Six proposals relating to the ordination of both women and men have been submitted for consideration by delegates at February’s in-person sessions of the 20th Convention of General Synod, to be held in Melbourne.
This will be the fifth time that some form of the difficult ordination question has come before General Synod, the first being in 2000.
Two of the LCANZ Districts and four congregations have submitted proposals on the subject. Three of them, including one from the South Australia – Northern Territory District, ask for the removal of Clause 6.11 from the Theses of Agreement, which rules that men only may be ordained as pastors of the church.
The Theses of Agreement was the foundational document on which two Lutheran synods united as the Lutheran Church of Australia in 1966.
The Queensland District’s proposal calls for the LCANZ’s General Church Board (GCB) and College of Bishops (CoB) to investigate the ‘theological, constitutional and governance requirements’ that would allow the LCANZ to operate as ‘one church with two different practices of ordination’.
A joint meeting of the GCB and CoB this year submitted minor amendments to the Queensland District Synod, which met from 10 to 13 June 2022 and approved the changes. In supporting the Queensland proposal, the GCB and CoB said, ‘by acknowledging that agreement does not exist on this matter, we are then free to consider a godly way to collegially participate in the mission God has given us for the wellbeing of the church that we love and serve in together’.
Other proposals to General Synod relate to the review of the church’s processes for ecclesiastical discipline and adjudication; the review of the LCA Constitution; and membership of the Lutheran World Federation and International Lutheran Council. These and other proposals can be found on the General Synod website Business page: www.generalsynod.lca.org.au
Information packages on the key General Synod proposals will be mailed to delegates before the in-person sessions so that they can be well prepared to fully participate in the Synod discussion. Videos will be produced to help congregations and members learn more about the topics and discuss the issues in their congregations and communities.
The 2023 General Synod in-person sessions will be a continuation of the October 2021 sessions, which were held online due to COVID travel and gathering restrictions.