National Lutheran News

Kieschnick re-elected LCMS president

The incumbent needed 50% for a first ballot win; he got 52.3%

Delegates to the 63rd Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) re-elected Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick as their leader. Voters returned him to office for the third time. Presidents of the 2.5 million-member church body serve three-year terms.

Kieschnick, 64, was elected on the first ballot on the opening day of the convention (Sunday, July 15). Athough in-cumbents often have easy sailing when seeking re-election in most denominations, nothing is ever a sure thing at an LCMS convention. Kieschnick’s support was less than overwhelming. He received 644 votes — 52.3%. In so doing, he bested four other candidates and avoided sending the process into multiple ballots.

In second place was the Rev. John W. Wohlrabe, Jr., of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He received 514 votes (41.8%).
Others on the ballot included the Rev. Wallace R. Schulz of Augusta, Missouri (27 votes, 2.2%); the Rev. Daniel Preus, Saint Louis, Missouri (23 votes, 1.9%); and Dr. William R. Diekelman of Saint Louis, Missouri (23 votes, 1.9 %).
Diekelman got another term as first vice president. Second through fifth vice presidents elected were, respectively:

* Dr. Paul L. Maier, Kalamazoo, Michigan;

* Dr. John Wohlrabe;

* Dr. Dean w. Nadasdy, Woodbury, Minnesota;

* Dr. David D. Buegler, Avon, Ohio.

The five vice presidents serve as a praesidium, an advisory group for Kieschnick.

Kieschnick, a native of Houston, Texas, is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary (then located in Springfield, Illinois, now in Fort Wayne, Indiana). In 1996 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Concordia University, Austin, Texas.

Before becoming LCMS president in 2001, Kieschnick served 10 years as president of the LCMS Texas District. Previously, he worked with the Lutheran Foundation of Texas, first as director of development (1986-88) and then as executive director (1988-91). He also has served as pastor of three congregations, one in Mississippi and two in Texas. Between 1998 and 2001, he served as chairman of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations.

The LCMS national convention met from July 14-19 under the theme “One Message — Christ! His Love is Here for You!”

The ELCA will elect a presiding bishop in Chicago in early August. Dr. Mark Hanson is expected to be re-elected.