These questions have been sourced from the face-to-face training conducted around Australia and New Zealand in March and also via submission the LCA Convention of Synod email address. If you have questions about Convention that are not answered here or elsewhere on the Synod website, contact the Convention of Synod planning team via firstname.lastname@example.org
- What if a delegate can no longer attend General Convention of Synod? What options are available to a parish, especially since it is now only days before the start of Convention?
The parish can appoint a replacement or an ‘alternate’ delegate from their own membership or from another parish. An alternate still needs to be recorded as an attendee but acts only for the period of Convention. Registration can be swapped from one person to another. An alternate can represent only one parish.
- How many delegates will be at Convention?
There will be approximately 440 delegates, including 250 lay delegates and 130 pastor delegates. The exact number will be known only when all the delegates have formally registered at Convention.
- When will registrations for delegates open?
Registration opened on 1 July and officially closed on 31 August.
- Will congregations be issued an invoice for their contribution to the Convention of Synod budget? If so, when will this occur?
Yes; the invoices were sent on 1 March and were due for payment by 30 April. If your congregation has not received this invoice, please call Debbie or Jayne on 08 8267 7300 or email email@example.com as soon as possible. If your congregation has not yet paid the invoice, please attend to this as a priority, as this income is necessary to meet the costs of organising and running Convention.
- Is it possible for delegates to register their interest if they are willing to share hire cars/accommodation etc to help reduce the cost to parishes/individuals?
Yes. LCA eNews and Synod eNews, both of which are emailed to delegates, explain how to register your interest. We’ll put you in touch with other delegates who wish to share.
- Is there a guideline that delegates/pastors can inform their parish regarding reasonable expected expenses for Convention (eg travel, accommodation, meals)?
This will vary considerably depending on the mode of transport used, where the delegate is coming from, the type of accommodation booked and the number of meals requested. Please refer to the Delegate Info section of this website for accommodation options and advice about travel.
- Will pastors be reimbursed if they travel by car instead of fly?
Yes. Please refer to the Delegate Info section on this website. In the section titled ‘Travel’, there is a reimbursement schedule for pastors travelling by car.
- What time will the Convention of Synod opening worship start on the Tuesday night?
The opening worship will commence at 7.00pm in the chapel. You can download here a map showing the location of the chapel. Volunteers will be there to direct you. Registration of delegates and visitors will be open before the opening worship, from 4.00pm to 6.45pm.
- Will the seating during the business sessions be allocated prior to Convention, and will this be a delegate’s place for the whole time at Convention?
Yes. This is because the planning team wants to encourage a healthy engagement and interaction between delegates who come from a range of backgrounds and places. This arrangement will commence on the Wednesday for the first plenary session and continue on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
- Will one of the people sitting at the table be a designated facilitator for group discussions?
Yes. The facilitators have been appointed and will be briefed about their role on Wednesday evening prior to the commencement of the business sessions on Thursday.
- What if a delegate at the table doesn’t follow the Five Principles of Dialogue?
Bishop John Henderson has expressed a hope that all delegates will participate fully in a spirit of active listening and respect for one another. The Five Principles of Dialogue provide a framework for this to occur and to enable all delegates to feel they have been heard. If there difficulties are being experienced at a table, for whatever reason, there will be resource people available to offer assistance.
- How will a delegate receive information if they do not have easy access to email or the internet?
The Book of Reports has been mailed to all delegates. If you have not received a copy, please call Debbie or Jayne on 08 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. The Book of Reports is also available on this website. In addition, it is important that all delegates can access the information available on this website and receive LCA Synod eNews, which provides important updates about Convention. We therefore urge delegates who do not have easy or regular access to email/internet to approach their parish leadership to establish a means by which information can be conveyed or made available (eg access to the church office facilities or, with permission, advise the email address of the pastor or another member to the LCA National Office so that information can be relayed through them).
- Will all paperwork (i.e. timetables, Book of Reports, etc) be available to delegates via the LCA Synod website in the form of a PDF for those who prefer to use laptop/tablet?
Yes, the Book of Reports and other relevant material and information is available on this website, and delegates will be alerted to any updates on the page through Synod eNews.
- Will we be allowed to facebook, tweet or use other social media methods to let people know what is happening at Synod?
Yes, but we are promoting a responsible use of social media by delegates, and there will be some sessions where delegates will be respectfully asked not to use these media. The chairperson of the session will inform delegates when this is the case. The reason for this approach is that, at some times during Convention, it will be important that the information is formally approved for general release by the LCA Bishop or his representative, with the support of the LCA Communications Coordinator.
- Will there be a Synod app?
No, but the Synod website is mobile-device friendly. It will be re-formatted immediately before Convention so that the features most likely to be needed while at Convention can be accessed easily and quickly on mobile devices.
- Can proposals to Synod still be submitted to GCC?
The closing date for Synod proposals was 15 May 2015. Late proposals in writing and handed to the Secretary before the first business session may be accepted by Synod and placed on the agenda. At the discretion of General Church Council, new business may be submitted to Synod during the days of the Convention.
General Pastors Conference
- When will the recommendations from GPC be distributed to delegates and how will they be delivered?
The General Pastors Conference met 6–8 July 2015. The advice from General Pastors Conference, together with other relevant background information from GCC, has been included in the Book of Reports.
- Can Synod discuss a theological matter if the recommendation from GPC is not to discuss it?
Section V.F.2 (b) “General Pastors Conference” of the LCA By-Laws states the following:
- The General Pastors’ Conference shall serve as a theological adviser to the General Synod and in fulfilment of such function
(a) shall consider those questions, issues and statements of a theological and confessional nature which appear on the agenda of the Convention of the General Synod and are referred to it by the General Church Council;
(b) may voice its opinion with regard to the advisability or non-advisability of dealing with any such question or issue or of adopting a particular statement; and
(c) may recommend amendments, corrections, additions or explanations concerning proposed statements.
- Can GPC veto a proposal going forward to Synod (or amend it)?
No, it cannot veto a proposal. However, it can recommend amendments as outlined in the By-Laws above.
- Will voting on some department proposals be on Wednesday or will all proposals be deferred until Saturday? If voting only occurs on Saturday, will there be another opportunity to ask further questions about the proposal on the day?
No, the agenda has quite deliberately distinguished between the reporting sessions which will be almost entirely on the Wednesday, and the sessions on Thursday, Friday (ordination issue only) and Saturday that focus on the Synod proposals.
At the time of the Synod training, the intention was that the proposals considered on Thursday would be tabled and voted upon on Saturday. However, for practical reasons, the proposals will now be debated and voted upon as they arise. The only exception is the ordination question, which will involve a process of dialogue and debate on Thursday and Friday, followed by a vote on Saturday (unless the Convention determines to vote on Friday, if time permits).
- If a delegate has read and received a report, does that mean the report has also been accepted?
Section VII.C.6. Procedure for Transacting Business states that: ‘All reports published in the official book of reports or in supplements thereto shall be regarded as received by the convention by virtue of that fact’.
- How will departments give their reports this year, if they are no longer presenting to the whole Synod at the one time? Will all delegates hear from every department?
Twelve boards will be presenting their reports three times to three groups of delegates. The intention is to enable more scope for engagement between the presenters and the delegates, while still ensuring all delegates hear from all the reporting boards. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, it will not be possible to hear from all the boards, but their reports are in the Book of Reports.
Delegates are invited to submit ‘questions on notice’ prior to Convention, and the responding board will answer them either as part of their presentation or directly to the delegate.In addition, the reporting sessions have adequate time for delegates to ask questions of the boards.
- If departments are giving their report a few times to smaller number of delegates, will there be an opportunity for all delegates to hear a summary of any discussion that occurs in other groups for that department?
Each group will include note-takers who will compile a summary of the discussion to be posted on this website.
- Can visitors also attend the department reports?
Visitors are welcome to attend the reporting sessions. Please note however that visitors will only be able to ask questions of the presenters at the discretion of the meeting facilitator. The limited time means that priority for questions must be given to the delegates.
- When voting, delegates are encouraged to vote ‘in the best interest of the church’. Does this refer to the practical or the theological/spiritual interests of the church?
This principle applies to all of the issues to be considered at Convention of Synod.
- Has thought been put into how the church will move forward after the women’s ordination vote, knowing that either result will be upsetting for some people?
The Book of Reports contains proposals that foreshadow a process for the reception of the decision (refer Book of Reports, page 51: Agenda Item 18.104.22.168).
- How will it be communicated to congregations (pastors and members) that delegates can gather information, feedback and thoughts on a particular issue, but that the delegate actually votes on the day based on all the evidence presented, and that an individual uses their own wisdom and discernment to vote on what is best for the church?
Early this year LCA Bishop John Henderson wrote to parishes with the following advice: Parishes can meet with their delegates to work through issues but should not ‘direct’ their delegates with a ‘how to vote’ card. Otherwise there is no point in having the Synod. So you need to choose delegates you can trust to contribute, consider and finally vote, should we reach that stage on the issue. It is important to avoid trying to ‘stack’ the Synod so that it becomes politically driven rather than a discussion by the people of God under His Word.
More information about the role of delegates can be found on the Delegate Info page.
- How will delegates know if voting on a particular issue will be via secret ballot or open ballot?
The chairperson will advise the delegates about the process for voting in respect to each of the proposals. Any process will be consistent with the Procedure for Transacting Business as outlined in the LCA By-Laws.
- Will delegates be able to find out prior to Synod which boards/councils/committees require voting for its membership, and how many positions are available?
The Standing Committee on Nominations is responsible for preparing the list of nominations for each of the boards. The Book of Nominations has been sent to all delegates.
- When will we find out where the offering will be going?
The offering will be used to support a leadership development project of Grow Ministries (Board for Children, Youth and Family Ministry). A representative of Grow Ministries will make a presentation to the delegates at Convention of Synod that provides further information about this initiative.
- What payment options are there for congregation/parishes in regards to their offering, and when will this information be made available?
The offering can be brought with the delegate by way of a cheque, or can be electronically transferred to the LCA Synod LLL account – BSB 704942 Account 127445. The bank account is available for these transactions now. The LCA strongly recommends that delegates do not bring their congregation/parish offering to Synod in the form of cash, particularly if it is a sizeable amount.
This information was communicated to delegates and parishes via Synod eNews, LCA eNews and LCA Notice Board for several months prior to Convention.
- When will the Bible studies be available for congregations to use in the lead-up to Convention?
They have been available for several months, on the Prayer/Worship page. Delegates are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Bible studies and speak with their pastor and leaders about promoting their use in the congregation/parish in the lead-up to Convention. It is important that people all across the LCA/NZ are getting in the word and praying for Convention.
- Will delegates be required to attend additional training?
There is no more face-to-face training. The Delegate Info page (under the Training section) provides details for accessing the first series of training, along with a virtual presenter. In addition, updates will be provided if they are required.