Here’s a summary of where things are with Synod’s planned October special convention.
Synod plans to hold a virtual convention on Saturday, October 17, 2020 in order to amend the Statutory Bylaws so the Board can move the regular convention in exigent circumstances. This is a laudable goal which should be supported in a manner in keeping with the entirety of the Synodical Handbook as adopted at the 2017 convention.
According to the 2017 Statutory and Synodical Bylaws, only delegates from member churches can participate in a special convention, and only in person. This precludes attendance by delegates to the 2017 convention as those delegates represented circuits and not member churches.
Any member church that wants to be represented at the October 2020 special convention had to have their delegates named and in place 90 days before the date of the special convention, which was July 19, 2020.
Quorum for this special convention is at least 125 member church delegates, which means at least 65 member churches have to have their delegates in place and in attendance at this special convention in order to attain quorum.
While the CCMS handed down a number of “opinions” in an attempt to try and “fix” the delegate and attendance problem, it did so in a manner that could only be considered an amendment to the Statutory and Synodical Bylaws(1).
- the CCMS is restricted to interpreting the Synodical documents,
- the “opinions” effectively amended the Synodical documents under guise of being an interpretation,
- amending the Synodical documents is a power that Synod in Convention has explicitly reserved for itself,
the opinions pertaining to the format of the convention and population of the delegates must be considered null and void. In addition, the CCMS needs to either retract these “opinions” and/or face disciplinary action. If they persist in their error, the Synodical President should refer the CCMS committee members to the Commission on Adjudication on charges of grossly misappropriating the authority Synod entrusted them with.
To anyone that thinks this action is extreme I say yes, it is that serious. Amending the Synodical documents is something Synod in Convention has specifically reserved for itself. For a committee like the CCMS to effectively amend Synod’s governing documents under the guise of handing down an opinion is taking unto themselves a power Synod specifically denied them. It also sets an extremely dangerous precident in that if they “get away with” these opinions-cum-amendments, as day follows night they’ll do it again.
When the Synodical membership entrusts any committee with authority to discharge certain responsibilities, they have a right to expect these committees will act as good stewards on Synod’s behalf. When a committee member or committee as a whole acts as a faithless steward and breaches that trust, they need to be called to account, their actions corrected, and – if need be – removed from their position of trust and responsibility.
In other news, I’ve heard that Synod’s sent SurveyMonkey notices to the 2017 convention delegates to get them to register for the special convention.
Any 2017 convention delegate that has not been appointed as a delegate of a member church should decline these registration requests as being invalid.
Any person that was in place as a delegate of a member church on or before July 19, 2020 can legitimately fill in these SurveyMonkey forms and register for any convention Synod may hold.
Any person that was in place as a delegate of the member church on or before July 19, 2020 that did not get a SurveyMonkey registration notice should contact Synod’s office and ask to be registered for the special convention.
Note 1: See LCC Wants to Hold A Special Convention: Synod Responds
Regarding a required quorum for holding a Special Convention, LCC Statutory Bylaw 9.07 states “A quorum for a Convention shall consist of at least 25% of the eligible delegates.”
Bylaw 1.01 defines a delegate as a congregation-appointed delegate (there is no such thing anymore as a “circuit-appointed delegate”). But who are the “eligible delegates” to a Special Convention?
Bylaw 9.13 explains “eligible delegates” as “Those eligible to attend and vote at a Special Convention shall be those [congregation-appointed] delegates in office at the time of the preceding Convention except those [congregation-appointed] delegates who have been disqualified by termination of membership in the Member Congregation which they represent. Vacancy in the position of a delegate shall be filled by the Member Congregation which appointed the delegate whose position became vacant.”
Regarding congregational appointments to fill any delegate vacancies prior to any Convention, Bylaw 8.01, subject to 8.02 and 8.03, states that this shall be done at least 90 days prior to a Convention.
Thus the number of “eligible delegates” to the proposed October 17th Special Convention consists of the number of congregation-appointed delegates at the preceding 2017 Convention (of which there are zero, because they didn’t exist then) and those delegates appointed by their congregations since then but on or by July 19, 2020. The LCC headquarters should be able (though not necessarily willing) to provide the number of congregations that have submitted information on their delegate appointments prior to July 19th.
For example, if only 24 delegates (12 pastors and 12 laity) have been appointed by LCC congregations prior to July 19, then a quorum for the October 17th Special Convention would be six.
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