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 (2023) sessions been announced?

The dates have been announced, but the sessions will not in fact be held in 2022. Considering all prevailing circumstances, GCB agreed that the best possible dates for the in-person sessions are 9-12 February 2023. These sessions will be held in Melbourne.

What items will be on the agenda for the 2021 online sessions and the 2023 in-person sessions?

The agenda items for both the 2021 and 2023 sessions can be accessed from the Business tab on this website.

Will another Book of Reports be published before the 2023 in-person sessions?

An addendum to the original Book of Reports will be published, and posted to delegates before the 2023 online sessions. It will also be published on this website.

Will proposals be accepted after the 2021 online sessions and before the 2023 in-person sessions?

No. GCB has decided that only amendments to existing proposals will be accepted.

Will nominations for boards and councils be accepted after the 2021 online sessions and before the 2023 in-person sessions?

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

Will visitors be able to observe the 2023 in-person sessions?

Yes. While only delegates will be able to speak and vote, visitors will be able to watch via livestream in an adjoining room.

Will Bishop John Henderson preside over both sessions of General Synod or only over the 2021 online sessions?

No. Bishop John Henderson presided over the 2021 online sessions. Bishop Paul Smith will preside over the 2023 in-person sessions.

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 2023.)

Our parish our paid the Synod fee for the 2021 on-line sessions. Will we have to pay the fee again for the 2023 in-person sessions?

No, there is only one fee, which covers both the 2021 and 2023 sessions.

Delegate participation

How do delegates confirm their attendance for the 2023 in-person sessions?

Delegates for the 20th Convention of General Synod were elected before the 2021 online sessions, and they registered via the online system. They were contacted in November 2022 at their LCA email address to confirm their attendance for the in-person sessions. For catering and other purposes, delegates need to confirm their attendance no later than 23 January 2023. 

What if an elected delegate is not willing or able to attend the in-person sessions?

If a parish’s elected delegate is unable or unwilling to attend the in-person sessions of the 20th Convention of General Synod, the parish will need to appoint an alternate (more information about this in the next FAQ). If an alternate cannot be found, the parish will need to register an apology.

If an elected delegate is unable or unwilling to attend the 2023 in-person sessions, may parishes elect an alternate?

Yes, parishes may elect an alternate to attend the 2023 in-person sessions, but the elected delegate retains his/her position for the remainder of the three-year synodical term. It is important to note that an alternate may only be appointed if the elected delegate is unable to attend the Convention. Every effort should be made to elect a lay person alternate to stand in for a lay delegate. In some circumstances, however, it may be possible, with the permission of the District Bishop, for the parish pastor to be the alternate for a lay delegate (By-Law 7.1.4).

What is the status of pastor delegates if they have moved to another District or retired between the 2021 online sessions and the 2023 in-person sessions?

Elected pastor delegates remain delegates even if they have moved to another District or retired.

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.

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. New proposals for the 2023 in-person sessions will not be accepted. However, amendments to existing proposals will be accepted up until 4 July 2022.

Are nominations to boards and committees still being accepted?

No. The closing date for nominations to LCA boards and committees was 15 May 2021.

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.

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.

Synod offering

Will there be a Synod offering at both the 2021 and 2023 sessions?

Yes. As is customary, congregations are invited to contribute to the General Synod offering. The recipient of the 2021 offering was 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 2023 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?

No, not at this stage.

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 in July 2021. Given the limitations of the online forum, GPC did not discuss General Synod business. It is intended 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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