“One in Christ.” That is the theme for the 63rd biennial convention of our synod, when 400 delegates and 50 advisory members will meet at Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Mich., July 27-30.
It’s a fitting theme because it reminds us of who we are – sinners reunited with God and with each other. Together, we are united with God and with each other as members of his family. We confess a common faith, grounded in God’s Word. And we share a common mission to proclaim the saving gospel to a dying world.
It’s also a fitting theme because it identifies the one who creates and sustains this unity. Our oneness with God and with each other has been brought about only in Christ, only through his perfect life, his innocent death, and his powerful resurrection.
The convention is a time for us to review the blessings that God has worked in us and through us. It’s a time to see the opportunities God is placing in front of us. It’s a time when, as a synod, our representatives will make important and prayerful decisions regarding the work we do together.
At this convention, we will elect a synod president and second vice president. We will elect others to serve on various boards and commissions. We will adopt a ministry financial plan (budget) for 2015-2017, outlining how we plan to use the gifts that God provides to carry out the synod’s mission and ministry.
The convention essay, drawn from the convention theme and focused on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, will be delivered by First Vice President James Huebner. Prof. Paul Koelpin of Martin Luther College will deliver the opening sermon. There will be special presentations by missionaries and others who serve on our behalf.
The Ad Hoc Commission 2 has been working for two years to develop recommendations to improve various areas of the synod’s work. The commission will deliver its report to this convention for discussion and action.
The 2015 convention will also serve as the kick-off of the special synodwide offering (approved by the 2013 convention) to retire the synod’s consolidated capital debt. That debt was identified in 2007 and amounted to $22.4 million. In the years since, through an initial special offering and through regular payments, the debt will be less than $5 million by the time the convention meets. The special offering will be carried out under the same theme as the convention, “One in Christ.” Once it is retired, the funds used for debt repayment can be redirected to support gospel ministry.
The Book of Reports and Memorials, which contains all information regarding convention business, will be available online by May 1. The published hard copy book will be sent to called workers, congregations, and delegates during the week of May 11.
Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder