KITCHENER, Ontario – Lutheran Church-Canada has voted at the 2017 synodical convention in Kitchener, Ontario to restructure the church body, accepting changes to the church’s statutory bylaws, constitution, and synodical bylaws.
The Convention adopted Resolution 17.1.01 “To Adopt the Proposed Changes to the Statutory Bylaws of Lutheran Church-Canada” by ballot on October 14, with 77.3 percent of votes in favour. The vote required 2/3 majority of the convention to be adopted.
Resolution 17.1.02 “To Adopt the Proposed Changes to the Constitution of Lutheran Church-Canada” was passed on October 15, with 92 voting in favour and 2 against. The changes to the constitution now go to LCC congregations for ratification. A 2/3 majority of voting congregations is required for the constitution to be amended.
On the morning of October 16 the convention voted to adopt Resolution 17.1.03 “To Adopt the Proposed Changes to the Synodical Bylaws of Lutheran Church-Canada.” Three related resolutions (Resolutions 17.1.06, 17.1.07, and 17.1.08) on implementing the new statutory bylaws, synodical constitution, and synodical bylaws were all adopted.
The votes—taking place over three days—followed debate of restructuring more broadly by the convention. Discussion of restructuring began the morning of the second day of convention. Rev. William Ney, Chairman of the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure (CCMS) first presented on the process which led to the current restructuring proposal. Rev. Nolan Astley, LCC’s First Vice President, spoke on the recent difficulties in the church which have highlighted the need for a restructuring of the synodical family, especially as regards legal and corporate matters. Delegates then took several hours for open discussion on restructuring before moving to consider the first resolution on the subject.
The action comes following two years of restructuring consultations across the country, after the three districts meeting in convention all requested the CCMS propose recommendations for restructuring at the 2017 synodical convention.
Under the new structure, congregations will relate directly to synod, with congregations to be grouped in up-to-eight regions, the boundaries of which are to be determined by the Board of Directors in consultation with the congregations. To simplify the transition, regions will for the time-being follow the boundaries of the districts. Delegates to the 2017 synodical convention have requested districts to make opportunity for the election of regional pastors and circuit counsellors during their 2018 conventions. Synod will cease to relate to the district corporations beginning in 2019.
Other changes include the move to a four-year convention cycle, with provision made for every congregation to be represented at future synodical conventions by a pastor and lay representative.