What is the WELS Synod Convention?
The synod in convention is the legislative body of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). It establishes, reviews, and amends the policies and the direction of WELS as we pursue our mission.
The purpose of the synod convention is
- to meet as a delegate synod to carry out the responsibilities of the legislative body of WELS,
- to celebrate God’s blessings on our ministry in the past,
- to nurture our faith, and
- to set in motion an agreed-upon plan of ministry for the future.
When is the convention?
Monday, July 29 – Thursday, August 1, 2019
An orientation session for all delegates will begin at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 29, in the gymnasium. An opening worship service will follow that evening at 6:30 p.m., in The Chapel of the Christ on the Martin Luther College campus. The convention ends Thursday afternoon when the convention business is concluded.
Where is it?
Martin Luther College
1995 Luther Court
New Ulm, MN 56073
Martin Luther College is WELS’ College of Ministry. To meet the current ministry needs of WELS, Martin Luther College
- Prepares men for pastoral training at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary;
- Prepares men and women for service as teachers and staff ministers in the synod’s churches, schools, and other institutions;
- Prepares men and women for other church ministries, both full and part time, responding to the needs of WELS;
- Prepares international students for ministry in partnership with WELS mission fields; and
- Provides programs of continuing education that meet the ministerial needs of WELS.
Who attends the convention?
About 400 delegates chosen by the districts attend the convention. Male called workers (pastors, teachers, and staff ministers) and voting lay members of WELS congregations make up the voting body of the synod convention. In addition, representatives from synod governance (Conference of Presidents and Synodical Council) as well as representatives of various WELS and parasynodical ministries and missions attend the convention as advisors or observers.
What does a delegate do at the convention?
Delegates will be assigned to a committee. Each committee is assigned a section of the Book of Reports and Memorials (BORAM) and is asked to evaluate its content and/or recommendations; to react to it; and, in most cases, to present a formal resolution(s) or report to the convention regarding it.
Delegates will listen to various reports from WELS ministries and operations, and then, based on the work of the various convention committees, will vote on “resolutions” presented by the committees. Committees may also present “reports,” which do not include an action or change, for the official record.
In addition, convention delegates are responsible for voting for members of synod leadership and members of boards and committees representing WELS ministries. A brief biographical sketch of each nominee will be posted online and provided in the binder delegates receive at the convention.
The convention is also a time for delegates to worship, enjoy fellowship with each other, and learn about the synod’s work to share with their churches locally.
What kind of business is addressed at the convention?
Topics will range from ministry and administrative operations to the financial ministry plan (budget). The BORAM includes information about any topics to be discussed and any items of business to be determined at the convention. It is important for delegates to familiarize themselves with the BORAM ahead of the convention.
How are decisions made for the synod?
Resolutions are made by the convention committees based on information from the BORAM and gathered from ministry representatives. Then the convention delegates will have an opportunity to discuss and vote on the resolution.
Is any preparation needed by the delegate?
YES. Each delegate will be sent a copy of the BORAM that they should read prior to the convention. It will also be available online. It is the primary source of the convention’s business, containing various departmental reports as well as formal petitions to the synod convention called “memorials.” A memorial outlines a particular item of business for consideration by the delegates. It is important to know what’s in the BORAM ahead of the convention to better understand what is being presented and discussed.
Since delegates are the representatives from their geographical areas, they are asked to know the views of those they represent and are responsible to make sure those views get heard. Delegates, please attend district, conference, or circuit meetings where the BORAM will be discussed. (Your district president will inform you of the dates. Most districts hold their meetings in late May or in June.)
Where can I find the Book of Reports and Memorials?
A copy of the BORAM will be mailed to each delegate prior to the convention. It will also be available online.
How does a delegate register?
All convention delegates must register online at wels.net/2019synodconvention. The deadline to register is May 15.
The delegate fee of $275 helps to offset the cost of the convention. It is intended for this fee to be paid by your congregation. In order to register, you will be required to submit the payment via credit card. If using a personal card, please seek reimbursement from your calling body or congregation.
The Minnesota District has already paid the fee for all its delegates, so Minnesota District delegates will not be required to submit payment in order to register.
What does it cost to attend a convention?
The delegate fee of $275 helps to offset the cost of the convention. It is intended for this fee to be paid by the delegate’s congregation.
Some travel expenses will also be reimbursed, including economy air fare to MSP (Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport) and the cost of gasoline (with receipts) in lieu of mileage. Delegates should fill out the reimbursement form and submit it with the proper receipts.
Where do delegates stay?
Unless other arrangements are made, delegates will be assigned a room in the Martin Luther College dormitory. (There is no charge to stay on campus.)
Delegates can also stay off campus at a local hotel at their own expense. Delegates are responsible for making their own reservations.
Nearby Flandrau State Park also offers camping.
Are meals provided for the delegates?
Delegates will be provided all meals at the MLC cafeteria beginning with Monday supper and concluding with lunch on Thursday. Lunch on Monday and dinner on Thursday will be provided for delegates who need additional meals due to travel plans. Delegates should indicate their need for additional meals when they register.
Guests and visitors may purchase meal tickets at the cafeteria entrance.
Is there a dress code for the convention?
There is no specific dress code for the convention. Some delegates dress in sport coats and ties, and others wear shorts and sandals.
What should a delegate bring to the convention?
- A copy of the BORAM
- The delegate information booklet
- An electronic device (smartphone, tablet, laptop) and charging accessories.
- Pillow and fan (if staying in the dorm)
- Comfortable clothing and personal care items
Should delegates bring their personal electronic devices?
Yes, if possible, delegates should bring their own personal electronic device (a laptop, notebook tablet, or smartphone) with WiFi capabilities. In order to save time and money, the synod convention, for the first time, will be going almost entirely paperless. A majority of the convention materials will be made available electronically to delegates during the convention.
Charging stations will be available during the convention. Please clearly label any devices so nothing gets lost.
For those who don’t bring a personal electronic device, presentations and convention resolutions will be displayed on large screens located at the front of the convention floor. Two computer labs also will be available for those who want to access documents when the convention is not in session.
Is the delegate handbook online?
Yes. You can view the delegate book online.
What is the convention schedule?
The preliminary schedule will be posted online when it is available. Daily agendas will be updated as the convention proceeds.
What if I was supposed to attend, but now can’t?
If for any reason you are unable to attend the convention, please contact Carla Martin as soon as possible. Please do not find your own replacement, as all convention delegates must be certified by their district secretary.
Carla Martin, secretary to the president
I’m not a delegate. Can I still attend the convention?
Yes, we welcome your attendance. Visitors are not allowed on the convention floor, but visitors may watch the entire convention from the mezzanine seating area in the Martin Luther College gymnasium. Access to the mezzanine is by staircase only. If you cannot climb stairs but wish to attend as a visitor, please stop at the Help Desk at the convention and special arrangements will be made for you.
I’m not attending the convention, but want to keep up to date. Will information be available online?
The entire convention will be streamed live. Find a link at the official synod convention website, wels.net/2019synodconvention.
This website will also include resolutions, election results, pictures, articles, some presentations, and more. Daily editions of the Together e-newsletter and Together video updates will be produced and sent to Together subscribers as well as posted on the convention website. Subscribe to Together for synod convention updates.
Social media posts at facebook.com/welslutherans will bring up-to-the-minute updates.
Convention recaps will also be included in the September WELS Connection and the October edition of Forward in Christ magazine.
Interested in attending choir concerts, leadership conferences, and retreats? View upcoming synod-level events and attend an event in your area.