OVERTURE TO CHANGE RULES RE CONVENTION COMMITTEES

 

WHEREAS, Holy Scripture makes no distinction between clergy and laymen:

                    One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.  Matthew 23:8

 

                    The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them, but it shall not be so among you.  Matthew 20:25-26, and,

 

WHEREAS, there is no provision in the LCMS Handbook on the structure of committees which are formed at a Synodical convention, that is the apportionment between clergy and lay people, nor is there any provision as to how committees shall conduct their business, and 

 

WHEREAS, there is a provision in the LCMS Handbook that District Conventions shall be governed by the By-laws adopted by the Synod for its convention, and

 

WHEREAS, since the LCMS Handbook is silent on how Synod shall form committees at a Synodical convention and conduct their business such has the result that there is no direction to a District as to how to form committees at a District Convention and how such committees will conduct their business, and

 

WHEREAS, at the 2000 District Convention of the PSWD the District President organized the committees with a majority of the persons on each of the committees working for the church, which clearly discriminated against the lay people of our church is a direct violation of Holy Scripture in that we are all equal in the Kingdom of God, and

 

WHEREAS, there is a definite need to establish in the LCMS Handbook how committees are to be formed at Synodical and District Convention, and how the committees are to perform their function so as to give life to the statement of our Lord that we clergy and layman are equal in the Kingdom of God,

 

NOW THERFORE,      Our congregation does hereby request that the LCMS Convention in 2004 and each District Convention in 2003 adopt the following recommendations:

(1)  Committees of a District or a Synodical Convention will have one clergyman, one commissioned minister and one lay person appointed by the District and/or Synodical President.  The balance of the minimum of ten members shall be selected from the names of lay delegates drawn from a hat.  The appointees of the District and/or Synodical President will provide needed assistance on matters of interest to the ongoing programs of the church but the decision of any action taken by the committee will be in the lay people of the committee selected at random and accordingly not beholden to the District or Synodical President who appointed them.

(2) That votes of the members of the committee shall be public and recorded by the chairman as a part of his report to the convention.

(3) That at any meeting of the committee, initial or otherwise, any person, delegate or otherwise, who is a member of an LCMS congregation should have the right to address the committee on Overtures which have been assigned to it.  A second or subsequent statement by a member to a committee shall be at the discretion of the chairman.

(4) At the initial meeting of a committee, the committee members shall elect the chairman.  Any meeting of a committee shall be preceded by a notice of at least two weeks of the intention to meet citing time and place.

(5) The so called Behnken rule should be abolished.  This rule is the means whereby a chairman of a convention can arbitrarily rule from the chair that a proposed amendment is a substitute, not an amendment, and then the proponent has two minutes to explain why the convention time should be consumed to take up the measure.  No part of the two minutes can be used to explain the merits of the proposal, only why it should be taken up.

      The existence of this rule is means whereby a committee chairman and the presiding officer at a convention can effectively keep buried in a committee a measure which a convention should discuss.  It is the means whereby an institution can sweep under the rug an issue which needs discussion in the church but is considered controversial or politically incorrect; and

 

FURTHER,  that the Bylaws of the Pacific Southwest District be amended at the District Convention in 2003 and that Committees organized at the 2003 Pacific Southwest District Convention be consistent with the foregoing structure.  And further that the LCMS Convention in 2004 amend the By-laws of the LCMS to provide for the foregoing structure.


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