Training of delegates to the eighteenth General Convention has concluded. Conducted by Grassroots Training (a division of Australian Lutheran College), the training was held in 22 locations across Australia and New Zealand during March in order to prepare delegates for their responsibilities for the three-year synodical term, which commences at General Convention.
In the past, training has been offered just prior to conventions of Synod. Take-up has been low. This year the deeper, more intentional training program has helped delegates better prepare for their role and engage more fully in what will be a substantially different convention program.
Delegates learnt why the LCA comes together as Synod; what sorts of decisions are made, and what their responsibilities are, not only at Convention but for the full three-year synodical term. Delegates also became familiar with the confessional statements they will affirm during the opening rites of the convention.
The role of the chairperson (LCA Bishop John Henderson), the requirements for a quorum, preparation and format of proposals to the convention, nomination and voting procedures and the rules for speaking from the floor were all covered in the training sessions.
Several innovations, designed to increase its effectiveness, are planned for this convention. These include a modified program designed to allow for a better flow of information, a mix of group and plenary discussions, and for decisions (voting) to be taken after adequate time for reflection and prayer. To facilitate discussion, delegates will be allocated to table groups and visitors will be seated in a separate designated area of the venue.
Healthy decision-making was the focus of the final part of the training sessions, emphasising careful, attentive and respectful listening to all sides of an issue. Under God, delegates should then decide for themselves what is in the best interests of the church. Decisions made by the Synod in session are binding on all delegates and on the church.
The 2015 General Convention of Synod website is now open and will be constantly updated as details are finalised. The convention opens on Tuesday, 29 September, and closes on Sunday, 4 October, at Redeemer Lutheran College and Our Saviour Lutheran congregation, Rochedale, Queensland.