Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
So how was the District Convention?
Glad you asked. Overall I was a little disappointed with the convention because of a growing trend in Synod to turn conventions into mission festivals. Like it or not, conventions are business meetings and when they are in session, the business of the Church, no matter how dull, boring, and ugly it may be, needs to be discussed. Opening and closing devotions, Bible study, and a communion service need to be present, but mission moments and other reports that do not contribute to the business of the day need to be set aside.
That does not mean that the convention was a waste of time by any means. We did have a very passionate debate on a resolution, brought by our circuit and others, regarding TCN (Transforming Churches Network). The resolution ultimately failed, but a needed discussion was conducted, and the practices of the organization are being looked at closely by Synod.
Several elections were held. President Keith Kohlmeier was re-elected for a final term; due to term limits, a new District President will be elected at the next convention. Rev. Rick Rostek of Immanuel, Norton was elected our Regional Vice- President. Rev. Phil Hoppe of St. Paul’s, Ellsworth was elected our Circuit Counselor. Rev. Larry McDermott of First, Plainville was elected to the nominating committee for the 2015 District Convention.
One special hi-lite of the convention was LCMS President Matthew Harrison presenting to the convention on the work of the Synod since he was elected. Much has been done, and continues to be done in terms of the restructuring passed by the 2010 Synod convention, and we are truly blessed that this work is being led by President Harrison.
On Friday evening, President Harrison conducted a question and answer session, and unlike previous conventions, the questions were not submitted beforehand, but rather came straight from the floor. Several people asked about President Harrison’s testimony before Congress on the Heath & Human Services mandate regarding religious institutions and their health insurance providers providing access to birth control, and what the fallout has been from that. Concern was also expressed over the ongoing difficulty of being the Church in a world that increasingly wants nothing to do with the Church.
So what happens now?
Three years can be a long time, but it can also be a very short time. Many challenges were discussed at this convention, while others were seemingly passed along for someone else to deal with. The next District convention in 2015 may very well see a changing of the guard in terms of new people assuming new offices, particularly with a new District President. But it is important to note, that Rome was not built in a day, and neither will a District be completely transformed in the course of a three day convention.
I opened this letter saying that conventions were business meetings and not mission festivals. I close by saying that the reason we have these business meetings of the Church is so that the mission might continue in between the conventions. We have elected officers who will serve and guide the congregations in best reaching others with the Gospel. We have passed resolutions that will create opportunities for the Gospel to be proclaimed in places it was not before. We have commended the work and efforts of those who over the previous three years have led the way in promoting the mission. During the next three years, the results of the three days in Topeka in June 2012, will be felt in many and various ways, all done with the intent of sharing the love of Jesus to those in our midst.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt