In Part 1 I discussed some terms not commonly used among the laity, and in this post I’m going to begin a review of Dr Stahlke’s thesis. Dr Stahlke’s original document consisted of 95 Thesis – what follows is my “Readers Digest Condensed Version.” I then broke the document up into sections and will add my comments after each section. In a few places I’ve added a comment for clarification or to add extra information and (they look like this ANO).
The sections are:
- The Establishment of Authority (Part 2)
- LCC and its Operation (Part 2)
- A Sudden Change in Course (Part 3)
- The Working Group Proposal vs the Articles and Bylaws (Part 3)
- Questions, Questions, and more Questions (Part 4)
- Closing Thoughts (Part 4)
- SIC: Synod in Convention
- CCMS: Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure
The Establishment of Authority:
- All authority on heaven and earth is derived from God,
- This authority is manifested through the Two Kingdoms – the left-hand earthly kingdom of laws, regulations, justice, and righteousness, and the right-hand spiritual kingdom of the church,
- One of the ways we express our collective faith is to join together as a community of believers to form a local congregation. Groups of congregations then come together to form an overall organization we call LCC.
- We as believers are subjects of both kingdoms – this means we are subject to both tables of the law of Moses as well as the civil government,
- Individual churches and LCC as corporations also have an obligation to submit to civil government by incorporating, creating and filing operating documents, and submitting to any other such regulatory obligations as the civil gov’t may establish.
This is pretty standard stuff which I’ve discussed in Part 1.
LCC and its Operation:
- The government authorizes LCC as a corporation to determine a) qualifications for membership, b) its bylaws and operating principles, and c) how it will conduct its business subject to applicable civil law.
- To that end, LCC established the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure (CCMS) and charged it with reviewing LCC’s overall structure and make recommendations to Synod in Convention (SIC),
- in addition, all officers and related personnel are accountable to SIC, and any decisions they make can be appealed to SIC,
- In 2016 the CCMS executed on its mandate by initiating a comprehensive restructuring process for LCC with the goal of presenting a revised structure to the 2017 SIC,
- To that end the CCMS retained the services of a organizational governance Consultant and together they engaged the LCC membership to design a new organizational structure that would merge the powers and responsibilities currently given to three District corporations to one Synodical corporation,
- After 20 months of work the CCMS was preparing to present the structural proposal to the BOD in order to get their support,
ANO – some notes of information:
- The Central, ABC, and East District votes asking to restructure were in part on the recommendation of the Synod BOD. Later “isn’t that amazing” statements to the effect that Districts somehow all-at-the-same-time decided to ask Synod to restructure leave out the behind-the-scenes work Synod was doing to move this forward.
- Sept 13, 2016 Canadian Lutheran states that restructuring was “mandated by the three Districts and the Board of Directors of Synod” while the Dec 13, 2016 Canadian Lutheran states “requests of the three Districts in convention and the LCC Board of Directors.” Request is more accurate because structure and approval of any proposed changes to the governing documents is the purview of the CCMS. Beyond that all anyone else can do is either (a) ask the CCMS to take a course of action or (b) submit changes in the form of amendments to the governing documents for the CCMS to clear for consideration by the SIC. Nothing I’ve seen in the handbook provides a way for anyone other than SIC to mandate the CCMS take a course of action or gives it veto power over a CCMS decision / recommendation.
From the 2014 Handbook:
2.103 Functions – In the area of constitutional matters the Commission shall a. examine all reports and overtures to the Synod asking for amendments to the Statutory Bylaws, the Constitution, and these Bylaws, or which in any manner affect the Act, Statutory Bylaws, Constitution, or these Bylaws, to determine their agreement in content and language with the Act, Statutory Bylaws, Constitution and these Bylaws
2.104 (added because it’s not in the handbook): In the area of structure, the Commission shall: a. conduct a continuing review of the organizational structure of the Synod, including its districts and its circuits, and make proposals to succeeding Conventions for improvement; b. act as a resource committee to convention floor committees on all proposals to alter the synodical structure; c. serve as a resource committee to districts with regard to organizational structure
XIV. AMENDMENTS TO SYNODICAL BYLAWS
14.01 How Made
Amendments to these Synodical Bylaws may be made provided they are:
a. not contrary to the Act, the Statutory Bylaws or the Constitution; b. presented in writing to a Convention; c. specified as an amendment and considered by a convention floor committee; d. submitted to the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure for clearance prior to presentation to the Convention; e. adopted by the affirmative vote of a majority of the delegates present and voting.