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Woodbury’s Nadasdy elected Minnesota South District president

The Rev. Dean Nadasdy (left), pastor of Woodbury Lutheran Church (LCMS), Woodbury, addresses the Minnesota South District convention after being elected to a three-year term as president. Metro Lutheran photo: Bob Hulteen

The Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) elected a new president of the district for the first time in 21 years. The Rev. Dean Nadasdy, pastor of Woodbury Lutheran Church in Woodbury, Minnesota, was chosen to lead the district by voting members at its 76th convention at Concordia University in St. Paul on Friday, June 15. The Minnesota South District includes 250 congregations in the lower third of Minnesota, while the Minnesota North District includes the remaining congregations in the state.

Nadasdy, in the process of retiring as pastor of Woodbury Lutheran, was one of three candidates for district president. He won with 211 of the 379 votes (55.7 percent) cast on the second ballot. The Rev. Klemet Preus, Glory of Christ Lutheran Church, Plymouth, received 168 votes. The Rev. Larry Griffin, Trinity Lutheran Church, Janesville, was eliminated after the first ballot by virtue of having the least number of votes on that ballot. (Griffin’s votes were distributed evenly between Nadasdy and Preus on the second ballot.)

“Those [of you] who didn’t vote for me, I covet your prayers,” Nadasdy told delegates. “I hope you will come to know me as biblical and confessional.” He later added, “I think it’s wise of you to pick a guy as old as me to follow the guy who has served for so long.”

Nadasdy, 64, will succeed the Rev. Lane Seitz, who served seven terms as president of the district. The Woodbury pastor will assume the office of president on September 1.

The Rev. Lane Seitz has served as president of the Minnesota South District LCMS for 21 years.

“I think it’s wise of you to pick a guy as old as me to follow the guy who has served for so long,” said President-elect Dean Nadasdy.

Nadasdy has been senior pastor since 1977, and at Woodbury since 1999. He has also served as First Vice President of the district 1991-1997 and 2003-2004. He has been a member of the board of directors of the district, as well as chair of the district’s Missions Committee, Social Ministry Committee, and District Youth Board. He has also been elected Third (2004-2007) and Fourth (2007-2010) Vice President of the national church body.

Among Nadasdy’s plans for the Minnesota South District are a commitment to develop opportunities for district-wide evangelism and mission efforts and continuing education and training for the district’s church workers and lay people. “Serving the congregations of the Minnesota South District, I would … encourage greater harmony in the district as we celebrate our unity in Christ and enhance our concord in confession and practice … [and] serve as a spokesman in our community and region for our biblical values,” Nadasdy explained to voting participants.

Delegates also address overtures and resolutions

In other convention business, delegates voted to provide $2 million in relocation fees to University Lutheran Chapel, the University of Minnesota congregation and campus ministry site. The Minnesota South District had sold the property which ULC had been using since 1954 in an effort to expand campus ministry at other universities.

Minnesota South District convention delegates listen to their newly elected president.

After a fairly contentious debate over several sessions, the Rev. Daryl Gehlbach, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Spring Lake Park, proposed a substitute amendment giving ULC $2 million in relocation expenses.

ULC had subsequently filed suit against the district in an attempt to halt the property’s sale to Dolan Construction, claiming the district did not own the property. Facing legal battles if forced to renege on its contract, the district proposed an overture (resolution) to provide $250,000 to help ULC relocate.

After a fairly contentious debate over several sessions, the Rev. Daryl Gehlbach, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Spring Lake Park, proposed a substitute amendment giving ULC $2 million in relocation expenses. In a close vote (181-165), delegates agreed to this proposal.

Following this decision, delegate Mark Neumann made a motion imploring ULC to accept the payment and discontinue its lawsuit “in the spirit of mutual repentance.”

Addressing the resolution of this matter, LCMS President Matthew Harrison told the delegates in his address to the convention, “What happened here in the last hour makes me proud of the Missouri Synod.”

Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod President Matthew Harrison addresses the 76th Annual District Convention at Concordia University, St. Paul, on June 15.

Delegates also overwhelming voted to support the Marriage Amendment that will go before voters in November. The amendment will alter the state constitution, affirming that marriage is only constituted between one man and woman.

Also elected to district positions were the Rev. Gerhard Bode (Peace Lutheran Church, Hutchinson) as First Vice President, the Rev. Robert Gehrke (South Shore Trinity Lutheran Church, White Bear Lake) as Second Vice President, the Rev. Mark Rosenau (Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Owatonna) as Third Vice President, and the Rev. Mark Tewes (Living Christ Lutheran Church, Chanhassen) as Fourth Vice President. The Rev. William Otte, Trinity Lutheran Church in Rochester, was elected district secretary.

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