In LCC: Convention Considerations – Carl Asks “Who Decides?” I posted “Carl Vehse”‘s question about the problem with the proposed amendment in that it didn’t assign responsibility for declaring a “Force Majure” to anyone.
Rev. Robert Clifford had a question of his own, which follows:
A further question I have is this:
If the Special Convention was being called to deliberate on a weightier matter, such as – amending Article 1(1) of the Constitution, or removing an elected Synod official for cause, would an “overwhelming majority” of members of Synod be okay with holding a Special Convention with just the fraction of Circuit-appointed delegates under the old structure? Would we not expect to operate under the new Constitution & Bylaws that were approved by an “overwhelming majority” of members of Synod? Or is it just because this is a relatively minor special convention, so we can just use the old rules (or, shall I say, interpret the new rules to sound a lot like the old rules)?
I’d respond that the rules are the rules regardless of the “size” of the action being taken. When an authoritative body of an organization states “this is how we will do things”, the people responsible for implementing that policy have three choices – follow that policy, convince the membership to change the policy at a duly called meeting or convention, or resign.
In the scenarios Rev Clifford has posted, removing someone for cause is implemented in the 2017 Synodical Bylaws and could take different forms.
Under “8.55 Procedure for Suspension and Commencing the Adjudication Process” , a clergy member can be removed from Synod for cause without a vote by Synod in convention. In such an eventuality, this removal would effectively remove this person from office since holding the office would be was predicated on being an LCC clergy member in good standing.
The 2017 Statutory Bylaws provides a way to effectively strip a SP or VP of their authority w/out removing him from office:
10.04 The Board, may by resolution passed by a 2/3rds majority of the directors suspend a power of a duty given to the president or to the vice-president under the Statutory Bylaws, the Synodical Constitution or the Synodical Bylaws.
(Discussion about the conflict of interest of a SP being a member of the Board which is supposed to supervise him will be left for later).
The Statutory Bylaws also state:
9.05 A Convention shall have the exclusive right:
b. to elect and to remove the president;
Here’s the kicker – other than the Board having the power to “suspend a power of duty”, I was unable to find a process for the convention to follow when removing an elected official, and the only elected official that bylaws say the convention can remove is the synodical president.
If the governing documents do not have a specific process for the convention to remove a synodical president, then the following Bylaws would seem to apply:
9.07 A quorum for a Convention shall consist of at least 25% of the eligible delegates.
9.08 Except as otherwise provided, all matters at a Convention shall be decided by a majority vote of delegates voting on the matter. Each delegate in attendance at the Convention shall be entitled to one vote on each matter to be decided at the Convention. In the case of a tie the resolution shall fail.
This means the synodical president could theoretically be removed by the vote of 12.5% + 1 eligable delegates instead of the usual 2/3rd majorities one normally sees in such cases.
With respect to Rev Clifford’s “new rules / old rules” – all prior documents have been repealed and it is as if they never were. As such there are no “old rules” to speak of.
An interesting tidbit I found in the Synodical Bylaws suggests the President can move the time and place of the convention:
2.29 Time and Place of Next Convention
a. Before adjournment the Convention shall decide upon the time and place of the next Convention. If the Convention fails to do so, the president shall do so. In case of necessity he may change the appointed time and place or both.
Here’s what the Statutory Bylaw on scheduling conventions:
Article IX Conventions
9.01 A Convention shall be held every four years at a time and place determined by the Board.
I would suggest that the Board determines the time and place of the next convention, they submit that the convention, and the convention would ratify it. If the convention failed to do so, setting the time and place would fall to the president. And if there was a necessity (like the current pandemic), the president has the authority to change the convention’s time, place, or both, not the Board. (This would fit with my belief that the Board changing the time and date of a convention is a conflict of interest).
This would seem to address the concern the Board wants to call the special convention for.
Comments anyone? 🙂
Note 1: I suspect Rev Clifford was referring to Article II of the Synodical Constitution which pertains to the confession of faith as opposed to Article I which pertains to legal matters and definitions.
Article I Status and Definitions
1. This Synodical Constitution has been passed pursuant to the Statutory Bylaws enacted pursuant to the Act.
2. In this Synodical Constitution words and expressions defined in the Act, in the Statutory Bylaws, and in the Synodical Bylaws have the same meanings when used herein.
Article II Confession
Lutheran Church-Canada, and every Member of Lutheran Church – Canada accepts without reservation:
1. the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and of practice;
2. all the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God, to wit: the three Ecumenical Creeds (the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed), the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, the Large Catechism of Luther, the Small Catechism of Luther, and the Formula of Concord.
Yes, Article 2 re: Confession of faith.
Playing out the numbers:
There were 109 voting delegates at the 2017 Synod Convention.
Quorum = 25% of 109 = 28.
A majority of 28 = 15.
Therefore, under the rules as interpreted, with the voting delegates from the 2017 Convention interpreted / legislated / decreed / grandfathered / carried forward to be the eligible voting delegates for a Special Convention,
Would an “overwhelming majority” of members of Synod agree that a Synod President could be removed from office by such a small number of votes cast under our new structure?
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Regarding the “tidbit” discussion above about Synodical Bylaw 2.29 (p. 16) and Statutory Bylaw 9.01 (p. 3), each of which uses “shall” in the requirement, it’s even more complicated.
Statutory Bylaw 6.03 (p. 2) states in part: “The Synodical Constitution and Synodical Bylaws adopted by LCC shall be adhered to by all those sharing the ecclesiastical bond represented by the Synod.”
The Synodical Constitution, Article VIII Rights of Conventions (p. 10) states: ” In addition to the authority vested in a Convention under the Statutory Bylaws, a Convention shall be the paramount decision-making authority of Lutheran Church-Canada in all ecclesiastical matters established under this Synodical Constitution and the Synodical Bylaws, subject to any limitations set out in the Statutory Bylaws, the Synodical Constitution, and the Synodical Bylaws.”
So who decides on the time and place of the next Convention and who can change them? The Convention? The president? The Board? The CCMS? The Statutory Bylaws, the Synodical Constitution, and Synodical Bylaws seem to point in one or more directions at the same time.
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Such contradictions between the Statutory Bylaws, Synodical Constitution, and Synodical Bylaws were discussed way back in an October 15, 2017, ANO / Lutheran Watch blog, Gotcha!, which stated, in part:
Sadly my “just say no” policy has once more been confirmed, and here’s why….
2. Changes to the Statutory Bylaws take effect immediately on their approval and do not require confirmation by the congregational membership.
3. When there’s a conflict between the Statutory Bylaws and the Constitution, the Statutory Bylaws prevail over the Constitution.
4. This means that by changing the Statutory Bylaws Synod in Convention just rendered any conflicting sections of the Constitution null and void without this change being confirmed by the member congregations.
This still doesn’t address the Catch-22 of Statutory Bylaws specifying conflicting requirements, as noted above.
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ANO: “I was unable to find a process for the convention to follow when removing an elected official, and the only elected official that bylaws say the convention can remove is the synodical president.”
The convention’s process for removing the synodical president seems to be just the process of voting to elect someone else to the office of the presidency. But then the convention can use this process of voting for all elective offices (see Statutory Bylaw 10.03 and Synodical Bylaw 2.75.b), so it’s not clear what Statutory Bylaw 9.05 is referring to.
In the meantime, Statutory Bylaw 10.10 (p. 5) states: “In the event the president is unwilling or unable to continue in office, or in the case of the suspension of a power or duty of the president by the Board, the vice-president must assume that power or duty in the president’s place, until the expiration of that suspension or of the president’s term of office.
Is it also (per Statutory Bylaw 10.04) 2/3s majority of the Board that can decide if “the president is unwilling or unable to continue in office”?
Also, how does it work with the Board voting to have the vice-president assume one or more presidential powers or duties, which the Board suspended from the president, while the elected president continues to perform other nonsuspended powers or duties?
What happens when an LCC activity involves a combination of the powers and duties, some of which are performed by the president and some of which have been assumed by the vice-president? Do both show up at such a combined activity meeting or sign an official combined activity document? Does the Board authorize which one has overriding authority in that activity, and if so through what process?
The LCC Statutory Bylaws are starting to look like Swiss cheese.
The convention’s process for removing the synodical president seems to be just the process of voting to elect someone else to the office of the presidency.
Which only happens at the end of each term, if a person dies in office, or if the person was removed from Synod via the adjudication process. When it comes to the president, there’s no real clarity on determining when a President can no longer serve (health, heterodoxy, or the like) so Synod can replace its president with someone else. I think that part of the issue is Synod’s doctrine that the president is a pastor of some kind and thus cannot be removed “for any and all reasons.” And – as far as I can tell – there’s no provision for removing an elected individual from office. Given the past practice that terms were for 3 years, perhaps it was thought it’d be easier to live with the problem and solve it a the next election?
ANO: “I think that part of the issue is Synod’s doctrine that the president is a pastor of some kind and thus cannot be removed “for any and all reasons.”
This problem is real as seen in Synodical Bylaw 10.02, which states: “The president must be a pastor,” and Synodical Bylaw 1.01, which defines a pastor as “an individual [curiously, not “man” or “male”] received at a Convention or by the Board to the office of ministry as a pastor.” This creates confusion between a man with a Divine Call to a congregation and a man who has been ordained but does not currently have a Divine Call to a congregation. If Rev. Teuscher is president of the LCC—and he’s no longer listed as a pastor of St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stratford, Onterio—then, since he must be a pastor, some might confused consider him to be a “Divinely Called pastor” of the entire LCC.
The problem is reinforced by the name, “Lutheran Church-Canada,” which does not include “Synod” in its name. In fact, the LCC is NOT the Synod of Individual and Congregation Members. Just look at the definitions in Synodical Bylaw 1.01:
“LCC” means Lutheran Church-Canada, the religious body incorporated under the Act;
“Memorandum of Understanding” means an agreement entered into between LCC and an organization which accepts the principles, doctrine and religious standards of LCC as set out in the Synodical Constitution and Synodical Bylaws and which supports the mission and ministry of LCC;
“Synod” refers to the voluntary ecclesiastical bond shared by Member Congregations and Individual Members walking together to carry out the ministry and mission given by Christ to His Church;
“Synodical Family” means Member Congregations, Individual Members, and organizations who have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with LCC;
While the phrases, synodical convention, synodical president, synodical members, synodical family, are used in the Statutory Bylaws, Synodical Constitution, and Synodical Bylaws, the LCC is never equated to the Synod.
This is clearly shown in Synodical Bylaw 9.06: “The delegates in attendance at a Convention shall also determine those matters applicable to LCC and to the Synod set out in the Synodical Constitution and the Synodical Bylaws.” The bold-faced phrase is not redundant because the LCC is not the same as the Synod. The LCC is a religious body, and as its name appears to indicate – a Church.
The source of the problem is exemplified in the LCC’s 2011 document, “The Doctrinal Authority of C. F. W. Walther’s Kirche und Amt (Church and Ministry) in Lutheran Church–Canada,” which refused to affirm C.F.W. Walther’s Kirche und Amt as the definitive statement and understanding on the subject of church and ministry under Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, and to require all pastors, professors, teachers of the church, and congregations honor and uphold such official position on church and ministry and teach in accordance with them.
Those are all Statutory Bylaws, not Synodical Bylaws.
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