LCC Restructuring: What If the Constitution Fails its Confirmation Vote?

and in this episode of “As The Synod’s World Turns….” 

Canadian Lutheran’s article asking for Regional pastor nominations has an interesting comment from “canluth”:

Up to the point in time where the decision was made to set aside the Act and Bylaws document developed by the CCMS and their consultant, the entire document would have been sent to the member congregations in what would have been essentially a referendum on the entire restructuring project. However when the decision was made to bring the changes through amendments to our Handbook, we were bound to the amending formulas of the three documents that make up the Handbook.

The inference of this final sentence is incorrect. Passage of the Acts and Bylaws  was setup as an all-or-nothing ratification by including a clause that only allowed the changes to take effect once the amendments to the Constitution succeeded their confirmation vote. I documented this in my article “A Matter of Transition“:

15.1 Repeal, Replacement, and Amendments of Constitution and Bylaws
1. Repeal and Replacement of Bylaws
The Statutory and Synodical Bylaws made under the Constitution of Lutheran Church Canada are repealed and replaced. 
Cleared by the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure this 21st day of June, 2017.
2. Force and Effect
This Article shall be of no force and effect in the event the necessary approval to the amendments of the Constitution as required by Article XIV Amendments to the Constitution are not given within the time specified.

This is how the Acts and Bylaws supported an “all or nothing” transition.

failsafe_opennightmare_fc_470x264_071520161133The working group knew this and could’ve easily done the same thing. But they didn’t, Synod had no fail-safe, and now “canluth” appears to be trying to use the public’s general lack of knowledge of how the rules work in an effort to say otherwise.

Continuing “canluth”s comment:

The congregational vote is by no means to be seen as a meaningless exercise! Should the amendments to the Constitution not be ratified the Board of Directors will have a difficult decision to make and one possible answer to the dilemma would be to set aside the changes to structure for the rest of the term and revisit the issue in 2021.

The notion that the BOD could set aside changes that only Synod in convention can do sounds awful fishy. They may have the powers of Synod in convention, but those powers are limited by Synod in convention – and barring some kind of “deeper magic” nothing I’m aware of would allow them to effectively render most of the 2017 convention null and void. When 1st VP Astley stated “this is our structure for the next four years, or until Synod calls a special convention” – that didn’t leave an opening for the Synod BOD to decide to change things. And if they can, that means 1st VP Astley’s statement was incorrect and / or misleading.

But lets suppose the BOD could set aside those changes – that means we’d be back to a three year convention cycle, we’d still need the Districts, all the other Synodical officials eliminated in the new structure would need to be restored, etc. It also means that they’d have to find some way to get D&O insurance – or highly risk-tolerant people to sit on the Synod BOD.

What might work would to add some work just before each 2018 District convention. My idea would be to hold a special “Synodical convention” of the members attending that District convention. As long as quorum was made and all the Districts had sufficient goodwill to trust that one of them wouldn’t try to take advantage of the others, these “mini-Synodical convention”s could have a set agenda, vote on the necessary changes, make those changes of no effect unless all the other Districts passed the same motion(s), and then adjourn. This would avoid the cost of a large single  convention while adhering to the Synodical “rule of law”.  (This idea was based on an article I did “A Cost Effective Special Convention.”)

For an idea of what kind of situation Synod is in now and would continue to be in if the Constitution fails its confirmation vote read my articles Restructuring Order of Precedence and Sweating the Restructuring Details.


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