The LCMS Ohio District Board of Directors met on December 1, 2017 and heard first all Christians have many reasons to be thankful. Using Luke 17:11-19 as his text,, Fourth Vice President Andrew Norris spoke about the crippling disease of leprosy. The lepers not only suffered from their illness, they also had to stay away from their family and also from worship. Even though Jesus cleansed the ten lepers, only one, still a social outcast, returned to thank Him. We, too, are outcasts from God due to our sin, so we are thankful that Jesus brought us into His family and also into worship. Thus, the Board of directors began this meeting on a note of thankfulness. Today we considered some important items of the District business.

1. The Board approved these appointees for the District, as mandated by the Code of Regulations. a. Chief Financial Officer – Lisa Rachul; b. Legal Counsel – Wegman, Hessler & Vanderburg. c. Auditors for 2018 Financial Review – Internal Audit Department of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod; d. Committee on Constitutional Matters – Rev. Paul Hoffman, Mr. Thomas Moffitt, and Mrs. Jean Moffitt e. Ohio District - Lutheran Church Extension Fund Trustees (needed until merger is completed) Rev. Milton Berner, Rev. John Davidson, Rev. Ron LePere, Rev. Kip Smith, Rev. Jeff Stephens, Ms. Eileen Fitzenreiter, Mr. Mike Korba, Mr. Ryan Miller. f. District Reconcilers - Rev. Doug DeWitt, Rev. Richard Habrecht, and Mrs. Bobbie Glotzhober. g. District Endowment Committee – Mr. William Fecht, Sr., Mr. William Englemann, Mr. Chuck Foreman, Mrs. Eileen Fitzenreiter, Mr. John Schimmelmann. g. Church Dissolution Taskforce - Mr. Peter Hessler, Esq., Mrs. Lisa Rachul, Mr. David Bowers and Mrs. Christine Spohn. h. District Archivist – Rev. Paul Hoffman.
2. The Call Committee for the District Superintendent of Schools interviewed three candidates and decided with prayerful consideration to call Mr. Kevin Creutz to receive the call to become the new District Superintendent. Kevin is presently principal at Central Lutheran School in New Haven, IN. Kevin at first declined the Call, citing timing as a large factor in his decision, but there is a possibility that he may be open for a call at this time.
3. Rev. Kevin Guynn, chairman of the Performance Development Committee, noted that the Committee presented the proposed survey was presented to the recent Pastors' and Teachers' Conferences. Eighty-six church workers responded to the survey. This survey will be used to evaluate the District President and the District staff. The Committee learned much from this "practice evaluation and will continue to revise it before it is sent out.

1. Mrs. Lisa Rachul, District Treasurer, reported that Mission Support revenue continues to decline. It is 4.5% below the same period last year. If this trend continues, the 2017 mission support will be below the current year budget and possibly below $1,400,000. However, despite this decline, the unrestricted cash position continues to be positive with about 4.8 months of non-discretionary spending available.
2. Once the District has sold its portion of the Ohio State mission, the merger between the Ohio District Lutheran Church Extension Fund and the Lutheran Church Extension Fund will be complete. (Mrs. Rachul)
3. In terms of the 2018 Budget, Mission Support was reduced to $1,390,000 due to current year trend. 2. The support for Synod was reduced by $76,240 to balance the budget. 3. Investment income from Thrivent account is included in the budget computation at an estimate of $50,000. The budget also reflects $100,000 for four missions, $39,500 for congregational vitality, $37,500 for mission training. 6. The Endowment Fund has released $55,000 to the mission and ministry budget. The Board approved this balanced budget. (Mrs. Rachul)
4. The Board expressed concern about the decrease of money given to Synod. It was decided that if any funds remain unspent from that budget, those funds could be used to provide additional support ro Synod.
5. President Cripe noted that the District has encountered no violations in terms of legal and governmental Matters.
6. There is a possibility that the District office will be sold and the District will rent a building instead, especially with the deployed staff. (Pres. Cripe)

Future Challenges
1. President Cripe reported that the Church is facing strong challenges, especially with the downturn of members in many congregations which could result with numerous congregations closing, merging, or becoming part of multi-point parishes. However, President Cripe feels heartened that more congregations are becoming engaged with their community and are sharing the Good News in words and actions. Our churches must continue to be faithful in the Word In addition, pastors may face financial challenges due to the recent ruling to end the clergy housing allowance
2. The Lutheran Church Extension fund (LCEF) has begun a process of reorganization as part of a cost-cutting measure as they are divided into three regions. There is a possibility that districts of Synod could someday follow in the same fashion. (Pres. Cripe)

1. President Cripe has been invited to teach classes for several weeks next spring in Ethiopia.

Board Matters
1. The Communication Sub-Committee has developed a Powerpoint program in which the individual Board member attend his or her respective circuit meetings and thank the churches for their support and hear any concerns and suggestions from the District. pastors. The Board directors see this programs as a helpful tool for communicating more with District pastors and congregations.
2. All the directors signed a document stating that they have no conflict of interest, as they serve on the Board. The Synod requires that directors sign this form annually.

Next Board meeting:  January 26, 2018 at the Ohio District Office, Olmsted Falls OH