The Governance Framework outlines our structure and how all the pieces of the Lutheran Church of Australia fit together and support each other. We are not pretending this is the most exciting publication you will ever read, but if you are interested in this sort of thing, you can read it here.
God grows us as his people to a mature faith in Christ – a faith that comes to life through effective witness and ministry – so that people everywhere may know Christ and his love. Our Strategic Direction, adopted by General Synod in 2013, articulates how we participate with God in this mission.
Nominations – Frequently Asked Questions
You can self-nominate to serve on an LCA governing body.
All Terms of Reference (ToR) for governing bodies will be available on the LCA website in the lead up to General Synod (a link will be on the LCA Synod website). Have a look through the membership requirements as many have described the necessary competencies.
Talk to your pastor about your intention and seek his support as he will need to be a referee and you will need to include his contact details on the Nomination form.
Complete all sections of the Nomination form and submit it to the Nominations Committee firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2015, General Convention of Synod approved a trial of changes to governing bodies and national functions. This has resulted in a number of bodies operating under new ToRs in this synodical term (eg boards operating as committees). The General Convention of Synod in 2018 will decide whether to adopt the changes or revert to the current arrangements. It is for this reason that we’re making available both the existing and the trial ToR/Rules for you to review.
Many governance bodies are competencies based. Have a look at the skills and competencies that are required and see where you fit. Governing bodies work as a team, and it is important that members are able to work together. You also need to have time to commit to the preparation for meetings, to attend meetings and to undertake any task in between.
An ideal candidate does all of these for the common good and with a loving heart!
Any person who is aged over 18 years and is a confirmed and communing member of a congregation of the LCA is eligible to be on a governing body, except for some committees which may allow for non-Lutheran members (this provision is subject to the acceptance of the LCA Governance Policy). There are also other requirements, including current working with children and/or police checks. Please refer to the Nomination form.
The first step is to complete and sign the Nomination form making sure that you have included the details of your referees (refer also question 1 above). You will need to get your pastor, or District Bishop/LCA Bishop if you are a pastor, to agree to be your referee. Then scan and send it in.
Apart from specific personal details (as advised on the Nomination form) your information is made available to the Nominations Committee, the office holders of the governing body you are interested in joining, and to the appointing/electing body. If you agree, your information will be retained in a database so that your name is available for consideration for other governing bodies in the future.
No. Only a congregation, an LCA board (as currently defined in the LCA’s By-laws), District Bishop or the LCA Bishop are able to submit a third party nomination. Please refer to this section of the Nomination form.
It is not possible to nominate a non-Lutheran for membership to an LCA board. However, it may become possible (refer Q4) to nominate, as per the requirements of Q7, a non-Lutheran to serve on some committees of boards and councils (as well as other advisory groups). This may become necessary if a particular skill or area of expertise is not available within the church. Such nominations will be considered in the same way as any other nomination.
Once a nomination has been received, it will be considered by the Nominations Committee. This process may include an interview and contact with your referees. The Nominations Committee will then submit its recommendations to the appointing/electing body for decision.
The current process is that most positions on LCA governing bodies are filled by a combination of Synod election and General Church Council (GCC) appointments. If proposed changes to these arrangements are adopted at General Synod in 2018, GCC will be the only body where its members are elected. The membership of all other bodies will be appointed by either GCC or a Board/Council. If General Synod doesn’t adopt these changes then the current mix of election/appointment will continue.
In addition to the regular cycle of elections & appointments (ie at or following General Conventions of Synod) there is also the necessity to fill casual vacancies when members resign during the synodical period. In such circumstances, GCC or the appropriate body will make an appointment for the duration of the synodical term, based on a recommendation from the Nominations Committee using the process described above.
In all circumstances, candidates are notified in writing after their appointment/election, or to advise them if they haven’t been successful.
You can complete the form online. You will need to print it out to get the required signatures and then scan it to send. Electronic signatures will also be accepted, but it will require you to have the necessary software capability.
You will be notified once the selection process is complete. This may take some months as nominations have to be submitted by May 15. This will enable the Nominations Committee to complete its work as outlined in Q9 and have the lists of nominations ready for publication and distribution to the Synod delegates before General Convention of Synod in early October 2018. Where elections at Synod are not required they will be referred to the relevant appointing body (eg GCC) after General Synod.
That varies from body to body. The ToRs generally provide for a minimum number of meetings, but the actual number may be more. You can speak to the Chair about how often meetings are held, and where/how they are held (eg face-to-face, Skype). It is important that you have time available to attend meetings, to prepare for them and to undertake any tasks that may be required between meetings. Generally, meetings are held on a weekday during working hours.
It is important to note that submitting a nomination doesn’t mean that it will lead to your election/appointment. This won’t be a reflection on you or your God-given abilities, but that they may not be the best fit for the body you’ve nominated for. The Nominations Committee, and approving body, are focused on achieving an appropriate balance of competencies that are required for the body to do its work effectively, with due regard given to gender and age diversity as well as geographic location.
All appointments are for the synodical term which is three years. Your term will commence three months after the conclusion of the General Convention of Synod (which effectively means the beginning of 2019). In some cases newly appointed/elected members may be invited to attend a meeting of the existing body before the end of 2018 to assist with the transition to the new body and for the purposes of induction and orientation.
If your appointment is as a result of a casual vacancy, that is during the synodical term, it will finish at the end of the synodical term.
We strongly encourage that when you consider nominating for a position that you carefully weigh up your ability to commit to it for a full three years. It is important for the effectiveness of governing groups that there is stability in membership. However, we acknowledge that an individual’s circumstances can change unexpectedly. If this is the case the appropriate process is to discuss your likely resignation with the Chair as soon as is practicable, followed by a formal letter of resignation addressed to the Chair (or secretary if the governing group has this position).
All roles on LCA governing bodies are voluntary. All reasonable expenses connected with serving on the governing body will be reimbursed. If the cost of your attendance will be substantial it is important you discuss this with the Chair before incurring any expenses.
At your induction and orientation, you will be advised how to lodge a reimbursement claim. Reimbursements will be transferred to your nominated bank account.
Vacancies are advertised through the LCA eNews and on the LCA website. Most governing body positions are filled through the pre-Synod nominations process (which generally begins in the December before the Convention year) but, as indicated in Q10, casual vacancies do occur from time to time and these are advertised as they arise.
Refer to the competencies matrix (if available) of the body you’re interested in, the ToR of the body, and/or by contacting the Chair of the body. It is important you articulate on the Nomination form how your skills and experience match the identified requirements.
The 15 May is the cut-off date for nominations. This is necessary because, as outlined in the response to Q9, the Nominations Committee needs sufficient time to process the nominations and prepare them for publication well before the commencement of General Convention of Synod. Late nominations will therefore not be considered.
Please also note that, following a decision of General Synod on 2015, nominations cannot be made from the floor of Synod.
Yes, individuals can serve on up to two governing bodies at one time. You will need to complete a separate form for each nomination and address the requirements for each governing body. You may wish to submit nominations to more than two bodies, but you will need to indicate your top two preferences to assist the Nominations Committee in its deliberations.
The ToRs will include the information of which appointing body will make the decision.
If the proposed governance changes are adopted at the 2018 General Convention of Synod, the maximum term will be 10 years (effectively three synodical terms).
It is essential that people serving on governing bodies have a good understanding of the Lutheran Church and regular attendance at church helps to ensure this. However, it is acknowledged that there are legitimate reasons why individuals can’t attend regularly but still can have a heart and capacity to serve. If this is your situation we ask that you discuss your interest in serving on a governing body with your pastor and seek his advice – and, also because, as outlined earlier, he needs to agree to serve as one of your referees.
The minimum age is 18 years. There is no specific maximum age to be on a governing body, as long as you are able to meet the requirements of it.
Yes, you will need to maintain a current working with children (or equivalent) and/or police check if you are a member of a decision-making body such as a board or council. This is necessary even if you don’t work directly with children or vulnerable people because these bodies are making decisions that may potentially or will impact on children or vulnerable people.
It may be necessary to hold a working with children (or equivalent) and/or police check for other committees and commissions. You will be advised if this is a requirement if you are nominated to a position on one of these groups and, if so, you will be asked to confirm that you are prepared to obtain the necessary documentation prior.
Yes – they must be declared and recorded in the minutes, including action taken to address the conflict (eg abstaining from votes). The LCA has a Conflict of Interest Policy, an updated version of which will be approved by General Church Council in early 2018.
One of the LCA’s values, articulated in its Strategic Direction 2013–2018, is described as 'Marked by Integrity'. In upholding this value, and in some cases to comply with the law, people serving on the LCA governing bodies must be and be seen to be fit to serve. Accordingly, it is not possible for an undischarged bankrupt to serve on an LCA governing body.
Papers of the governing body are distributed by email or accessed through the LCA intranet. Some meetings are held via Skype. Access to a computer and the internet is therefore necessary for full participation.
Yes, it is a responsibility of the Chair to provide each member with an induction and orientation to the work of the group. The LCA is also in the process of developing governance-related training to assist members of governing bodies to carry out their roles. In some cases, the governing body may require you to undertake external, professional governance training because of the high level of responsibility required of you as a member. You must be prepared to undertake this training, as necessary, as well as the LCA’s Professional Standards training if you haven’t previously done so.
You can email email@example.com