Sunday, November 15, 2009
During a series of early November meetings, which included a planning conference, Lutheran Church–Canada’s Board of Directors assessed issues facing the church and conducted the church business assigned to it.
Decisions taken include:
• adopting eight strategic directions to assist all members of synod to further the mission of the church
• appointing Arnold Drung (Holy Cross, Kitchener) to the Board of Directors to complete the remaining term left vacant by the death of Dorothea Korcok
• appointing Harold Bosche (Trinity, Richmond, B.C.) to Lutheran Church Canada Financial Ministries Board of Directors
• tasking the Committee for Communication and Technology to review the practice of designated Sundays and report back to the board
• approving the appointment of a CUCA representative to the Worker Benefit Plans Board of Managers
• locating the 2011 Synodical Convention in the Hamilton/Burlington area of Ontario
The treasurer's report noted that Synod office is facing a possible three-figure deficit in funding the work synod does together including overseas missions. Treasurer Dwayne Cleave noted that most of the project shortfall comes as a result of the way funds flow from congregations to district to synod in the East District. Rather than a set amount remitted to synod, the district now sends a set percentage of mission support for the national church. Based on previous years' experience, the treasurer expected a decline of about $20,000. So far the shortfall is approaching $60,000 as East District congregational mission offerings have declined, in part due to the economic situation in Ontario.
Mr. Cleave also noted that the Central District is drawing on reserves to keep its commitment to synod. “We know the people of LCC are committed to the church’s mission of sharing the gospel,” the treasurer reported. ”As they receive the spiritual blessings of Word and Sacrament ministry, we pray they will continue to share their earthly blessings to ensure this type of ministry can continue in Canada and overseas.”
Friday morning's opening devotions, led by Second Vice-president Robert Krestick, included the installation of Rev. Thomas Kruesel (Bethany, Campbell River, B.C.) whom the board selected to serve as third vice-president, filling the vacancy left when Rev. Nolan Astley accepted a call to the East District.
The board also welcomed Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, synod’s recently-installed mission executive to his first meeting. Rev. Dr. Karl Keller, chairman of the board’s mission and social ministries committee reported that a second missionary in Costa Rica is already making an impact in his area and is hoping to begin another mission congregation. He also noted that when volunteer missionary Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan fulfils his commitment in Nicaragua next spring, the board should be prepared to call a missionary pastor who can serve in Chinandega.
The board's agenda also included reports from task forces currently working on cost-efficient seminary education, LCC's vicarage program and synod’s archives and cultural properties program.
Throughout the meeting directors discussed concerns about declining attendance, reduced funding of the work congregations, pastors and deacons do together and how the decision by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America impacts Lutherans in Canada.
The board will meet again in March 2010 or by conference call should the need arise.