Home » Headline, National News

New board brings fresh insight to church issues

October 28, 2011 No Comment

Lutheran Church–Canada Board of Directors, 2011-14. Front (l-r) East District President Paul Zabel (advisory); LCC President Robert Bugbee; Treasurer Dwayne Cleave; ABC District President Don Schiemann (advisory); Anne Taylor; Second Vice-president Thomas Kruesel; Rev. Dr. Karl Keller; First Vice-president Nolan Astley. Back (l-r) Third Vice-president Mark Dressler; Board chairman Arnold Drung; Cam Pelzer; Frank Belden; Ron Roller; Lorne Wirth; Central District President Tom Prachar (advisory). Absent: Rev. Paul Schallhorn (secretary).

The first meeting of Lutheran Church–Canada’s Board of Directors for the 2011-2014 triennium convened in Winnipeg, October 21-22. Three lay persons and one pastor elected at the June 2011 convention joined the board.

The meeting began with an orientation by President Robert Bugbee based on Romans 12: 3-6 which he described as a “call to competence.” He encouraged all board members to fulfill their responsibilities “as well, consistently, and as strongly as possible as ‘living sacrifices’ pleasing to God.” 

Board of Directors chairman, Arnold Drung

Following the orientation, members elected Arnold Drung (Holy Cross, Kitchener, Ont.) to serve as chairman, and Lorne Wirth (Good Shepherd, Regina) as vice-chairman.

Rev. Paul Schallhorn (Christ Lutheran, Sarnia, Ont.) is secretary and Dwayne Cleave, treasurer. The board also appointed board members and non-members to its committees including Mission and Social Ministry Services, Communication and Technology, Higher Education, Worship and Music and Cultural Properties and Archives.

 With the resignation of Dr. Ian Adnams who served as editor of The Canadian Lutheran since 1995, the board needed to appoint a successor as outlined in the Handbook of Lutheran Church–Canada. Upon recommendation from LCC’s Council of Presidents, Mathew Block (Good Shepherd, Regina) will serve as the new editor as part of his responsibilities as LCC’s communications manager. He begins his position November 15.


Dwayne Cleave, LCC treasurer, provided an overview of the current fiscal state of the church. He noted that overall income across all districts was below expectations. Both the East and Central districts forward a fixed percentage of the mission offerings they receive from congregations to finance the work Synod does on behalf of the whole church. When congregations reduce or fail to send their gifts, this places additional financial pressures on LCC’s mission work overseas, higher education and other areas which congregations have pledged to support. “The largest single source of income for the work we do together comes from congregations through their districts,” Mr. Cleave explained to the board. “Regular giving in congregations goes much further than the local parish.” He also noted how LCC has reduced staff in Winnipeg to accommodate declining income, however “there’s only so much of that you can do before essential services are compromised.”

On the positive side, the treasurer, who also serves as executive director of Worker Benefit Plans (WBP) announced that congregations and other employers received a 2.6 percent reduction in their pension contributions beginning in October. This reduction comes after WBP negotiated long-term loans from LCC’s three district Church Extension Funds to stabilize funding. One board member suggested congregations consider sending the 2.6 percent extra funds to districts “for the Lord’s mission in LCC.”

Higher education

The directors spent considerable time reviewing the current status of the Memorandum of Understanding the BOD signed with LCC’s two seminaries in June. The MOU provides for an expenditure cap for seminary education beginning in 2013. Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines reported it had received a three-year accreditation from the Association of Theological Seminaries (ATS) following an internal assessment and an on-site assessment from an ATS team. One of the areas the ATS cited that contributed to a shorter accreditation period was the lack of permanent leadership for the seminary. Currently, CLTS works with an acting-president. Based on the ATS report and acting on a request from the CLTS Board of Regents, the Board of Directors granted permission for CLTS to begin a search for a president. Since the Edmonton seminary has a ten-year accreditation and the ultimate goal of the MOU is to amalgamate the two seminaries, the directors saw the need to place both institutions on the same footing. The CLTS Board of Regents believes it can provide for a full-time president and still remain within the targeted budget restrictions.

First vice-president, Rev. Nolan Astley, who chaired the task force which created the MOU, suggested the need to “set aside organizational unity (ie amalgamation) in favour of operational harmonization.” He noted that due to complicated legal  matters, an amalgamation of the two seminaries is a long-term project. However, the board directed its Committee on Higher Education to explore what is needed to bring it about.

Another issue within higher education arose with the news that, due to budget constraints, Concordia University College of Alberta (CUCA) is discontinuing the position of Director of Church Work programs yet still continuing to offer the program. While this is an operational decision for which CUCA is responsible, the board realized the broader implications for the church-at-large. It asked its Committee for Higher Education to monitor the situation and for Dr. Gerald Krispin, president of CUCA to provide ongoing reports on the state of the program.

Lutheran heritage

In June 2010 the board received a report from the Task Force on Cultural Properties and Archives. Due to the pressing needs of the seminary task force, the report did not receive attention from the board until this meeting. After careful consideration the board approved the report in principle and asked its Committee on Cultural Properties and Archives to present recommendations for implementation. The report recommends that Lutheran Church–Canada’s heritage program come under a national structure with broad-based funding.

Board committees will meet either face-to-face or through conference calls over the next four months to prepare for the BOD’s next meeting in March 2012.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.