It’s time to get ready.
Hello, I’m Bishop John Henderson. No matter who you are, or where you worship, the decisions made at the Eighteenth General Convention of Synod will affect you. They’ll affect all of us—and our children and our grandchildren. Therefore, even if you won’t be attending as a delegate or visitor, I warmly invite you to participate in the pre-Convention discussions. It’s also important that you pray.
While it’s certainly not the only issue of consequence on this General Convention’s agenda, the question of Women and the Call to the Office of the Public Ministry promises to be the most controversial. You can inform yourself, and help others, on this matter using the materials provided on the at owl.lca.org.au This material includes a guide on how to run local dialogue sessions.
If you wonder why we are still having this conversation, it’s because after many years of study and two Synod votes, the question has not been satisfactorily concluded. It may not be the most important single issue in the kingdom of God, but right now it offers us a practical opportunity to get to the heart of who we are as Lutheran Christians, how we read the Bible and what we hold most dear.
As we gather around God’s word, hear his promise and celebrate his gospel at this Convention, God will equip us for the even bigger questions to come. Our world is rapidly changing. Current global events threaten to make that change come even quicker. Because tomorrow is not going to be the same as yesterday or today, what we do at this Convention will matter. Forty-nine years on from the union that created our church this is an important test of our faithfulness. Are we ready to listen?
Whether you are considering attending Convention as a delegate or visitor, or simply observing from a distance, there is one thing you can do to help our church in this meeting. Please pray! Widespread prayer for your delegates, our leaders, the business of the day, and the wider church will go a long way to making this Convention a blessing to the LCA, its people and the communities we serve.
In these months leading up to Convention, I have called the church to prayer and provided resources for our worship times and individual devotions. Additionally, Lutherans in other churches around the world, as well as our Australian ecumenical partners, have been invited to pray for us.
A final word
Understandably, some of us are anxious about the 2015 Convention. Others of us just want to move on. The only way forward is to face our fears, identify our hopes and accept the challenge God has called us to. If we handle this difficult discussion —with integrity, honesty and peaceful hearts—then we will all learn some important things that will help us in other difficult issues that lie ahead as we continue to proclaim the gospel and fulfil the mission of the church.
This will be a Convention worth attending. It is your chance, and that of your parish, to make a difference. So please, pray for your delegate, who represents you and the church, so that he/she may participate fully in the spirit that is intended—that of love, compassion and hope.