Convention: Overtures

77th Convention of the LCMS Southern District and the Southern District Church Extension Fund

Romans 10:15 – And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

What Is an Overture?

      • Overtures are recommendations in the form of proposed resolutions requesting action on the part of the convention.
      • The multi-step process by which an idea is honed by many minds and hands for presentation to a convention helps to ensure the best and most productive use of time together in convention. It does require and allow those interested in this process to be engaged long before the convention.

Who Can Submit an Overture?

      • a member congregation,
      • the forum of a circuit,
      • an official Southern District conference of ordained and/or commissioned ministers,
      • a board, committee, or task force of the Southern District,
      • or the Board of Directors of the Southern District.
      • It is important that each overture be submitted with an indication of which of the above adopted it for submission, and the signature of an appropriate officer attesting that it was adopted as an official act of the submitting body.

How Shall Overtures Be Formatted for Submission?

      • Please use the template linked below to format overtures. It is a Microsoft Word document, and the template ensures a consistent layout for all overtures. (This is a tremendous help in preparing the Convention Workbook!)

What Can an Overture Deal With?

      • An overture can propose any action that is within the Constitutional and Bylaw authority of the respective convention. It can, for example:
          • propose that direction be given to officers and agencies of the Synod or of the district, compatible with their charges in the Constitution and Bylaws.
          • while avoiding “legislative or coercive powers” reflecting an “ecclesiastical government,” the Synod being, “with respect to the individual congregation’s right of self-government” “but an advisory body” (Synod Const. Art. VII)—advise, admonish, and encourage the congregations and individual members of the Synod.
          • seek to establish a doctrinal resolution or statement to clarify the Synod’s witness or settle doctrinal controversy (Synod Bylaw 1.6.2), in which case it must “conform to the confessional position of the Synod as set forth in Article II of its Constitution and shall ordinarily city the pertinent passages of the Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, and any previously adopted official doctrinal statements and resolutions of the Synod” (Synod Bylaw 1.6.2 [a]).
          • propose the amendment of the Constitution (Synod Const. Art. XV) or Bylaws (Synod Bylaw Chapter 7) of the Synod, in which case it must clearly indicate the changes proposed.
      • NOTE: Overtures addressing matters in dispute resolution or which contain libel or slander or may subject the Synod or its officers to civil action for the same cannot be accepted. Overtures that contain information that is materially in error or misrepresent the truth cannot be accepted.

How Shall Overtures Be Submitted?

      • A hard copy signed by two officers of the submitting entity must be mailed to the Southern District President’s Office. To expedite the processing of your overture, also upload an electronic copy of the overture (Microsoft Word format, please) as indicated below. Please be sure to save at least an electronic copy for your records.

          1. Print one hard copy, sign, and mail to:

            Office of the President
            LCMS Southern District
            100 Mission Drive
            Slidell, LA 70460

          2. Send an electronic copy (in Microsoft Word format, if at all possible) by uploading it here.

When Are Overtures Due?

      • Overtures must be received at least 20 weeks prior to the opening date of the convention (that is, before November 4, 2024).

What Happens to an Overture Once Submitted?

      • Overtures accepted according to the rules stated above are shared with the district or Synod in the Convention Workbook. On the basis of this publication, comment may be forwarded to the respective president’s office.
      • Overtures involving proposed changes to the Constitution or Bylaws of the Synod are reviewed by the Commission on Handbook, and all that in any manner relate to the Constitution, Bylaws, and Resolutions of the Synod are reviewed by the Commission on Constitutional Matters. These commissions provide further, specific comment in their respective areas of responsibility.
      • Overtures are then submitted, together with all such comments, to an appropriate floor committee, appointed by the respective president, for consideration, possible consolidation with other related overtures or other editorial work, and the making of a recommendation, in the form of a proposed resolution, to the respective convention for action on the matter(s) treated (Synod Bylaw 3.1.7).
      • These proposed resolutions are published, generally in advance of the respective convention, in the first edition of Today’s Business. There is again an opportunity for input to the floor committees before a final proposed version is introduced to the floor of the respective convention.

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Missouri Synod

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