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.
Where is the convention?
Luther Preparatory School (LPS)
1300 Western Ave. Watertown, WI 53094
When is the convention?
Monday, July 26–Wednesday, July 28, 2021
An orientation session for all delegates will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 26, in the gymnasium. An opening worship service will follow that evening at 6:30 p.m. on campus at the Luther Preparatory School (LPS) chapel. The convention ends Wednesday afternoon with closing worship at the LPS chapel at 3:30 p.m.
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.
Due to current government restrictions on group meeting sizes, only the chairmen, secretaries, and two designated laymen from each floor committee will be attending the convention in person this year, along with a limited number of advisory delegates. The rest of the delegates will attend virtually by watching the livestream.
What does a delegate do at the convention?
Delegates will be assigned to a floor 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.
Floor committees will meet via video conferencing prior to the convention. Committee chairmen will contact their members via e-mail to set up these meetings and tell members how to join. All resolutions and reports will be prepared before the convention takes place.
Floor committees will also discuss broader issues such as the ministry financial plan, memorials, bylaw changes, and the pension issue. Synodical area of ministry advisors (representatives) will attend the appropriate floor committee virtual meetings and present any necessary information and answer questions.
In addition, convention delegates are responsible for electing members of synod leadership and members of boards and committees representing WELS ministries. Elections this year will take place electronically prior to the convention. Ballots, position descriptions, and a brief biographical sketch of each nominee are posted online.
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.
Is any preparation needed by the delegate?
YES. Each delegate will be sent a copy of the Book of Reports and Memorials (BORAM) that they should read prior to the convention. It will also be available online after May 10. The BORAM 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 before floor committees meet 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. District president will inform delegates of the dates for district, conference, or circuit meetings where the BORAM will be discussed.
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 after May 10.
How does a delegate register?
All convention delegates—whether in person or virtual—must register online. The deadline to register is May 15.
What does it cost to attend a convention?
There is no delegate fee to attend the convention this year.
Some travel expenses will be reimbursed, including economy air fare 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.
What COVID-19 safety precautions will WELS follow for in-person delegates?
WELS will follow the current CDC and state guidelines and safety precautions when meeting on the LPS campus for the synod convention. Look for updates online and in future mailings.
Where do delegates stay?
Unless other arrangements are made, in-person delegates will be assigned a room in the Luther Preparatory School 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.
Are meals provided for the delegates?
Delegates will be provided all meals at the LPS cafeteria beginning with Monday supper and concluding with dinner on Wednesday. No food and beverage expenses will be reimbursed.
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. The gymnasium where the convention is held is air-conditioned.
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.
- 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. A majority of the convention materials will be made available electronically to delegates prior to or during the convention.
Please clearly label any devices so nothing gets lost.
Is the delegate handbook online?
Yes. View the delegate book online.
What is the convention schedule?
The convention agenda is posted online but is subject to change.
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?
Due to the uncertainty of rules and restrictions that may be in place when the convention meets, guests will not be allowed to attend this convention. Guests may tune in online via the livestream.
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/2021synodconvention.
This website will also include resolutions, election results, pictures, articles, some presentations, and more. Together, the synod’s e-newsletter, will highlight important decisions and cover major events at the convention. 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 September edition of Forward in Christ magazine.
More information for the delegates regarding travel and housing logistics is available in the delegate booklet, available online.
Contact WELS for additional questions.
Interested in attending choir concerts, leadership conferences, and retreats? View upcoming synod-level events and attend an event in your area.