2002 Annual Gathering Minutes

Gathering music and hymn sing, led by the Charity Gospel Trio (Bob Peske, Randy Upgren, and Mark Herald) from Charity LChurch, Bismarck, ND.

Call to Order 2:00PM, April 28, 2002

Opening Prayer - Chris Magnell, Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Altoona, IA

District updates were presented, and are available via the link to the left.

A greeting and prayers from the Reverend Dr. Christopher Hershman, chairman of the Evangelical Lutheran Confessing Fellowship, which formed March 4, 2002, was presented by Pastor Kathy Sukke.

The convention moved into plenary session, having already been called to order:

Nominated, seconded, and elected, G. Barry Anderson to serve as convention chair.

Nominated, seconded, and elected, Debra Adams Lingen to serve as convention secretary.

Pr. Tony Stoutenburg (Naselle, WA), chairman of the credentials committee, certified an initial quorum with of 142 registered delegates, as of 2:35 PM, we have 63 delegates in attendance, and 55 associate members.

M/S/P -- To approve and file the secretary's report of the October 2001 LCMC convention as presented.

John Chatelain (Omaha, NE) presented the treasurer's report. (Note: The Treasurer's oral report is available via the link to the left.)

The convention body offered thanks to Mark Chavez, Toni Tilley, and especially to Anne Gleason, for all their efforts on behalf of LCMC.

M/S/P -- To approve and file the treasurer's report.

Pr. Dale Wolf (Fargo, ND) presented an interim report from the Ministry Standards and Ordination Procedures committee. (Note: The interim report is accessible via the link to the left.)

The committee most recently met April 27 & 28, and those members present were introduced, including Bill Sullivan, Marc Windahl, Kip Tyler, Joe Burgess. Mike Rogness and John Beem also serve. Pr. Wolf went through the interim report item by item, and stressed the following observations: Item 3-D: It was the hope of the committee that one of the primary ways call procedures will happen in LCMC is that congregations will list that they are looking for pastors, and pastors will inquire from those congregations what they are looking for and then literally apply to be considered if they are interested;

Item 3-E: The committee bolded the concept that "the congregation is responsible for investigating the pastoral candidates" because it is of critical importance for members to understand we do not have a structure in LCMC to guarantee that serious background checks have taken place. This is an area we need to work through. For congregations that have been deeply dependent on bishops in the call process in the past, they must realize they don't exist in LCMC. We will see how we can develop this, but congregations need to accept greater responsibility in the call process now.

Item 4-A & B: The committee spent a great deal of time talking about how to handle congregations in conflict and clergy misconduct. We are counting on districts to develop procedures on how those are going to be dealt with, and also to seek out some expertise or organizations that can help. One of the things we learned from the experiences of John Beem is that there are some non-church organizations that can be very helpful with these situations.

Other Discussion - 1: There is some deep concern about whether LCMC students are welcome in ELCA seminaries, and that is something we are going to work on. We are also very open and encouraging of alternative ways to train leadership and pastors for the future.

Pastor Wolf then entertained questions from the floor. (Note: A separate transcript of the Q & A session is available, via the link to the left.)

The chair reminded the body that the Ministry Standards Report is just that: a report from that committee. We are still working with Ministry Standards. Unlike other Lutheran organizations that can make changes to their standards by simply declaring them changed, LCMC has already adopted a set of standards that can only be changed when approved by a majority of the congregations who are members of this association. This is one of the checks and balances proposed in Phoenix. The board of trustees will take the report of the committee and be in dialogue with them. Some specific recommendations may be made to member congregations to revise the Standards as adopted last October.

The chair noted a typo in the fifth line of Item 9 of the Proposed Convention Rules as found in the convention packet should be corrected to read, "The (Constitution) Committee shall forward to the convention for its consideration all amendments submitted to the Committee prior to 5:25 PM, Sunday, April 28, 2002."

The chair also reminded the body that two seats on the board of trustees are up for election as a result of the random draw for terms last fall. For purposes of this convention we will caucus and elect by area in the same fashion as was determined in October. Those two areas will meet at 8:00 AM tomorrow, April 29.

M/P -- To adopt the Proposed Convention Rules, as corrected.


Gathering Music: Charity Gospel Trio

Kevin Cramer, member of the LCMC board of trustees, introduced Rachel Scott, a former Miss Nebraska and daughter of Pastor Tim and Cindy White of Trinity Lutheran Church, Columbus, NE. She shared the song "I Will Listen" by Twila Parris. This song is a testimony of her faith and, she hopes, reflective of that of many of the members of LCMC.

"Dynamic Prayer" - Pastor Bob Nordvall, Charity Lutheran Church, Bismarck, ND (Note: Pastor Bob and Karen Nordvall spent ten years in the mission fields in Papua, New Guinea, several years in western North Dakota, and have been at charity for 16 years. The text of Pastor Bob's presentation is available separately, via the link to the left.)

"Status Quo? Status Go!" - Kevin Cramer, LCMC Board of Trustees (The text of Kevin's address is available separately, via the link to the left.) Keynote Address: Pastor Chuck Lindquist (Pastor Chuck is the General Director of the World Mission Prayer League. The text of his presentation is available separately, via the link to the left.)

Offering taken, divided between LCMC General Benevolence and World Mission Prayer League.

Reminder that voting for Area 2 and Area 4, as listed in the convention notebook, will take place in the Great Hall at 8:00am April 29th.

Table prayer led by Pastor Sullivan.

(Recess for dinner, worship with Word Alone, and the presentation by Mike Foss.)

Reassembled at 8:30AM, April 29, 2002

Reports were presented from the newly started mission congregations: Peace Lutheran Church: Irene Montgomery Sola Scriptura: Jeff Mansour Living Stones Fellowship, Warren, MI: Bob Herbon

The chair announced a decision of the board of trustees to support a joint fundraising effort initiated by the ALD and inviting all districts that wish to participate to do so by having a representative sign the letter.

The convention recessed at 9:00 AM to meet with Word Alone Network for the presentation by Professor James Nestingen of Luther Seminary, as well as the update on Youth Events by Pastor Bill Walles, Word Alone Board of Directors.

The convention reassembled at 10:45 AM.

Reports from the mission congregations continued: Fellowship Lutheran Church, Louisville, KY: Bill Spaulding and Pastor John Howe

The body moved into its plenary session.

Dan Lingen reported on behalf of the credentials committee, updating the official figures to read: 84 registered delegates, 67 associates and guests, and 40 member congregations represented. A quorum was certified.

Election results for the board of trustees votes in Areas 2 & 4 were announced. Re-elected to serve full three-year terms were G. Barry Anderson and Kevin Cramer.

The chair commented there has been concern about the process of electing by Area. The constitution committee will look at the way in which we elect leadership to the board. Names of those volunteering to serve on the Constitution committee were announced: Randy Freund, Jeff Mansour, Barry Anderson, Lenae Rasmussen currently serve in that capacity. The committee would like to add 2 or 3 members and are asking that names of interested parties be forwarded.

At the suggestion of the constitution committee, the board of trustees recommends to the body an amendment regarding the office of treasurer and independent accountability. The note in the convention packet accompanying the proposed change read as follows:

Board of trustees comment: The present structure of the LCMC Constitution calls for the treasurer to be appointed by the board of trustees and although the treasurer can be dismissed by the board only by a two-thirds vote of the board and only for cause, the board has concluded that independent accountability of the treasurer to the body as a whole would be useful. The board considers this change a matter of accountability, particularly in light of recent national events. If this bylaw is approved, and is not rejected by LCMC congregations, the next national convention will have a minimum of eight (8) board members and a resolution to that effect will need to be adopted by the national convention.

M/P -- A recommendation from the board of trustees of LCMC for amendments to the by-laws of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

The Board of Trustees for LCMC recommends that paragraph 8.05 of the by-laws of LCMC be amended as follows:

8.05 The treasurer shall propose policy for review in action by the board of trustees of the financial, accounting, insurance, property management, investment, and money management systems of the association. The treasurer shall be elected at the national convention by a majority of those delegates at the national convention who are then present and voting. Election of the treasurer shall be from the body as a whole and not by area. The treasurer shall serve a three-year term. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 7.07 of these by-laws, no treasurer shall serve more than two consecutive terms of office. The treasurer shall have voice and vote and shall otherwise be eligible to fully participate in the activities and responsibilities of the board of trustees of this association. The treasurer may be dismissed by the board of trustees only by a two-thirds majority vote of the board of trustees and only for cause.

On behalf of the board of trustees, the chair explained the recommended by-law amendment allowing for a change in the date by which the annual convention must take place. The following explanatory note appeared in the convention packet:

Board of trustees comment: The present by -law of this association requires the national convention be held not later than June 30 of each year. The board of trustees is recommending that the national association experiment with alternative national convention dates and also consider meeting separate and apart from the WordAlone national assembly because of the logistical difficulty of holding two meetings involving many of the same people. For example, the board of trustees has recommended (see March LCMC board of trustee meeting minutes) that the nect national convention occur in October 2003. The reasons for this are varied but include providing approximately six-month separation between the spring WordAlone meeting and the fall LCMC meeting, providing some "breathing space" between conventions (LCMC has now met in national convention twice in the last six months and arguable three times in the last year, if you include the Phoenix assembly in 2001) and to give the association flexibility when it meets.

M/P - Recommendation from the board of trustees of LCMC for amendments to the by-laws of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ:

The board of trustees of LCMC recommends that paragraph 6.04 of the by-laws of this association be amended as follows:

6.04 The national convention shall be convened by the board of trustees of LCMC but shall, in any event, occur no later than June 30 of each year. The national convention shall be convened by the board of trustees of LCMC and shall occur annually. The national convention shall serve as an annual meeting of the association and the agenda may include but is not limited to, election of the board of trustees or the filling of any vacancies on the board of trustees, approval of the annual budget, approval of ministry standards or changes to ministry standards and such other business as may occur from time to time.

The following note appeared in the convention packet. It is reiterated as a reminder to the body:

Please note that if the delegates to this convention approve these two by-law changes by a majority of those present and voting, the changes will be submitted to the member congregations of this association who will have one year to reject the proposed changes. Pursuant to Section 9 of these by-laws, if a majority of the congregations do not reject the changes, they will automatically become effective one year from passage by the national convention.

Pastor Dale Wolf introduced Pastor David Gran, the first LCMC pastor to be ordained in an LCMC congregation in Evansville. He pastors a two-point parish in the area of Alexandria, Minnesota.

M/S/ -- A resolution from the Augsburg Lutheran District on:

The Nature of the Church

WHEREAS Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) is an association of congregations legally recognized as a "Lutheran church body" in America,

AND WHEREAS some LCMC members congregations are also members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which has a ecclesiastical understanding of the church as opposed to the Christological understanding of the Church shared by LCMC congregations,

AND WHEREAS it is important to recognize LCMC's distinctive understanding of the nature of the church in comparison to the ELCA teaching that its Churchwide Assembly is "the church" when it is convened in its business sessions,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the document titled, "The Nature of the Church," be adopted in the bylaws of LCMC and inserted as bylaw section two.


2.01. Luther wrote, "Thank God a seven year old child knows what the church is, namely, holy believers and sheep who hear the voice of their shepherd. So children pray, 'I believe in one holy Christian church.' Its holiness does not consist of surplices, tonsures, albs, or other ceremonies. . . . invented over and above the Holy Scripture, but it consists of the Word of God and true faith" (SA 3/12, §§2-3). Therefore we make the following affirmations concerning the nature of the church: 2.02. Jesus Christ is the Lord of his Church and its head. All power to create, sustain, and perpetuate the Church comes from the risen Christ through his Spirit. God's children are called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit through the proclamation of God's Word, which is Christ (CA 5). All actions of this district and its member congregations are carried out under Christ's rule and authority. 2.03. The holy Christian Church is Christ's body on earth living under God's Word as law and gospel; it exists to serve and glorify Christ until he comes again. In this Church sins are forgiven and believers, simultaneously justified and sinners, are daily raised up to lead new lives using their various gifts to serve their neighbors and the creation to the glory of God. 2.04. The holy Christian Church is recognized by its hearing of the holy Word of God, that is, the external Word preached orally in Word and Sacrament. Christ's Spirit shapes his Church in a variety of forms. Thus it is not necessary that church structure and polity be the same everywhere. 2.05. The word "Church" ("ecclesia") refers both to the local congregation and to the whole Christian Church on earth and in heaven. While the Church as the people of God finds its end and fulfillment in the eschatological kingdom of God, it also finds earthly expression in and through the congregation. By faith the Church is linked already to the eschatological kingdom in hope while in this age it experiences fellowship with other believers in Christ.

M/S/P -- To refer the language to the board of trustees for consideration and recommendation at the next convention.

The chair noted on behalf of the board of trustees that the language will be provided to the constitution committee and the member congregations for discussion prior to the next convention.

M/S/ - A resolution from the Augsburg Lutheran District on the Distinctiveness of the WordAlone Network and Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

WHEREAS the WordAlone Network (WA) and Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) both have worthy but distinctive goals and objectives,

AND WHEREAS it is important to avoid confusion among the WA and LCMC memberships about the respective organization, goals, strategies, and fund raising efforts of these two distinct entities,

AND WHEREAS it is important to avoid even the perception of conflict of interest with respect to the leadership of WA and LCMC,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that it is the policy of LCMC that members of the LCMC board of trustees may not serve simultaneously on the WA board of directors,

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the LCMC convention direct its board of trustees to establish and staff no later than June 30, 2002 its own separately located office to whose mailing address all contributions to LCMC will be sent directly,

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the LCMC convention also direct its board of trustees to establish no later than June 30, 2002 separate bank accounts for LCMC, and that LCMC will control and manage its own designated funds exclusively, specifically, the LCMC Mission Fund and the LCMC Seminary Debt Relief Fund,

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that LCMC hold its annual convention at a different time and location from the WA convention.

M/S/ -- Motion to table.

Motion to table declared out of order because the speaker making the motion to table had the opportunity to speak against the original motion before making the motion to table.

M/S/P -- Motion to table.

Pastor Tony Stoutenburg reported on behalf of the LCMC/WAN Joint Committee of the Seminary Debt Relief Fund (SDRF). He noted that two grants of $5000 each were made this past year. A substitute policy has been adopted by both boards, though Pastor Stoutenburg stated there are two amendments to the draft report as it appeared in the convention materials. He will post the revised policy upon his return home from the convention. At the time of the convention the balance in the SDRF fund was $25,441.29. The committee has been charged with the responsibility of formulating a long-term plan.

M/S/P -- A motion pertaining to the LCMC/WAN Joint Committee of the Seminary Debt Relief Fund, calling for election of two members to serve on behalf of LCMC, with one serving a one-year term and one serving a two-year term.

By unanimous consent, the election will be held by written ballot with the top two nominees to be elected and those two people to agree on the length of terms they hold.

Nominations from the floor opened: Lenae Rasmussen and Tim Baglien.

M/S/P -- To close nominations and consider the two candidates elected.

M/S -- It is the express intent and desire of LCMC to clearly establish itself as an autonomous association. The board is instructed to implement this intent as soon as feasible or no later than one year.

M/S/P -- Be it resolved, resolutions shall be provided in printed form to the LCMC body before consideration on the floor for a vote.

The chair noted that we need some flexibility in debate; the sense of this motion will be referred to the constitution committee.

The chair noted that workshops would be held following lunch.

The chair and the body expressed appreciation to Dennis Sandmann, Deb Lingen and North Heights Lutheran Church.

M/S/P -- Motion to adjourn.

The body adjourned at 12:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Debra Adams Lingen, Secretary

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