WELS’ 64th biennial convention is being held at Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, Wis., July 31–Aug. 3, under the theme “Our Great Heritage.” Live coverage of plenary meetings, missionary presentations, and the opening worship service will be streamed at wels.net/2017synodconvention.
“The biennial synod convention provides the opportunity for grassroots input and decision-making when it comes to the work that we do together as a synod,” explains Rev. Mark Schroeder, WELS president. “The convention helps set the priorities for the synod’s areas of ministry in the coming years.”
More than 400 delegates—including pastors, male teachers, male staff ministers, and laymen—representing congregations across the synod come together to adopt a ministry financial plan (or budget), which describes in detail how WELS will use the financial resources God provides to carry out his work.
“The proposed ministry financial plan keeps WELS on solid financial ground,” says Mr. Todd Poppe, WELS chief financial officer, “but projected near-flat Congregation Mission Offerings when costs are increasing 3.5 percent could challenge WELS’ ability to maintain ministries beyond the 2017–19 biennium.”
Other topics that delegates will consider include the
- recommendations of the Compensation Review Committee, which was tasked by delegates of the 2015 synod convention with providing a thorough review of the WELS Compensation Guidelines for called workers;
- declaration of fellowship with three foreign church bodies endorsed by the WELS Commission on Inter-Church Relations;
- proposal of a new WELS long-range plan that extends from 2018–25; and
- presentation of the results of a demographic study of WELS completed by the WELS Commission on Congregational Counseling.
Areas of ministry will present updates about their work, and delegates will meet with their assigned floor committees to consider the reports that pertain to their area of ministry. Floor committees then write resolutions on the topics that they feel should be addressed and present their resolutions to all the delegates. Delegates discuss and vote on these convention resolutions, helping set the stage for work that will take place over the next biennium.
Elections for the synod’s first vice president and secretary as well as board members for synod commissions, boards, and committees will also take place.
With the theme “Our Great Heritage,” convention organizers have focused many aspects of the convention around the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, including the opening and closing worship services, devotions, and essay. Delegates will also view the film A Return to Grace: Luther’s Life and Legacy.
All pre-convention information is available at wels.net/2017synodconvention. View the convention agenda and election nominee biographies. Read the 2017 Book of Reports and Memorials. During the convention, news articles, video updates, and convention photos will be posted throughout the day at wels.net/2017synodconvention. Each evening, an issue of “Together” will be delivered to subscribers as a wrap-up of the day’s events and a look ahead to the next day. WELS’ Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages also will be active each day.
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WELS churches and schools featured in their local media.