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Synod urges Interim Pastoral Leadership for ABC District

May 8, 2015 2 Comments

lcc-logoWINNIPEG – Lutheran Church–Canada’s (LCC) Board of Directors has presented the Alberta-British Columbia (ABC) District’s Board of Directors with a suggested convention overture regarding District leadership in light of the ongoing crisis. The overture proposes the separation of the pastoral and corporate functions of the District president, noting that the current situation requires District leadership to focus strongly on corporate and legal issues.

The ABC District Board of Directors has communicated its willingness to bring the overture to the District convention taking place May 22-24 in Calgary.

“Just as the Courts and the CCAA process are addressing the corporate, legal, and financial issues surrounding the ABC District crisis, LCC’s Board of Directors has unanimously recommended this overture as a way to address the pastoral and ecclesiastical issues created by the situation,” explained Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, president of LCC.

“Lutheran Church-Canada has no legal authority to impose control over the ABC District as a corporation,” the overture’s preamble explains. “At the same time, the Synod as an ecclesiastical and spiritual family must address the well-being of its pastors, deacons and congregations in Alberta and British Columbia, and supports extraordinary measures to do so.”

To that end, LCC’s Board of Directors “has urged the ABC District Board of Directors to move that this [forthcoming] convention request a separation—for the time being—between the corporate and ecclesiastical (spiritual) functions of the District president,” the preamble notes. “This will enable the District president and the District Board of Directors to respond properly to the legal and financial challenges which remain unresolved. The ecclesiastical (spiritual) functions traditionally associated with the District president would be temporarily assigned to interim pastoral leadership to be appointed by the Synod.”

The proposed overture follows weeks of consultation and discussion by Synod’s leaders with ABC District leaders. “While LCC is legally unable to intervene in the corporate functions of the ABC District, Synodical bylaws note that ‘in ecclesiastical matters, the Synod is not merely an advisory body in relation to a district’” President Bugbee explained. “This overture would ensure that the need for focused pastoral guidance and comfort, as well as church-oversight, receives strong attention in the midst of the ongoing corporate challenges the District is facing.”

To fulfil its legal corporate obligations, the ABC District convention would still need to elect a Board of Directors, but the District president’s normal ecclesiastical duties would be temporarily transferred to a Synodically-appointed interim pastoral leader until such time as LCC’s Board of Directors and President have determined that the District’s corporate issues are sufficiently resolved.

In a conference call on May 6, the ABC District Board of Directors voted to submit the overture to its Convention. The District Board will incorporate a slight amendment to the final “Resolved” section to provide for consultation between Synod leaders and the District BOD to determine when the interim period should be concluded.

Read the full text of the original LCC proposal here. The ABC District advises that the version as amended by its Board of Directors will be sent out in a later pre-convention bulletin.

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