COP April 2024 meeting summary

The WELS Conference of Presidents (COP) met in April for its spring meeting. Among the items discussed or decided were:

  • The COP reviewed the vacancy situation for pastors and teachers. The number of vacancies continues to rise gradually. Assignment days in May will help relieve the situation somewhat, but the problem will continue for the foreseeable future. The COP received a progress report from the Ministerial Recruitment Task Force, which will be making proposals to address the need for more workers.
  • The New Teacher Induction Program and the Pastor Partners Program provide mentoring to newly assigned teachers and pastors for the first three years of their service. The cost to congregations has been $1,000 per year and has not been increased for some time. To more adequately cover the cost of the program, the COP determined that, starting in 2025, the cost will be $1,500 per worker.
  • The COP was informed that a more thorough process for vetting non-MLC-trained teachers has been developed. The process will include evaluations of professional competency, background checks, pastoral recommendations, and district president interviews. Final details are still being determined.
  • The COP reviewed the current calling process and made no changes to the current guidelines. The COP will continue discussing this issue at future meetings.
  • The COP received a report from the committee planning the synod’s 175th anniversary celebration in 2025. The committee has produced a pictorial history of the synod and updated the existing book on the synod’s history. It is working on developing special video presentations and providing worship and Bible study resources for a synodwide celebration of the anniversary in the fall of 2025.
  • The COP was pleased to learn that 96.7 percent of WELS congregations submitted their statistics for 2023 and 99.1 percent submitted Congregation Mission Offering subscriptions for 2024. The COP is grateful for this high level of participation.
  • The COP issued the following divine calls:
    • Melanie Giddings was called to serve full time as the coordinator of the new synod K-12 religion curriculum.
    • Mr. Ryan Busman was called to serve as a Christian giving counselor for the Western Wisconsin District.
    • Rev. Nathan Cordes was called to serve as a Christian giving counselor for the south Minnesota District, the Nebraska District, and the Dakota-Montana District
  • The COP will continue to monitor the issue of congregations that are discussing merging or closing. As a part of the COP’s desire that these decisions are made in an orderly and legal way, the COP is updating the comprehensive guidelines that can help congregations in this process.
  • The COP continued its work on the pastoral brief on the doctrine of the roles and men and women. The brief will be released and distributed as soon as it is completed. Similarly, the COP received an update from the committee addressing justice and critical theories.
  • The COP discussed a proposal to make some changes to the procedure for nominating and electing synod officers. A final proposal is expected to be discussed at district conventions this summer.

Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder



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