25 June 2015
Dear LCA pastors,
General Pastors Conference is just around the corner. May the Lord bring us together well in his name.
This hopefully final GPC Update contains very important information:
- The proposals which have just been referred to the conference by General Church Council, with covering letter
- The conference program
- Electoral and other information
- Housekeeping matters
- What to bring to GPC
- A paper to help us prepare spiritually.
For your convenience, all the documents referenced in this Update may be downloaded from this zipped folder. Alternatively, you may download each file from the links throughout this Update.
1. PROPOSALS REFERRED BY GENERAL CHURCH COUNCIL
From the LCA By-laws we know that: GPC must 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.
We have just received the following three proposals in regard to the ordination question referred from GCC:
1. That this Synod reaffirms article VI.11 of the Theses of Agreement which states… [then it quotes TA VI.11].
2. That… [then follows a number of proposals culminating in the following] because no clear Scriptural proof has ever been produced to support the Ordination of women, therefore it be rejected as being contrary to Scripture and the true gospel, as contrary to the honour and glory of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit alone and therefore unconstitutional (Articles II & XIII)
3. That the LCA accepts the ordination of both men and women and amends the Theses of Agreement VI and the Constitution accordingly.
GCC’s letter includes its own request for GPC as follows:
That the General Pastors Conference consider whether a Synod decision to maintain the current teaching of the Church or to ordain both men and women, has to be Church divisive.
GCC also referred a matter in relation to infant communion as follows: That:
- The LCA encourage the practice of admitting very young children, including infants, to Holy Communion.
- The LCA produce suitable materials to promote the practice of admitting young children and infants to Holy Communion.
The full text of the letter from GCC and the proposals, which include the reasons given by those submitting them, can be found at the links below and also on the main GPC webpage:
- Letter re Referral
- Mid-Murray proposal
- Grampians proposal
- Indooroopilly proposal
- Adelaide St Stephens proposal
- Unley proposal
- CTICR Infant Communion proposal
Please print these proposals out and bring them with you to GPC.
As the Proposal 3 above refers to a large amount of information posted on the Ordination. We’re Listening website (I counted 147 pages), I suggest you especially refer to and print out the two 2006 CTICR summaries, one for ordaining men only, and the other for ordaining women as well, linked below. Article VI Theses on the Office of the Ministry is also linked below.
- TA VI Theses on the Office of the Ministry
- Why does the LCA ordain men only
- The case for the ordination of women
Remember that specific Q&As have been prepared by CTICR this synodical term – so you may wish to refer to them on the Ordination. We’re Listening website.
In particular note Q&A 8 Does the ordination issue have to be divisive? – as it relates directly to the request by GCC that the conference consider this matter. You can find the Q&A at this link:
We will have time in small group discussion before coming together in plenary session for feedback, framing advice to Synod and decision. The LCA’s Ordination Dialogue Group has prepared some principles of dialogue, and questions, to assist such discussions, and these are linked here for your reference:
2. THE CONFERENCE PROGRAM
Now that the actual proposals are known, the final Conference Program can be published. It is very much as anticipated and originally notified on the GPC webpage. You can find the program at this link:
Please print this program and bring it to GPC.
3. ELECTORAL AND OTHER INFORMATION
These are some other things we’ll do at conference. Please come prepared for them.
- Be gathered by the Lord and fed with word and sacrament, served by fellow pastors led by conference chaplain Dr Stephen Pietsch and musician Pr Adrian Kitson.
- Gather a free-will offering at the opening and closing services – one to go to ALWS and the other to the LCA’s Mission International.
- Be supported with personal pastoral care if we want to draw on this (pastors Stephen Pietsch, Paul Kerber, Mike Fulwood serving).
- Conduct the required elections, with Pr Matthew Wilksch leading the Electoral Committee:
– one or more nominations for LCA Assistant
Bishop to pass through to General Convention (25% or more of the vote get passed on);
– a secretary and two other members of the next GPC Planning Committee.
- Adopt the 2013 GPC minutes which were emailed to pastors in September last year and are available at this link: 2013 General Pastors Conference Minutes.
- Have individual photos taken for LCA records, so please come with hair combed, ready for Linda Macqueen!
- Enjoy the hospitality of the Hahndorf folk, and of the LLL and Mike Grieger’s Australian Church Resources as they host evening drinks and fellowship.
- Look through ACR’s book display, including Commission on Worship resources – come ready to buy!
- Talk to a range of exhibitors who will be happy to share their ministry support with you: LLL, Lutheran Tract Mission, LCA (for HR, LAMP, LLLunch, LWMC, Communications), Australian Lutheran College, Lutheran Archives, Lutheran Education Australia, Grow Ministries, Board for Local Mission, Australian Church Resources, Board for Lay Ministry, Lutheran Media Ministry, Board for Lutheran Aged Care Australia, Church Resources, Mission International, AbMinSA.
Note that there is no visitors program at the conference, so visitors (spouses etc) cannot attend.
4. HOUSEKEEPING MATTERS
These notes come from Michelle Storie of the SA/NT District office, who has done a superb job planning our physical arrangements, in team with Ian Scott from St Michael’s Hahndorf.
- Airport transfers: Pick-up details have been advised to pastors involved by email; ditto transfers to the airport at the end of the conference – but a list will be posted at the conference as a reminder. There are still places on buses from the airport on Monday 6 July at 3.40pm and 6.40pm – look for a person with a sign saying LCA Pastors Conference.The buses will take you to Hahndorf accommodation or St Michael’s church for pickup if staying with friends etc.There is also still room for bus transfer back to the airport, leaving St Michael’s around 4.30pm on Thursday 9 July. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have not yet reserved a place.
- Parking: There is some parking at St Michael’s and on surrounding streets. There is also plenty of overflow parking 1 km away at St Paul’s Lutheran Church, 10 Main Street, Hahndorf – with a shuttle bus running before and after each day’s program if it’s raining!
- Name tags will give your name and voting status for (a) theological matters; and (b) the ballot for Assistant Bishop nominations, as well as your small group number and table identification.
- Meals: Lunch is provided each day, along with morning and afternoon teas; also the Conference dinner on Tuesday night. Breakfasts and the Wednesday evening meal are not provided. The Haus Restaurant (38a Main Street) has kindly offered a 10% discount – phone 8388 1000 and use the voucher in your conference welcome pack.
- Coffee: St Michael’s church café will be open in the mornings – but there will be a lot of people to serve so you might consider bringing a take-away from elsewhere en route!
- First aid: Dr Christian Fandrich is the designated First Aid Officer for the conference, and there will be other helpers – look for the red cross on their name badge.
- There will be some laptop charging stations at the conference.
- Please label all luggage, bags, laptops, cables etc so they can be returned if found.
Please arrive in good time each morning and sign in (this is required for WHS reasons) – especially on the first day when you will have your photo taken, receive your name tag, welcome pack and voting card after signing in. Pre-registration is required for attendance.
5. WHAT TO BRING TO CONFERENCE
Thank you for giving time to preparing for GPC. Please bring the following to conference:
- The proposals advised in (1) above, and all related documents to which you may wish to refer (in print or electronic form)
- Your bible
- Warm clothes – the church and conference space have heating but the weather is expected to be cold. Also bring an umbrella.
6. A PAPER TO HELP US PREPARE SPIRITUALLY
During the course of preparing for this conference, the College of Bishops requested some spiritual reflections to assist them. They now offer a particular paper for our own personal preparation. You can find the paper at this link:
Now on this day of the Commemoration of the Augsburg Confession may the Lord of all truth and grace keep us in his word and will. And may he give you good preparation and safe travel to General Pastors Conference. For those who are not attending – please pray for us with the assurance that God will hear your prayers in Jesus’ name.
God’s peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Chair – GPC Planning Committee
25 June 2015
Erratum: Two quotes in the 10 June eNews Update 5 were incorrectly attributed to Peter Brunner when they should have cited William Weinrich. Apologies for this mistake.