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June 9th, 2016
To the Congregations and Workers of the Northwest District,
The upcoming 2016 Synod convention is going to address the issue of Licensed Lay Deacons in our church – something that is important to us in ministry in the Northwest District.
In preparation for the convention, congregations and identified ministry groups within the church are invited to present overtures for the delegates to consider. Throughout the Synod a large number of congregations, Districts, District Boards of Directors and Circuits submitted overtures about this issue.
The Convention Workbook printed 50 separate overtures on the topic, but this is a bit misleading. A number of overtures were grouped together. The actual number (by my count) is actually 114, with 91 of these supporting the continuing use of Licensed Lay Deacons in our Synod. This points to a serious division in our church body, one which suggests there is a need for a deeper and more thorough conversation about the theological foundation for ministry in our church.
In an effort to promote fraternal conversation and a decision that is based on good information and a solid theological basis, we have established this site on the internet as a repository for position papers and responses about the question. The goal is to provide a centralized location for all interested parties as they seek to become informed and to participate in the process. Anyone wishing to submit a document to this site should do so through the Northwest District President’s Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I want to thank you in advance for your involvement and your efforts in seeking God’s wisdom on this most important issue in a time where the mission of the church is to those who don’t know of God’s love for them… yet. It is my sincere prayer that our Lord will lead us to a resolution that is faithful to the Scriptures and the Confessions of our church and empowers us to live missional lives. God bless us as we seek to do so.
President of the Northwest District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod