Conference of Presidents hold its fall meeting

The Conference of Presidents (COP) held its fall meeting Oct. 13-16. In addition to the regular discussions regarding congregations and called workers, the COP took the following actions:

  • Adopted a timetable for the special offering to be held in the fall of 2015 intended to eliminate the synod’s capital debt.
  • Made changes to clarify and strengthen the process that determines whether former called workers will be restored for eligibility to be called into the public ministry.
  • Extended for another year the call to Rev. Jon Hein as the director of the Commission for Congregational Counseling (CCC). The COP recognized that good progress is being made and that the CCC is providing significant benefits to congregations as they address challenges and opportunities in their ministry.
  • Called Mr. Bradley Price to serve as the director of WELS Prison Ministry.
  • Approved a proposal to gather additional statistical information from congregations, specifically in the areas of the overall age of members.
  • Reviewed plans presented by the Reformation 500 committee. One significant project will be the development of a documentary of the life and work of Martin Luther.
  • Continued work on the revision of the paper, “Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage.” The revision attempts to clarify the proper application of biblical principles, especially as they relate to pornography and the Internet. The revision is nearing completion and will be available sometime in 2015.
  • Decided that, when in-depth study of matters of doctrine and practice become necessary, the COP will assign the study to specially appointed ad hoc committees. The COP prefers this approach to having a standing doctrinal commission that addresses all doctrinal studies.
  • Decided to list staff ministers in a separate category in the synod yearbook beginning in 2016. Currently staff ministers are listed with teachers.

The COP also received the following reports:

  • Michigan District President John Seifert provided a progress report on the Wartburg Project, a private and independent effort by WELS and Evangelical Lutheran Synod pastors to produce a new translation of the Bible by Lutherans.
  • Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Professor Richard Gurgel provided an update on Grow in Grace, the seminary’s institute for continuing education.
  • Representatives of the WELS Military Services Committee outlined the changes that have taken place in the policies and regulations dealing with military chaplains.
  • Martin Luther College Professor Jon Schaefer reviewed the progress in the New Teacher Induction program
  • Representatives of the WELS VEBA plan shared plans to provide information to congregations regarding the benefits of WELS VEBA to our congregations and workers.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder