning and losing. From the perspective of the sinful flesh and this sinful world, we are always losing, always dying. From the perspective of the risen Lord, always living, always rising. And this means that the martyr Church will never be fully welcome in the corridors of power. And we must not let the lords of this world convince us that they will accept us and we can have a seat at the cool kids’ table so long as we play by their rules. We would be swept away by the dragon’s flood of depravity and lies if it were not for our Lord’s merciful deliverance and our certainty that one day He will judge the scoffers, the power-hungry, and the worldly-wise.

1st VP Slate and Nominee Changes

Secretary Sias has published an official notice, making public the slate of 5 nominees on the ballot for First Vice-President of the Synod. The ballot is:

  • Christopher S. Esget
  • Peter K. Lange
  • Scott R. Murray
  • John C. Wille
  • John C. Wohlrabe Jr.

All five on the slate are faithful, joyful Lutherans who would serve well in the office. We at Synod Convention Update recommend a vote for Peter K. Lange.

Here’s what District President Lange has to say in his personal statement:

It’s a joy to serve the church as President of the Kansas District, just as it would be a joy and an honor to serve our Synod as First Vice-President. Devoted foremost to supporting the faithful ministry of our Lord’s Word and Sacraments, I would work in my capacity as First Vice-President to build strong relationships with colleagues and everyone I serve while assisting the President in fulfilling the constitutional and convention mandates of our Synod. In short, I would try to do my small part to help the Body of Christ build itself up in love (Eph. 4).

Also included in this notice are a few changes (additions and removals) to slates of nominees up for election to other positions in the Synod. These updated slates should be noted in Today’s Business #2 when it is published, but we recommend making note in your convention materials even now.

Check out the whole notice here.

Congratulations to LCMS President Rev. Matthew Harrison!

After a weekend of voting, the results are tabulated and Rev. Matthew C. Harrison has been elected to serve as President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod for the next three years. Congratulations to him, and thanks be to God. He does all things well.

We have much more to come here at as we help you prepare for the Synod Convention in Tampa, FL. Please be sure to sign up for email updates so you receive every post as soon as we publish!

It’s Time…To Vote for Synod President!

Starting first thing Saturday morning, June 22, voting for LCMS President is open. Pastoral and Lay Voters throughout the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod should have received credentials via US Mail from Election-America. Voting runs through the end of the day on Tuesday, June 25.

Email credentials should arrive to those same Voters’ registered email addresses by the time comes to start voting. (Just in case something is lost in the mail, or in your house or office!)

It is very important that votes are made – this is part of our life together as Synod. If you are a Voter for your congregation or parish, we strongly encourage a vote for Rev. Matthew Harrison (as do Issues, Etc., Gottesdienst, and The United List amongst others). If you are not a Voter, call up your Pastoral and Lay Voters, both to remind them to vote and to encourage them to vote for Matthew Harrison.

For more regarding President Harrison’s faithful, careful, Scriptural approach, see the recent Q&A from the Lutheran Witness, as well as here, here, here, here, here, here, etc.

After the voting is all done, stay tuned. We have much more to bring you regarding upcoming elections and business at the 2019 Synod Convention in Tampa.

Tremendous Blessing: Synod’s External Debt Is No More

In May, the Synod was blessed by the Lord to finally retire all of its historic external debt. Millions and millions of dollars owed, accumulating over many years, is no more. This shows tremendous leadership by President Harrison, by the Synod Board of Directors and Chairman Rev. Dr. Michael Kumm, and by many others heavily involved in working towards this goal throughout the past several years.

“For the first time in many decades, perhaps in a century, the LCMS has no external debt,” said LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison. “During our tenure, God has blessed us richly. We began nine years ago owing $21 million, and now we owe nothing.”

“This is a milestone achievement,” said BOD Chairman Rev. Dr. Michael L. Kumm, “because paying off the historic debt will free up millions of dollars in mission and ministry funds for years to come.

Be sure to read the whole story about God’s blessing the Synod with retiring this substantial debt.

Peace on a Mission

We’ve been washed by “water with the word” (Eph. 5:26), a “renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). When our pastor absolves us, both in the service and privately for comfort and consolation, we are forgiven. Each of us has the comfort of the resurrection as we face the many challenges of this life. The Church has a “Holy Spirit mission,” the very mission of Jesus. Whether as a full-time, called pastor or church worker, or as a person with one of a thousand God-pleasing vocations, we are called to speak of Jesus (Christ is risen!), to forgive sins and to ask for forgiveness in the name of Jesus. The Sunday service should be a rich and fulsome delivery of forgiveness, particularly in the absolution, the sermon and the Supper. And this rich and fulsome delivery of the forgiveness of sins continues into our daily lives — between husband and wife, parent and child, friend and neighbor, coworkers, etc.

Read more from President Harrison here. We encourage you to vote to reelect President Harrison, June 22-25, 2019 in the LCMS President election.

Floor Committees Meet – Resolutions Now Published

Part of the Convention process is the work of Floor Committees, taking Overtures and Reports sent in from the Synod and drafting Resolutions to be considered by the Delegates at Convention.

The Floor Committees have an initial “Floor Committee Weekend” where they gather in St. Louis and output all the initial Resolutions. This work is now completed and the first issue of Today’s Business is now out.

If you’re a Delegate, be sure to download Today’s Business and start reading, even before your print copy shows up in the mail. If you’re not a Delegate, you can still read the Resolutions and send in your comments on them to the various Chairmen of the Floor Committees. Information on all of this is found in Today’s Business and in the Convention Workbook.

Thanks, Herb!

I cannot thank God enough for the colleagues I’ve served with as Synod president. Herb has been a standout among many excellent and gifted servants of Christ. The Lord has blessed him with guilelessness. The Lord has blessed him with a work ethic unparalleled. The Lord has blessed him with a profound grasp of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. The Lord has blessed him with deep humility and compassion. The Lord has blessed him with tremendous experience. The Lord has blessed him with wisdom, compassion, honesty and love. I’m a much better man and Synod president for knowing him and serving with him. Herb is in robust health otherwise; he’s had to be to keep up with his intense schedule of service to the church. For three terms we have maintained a vigorous visitation of all 35 districts (per the LCMS Constitution) to listen, learn and encourage. Herb has overseen the directive of the 2016 convention that we colloquize qualified licensed lay deacons into the Office of the Ministry. He’s carried out that herculean task with fidelity and kindness. And we agree that, according to the Bible (Rom. 10) and the Lutheran Confessions (AC XIV), if a man is regularly performing the duties of the pastoral office, he should be placed in the pastoral office (call and ordination).

Read President Harrison’s further thoughts on First Vice-President Herb Mueller, as well as some of his preparatory thoughts on the upcoming 2019 LCMS Convention in Tampa.