Frequently Asked Questions

These questions have been sourced from the face-to-face training conducted around Australia and New Zealand and also via submission to the LCA Convention of Synod email address. If you have questions about Convention that are not answered here or elsewhere on the Synod website, please contact the Convention of Synod planning team via the button link below.

I HAVE A QUESTION

One Convention – two sessions

Have the dates and venue for the 2022 sessions been announced?

No, not yet. The Synod planning team is still assessing the options. God-willing, the 2022 sessions will be held in-person in Melbourne within the period September to November.

What items will be on the agenda for the 2021 online sessions and the 2022 in-person sessions?

The agenda items for both the 2021 and 2022 sessions can be accessed from the Business tab on this website. Please note, however, that should a 2021 agenda item become difficult to discuss fully within the confines of the online platform, it may be adjourned until the 2022 sessions.

Will the Book of Reports be published and distributed before the 2021 online sessions?

Yes, the Book of Reports was posted to delegates and parishes on Friday 3 September. It was also published online (Business > Agenda) on this website on Monday 6 September.

Will proposals be accepted after the 2021 online sessions and before the 2022 in-person sessions?

It is possible. In that instance, an addendum to the Book of Reports will be published.

Will nominations for boards and councils be accepted after the 2021 online sessions and before the 2022 in-person sessions?

No. Nominations for the 2021–24 synodical term closed on 15 May 2021.

Will visitors be able to observe the 2021 online sessions?

Yes. While only delegates will be able to speak and vote, visitors will be able to login and observe the sessions. The login link will be advertised two weeks before the 2021 online sessions via this website and the Synod eNews.

Will the current LCANZ Bishop preside over both sessions of General Synod or only over the 2021 online sessions?

Retiring Bishop John Henderson will preside only over the 2021 online sessions. The new bishop will be installed into the role before the 2022 in-person sessions.

Will there be an opportunity for worship at the 2021 online sessions?

Yes, there will be online morning worship services and closing devotions on both days. In addition, St John’s Unley will host a worship service at 10.00am on Sunday 3 October to which everyone is invited. The service will also be live-streamed. The service will include some installations following elections from the online sessions and LWA elections. This is not the Convention closing service, which will take place at the conclusion of the 2022 in-person sessions.

Given that the 2021 sessions are being held online, therefore reducing venue hire costs, will parishes receive a refund on their Synod fee?

No. While venue hire costs have been reduced, there are new costs associated with running a two-day online convention.

When will the next Convention of General Synod be held?

It is being proposed that the Synod affirms that the online sessions is the beginning of the synodical term, to maintain the three-year synodical cycle. The 21st Convention will be held in 2024. (Note however that the in-person sessions of the 20th Convention will be held in 2022.)

Delegate access and participation: 2021 online sessions

How many delegates will be at 2021 online sessions?

There will be approximately 440 delegates, including 250 lay delegates and 130 pastor delegates. The exact number will be known only when all the delegates have formally registered for the online sessions.

How do delegates register to attend the 2021 online sessions?

Most delegates have registered already via the online system. Delegates who have not yet registered should do so immediately via the link in the emails sent to them. Delegates who have not received this information or are having difficulty registering should contact the Synod office at synod@lca.org.au or call 08 8267 7300 immediately.

What if a delegate can no longer attend Convention of General Synod? What options are available to a parish, especially if this happens only days before the start of Convention?

If the parish’s elected delegate is unable to attend the Convention, the parish can appoint a replacement or an ‘alternate’ delegate from their own membership or from another parish. The alternate acts on behalf of the parish only for the period of Convention; the original elected delegate acts in that capacity for the entire synodical term. It is important to note that an alternate can only be elected if the already elected delegate is unable to attend the Convention. Registration can be swapped from one person to another. An alternate can represent only one parish.

If an elected delegate cannot attend the 2021 online sessions or does not feel comfortable participating, may parishes elect an alternate?

Yes, parishes may elect an alternate for the 2021 online sessions, but the elected delegate retains his/her position for the three-year synodical term, which ideally will include attendance at the 2022 in-person sessions. It is important to note that an alternate can only be elected if the already elected delegate is unable to attend the Convention. If an alternate is to be elected for the 2021 online sessions, this should be done urgently.

What if an elected delegate isn't confident using the technology for the online sessions?

All delegates have been asked to report any difficulties they might have in accessing or fully participating in the online sessions, The LCA IT department has been working to resolve any issues. In addition, delegates will be invited to attend practice sessions during September. Details of these sessions will be added to the Delegates page of this website and will also be advised via Synod eNews. Delegates who are not comfortable operating on the online platform are encouraged to find a support person who can assist them during the Synod sessions.

What is the status of an elected pastor delegate who moves to another district or retires between the two sessions of General Synod?

He retains his status as a delegate for the full synodical term, 2021-24.

Do delegates have to attend training?

No, but training is highly recommended, even for experienced delegates. Training is available on the ALC iLearn website. Details for access are on the Delegates page on this website.

During the online sessions, will delegates be able to ask questions and speak to various proposals?

Yes.

Will delegates be able to physically meet together to participate in the online sessions?

Yes, but delegates will need to make their own arrangements. There might be some district support in order to facilitate this. Delegates must, however, have their own computer, as they will need to independently contribute to the Synod discussions and vote. This also applies to households where two people are delegates.

May delegates (and visitors) physically attend the location from which the online sessions are being broadcast?

No. Only those people leading the sessions and providing administration or technical support will be allowed into the venue.

When delegates confess to the inerrancy of Scripture, what exactly is meant by that?

At the time of the union of the two synods (ELCA and UELCA) into the new Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA), one of the major sticking points was what was meant by the ‘inerrancy’ of Scripture. This led to a lengthy debate before the union, which continued for almost two decades within the young LCA. Seminary lecturers, pastors and presidents all contributed. The debate resulted in a number of doctrinal statements on the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, the most recent of which is the Consensus Statement on Holy Scripture (1984). The documents capture and present the progression of the debate chronologically, providing access to the variety of theological opinions presented through original documents preserved in the Lutheran Archives. The dossier is available at https://e-resources.alc.edu.au/Pages/inspiration-and-inerrancy.aspx

Readers might also find this article helpful, ‘The authority of Scripture’ (https://lca.box.com/shared/static/aitvrt4gskbdg4pwtyaevjecqia2m1rf.pdf), by Bishop John Henderson, which appeared in the Lutheran Theological Journal 51.3 (December 2017).

Business

Can proposals to Synod still be submitted to GCB?

The closing date for Synod proposals was 15 May 2021. Late proposals, emailed to the Secretary of the Church at synod@lca.org.au, before the first business session, may be accepted by Synod and placed on the agenda. At the discretion of the General Church Board, new business may be submitted to Synod during the days of the Convention.

Are nominations to boards and committees still being accepted?

The closing date for nominations to LCA boards and committees was 15 May 2021. Nominations will not be taken from the floor. Visit the Nominations page on the LCA website for full details: www.lca.org.au/nominations

Will a new LCANZ Bishop be elected at this Convention?

Yes, Bishop John Henderson has indicated that he will be retiring from the office and also full-time pastoral ministry this year. Delegates will elect a new bishop.

When voting, delegates are encouraged to vote ‘in the best interest of the church’. Does this refer to the practical or the theological/spiritual interests of the church?

This principle applies to all of the issues to be considered at the Convention of Synod.

At the 2021 sessions, how can we be confident the online voting system is secure and accurate?

The system we will use is OpaVote, which has an excellent track record with security and accuracy. No-one, including the OpaVote administrator, will be able to see how anyone voted. The OpaVote system was successfully used for voting at General Pastors Conference.

Will delegates be able to practise voting?

Yes, delegates will be able to practise using OpaVote at pre-Synod online training events (details to be advised on the Delegates page of this website and in Synod eNews). There will also be a practice opportunity at the commencement of the business sessions.

At what time do the 2021 online sessions start?

Logging in commences at 7.00am on both the Friday and Saturday. We encourage delegates to log in early so that our IT support team can resolve any technical issues. Opening worship commences at 8.30am, and the business sessions commence at 9.00am.

Will there be scheduled breaks during the online sessions?

Yes. There will be 30-minute breaks for morning and afternoon teas and a 1-hour break for lunch. During the breaks, short videos from LCANZ departments and agencies will be shown.

Will the business sessions be recorded?

Yes. Sessions are recorded for archival purposes. Upon registration, all delegates permitted their image and voice to be recorded.

Is it possible to nominate a pastor for the position of Bshop from the floor?

Yes, the LCA Constitution allows for this. However, it is strongly recommended that anyone intending to do this already knows that the pastor will accept the nomination.

Synod offering

Will there be a Synod offering at both the 2021 and 2022 sessions?

Yes. As is customary, congregations are invited to contribute to the General Synod offering. The recipient of the 2021 offering will be the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELCPNG), a partner church of the LCANZ. The offering will support in-service training of pastors in the ELCPNG so that they may be strengthened in their ministry of the gospel.

The recipient of the 2022 offering will be advised closer to the event.

What deposit options are available to congregations to make the Synod offering?

Congregations are invited to deposit their offering in the Synod offering account at the LLL (https://donation.lca.org.au/project?id=P21006). Alternatively, the deposit may be made to this account: LCA Synod Account; BSB 704942; Account 100698743.

Communication

How will delegates receive information?

It is important that all delegates can access the information available on this website and receive General Synod eNews, which provides important updates about Convention. All communications to delegates will be emailed to their LCA address throughout their three-year synodical term.

Will we be allowed to facebook, tweet or use other social media methods to let people know what is happening at Synod?

Yes, but we are promoting responsible use of social media by delegates, and there may be some sessions where delegates will be respectfully asked not to use these media. The chairperson of the session will inform delegates when this is the case. The reason for this approach is that, at some times during Convention, it will be important that the information is formally approved for general release by the LCA Bishop or his representative, with the support of the LCA Communications Manager.

Will there be a Synod app?

We are working on this and hope to have an app available for the 2022 in-person sessions.

General Pastors Conference

When will the recommendations from GPC be distributed to delegates, and how will they be delivered?

The General Pastors Conference (GPC) met online on 6 July. Given the limitations of the online forum, GPC did not discuss General Synod business. It is hoped that GPC will be able to attend to this business at its meeting in 2022 and make recommendations to General Synod on matters referred to it by the General Church Board.

Can GPC veto or amend a proposal going forward to Synod)?

No, it cannot veto a proposal. However, it can recommend amendments as outlined in the by-laws above.

We are grateful for the support of the LLL, the major sponsor of Convention of General Synod.

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