Dear Friends in Christ,
I was blessed in July to spend 5 days with Betsy and some of the high school members of the congregation at Higher Things in Minnesota. I also was blessed to spend 10 days on vacation with my dear wife. I’m also thankful to have been able to spend a few days at the Bugenhagen Conference, which brought together pastors from throughout the country to hear some presentations and talk much about various aspects of pastoral care and practice.
In the midst of all that, I attended the Central Illinois District Convention as the congregation’s pastoral delegate (Corey Wiegand was the lay delegate). I want to update you on the matters that took place there.
- Rev. Mark Miller was re-elected to serve another 3 years as District President.
- Rev. Rick Milas and Rev. Mark Eddy were elected as Vice-Presidents of the District.
- Rev. Michael Mohr was re-elected as District Secretary, and Rev. James Stuenkel re-elected as Assistant Secretary.
- Mr. Dale Dirks was re-elected as District Treasurer, and Mr. James Frazee elected as District Financial Secretary.
- Rev. Jason Braaten, Rev. Michael Burdick, Rev. Pablo Dominguez, Rev. Michael Schuermann, Mrs. Jill Gerberding, Mr. Nathan Landskroener, Mr. Tom Blessman, Mr. Wayne Dietrich, Mr. Roger Garlisch, and Mr. Larry Wachtel were elected to the CID Board of Directors.
- Rev. Peter Glock, Rev. Michael Koschmann, Mr. Shawn Hoffman, Mr. Dan Yagow, Mr. Tom Blessman, and Mr. Matt Putnam were elected to the 2021 District Nominations Committee.
- Rev. Timothy Hahn, Rev. Kent Umbarger, and Mr. Ed Schoenbaum were elected to the Congregational Constitution, Bylaws, and Handbook Committee.
There were a total of 20 Resolutions considered by the Convention. Many were of the sort to commend individuals or organization for their work. I particular want to highlight two of those, for Mr. Glenn Goeres and Rev. Joel Cluver, both long-time District workers (Education and Congregational Life; and Missions, Evangelism, Human Care, and Stewardship, respectively). Rev. Cluver has retired and moved away, and Mr. Goeres retired but quickly became ill and has since fallen asleep in our Lord Jesus Christ. I encourage you to offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for their faithful service to His Church in this place.
Several of the Resolutions were about financial stewardship or about careful stewardship of the resources that our Lord has blessed us with in the District. We as a congregation will spend some time talking about stewardship in the coming months as we move into a new phase in our construction and building updating/upkeep process. As we do that we will also need to discuss how we, a member congregation of the Synod, will keep striving to send some of our gifts on to the District and national Synod for use in mission and outreach efforts here and throughout the nation and world.
At the same time, the District will also be looking into some ways that we can work with another District, the Southern Illinois District, in providing some congregational services. This will be a bit of an experiment during the next three years.
There were several administrative resolutions having to do with updating certain District bylaws, the District Articles of Incorporation, and the Camp CILCA Articles of Incorporation. There were also some other miscellaneous overtures. The Late Overture that Good Shepherd submitted, asking the 2019 Synod Convention to consider appointing a Task Force to take another look at the structure of the Synod, failed by two votes after much discussion.
Finally, there was one contentious resolution considered by the District Convention: “To Address the Role of Laity in the Church Specific to Lay Readers/Lectors in the Public Service.” The essence of the Resolution was to 1) Ask the District President and Pastors of the District to study together what Scripture teaches about women’s participation in the reading of Scripture in the Divine Service or other public Services of the Church; 2) Following that study, for the Pastors of the District to study the same with their congregations; and 3) To ask the Synod in Convention to direct the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations to study the same, and to reconsider a previous Synod overture that seems to be permissive in regard to lay reading of Scripture in the public Services of the Church.
This Resolution was defeated, 58% to 42%. This is not good, for a couple reasons. First, the discussion of the Resolution made it clear that study is needed as we are apparently quite divided on this teaching in the District. Amongst some of the pastors, discussion has already taken place as to bringing a request to the Fall Pastors’ Conference for studying this topic together in a year’s time. Hopefully this will happen. A second reason this is not good is that Scripture is quite clear on this matter being contrary to God’s order and will, and the Resolution laid out the clear Scripture passages.
In my experience and discussions, I don’t think this is an issue here at Good Shepherd, for which I’m very thankful to our Lord. You dear Christians hear the word of our Lord and gladly receive it, even when it is hard. This is wonderful! At the same time, I know many of you travel and when you attend some other LCMS congregations you will encounter the practice of women reading the Scriptures in the public Service. Scripture teaches us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. As you encounter false practices, they can harm you, especially by indoctrinating you into thinking that it is OK for some practices to be contrary to the Word of God.
Also, the distinctiveness of men and women in general is under attack in our culture. Any differences or particular roles that are given to men or women are often downplayed if not denied outright. Sometime in the next year, I will teach on the Scriptural doctrine of Vocation. As part of this teaching we will talk about men and women and how we are the same and how we are different according to the Word of God. This won’t be the sole topic, but it is fundamental to the Created Order of our world. In the meantime, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about this topic. Please call or email, and we can make an appointment to sit down and chat. I also highly recommend the books Ladylike and Man Up!, both published by CPH, for faithful teaching on this topic. Several copies of each of these books are in Good Shepherd’s library.
Love in Christ,