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The 2016 Synodical Convention is now history. Personally, I thought it was one of the better conventions in recent years. 

For the most part, discussion was reasoned and courteous. Less time was consumed by delegates using parliamentary procedure as a political tactic. There was plenty of time for evening fellowship and Milwaukee's weather was far more suitable than that of convention sites to the south. (Alert: Next time, in Tampa)

As for the issues, the pre-convention prep work that sought as much input as possible for the licensed lay deacon matter seemed to have paid off. The resolution in its final form had elements that should calm fears that congregations served by deacons will be closed en masse. It allows for and outlines a process for resolving special circumstances. There may be some bumps along with way in its implementation, but overall, I think the delegates were presented with a good plan to move forward.

The second big item had to do with ecclesiastical supervision and whose responsibility it is to conduct it under certain circumstances. The debate proved to be morerocky than one might have imagined. In the end, the convention wisely put the matter into the hands of the Praesidium and the Council of Presidents to work out. I say it was wise because I don't believe a policy should be changed on the basis of one rather publicized case, the particulars of which the delegates had no firm information because ecclesiastical supervision is never done publically.

A third matter dealt with giving every congregation of a district the right to vote at a district convention. Perhaps you were unaware of it, but some congregations do not get a vote at their own district convention, yet they are asked to pay their "fair" share of their district's convention expenses. Congregations that are dual parishes only get one lay vote between them, and congregations that share a pastor who is also serving a congregation in another district do not get a vote (we've had two of those). All of this springs from our attempts to prevent pastoral or lay domination by following the dictum that every parish has one pastoral vote and one lay vote. The catch is, a parish may consist of more than one congregation. As one of our Ohio delegates said from the floor, "This amounts to taxation without representation." 66% of the delegates agreed, but the motion needed 2/3 because it was an amendment to the Constitution. It lost by several votes, since technically 66.5% was needed. When a motion to reconsider was put forward on the last day of the convention, it was not allowed because motions to reconsider are not fair game for the last day of the convention, according to the standing rules. I believe this proposal may stand a good chance of passing if it is brought to the floor the next time. With more congregations sharing pastors in the future, the number of congregations without a voice will continue to grow.

Finally, a word about the convention worship: the music was quite good. The singing was outstanding as usual. The style of many of the worship services was "high church." As long as delegates did not interpret it as a demonstration of how worship should be done in their congregations, fine. Devotees have the freedom of the Gospel to use that style where it is appreciated. Given the number of requests I receive for pastors who can do high church, I think those who appreciate it remain in the minority. Since a resolution did propose that congregations follow a suggested minimum outline for their Sunday worship, it might have been nice to see a service or two suggest what that might look like.