The Conference of Presidents (COP) met at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, Waukesha, Wis., during the second week of October. This was the first face-to-face meeting of the COP since January. Other meetings, including the assignment of graduates from Martin Luther College and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, have been held via Zoom video conference.
In addition to extensive discussion of topics relating to doctrine, congregations, and called workers, the COP took the following actions:
- Extended a divine call to Rev. Tom Westra to serve as a congregational counselor. This is a new position approved last year by the Synodical Council.
- Extended a divine call to Rev. Paul Lindhorst to serve as a Christian giving counselor.
- Received an encouraging financial update from Chief Financial Officer Mr. Kyle Egan. Egan’s report showed the synod ended the last fiscal year in good financial shape due to better-than-expected offerings and significantly lower expenditures. The report also included the good news that Congregation Mission Offerings for the year continue to be higher than planned. Egan also gave an overview of the proposed Ministry Financial Plan (budget) that will be considered by the Synodical Council in November.
- Chose “Here We Stand” as the theme of the 2021 synod convention. On the 500th anniversary of Luther’s bold confession at the Diet of Worms, this theme reminds us of the importance of continuing to stand on the truth of Scripture.
- Encouraged Martin Luther College to discontinue the requirement for at least one in-person course in the synod teacher certification program.
- Reviewed a new video that reminds congregations of the importance of Congregation Mission Offerings. The district presidents will be strongly encouraging all congregations to make this video available to their leaders and members.
- Adopted recommendations for bylaw changes that would reduce the wait time needed for issuing calls for professors at synodical schools.
The next meeting of the Conference of Presidents is scheduled for January 2021.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder