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Conference of Presidents 2019 winter meeting

The Conference of Presidents held its winter meeting last week. Topics for discussion and decisions made include:

  • The COP will work with the Commission on Congregational Counseling to develop guidelines for congregations that are beginning the process of closing or merging. Guidelines will be made available upon request from the district president.
  • The COP is developing a tool to assist congregations that are exploring alternative approaches to congregational structure and polity.
  • The COP expressed support for the plans of Congregational Services to offer two programs to replace Mission and Ministry Sunday in fall 2019. One program, the 10 for 10 stewardship program, will offer a ten-week emphasis on whole life Christian stewardship. The work we do together as a synod will be highlighted as one part of the program. The other, the Welcome Home initiative featuring a “Welcome Home Sunday” on Oct. 27, will help congregations to seek to regain those who have strayed from active congregational membership.
  • The COP expressed support for a WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership being planned by Congregational Services for Jan. 21-23, 2020, in Chicago, Ill. The conference will emphasize leadership that is rooted in the beliefs of confessional Lutheranism.
  • The COP discussed the importance of encouraging congregations in their efforts to increase Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO). The continuation of vital synodical ministries depends on increasing CMO support from our congregations.
  • The COP has begun an effort to review the synod’s bylaws dealing with discipline of called workers and congregations, as well as the appeals process. The COP will complete its work in time for the revised process and bylaws to be reviewed by the 2020 district conventions.
  • The COP Doctrine Committee will schedule regular meetings with the Doctrine Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and with the faculty of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.
  • The COP expressed support for plans to form an Institute of Lutheran Apologetics (defending the Christian faith and teachings).
  • The COP reviewed the pastoral vacancies and noted that the overall vacancy rate has remained about the same since its last meeting.
  • The COP expressed its support for an effort by Congregational Services to assemble a “Rural Ministry Task Force” that will provide ministry resources for rural and small-town congregations.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder

[This is a correction of a previously published item dealing with the teacher calling window.]
A special committee is studying the issue of the calling window for teachers. Currently the calling window runs from November 1 through the first week of June. The committee is considering a change in the window, moving it to the first Sunday in October through the first Sunday in April. The COP was asked for input and indicated that it would approve of such a change if proposed. The committee has not yet made a final decision. It will continue to seek input and will bring its recommendation to the COP at a future meeting.

Your gifts, God’s blessings 2019

“Your gifts, God’s blessings: An annual report to our members” is now available online. The 2019 report highlights the blessings that God has showered on WELS through the gifts of its members.

Learn more about

  • ten Martin Luther College students who volunteered with WELS Christian Aid and Relief to help with the cleanup and rebuilding of Amazing Grace, Panama City, Fla., following Hurricane Michael;
  • Libby Redfield, a young WELS member who was born blind and is blessed by Christian materials from WELS Mission for the Visually Impaired;
  • Wisick Jeffrey, a pastor for the Lutheran Church of Central Africa—Malawi, who was censured by his family for turning his back on his Muslim heritage; and
  • Manaporn Phaosricharoen, a college student who sought answers about God’s Word from Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel, Madison, Wis.

The report includes photos of Christian brothers and sisters around the world, stories of faith, updates on WELS’ ministry, and a summary of WELS’ financial picture. Rev. Kurt Lueneburg, director of WELS Ministry of Christian Giving, likens WELS’ annual report to a family photo album, personal investment report, and prayer list, all wrapped into one.

“The report is part photo album with pictures of fellow Christians and brief narratives that vividly chronicle the gospel ministry Jesus enabled us to conduct together last year,” says Lueneburg. “The document also, like an investment report, describes God’s blessings on our combined talents, testimonies, time, treasures, and all other gifts we gratefully offered our Savior. Then, the report is a prayer list identifying reasons for which we praise, thank, and serve our Lord, as well as many initiatives that we ask our heavenly Father to guide, bless, and support in the coming year.”

To view the report online, visit wels.net/annualreport. Print versions of the report will be sent to every WELS congregation and to synod donors. Additional print versions are available from Northwestern Publishing House for free. Visit nph.net or call 800-662-6022.

Want to learn even more about how God is blessing your gifts to WELS? Schedule a Christian giving counselor to present a PowerPoint presentation to your congregation that summarizes the information in the annual report. Contact the Ministry of Christian Giving at 800-827-5482 for more information.

Announcing sixth annual WELS Night at Miller Park

Save the date for the sixth annual WELS Night at Miller Park. Mark your calendars and plan to join thousands of WELS members for the Milwaukee Brewers’ game against the San Francisco Giants on Friday, July 12, 2019. Game time is 7:10 p.m.

The Brewers are offering WELS members up to 50 percent off the price of tickets. The pricing is Field Outfield Box for $21/ticket, Loge Outfield Box for $17/ticket, or Terrace Reserved for $9/ticket. The discounted tickets for WELS Night at Miller Park will be available to purchase online in March at brewers.com/wels. More details will be released in the March 5 issue of Together.