Synod has just issued a statement on membership in Synod and the three soon-to-be-obsolete Districts. You can find the original statement in the “latest additions” section of the LCC website, this page of the main LCC website, or you can read the verbatim copy I’ve included below.
I would note that while Synod is making a big deal about church and clergy membership in the various Districts, the question of Districts relationship to Synod is distinct from the question of District’s relationship to each of its current members. Even if Synod severs all official ties with each of the Districts and declares that it wants nothing to do with them, I expect that to have little effect on any disputes that may arise between a given District and its current membership.
To put it another way – in my Not A Lawyer Opinion – the question of whether a District and its membership is effectively the same as a joint partnership with unlimited shared liability is separate and distinct from the question of each District’s relationship to Synod be it working under a MOU or other arrangement.
The statement follows:
Statement to Members of Lutheran Church-Canada
In an effort to clarify and address some of the questions that have surfaced in recent days relative to matters that will be proposed at the upcoming District conventions, please note the following.
The corporations known as: Lutheran Church-Canada, the Alberta-British Columbia District; Lutheran Church-Canada, Central District; and Lutheran Church Canada, East District are each governed by its own separate Act of Incorporation or Articles under the laws of the jurisdiction in which each corporation was established. Each corporation operates as an individual entity, with its own objects and its own membership, and is managed by its own Board of Directors elected pursuant to the Bylaws governing the corporation. Each of the corporations has provided in their respective Bylaws provisions setting out eligibility for membership in the corporation and the terms and conditions of maintaining membership.
Lutheran Church-Canada has been incorporated under An Act to incorporate Lutheran Church-Canada (June 4, 1959) and has enacted Statutory Bylaws to provide generally for the carrying on of the objects and purposes of Lutheran Church-Canada. Those Statutory Bylaws provide for two classes of membership, namely Member Congregations and Individual Members. Lutheran Church-Canada has also adopted a Synodical Constitution setting out the Confession to be embraced by its Members and establishing ecclesiastical prerequisites for membership as well as additional conditions of membership.
At its October 2017 convention, Lutheran Church-Canada (“LCC”) adopted a new governing structure that is to take full effect on January 1, 2019. Under this new structure, LCC has created a regional system to deliver additional services to its Members. As a result, many of the services provided by the three District corporations to their members will now be included in the work carried on by LCC for its Members.
It is not the intention of LCC to comment on the plans being advanced to the members of the District corporations as to how such corporations will operate or be governed after December 31, 2018. Each member of a District corporation should carefully consider proposals being presented to the membership of the corporation and should be free to vote on the merits of such plan. Each member should also be free to determine whether or not it is in its interests to continue membership in the District corporation after December 31, 2018.
So as to avoid confusion, LCC would confirm to its Members that there is no requirement in the Statutory Bylaws of LCC, the Synodical Bylaws of LCC, or the Synodical Constitution of LCC, nor any ecclesiastical reason, that would require a Member Congregation or an Individual Member of LCC to participate in the Lutheran Church-Canada, the Alberta-British Columbia District; Lutheran Church-Canada, Central District; or Lutheran Church-Canada, East District as a member of such corporation.
The Statutory Bylaws of LCC states in paragraph 6.05: “An organization which supports the principles, doctrine and religious standards of LCC as set out in the Synodical Constitution and the Synodical Bylaws may apply to the Board to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding under which such organization would support the mission and ministry of LCC. Any such organization will be considered part of the Synodical Family. The Board may terminate a Memorandum of Understanding with an organization in the event the Board is of the opinion that the organization is conducting its affairs in a manner inconsistent with the principles, doctrine and religious standards of LCC or in a manner inconsistent with supporting the mission and ministry of LCC”.
The Board of Directors of LCC will be reviewing any application of a District corporation to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with LCC that would take effect after December 31, 2018, guided by the criteria set out in the Statutory Bylaws.
— Rev. Timothy Teuscher, President
— Arnold Drung, Chairman
Board of Directors, Lutheran Church-Canada
Updated 2018-10-15: Added link – LCC re-published the article to it’s main website