With respect to the special convention to amend the Statutory Bylaws, my thinking is if sufficient trust exists within the membership, there is no need for a virtual special convention to make this change.
Bylaw 9.07 specifies how many people a convention need to transact business:
9.07 A quorum for a Convention shall consist of at least 25% of the eligible delegates.
I counted ~100 delegates at the 2017 convention. 25% of that is 25 delegates. If we play things safe, call it 30 delegates. Since each church gets two deleges, divide 30 by 2 delegates / church and you get 15 churches.
I’m thinking there’s a geographic area somewhere in Canada with 15 churches within driving distance of a central point that could hold the special convention, transact this change, catch up with each other, have some theological discussion, and share in some Lutheran lemonade before going home.
Having written all this, I want to make it clear I am sympathetic to the Board’s position and what they’re trying to do.
The concern here is that any effort to hold a convention in accordance with the Bylaws cannot violate other Bylaws in the process.
In addition, changing the way synod conventions are held because the proposed meeting format is “not prohibited” is an extremely dangerous precedent to set. Governing documents are intended to provide broad policy brush strokes about what the organization is about, what it’s reason for existing is, how it will conduct its business, and who is responsible for what. The people entrusted with accomplishing the organization’s objectives are expected to color within the lines of the governing documents. That is why governing documents are largely about setting those boundaries about how things are done and has little in the way of prohibiting things.
Now consider if you will – if the Board gets away with playing the “not prohibited” card, what happens the next time something comes along that’s also “not prohibited”? There’s a lot of things that are “not prohibited” in the governing documents. If this goes through the Board’ll have clear precedent to do other things w/out consulting the membership because – if precedent is that we can do “not prohibited” things when it comes to the convention, they can do it elsewhere too.
This is what happened at ABC District CEF / DIL – the Boards had lines that established the boundaries of what they were supposed to do (low-risk loans to qualifying churches and schools), using the funds for a risky real-estate ventures was “not prohibited”, and the fallout from that “not prohibited” action will be felt for at least two generations.
I’m not saying the Synod Board is in danger of doing the same thing – I am saying that bad outcomes usually follow good intentions done the wrong way over time, and once that ball is rolling it is very hard to stop it.
If Synod’s officers want to change the boundaries of what they can and cannot do – like change the convention meeting format to use a structure that’s been prohibited in the past – they need a mandate from the membership to do so. This is what the Board is doing in asking for a change to allow them to move the convention meeting date in exigent circumstances, and what they need to do for the meeting format change.
Regardless of the format Synod ends up using, this would be an ideal time to legitimize the current Regional Pastors that were illegally placed during the muddled process that took place during restructuring.