LCC: Electing Regional Pastors by Breaking the “Rule of Law”

Recently an article was posted to the Canadian Lutheran looking for nominations for the new Regional Pastor positions. One commenter asked how Synod could be voting for these positions when the constitutional changes haven’t been ratified yet. (Apparently these people missed the memo that Bylaw changes take place with immediate effect with no confirmation vote by the congregations.)

The article author responds:

The Statutory Bylaws, passed by the Convention with an overwhelming majority, are now the “rule of law” as we move forward. 

Well…almost. Synod unilaterally decided that if the wording of a document voted on and adopted by the convention wasn’t their intent they could delete or alter parts of it and make that adulterated document the “rule of law”.

They are the legal structure by which the Synod is now required to operate. The call for nominations for regional positions conforms with the new bylaws and the prescribed timeline.

I beg to disagree – the Synod documents do not allow for the placement of Regional Pastors outside of Synod in convention. This means any attempt to follow a different course is contrary to the purported “rule of law”. To restate two earlier articles  I wrote on this topic (first, second):

  1. The Statutory Bylaws (16.06) specifically mandate that Synod follow the Synodical Bylaws when electing clergy to the regional pastor positions.
  2. The Synodical Bylaws (1.37d) specifically define a regional pastor as someone elected at a convention and (3.01 a) mandates how these elections will take place commencing with the 2021 convention.
  3. Because regional pastors must be elected commencing with the 2021 convention and no provision is made for filling a vacancy in this position Synod has effectively barred itself from appointing or electing clergy to these positions at any other time.
  4. If the regional pastor positions cannot be filled until the 2021 convention, it then follows that any duties given to a regional pastor to perform cannot take place.

Continuing –

A negative vote regarding the Constitution would not change the fact that these regional individuals and entities are required under the 2017 Statutory Bylaws to be elected at the 2018 District Conventions.

While Regional Pastors are required under the new structure neither the Statutory Bylaws nor Synodical Bylaws make any provision for electing them at a District Convention. (I’m open to correction based on these two documents – if I’m missing something please contact me and drop me a line.)

By adopting Resolution 17.01.05 the Convention authorized the Synod to assume the work previously handled by the districts.

Here’s what Resolution 17.01.05 says:

…to discontinue working with the 3 district corporations (the Alberta-British Columbia District, the Central District and the East District), to separately deliver services to the members of LCC as of January 1, 2019.

From where I’m sitting synod in convention has shot itself in a vital body part. The Bylaws make it impossible to properly place regional pastors into office until 2021 while Synod is mandated to stop using Districts to provide its services as of Jan 1, 2019.

To continue:

The vote currently underway is to bring LCC’s Constitution in line with the Bylaws which are already in effect as adopted by delegates to the 2017 LCC Convention.

And if the confirmation vote fails…? Then what?

Update 2018-03-28:  I’ve gotten comments that Resolution 17.01.04a enables the Districts to nominate and election Regional Pastors. However, in order to be of effect a resolution has to be within the bounds set out by Synod’s governing documents. Since those documents make no provision for an election before 2021 or even filling a vacancy – Synod is stuck.

11 thoughts on “LCC: Electing Regional Pastors by Breaking the “Rule of Law”

Add yours

  1. Hi ANO, have you petitioned the CCMS for a formal opinion on this? Since they are the group tasked with interpreting the Constitution and Bylaws (both in the old ones and the new), they would be the entity that could actually provide answers to these concerns.


    1. I report and discuss current events and that’s as far as I go. If someone were to ask for an opinion I’ll gladly report on and discuss the results here.


    2. One thought is that the CCMS has near-legislative powers – someone could ask for a ruling on the synodical documents and that ruling would be binding until at least the next convention. If they somehow determined that electing regional pastors before 2021 was supported by the constitutions, then that would be the “rule of law” as it were. It’d effectively be legislating from the bench though.


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