National Lutheran News

2011 WELS convention brighter than 2009

The agenda of the 2009 Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod national convention was dominated by financial struggles, with difficult decisions about budget and the real possibility of closing schools. In the end, the convention decided to concentrate financial saving through bureaucratic restructuring.

The new systems must have worked, according to David Sauer, a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and a delegate to the synodical convention, because the agenda this year was much more relaxed, allowing for times of fellowship and worship.

Rev. Mark Schroeder

The re-election of the Rev. Mark Schroeder as synodical president may also indicate overall satisfaction of the church body. Schroeder was first elected in 2007, and is now in his second four-year term as president. (Prior to his initial election as synodical president, Schroeder served as president of Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, Wisconsin.

In his report to congregations, Schroeder addressed WELS’ financial status: “Delegates approved a ministry financial plan for the next two years that will make possible the opening of four to six new home missions, the expansion of staffing and programs in our world mission fields, the continued programs of called worker training at our ministerial education schools, and a modest increase in synodical salaries (2 percent and 2.5 percent in the next two years following two years of wage freezes). …

“The synod’s capital debt has been reduced from $22.4 million in 2007 to $11.6 million today. The budget provides for continuing payments to eliminate the synod’s capital debt in eight years.”

Delegates discuss NIV acceptability

Delegates also reviewed a proposal regarding the New International Version (NIV) Bible. Schroeder reported that “after working for nearly a year, the Translation Evaluation Committee reported to the convention its initial conclusion that the revised NIV can be acceptable for use in synodical publications.” He also acknowledged that some delegates expressed reservations about the revised NIV and preferred other options.

The translation committee did not make a final recommendation to the convention, and no determination was made. Instead, delegates decided to use a universal ballot at the 2012 district conventions.

Sauer, a member of the board of directors of Metro Lutheran, explained that this means that two-thirds of all the delegates to district conventions across the nation must support use of the NIV, if that is the committee’s recommendation, in order for its adoption by the synod.

In addition, delegates recommended appointment of a special committee to investigate the feasibility of WELS producing a new confessional Lutheran Bible translation.

Tags: , , , , , , ,