Highlights from the Synodical Council meeting

At its regular winter meeting last week, the Synodical Council (SC) received detailed reports from the Church Extension Fund, the Ministry of Christian Giving, Technology, Communications, Human Resources, and the Benefit Plans office.

The SC began work on a new long-range plan that will be shared with the district conventions this summer. A final recommendation for the plan will be submitted to the synod convention in 2017.

The SC received a progress report from the Compensation Review Committee in its effort to undertake a thorough review of the synod’s compensation guidelines. The committee will report its findings to the district conventions this summer.

The SC reviewed and prioritized the Unfunded Priority List. With the recommendation of the Conference of Presidents, the position of a director to serve both the Commission on Youth and Family Ministry and the Commission on Adult Discipleship was moved up to second in priority, with the encouragement that the two commissions also consider merging into a single commission serving both adults and youth. The SC also adopted a policy outlining how and when unfunded programs can receive funding.

Financial results through December were encouraging, with Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO) exceeding subscriptions by about $600,000 (2.9%). This is the fourth consecutive year that actual offerings exceeded subscriptions. CMO subscriptions for 2016 are 1.8% lower than what was actually received in 2015, but this is offset by the positive 2015 performance.

The SC also approved several spending plan adjustments. Approved items will be funded through the use of special funds, not from the synod’s operating support. One adjustment enabled Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary to provide $200,000 for the archives relocation project. A second adjustment provided funding for a person to work in our world mission fields to coordinate the theological training of the increasing number of people desiring to serve as confessional Lutheran pastors in their home countries.

Two new members were welcomed to the SC: Rev. Joel Zank (replacing Rev. Earle Treptow as one of the three Conference of Presidents representatives) and Dr. Timothy Kriewall (replacing Mr. Mark Bannan as the lay representative from the Michigan District). The SC appointed Teacher Douglas Dast as a member of the VEBA Commission, Mr. Mark Maurice to the WELS Foundation Board, and Mr. Ronald Schmitz and Mr. Max Wenck to the WIF board.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder