Posted by: Johnold Strey | June 20, 2012

District Convention Recap

Last week, the Arizona-California District of my church body, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), met for its biennial convention in Mesa, Arizona.  The district officers prepared an “executive summary” of the convention that was meant to be distributed to delegates and church members.  Click here for a PDF copy of that summary, or read on:

The 30th Biennial Convention of the Arizona-California District, under the theme: “Christ’s Love; Our Calling: The Sacramental Life,” began with an opening service at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Apache Junction, AZ. Pastor Jon Bauer served as the liturgist and Pastor Don Pieper served as the preacher. The offerings given totaled $1509.27 and were later designated by the delegates for Pan de Vida Lutheran Church in Santa Ana, CA and the WELS European Chaplaincy.

The Arizona Golf Resort in Mesa, Arizona served as the site of the convention; District President Jon Buchholz served as the chairman of the convention. President Buchholz delivered his report in which the delegates were notified of official acts of the district from the past two years. He also gave encouragements to the delegates to make use of the tools available for congregations to plan and evaluate their ministries. Every delegate was given a copy of these tools in their convention binder and it is on the new district website,

The keynote speaker was Pastor Jon Zabell, chairman of the WELS Commission on Worship. Pastor Zabell’s keynote address was entitled, “Cleansed and Fed: The Sacramental Life.” Discussion questions for the delegates about the blessings and use of the Sacraments were interspersed throughout the essay.

Elections of district officers were held. The delegates re-elected the current district presidium: Pastor Jon Buchholz, district president; Pastor Steve Degner, first vice-president; Pastor David Clark, second vice-president; Pastor Dan Schroeder, district secretary. Mr. Steve Hansen of Belmont, CA was elected the district’s lay representative on the WELS Synodical Council. He replaces Mr. Tom Schlittenhart who had served the district for the past twelve years. Other district officers and circuit pastors were elected by the delegates.

WELS President Mark Schroeder addressed the convention and thanked the delegates for their support of the synod’s work. Various speakers highlighted work being done in the areas of missions, ministerial education, and congregational services in both the synod and our district.

The CrossWalk Ad Hoc Committee presented their final report summarizing their work the past two years with CrossWalk Lutheran Ministries in Phoenix. Both CrossWalk Lutheran Ministries and Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Las Vegas, NV were welcomed as congregations into the district.

Pastor David Clark presented on the principles of Bible Translation. The delegates voted on what translation they believe our synod’s publishing house should use. One option on the ballot was to have the synod decide at the 2013 synod convention. All districts in the WELS are voting on this issue.

Teacher Jim Hendrickson, a member of the WELS Continuing Education Committee, encouraged congregations to consider ways to help their called workers continue growing in the Word and abilities. The delegates passed a resolution that established an assistance fund for called workers in our district. This would be an additional 25 cents per communicant assessment for each congregation in the district.

Resolutions were passed and sent to the synod that: encouraged Northwestern Publishing House to develop multi-media formats for children’s Bible instructional materials; advised Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary to postpone adding an 18th professor; and advised the WELS Benefits Office to continue to monitor health care laws and look for alternative plans that would benefit called workers.

Delegates enjoyed time growing in God’s Word, fellowshipping, and making new friends and acquaintances.



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