[From Messiah's July/August newsletter]
The Northwest District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod met in convention June 18-20 in Portland, OR. Each congregation in our district (which encompasses the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, and also the region of Hong Kong, China since we have a Lutheran congregation and school there) sends two voting delegates, one pastor and one layman. I planned to attend, but fell ill with a nasty stomach bug the day before the convention. Ron Pratt was the lay delegate from Messiah.
Probably the most significant event was the election of a new district president. The Rev. Paul Linneman was elected as our new district president, replacing the Rev. Warren Schumacher who is retiring. Pastor Linneman is currently pastor of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Tigard, OR and was the secretary of the Northwest District. Since, in our district, the office of president is a full-time position, Pastor Linneman will have to resign as pastor of Our Redeemer. Both he and the congregation will therefore need our prayers – he as our new president and Our Redeemer congregation as they begin their search for a new pastor. As you well know, we often keep our district president in our corporate prayers during Sunday Divine Services, and this will certainly continue.
There were very few resolutions considered on the floor. If you wish to read about what resolutions passed, you can see the convention newsletters posted on the bulletin board in the entryway or go to the Northwest District website by clicking HERE.
A substantial portion of the convention was spent discussing the proposals of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance (BRTFSSG). Over the last few years, this task force has been engaged in finding ways to streamline the way our synod does official business. Some of their proposals, in particular the ones which seek to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, have merit. Others are troublesome, such as giving larger congregations more votes and limiting the total number of delegates to national conventions. This is too large a topic to deal with in this space. If you are interested, you can see the current BRTFSSG proposals by clicking HERE. A well-thought out critique is offered by the Rev. Martin Noland HERE. Rev. Noland is the former director of the Concordia Historical Institute in St. Louis.
At the present, all the changes to our synod structure are only proposals. There is no final report yet. That will be presented and voted upon at our national convention in 2010. We will continue to keep you abreast on what is being proposed and what this means for the future of our synod and for Messiah Lutheran Church. In the meantime, pray that the Lord would continue to guide the task force so that God-pleasing decisions would be made that honor our Lord's mission. Problems that exist in a church body can never be solved by structural changes. Only the Holy Spirit can do that as He works through the Word of God to bring us to repentance if we have had any part in creating those problems.