101st Michigan District Convention
Gathering on the campus of Concordia University Ann Arbor (CUAA), 833 convention delegates and guests attended the 101st Michigan District Convention. The three-day event began with the Opening Worship Service in the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. The processional hymn, “With the Lord Begin Your Task,” focused worshipers to seek God’s guidance and blessing upon the work to be accomplished over the coming days. Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, guest preacher, encouraged the assembly to “Hold to simple Christian faith, stick to the simple Words of Scripture.”
Three other times of worship graced the convention schedule with a Morning Devotion in the chapel, a stirring Memorial Service commemorating church workers who departed during the past triennium, and an Installation and Sending Service. Preachers included Rev. Joshua C. Ketelsen (Holy Cross, Onaway), Rev. Robert M. Zagore (Trinity, Traverse City), and Michigan District President, Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier. Devotional leaders from CUAA included Rev. Ryan Peterson, Rev. John Rathje, and Rev. John Bush.
Convention sessions included elections, business, President’s address, and presentations. Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier was elected as District president for a third term. Vice presidents were elected and ranked. They include: Rev. Mark D. Brandt (St. Lorenz, Frankenmuth), Rev. Donald O. Neuendorf (St. Paul, Ann Arbor), Rev. David A. Davis (St. Luke, Haslett), and Rev. John M. Duerr (Hope, Warren). Rev. David H. Reed (Immanuel, Sebewaing) was re-elected as District Secretary, and Bonnie Mann (Trinity, Monroe) as District Treasurer.
In his address, President Maier encouraged delegates to remember, “Our task, in the power of the Spirit, is always to be meeting the world with surprising signs of God’s generosity, and those signs will be all the more powerful if we do them together.”
Resolutions were categorized under the District’s four Critical Targets: Great Commission, Great Compassion, Healthy Congregations, and Healthy Workers. Noteworthy adopted resolutions include:
1-08(a): “To Root Men and Women in Their Baptismal Identity”
2-06: “To Provide Congregational Unity in Financial Support of Our Synod”
1-05: “To Intentionally Initiate Mercy Ministries in our Communities”
1-03: “To Support the ‘Here We Stand’ Initiative in Celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.” This initiative will include a District-wide thank offering with a goal of $10,000,000 to have impact in these four areas: Professional Church Worker Scholarships, Innovative Missional Ministry, Michigan District Endowment, and International Ministry. Organized events and activities during 2017 will be planned to celebrate the 500th anniversary, including a District-wide Worship Service on October 15, 2017 at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University. Rev. Dr. Patrick T. Ferry will be the preacher.
Rev. Dr. R. Reed Lessing, pastor of Saint Michael Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Ind., was the convention essayist. He led the assembly in two Bible studies in support of the convention theme, based on the Book of Ephesians. He shared what it looks like for God’s Loved and Compassionate Community to be living under the influence of God’s Spirit. A full transcript of this study will be available in the Convention Proceedings due to be published this fall.
Thirty-four vendors from organizations and ministries supporting church ministry were housed in the convention ministry tent. Delegates and guests were able to connect and learn more from educational institutions, care ministries, and recognized service organizations of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
No convention is complete without time for fellowship. Patio tables and two tents adorned the lawn of CUAA’s Manor House as participants enjoyed each other’s company along with a pig roast, German beer, and entertainment.
Visit the District’s Facebook page for daily re-cap videos and a photo gallery. Visit michigandistrict.com/convention for election results, convention resolutions, related stories, Bible study, worship, and proceedings videos.