SUMMARY OF THE OHIO DISTRICT BOARD MEETING

The January 24, 2020 Board meeting was not held at the District office, but was held as
a tele-conference which is allowed by District’s Code of Regulations and the Synodical
Handbook.
 
President Wilson began the meeting with prayer.
 
Mrs. Lisa Rachul, District Treasurer, reported on a few items:
+ the District finished the year at $1,356,286 which is $3,204 below the Fiscal Year End
budget, $8,714 below our current year original budget and $3,714 below our current
year revised budget. She will continue to examine the giving trends and report more at
the April Board meeting.
+ She also reported that previously the District Convention allowed the Board to lower the
giving percentage to Synod to 15.5%, since the District faced some financial difficulties;
however, in 2018, the Board agreed that if there is a surplus at end of year surplus this
surplus will be used to return the giving level to Synod up to 21% of actual mission
support. However, the Board did not declare if this policy should continue on a ongoing
basis. In 2019, the District was able to give 21% of actual mission support because of
significant unrestricted bequests given to the District. She would recommend that the
Board would continue to maintain this policy for Synodical giving and pass a resolution
supporting this position. However, if the District did not have a surplus or had a minimal
surplus, this would affect the percentage of funds to the Synod. Thus, she presented a
resolution affirming this process of determining mission support to the Synod which was
approved bt the Board.
 
President Wilson discussed issues affecting the District at this time:
Healthy Congregations
+ The District will continue to emphasize partnerships between churches especially
when church membership is declining. Congregations are considering such actions as
forming a dual parish, where congregations would continue to be independent, but they
would still share the same pastor. Another congregation has offered to form a “network”
to support a sister church. One congregation is considering re-launching itself instead
of closing. The reason for these actions is that now 51% of District congregations cannot
afford their own pastor with benefits. Ten years ago it was only 35% of District
congregations. The District continues to monitor this trend.
+ Several congregation have received Intentional Interim Pastors who have a goal of
restoring congregational health and vitality. Interim pastors especially serve congregation
whose previous pastor has served for a long time and also congregations which have had
conflicts.
+ Nine District schools are going through National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA)
this school year, which is a unusually high number. The state of Ohio recognizes NLSA
for accreditation. The process is a year-long self-study that affirms what is going well and
helps principals and teachers identify their areas of growth. A good number of
congregations have moved from the tuition discount advantage model to one where all
the families pay the same tuition, whether they are members of the congregation or not.
 
Healthy Church Workers
+ This year, the Ohio District will hold an All Professional Church Worker Conference in
the fall. The plenary presentation for the clergy is from Grace Place, an organization
that specializes in church worker wellness. Educators will focus on leadership, in
addition to a number of varied breakout sessions.
+ The Board appoints four District Reconcilers, two lay and two ordained, who are
trained and approved by Synod; however, two of our reconcilers have resigned, so two
more reconcilers are needed.
+ The four District Care Partners are providing support to certain church workers and
their families. They have been a blessing for District workers.
 
Healthy relationships between congregations, the District and beyond
+ The District’s partnership with the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) is very
helpful for both entities. The LCEF trained the facilitators in its new program called,
“Consecrated Stewards” and several congregations are engaged in its “Vision Path.”
process.
 
Convention directives
+ The District will need to make some changes to its Code of Regulations due to
actions at the 2019 Synodical Convention. This will require action by the Board and
also the 2021 District convention.
+ The Convention also outlined the process for ending Licensed Lay Deacons (LLD) in
the LCMS. The Ohio District had 10 LLDs and three have successfully completed
Specific SMP colloquy; one is awaiting word as to whether he passed colloquy. The
others are seeking other ways to deal with this situation.
+ The Synod also encourages districts to study a pilot project called “Generation to
Generation.” Because this project is based in family life ministry, Karen Dutton will head
this project and ensure that the Ohio District leadership and cong regations will learn
about the project’s findings. She would also be responsible for any implementation in
the Ohio District.
+ The Synod also encouraged all districts, churches, and schools to make use of
“Making Disciples for Life” resources. This event has been publicized in the District.
 
District Concern
+ Mr. Peter A. Hessler, District Legal Counsel made a report concerning the Columbus
Lutheran African Immigrant Ministry (CLAIM) because it shows some
financial irregularities which may put the District at risk. Concerns include the fact
the Employer Identification Number (EIN) was not obtained in the proper way. In
addtion, 1099 tax forms were not issued for individuals’ stipends and people’s
donations were not accounted for in the correct way. Mr. Hessler presented an
approach to the Board about achieving a solution in the proper way. The Missions
Task Force is currently with dealing with the situation and also President W ilson,
Treasurer Lisa Rachul and Mr. Hessler are also involved in the process.
 
The Board meeting then was concluded with prayer.
 
The next Board meeting will occur on April 3, 2020 at 10 a.m. in the District office.