Warning: If you are not a member of LCMS, this blog post may be a little confusing. As a life long LCMS member, I may be using terms here that I think every one knows. Ram is not a life long LCMS member. I think he will do a very good job representing our circuit as a delegate to the Synodical Convention in Houston in July.
Ram attended a meeting to review the final report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance last Friday and Saturday. Perhaps he will talk more about what he learned at this meeting on his blog (when he gets caught up from two trips the last two weeks!). The clergy and lay people delegates from ND, SD, Iowa West, and MN attended this meeting in the Twin Cities. They had a good turn out because we had surprisingly nice weather for this time of year. Ram said the accommodations at the Hyatt were quite nice. At first I wondered why they were "wasting" so much money on this meeting. Then we realized that the Twin Cities probably was the best place to have this meeting to have a big enough place and easily accessible for everyone. Some of the people from the Dakotas flew in order to be back for Saturday night church services. They paid for mileage, hotel room for one night, everything involved with the meetings, one dinner, and one breakfast. On Friday night each district had a caucus in addition to all the other meetings these two days.
The big event at the Synodical Convention of course is going to be electing the Synodical President, (VOTE FOR HARRISON!) but there are many other items for the delegates to vote about. One that was discussed that got my interest is they want to change the name of the LCMS.
Recommendation: Adopt a Process Leading to the Renaming of the Synod
"For the sake of confessional mission to an unchurched society, the Synod shall be renamed. Previous studies of this matter will continue to provide guidance as we move to reach consensus regarding a name that best serves Synod's mission and ministry."
Personally, I think the name should remain The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. We have a long history with this name. If people don't understand the name, then I think we have a chance to explain the name and evangelize during that talk about the name. With everything that happened with ELCA recently, Ewe's relatives that are not LCMS asked lots of questions if we were like ELCA. I'm afraid that if we change the name there will be more confusion about the difference between us and ELCA again. I'm also afraid if we change the name that people will assume we also changed our beliefs and became a different denomination. Just the other day, USA Today recommended donating money for Haiti to LCMS World Relief and Human Care. If the name LCMS changed, would all the groups with that name like LCMS World Relief also change their name to reflect the new LCMS name? If so, the next time there is a disaster and people want to donate to LCMS World Relief, they will wonder what happened to that organization. Also look at the merger of Aid Association for Lutherans and Lutheran Brotherhood becoming Thrivent. This was a merger, not just a name change. I still hear people refer to it as AAL or LB over 10 years later. And it seems to me like a waste of money to reprint everything to say the new name-remember after the Thrivent name change that we had to use up napkins and pencils etc. with the old name? Think of how much bigger this would be for everything printed with the LCMS name-including every LCMS church sign in the United States. The task force claims that with everything else they are recommending this recommendation would be a very slight cost to the Synod. But I think of the slight cost to each individual congregation and especially to the small churches like ours-it would become a big cost when they don't have enough money to pay for heating the building right now and they are expected to buy a new church sign. The last reason I am against this is I like that I am part of the church of my parents, grandparents, and even my great grandparents were LCMS. Unless the LCMS breaks up (which many people are working very hard that it does not break up), I think they should keep the same name. It is just too confusing to both current members of LCMS and non members if we change the name.
Ram is expected to attend another meeting in early May and then a week in Houston in July. I think he enjoyed reading the "books" he was sent by the BRTFoSSaG. I expect he will be sick of all the political mail (both snail and e-mail) by July. And he HATES heat so he is not looking forward to traveling to TX in July. But I think this convention will be a good experience for him. My parents are planning to come visit while Ram is gone-my dad will preach at the tri-parish and my parents can help me with the Lambs while Ram is gone. Perhaps we can get some little tasks done around the house on my to do list done too?