The Conference of Presidents (COP) met for its spring meeting April 7-9. It was the first face-to-face meeting of the COP since last September.
The COP spent a good deal of time discussing the 136 pastoral vacancies and approximately 140 teacher/staff minister vacancies. The number of vacancies has grown since last year at this time. For the benefit of both congregations and workers, the COP limits the number of calls a called worker can receive in one year and also requires a time period between calls. With so many congregations requesting call lists, and with the limited number of workers eligible to receive a call, the district presidents have faced growing challenges in providing call lists to congregations. Much of the COP discussion regarding this issue centered around steps that can be taken to alleviate this problem and the importance of continued recruitment and training of called workers.
The COP discussed the Equality Act, a bill before Congress that could potentially place serious restrictions on our ability to preach and teach the Word of God faithfully. A letter was e-mailed to all called workers and to lay members on the synod’s e-mail list alerting them to this potential threat and encouraging WELS members to exercise their rights as Christian citizens to contact their representatives. The COP will be monitoring this law and responding to government action when necessary.
With the assignment of graduates at Martin Luther College and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary approaching, the COP began discussing plans and procedures for assignment meetings. Assignments of teachers and staff ministers will be announced at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., on May 15; assignment of pastors and vicars will take place the following week at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis.
The COP continues to work on a restatement of the synod’s doctrinal statement on the biblical roles of man and woman. A draft of this statement was distributed in 2020 and has undergone continuing work to bring it into a final form. There is no timetable for the completion of this work, since the COP desires to “do it right” rather than “do it quickly.”
The COP plans to develop a pastoral brief addressing Christian freedom and pastoral practices.
The COP extended divine calls to the following: Rev. John Hering was called to serve as a congregational counselor as part of the effort of the Commission on Congregational Counseling to help congregations evaluate and improve their ministries; Rev. Robert Krueger and Rev. Jonathan Kehren were called to serve as Ministry of Christian Giving counselors.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder