At its October meeting, the Conference of Presidents (COP) received and discussed the following reports and topics:
- Mr. Bill Ziche, president of Northwestern Publishing House (NPH), provided an update on the new hymnal. Already 325 churches have placed orders for the hymnal, a pace that NPH considers encouraging. NPH is also in the early stages of developing a new religion curriculum for pre-school through high school.
- President Richard Gurgel of Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn., provided an overview of the strategic planning effort that has already begun at MLC.
- WELS Benefit Plans director Mr. Josh Peterman provided an overview of the materials that will be used to introduce the new retirement plan to congregations and called workers. The change in the retirement plan takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
- There are 136 vacancies in pastor-trained positions. This includes positions in world missions, schools, and administration.
- The COP discussed the issue of called and hired workers in our early childhood ministries. More study will take place on developing principles and guidelines for congregations to consider as they staff these schools.
The COP formally expressed thanks to the members of the WELS Hymnal Project for their many years of faithful service.
The COP resolved that the on-campus requirement for staff ministry certification be the same as the practice now in place for teacher certification. As is the case with teachers, someone enrolled in the staff ministry certification program and serving in a call will be considered provisionally ministry certified.
Work continues to clarify the synod bylaws dealing with the discipline and appeal process for called workers.
The next COP meeting takes place in January.