The Conference of Presidents held its winter meeting last week. Topics for discussion and decisions made include:
- The COP will work with the Commission on Congregational Counseling to develop guidelines for congregations that are beginning the process of closing or merging. Guidelines will be made available upon request from the district president.
- The COP is developing a tool to assist congregations that are exploring alternative approaches to congregational structure and polity.
- The COP expressed support for the plans of Congregational Services to offer two programs to replace Mission and Ministry Sunday in fall 2019. One program, the 10 for 10 stewardship program, will offer a ten-week emphasis on whole life Christian stewardship. The work we do together as a synod will be highlighted as one part of the program. The other, the Welcome Home initiative featuring a “Welcome Home Sunday” on Oct. 27, will help congregations to seek to regain those who have strayed from active congregational membership.
- The COP expressed support for a WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership being planned by Congregational Services for Jan. 21-23, 2020, in Chicago, Ill. The conference will emphasize leadership that is rooted in the beliefs of confessional Lutheranism.
- The COP discussed the importance of encouraging congregations in their efforts to increase Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO). The continuation of vital synodical ministries depends on increasing CMO support from our congregations.
- The COP has begun an effort to review the synod’s bylaws dealing with discipline of called workers and congregations, as well as the appeals process. The COP will complete its work in time for the revised process and bylaws to be reviewed by the 2020 district conventions.
- The COP Doctrine Committee will schedule regular meetings with the Doctrine Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and with the faculty of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.
- The COP expressed support for plans to form an Institute of Lutheran Apologetics (defending the Christian faith and teachings).
- The COP reviewed the pastoral vacancies and noted that the overall vacancy rate has remained about the same since its last meeting.
- The COP expressed its support for an effort by Congregational Services to assemble a “Rural Ministry Task Force” that will provide ministry resources for rural and small-town congregations.
Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder
[This is a correction of a previously published item dealing with the teacher calling window.]
A special committee is studying the issue of the calling window for teachers. Currently the calling window runs from November 1 through the first week of June. The committee is considering a change in the window, moving it to the first Sunday in October through the first Sunday in April. The COP was asked for input and indicated that it would approve of such a change if proposed. The committee has not yet made a final decision. It will continue to seek input and will bring its recommendation to the COP at a future meeting.