2017 spring meeting of the Conference of Presidents

The Conference of Presidents (COP) met for its regular spring meeting on April 3-5 at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, Waukesha, Wis.

Some of the items discussed or decided by the Conference of Presidents include:

  • The COP discussed various matters of doctrine and practice and adopted several guidelines to assist district presidents as they advise congregations in these matters.
  • The COP is continuing to work with the Commission on Lutheran Schools to finalize a study of how the church can make use of the talents and skills of women in administrative roles while remaining faithful to the biblical principles of authority and headship. The study will be completed in the coming months.
  • Last year the COP held a meeting with the faculty of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary to discuss areas of mutual interest. Since the first meeting was viewed to be beneficial and productive, a second such meeting will be held in May and is likely to become an annual event.
  • The COP is working with Martin Luther College and the Commission on Lutheran Schools to develop ways to identify and train teachers to serve as principals in our Lutheran elementary schools. The goal is to have a training system in place that, in the near future, will make it possible not to assign candidates as principals.
  • The COP received a report from Rev. Paul Prange regarding recent discussions about how to provide a sufficient number of qualified teachers to serve in urban schools. The committee addressing this matter will continue its work.
  • The COP agreed with the area Lutheran high schools that pastors serving on the faculties of high schools be eligible for divine calls in the same calling window that applies to teacher-trained faculty members. The calling window assures schools that faculty members will not be called to another school in the middle of a school year, creating staffing problems for the schools they currently serve.
  • The COP continued its discussion about the importance of having voters’ assemblies in congregations. While the COP recognizes the benefit and value of having voters’ assemblies, it also recognizes that how the voters’ assembly functions can vary from congregation to congregation. District presidents will continue to provide guidance and counsel to congregations as they consider these matters.
  • Each district president will be featured in a video presentation to his district highlighting the blessings that God is granting to our synod’s mission and ministry and encouraging congregations to support this work with growing Congregation Mission Offerings. The COP also reviewed plans for establishing a WELS Mission and Ministry Sunday in the fall of each year.
  • The COP has been working with WELS Communications to develop ways to better inform and prepare delegates to the synod convention.

The COP extended the following divine calls:

  • Professor David Sellnow as director of discipleship (serving the Commission for Youth and Family Ministry and the Commission on Adult Discipleship).
  • Scott Wagner, Rev. Philip Gieschen, and Rev. Randall Johnson as Christian giving counselors.
  • Rick Kneser as a Christian giving counselor (provisional call renewed for one year).
  • Rev. John Graf, Mr. Gerry Heckmann, Rev. Michael Dietz, and Rev. Steven Staude as Christian giving counselors (semi-retired).

As it does at each meeting, the COP also reviewed the number of pastor and teacher vacancies in preparation for the May assignment meetings. As the vacancy list grows, the district presidents will continue to be encouraging congregations and individuals to encourage young people to consider preparing for the ministry.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder