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.