LCC: Constitutional Considerations

In LCC’s Special Convention: Time’s Up (To Get Church Delegates in Place) I discussed a number of considerations about the October 2020 special convention the Board is calling to allow them to reschedule the 2021 regular convention.

  • Counting Delegates for Quorum
  • If The CCMS Is Subject To An Adjudication Case 

Counting Delegates for Quorum

Today “Carl Vehse” provided a fascianting analysis in a comment on my “Time’s Up” article, and I’m quoting the comment in full here. The implications of the last paragraph of Carl’s analysis cannot be overstated. A short explanation of Carl’s analysis follows.

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.

Long story short:

  • An eligible delegate is a person properly placed in this position by a member congregation on or before July 19, 2020.
  • Vacancies in the delegate position do not apply towards the count of eligible delegates for quorum at a convention.
  • Conclusion – if only 24 member congregation delegates are in place by the October 17, 2020 special convention, then quorum would be 24 * 25% = 6 delegates.

That’s quite the small number to amend Synod’s governing documents.

If The CCMS Is Subject To An Adjudication Case 

In LCC’s Special Convention: Time’s Up (To Get Church Delegates in Place) I also discussed how the CCMS had exceeded their authority by rendering “opinion”s that effective amended the Synodical documents instead of interpreting them.

“Just out of curiosity” I reviewed the 2017 Synodical Bylaws for the procedure the Commission on Adjudication would follow in the unlikely event the CCMS members were actually referred to the COA over their “opinion”s.

8.47 Rules of Procedure for Adjudication

a. Adoption and Approval

5. Interpretations from the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure
In the event that questions arise regarding the interpretation of the Synodical Constitution or these Synodical Bylaws or of Convention resolutions, the Commission, on its own initiative or at the request of either party, shall seek the interpretation of the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure. In its deliberations the Commission on Adjudication shall accept the interpretations of the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure. Any member of the Commission on  Constitutional Matters and Structure who is a party or an advisor to a party shall not participate in providing an interpretation to the Commission.

Charging the CCMS would revolve on the single question – did their “opinions” rightly interpret or illegaly amend the Synodical documents? According to 8.47.a.5 the COA would have to consult the CCMS on whether or not their own opinion fell within the Synodical bounds unless a member was a party to the case.

Now imagine if the entire CCMS was a party to the case – the COA would have to rely on their analysis since the question before them pertained to the CCMS’s conduct in their “opinion”s.

Personally I think this is an open-and-shut case that’s easy to decide. The COA members may feel otherwise particularly given their conduct in a prior case and how the 2017 convention changed the handbook to give the COA a “get out of jail free” card.

3 thoughts on “LCC: Constitutional Considerations

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  1. ANO/Lutheran Watch: Now imagine if the entire CCMS was a party to the case – the COA would have to rely on their analysis since the question before them pertained to the CCMS’s conduct in their “opinion”s.

    Yes, according to Bylaw 8.47.a.5, in a case questioning a unanimous CCMS “opinion,” the COA could not consult any of the CCMS members.

    That, along with your references to the COA’s “get out of jail free” card in a prior case leaves any LCC congregation-appointed delegates caught between a rock and a hard place.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The 24 congregation-appointed delegates was merely an example. If one wants to estimate a more probable number of delegates who actually have been appointed by their congregations, these facts should be considered:

    1. The LCC has approximately 300 congregations, some of which are part of a multi-congregation parish, which only gets one pastor and one lay delegate.

    2. The LCC has approximately 220 pastors, some of which are pastors of multi-congregation parishes and some are assistant pastors of a single congregation.

    3. The LCC Regular Convention was scheduled for June 11-14, 2021.

    4. According to Statutory Bylaw 8.01 (Subject to 8.02 and 8.03), LCC congregations had until March 13, 2021, to appoint delegates to the 2021 Regular Convention.

    5. The July 9th notice sent to LCC congregation made no mention of the LCC Statuatory Bylaw 8.01 (Subject to 8.02 and 8.03) requirement for congregations to elect or appoint congregation delegates for the October 17, 2020, Special Convention.

    6. Neither the July 9th notice nor the three July 16-dated documents mentioned that congregations needed to appoint their delegate at least 90 days prior to the October 17th Special Convention (i.e., July 19th).

    7. Congregations alerted by the July 9th Special Convention notice and desiring to appoint their delegates in the few days remaining according to Bylaw 8.01, were subsequently informed on July 16th about the CCMS ruling that circuit delegates would be used at the Special Convention, and that any delegate vacancies would be filled by circuit selections, not congregation appointments.

    Liked by 1 person

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