The Conference of Presidents (COP) met in January for its regular winter meeting. Some of the highlights of the meeting include:
- The COP received the report that the synod’s capital debt was completely retired 18 months ahead of schedule. The COP asked that a special thanksgiving prayer be written and sent to pastors for use in worship services in February.
- WELS Communications Services shared plans for congregations to sponsor showings of the new Luther movie in local theaters. Several congregations will participate in a pilot program, with information about how to participate in this effort in this newsletter
- The COP discussed the process for appeals of disciplinary action for called workers and lay members. The COP wants to be sure that the process is working as intended and will hold further discussions on the matter in April.
- The COP was informed of the progress made in discussions regarding the Grenada mission’s application for membership in the South Atlantic District. The mission had been an independent mission in fellowship with WELS.
- The COP affirmed its support for the calling of one director to serve the Commission on Youth and Family and the Commission on Adult Discipleship. The position is currently included in the draft ministry financial plan being considered by the Synodical Council.
- The COP appointed Professor Craig Hirschman to the Commission on Worship.
- The COP expressed its support for the joint statement on fellowship prepared by a committee of representatives from WELS, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), and the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC). The statement will be presented for adoption to the synod convention by the Commission on Inter-Church Relations. The ELS has already approved the statement, and the CLC is discussing it.
- The COP plans to create video presentations encouraging Congregation Mission Offerings. Congregations in each district will be shown a video introduced by their own district president.
- The COP expressed appreciation for the work done by WELS parasynodical organizations. The COP will be exploring ways to foster even closer communication and cooperation.
- The COP approved the concept of adding a year of internship to the Martin Luther College Urban Ministry program.
- The Compensation Review Committee shared the results of its effort to review the synod’s compensation plan. The COP encouraged the Compensation Review Committee to submit its recommendations to the Synodical Council and to the convention this summer.
- The COP is working with Communication Services to improve the way that delegates to the synod convention are prepared for the work they will do at the convention.
- The COP reviewed the pastoral vacancies in the synod, noting that there are currently 86 vacancies in congregations, 4 vacancies in foreign missions, and 3 vacancies in professorships.
- The COP continues to discuss doctrinal matters relating to fellowship, congregational governance, doctrinal supervision, and communion practices.
As is the case at every meeting, the COP held wide-ranging discussions on the call process, questions regarding special situations, and ways to foster consistency in matters of doctrine and practice.
Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder
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