Convention resolutions set direction for the future

On Wednesday afternoon, delegates heard the first reports and resolutions from the convention floor committees.

Delegates overwhelmingly approved the resolutions to declare fellowship with three international church bodies—the Lutheran Church of Ethiopia, East Asia Lutheran Synod, and South Asian Evangelical Lutheran Mission.

Discussion ensued when a resolution was presented to require all early childhood and Lutheran elementary schools to annually require a $7.50 fee per student and all high schools to pay a $4.00 fee per student to help support the work of the Commission on Lutheran Schools. Since 2007, schools have been encouraged to give a voluntary supplemental contribution to assist with Lutheran Schools’ operating costs. Delegates who spoke against the motion believe that these costs should be included in the WELS ministry financial plan (budget). The motion was defeated. A motion did subsequently pass encouraging delegates to “strongly encourage all of their schools to participate in the voluntary supplemental contribution.”

On Thursday, floor committee chairmen continued presenting their reports and resolutions. Most resolutions passed with little or no discussion, including resolutions to support the synod’s new long-range plan; to adopt the Synodical Council’s unfunded priority list, which helps allocate additional resources received above those projected by the ministry financial plan; and to revise the called worker compensation guidelines as recommended by the Compensation Review Committee.

Delegates did discuss the resolution to adopt the Synodical Council’s proposed ministry financial plan. Some concern was expressed about the amount of support for the Board for Ministerial Education, particularly for Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. The amount of debt for Martin Luther College graduates has been an issue of concern in recent years. Other delegates noted that adding support to one area of ministry means that support would need to be removed from another area. The resolution was adopted.

Synod leaders will now move forward during the next biennium to help carry out the direction that was supported by convention delegates.

The new long-range plan, the unfunded priority list, the recommendations of the Compensation Review Committee, and details of the ministry financial plan are all included in the 2017 Book of Reports and Memorials.