A Word from Mark...

Our 17th Annual Gathering and Convention was held in Minneapolis, MN on October 8-11, just a few weeks ago.  We had just over 900 people in attendance, representing 412 of the 750 congregations of LCMC. 

This year for the first time we sat around tables so that participants could discuss the information presented and it was genuinely appreciated. 

To recognize the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, we considered three of the fundamental themes of the Reformation: Justification, The Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, and the Priesthood of All Believers.  We also had a dramatic portrayal of Martin Luther and Katie by Johan and Sonja Hinderlie, and we showed the movie: Martin Luther, the Idea that Changed the World.

At this gathering we had two resolutions come from the floor for consideration by the convention.  Our constitution and by-laws allow for resolutions to come during the convention without advance notice or preparation.  They did not come from either of the Boards and therefore could not be disseminated in advance to give people time to consider or even understand the issues being presented.  Ultimately, no action on the resolutions were taken as the floor voted to table the discussion. The Board of Trustees is meeting in late November and will discuss and evaluate the content of the resolutions along with the discussion from the floor.

Thank you to all who took the time to submit evaluations of this year’s gathering. Critical points of feedback often expressed about our gatherings generally focus on cost and food.  

This year, there was the added element regarding the lack of preparation specific to the resolutions presented from the floor—which is addressed above. 

Cost is real.  When we gather 900-1100 people we look for facilities that can accommodate space for the general sessions, the vendor areas, any service project that might be included, breakout sessions, and the ability to feed that many people in one setting.  There is no LCMC congregation that can do all of that.  They may be able to handle 2 or 3 of the needs but not all five.  Holding our gatherings in smaller markets help keep costs down, but cost is real.

Food?  The convention food and beverage divisions do their best to provide good, healthy and tasty meals, but how many of our children ever liked the same foods? 

In spite of the concerns expressed, we had a great time together.  We laughed, prayed, sang, worshipped and encouraged one another.  We re-connected with friends, and made new ones.  There were great conversations about what makes us Lutheran and what makes us people of LCMC. 

To be honest, I am already looking forward to coming together again in Des Moines, October 7-10, 2018!  Mark it down on your calendars, its going to be great!

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