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2002 Convention > News > Sunday Reports

Convention Approves Pastors with Alternate Training
by Paul A. Walrath and Sarah Mann

On Sunday afternoon, delegates came to agreement on the most-discussed issue of the convention. They approved a resolution to provide for the certification, ordination, and installation of Pastors with Alternate Training (PAT). The resolution enables LCC, through its Council of Presidents and seminaries, to begin working on ways of addressing the concept.

In response to a resolution adopted by the 1999 Convention, the Task Force for Special Needs Ministry of Word and Sacrament examined solutions to a major challenge facing Synod - the challenge of providing pastoral care to congregations situated in isolated communities, that hold worship services in different languages, and whose economic conditions do not support a full-time pastor. Resolutions Committee chair Rev. Donald Schiemann confirmed that several such congregations and mission opportunities exist in each district

The proposal that LCC establish this special category of pastors was first introduced during Saturday morning's session. It sparked such extensive discussion that the matter was carried over to Sunday afternoon. During the debate, speakers showed concern about the type of education a PAT would receive, the curriculum for, and duration of training. A substitute resolution which attempted to bridge the gap between those who were supporting and those opposed to the resolution failed to gain the support of the delegates.

Before the original resolution was finally voted upon, convention chaplain Pastor Allan Scharlach led the delegates in a prayer asking for God's wisdom and guidance in voting. It was passed by a significant majority and the adoption was applauded.

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