Delegates to the 65th biennial synod convention, held at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., three weeks ago, have much to remember and to share with others as they return to their home congregations.
Illustrating how our worldwide fellowship of confessional Lutherans continues to grow, our synod had the privilege of declaring fellowship with two overseas Lutheran church bodies. The Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ—Kenya is a relatively new Lutheran church body that is united with WELS in doctrine and practice. The Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Taiwan had its origin as a WELS mission in 1968 and has since become an independent church body. The convention formally declared fellowship with both Lutheran churches; delegates cast their unanimous votes with a standing ovation.
The convention approved the synod’s two-year ministry financial plan recommended by the Synodical Council. No changes were made to the plan that was proposed. This plan outlines the financial support that will be provided to all areas of ministry for the next two years.
Numerous changes to the synod’s bylaws were approved. Most of these changes involved bringing more consistency to the length of terms on various boards and committees. Nearly all positions are now four-year terms, with a person able to succeed himself twice.
Twenty memorials (requests for convention action) were acted upon by the convention via floor committee reports and resolutions.
Director of the WELS Commission on Congregational Counseling Rev. Jon Hein’s keynote presentation provided an honest evaluation of membership trends and the challenges posed by a changing culture. He outlined the synod’s plans to address these challenges making use of the means of grace and committing all results to the hands of the Holy Spirit.
After hearing reports from all areas of the synod’s missions and ministries, many delegates commented that for the first time they had a real picture of the scope and nature of the many things we are doing together as a synod. They expressed an eagerness to return home to share what they had learned with their congregations.
Rev. Joel Voss was re-elected as the synod second vice president and I was blessed and honored to be elected to serve another term as synod president.
The convention was another opportunity for WELS to acknowledge the amazing grace of God as he works through us to proclaim the gospel now and, as the convention theme stated, “for the generations to come.”
Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder
Access all synod convention news and materials at wels.net/2019synodconvention.