The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream


NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Monday, March 2, 2015

Synod Appeals Process: What happens when following the “proper channels” doesn’t work?
WELS Documented Blog

Just laugh - you are wasting your time -
LCMS, ELS, WELS, CLC (sic).
WELS Documented Blog

Monday, March 2, 2015


Synod Appeals Process: What happens when following the “proper channels” doesn’t work?


Synod Appeals Process

How would you answer these questions: 

If you disagree with something doctrinally at your church, and you follow all of the proper steps to resolve it, but the system still fails you, what should you do then, if you truly love your church?

Laypeople can only appeal as high as their district. If problems remain after that appeal, what should be their next course of action? Roll over and simply leave the Synod or keep pushing forward to preserve the integrity of the Synod?

What if a member was treated wrongly by their pastor and doesn't agree with how the district handled the matter? What should be their next course of action after the district level? Do they then have the right to go public looking for help if they can't get help within the "proper channels"? Why or Why not?

Are people going public with their cases only after the "proper channels" have let them down? Should the appeals process for laypeople be updated? And if so, how?

Where does one turn to in the Synod for help when following the "proper channels" doesn't work? 

Synod Board of Appeals 
The Synod Board of Appeals is composed of 10 members, a chairman (who must be a pastor), three pastors, three teachers and three laymen. Members' terms are six years; they may succeed themselves once. Members of the Board of Appeals may hold other elective or appointive offices. A five person Board of Appeals panel is formed to decide each appeal. The chairman or his designee plus four board members selected by the chairman make up a Board of Appeals panel. The decision of a Board of Appeals panel is the final disposition of any appeal. Read position descriptions for other WELS Boards

The average District President is not this smart
and not this useful. You can always hope.


Conference of Presidents
The Conference of Presidents (COP) is composed of the 12 district presidents, elected by their respective districts; the synod president; and the two synod vice presidents. The synod secretary, elected by the synod in convention, serves as a non-voting advisory member of the COP. The COP meets in person three times annually for regular meetings, as well as monthly via teleconference. The COP also meets twice in May in its role as the Assignment Committee of the synod.

The Conference of Presidents is responsible for the following areas:
  • Supervising, maintaining, and strengthening biblical doctrine and practice.
  • Overseeing the calling process by providing calling bodies with call lists for pastors, teachers, and staff ministers, as well as counsel and advice in the calling process.
  • Serving as the committee that assigns ministerial candidates to their first calls.
  • Working with congregations (often through the circuit pastors) to care and provide for the physical and spiritual.
  •  Encouraging congregations and individuals in their financial support of the synod, primarily through Congregation needs of called workers and their families.
  • Overseeing the work of the Ministry of Christian Giving, Communication Services, and the Congregation and Mission Offerings.
  • Promoting the synod's mission and ministry in the districts. Ministry Support Group.
  • Promoting the general welfare of the synod.
The Conference of Presidents spends significant time at each meeting discussing specific questions of doctrine and practice, as well as addressing practical issues that affect congregations and called workers. The group functions primarily as a "conference," with district presidents conferring with each other, both seeking and offering advice to one another for the good of the synod and its people. Source.

Laypeople can appeal as high as the District
The Northern Wisconsin District Board of Appeals exists to provide its congregations, members and called workers an opportunity to appeal a matter of discipline. Source - Since the NWD Convention in June of 2012, there were no appeals submitted. Source.

Appeals Discussion at WELS' 61st Biennial Convention:
Another resolution addressing a memorial that called for an appeal process when calls are terminated for elective reasons was sent back to the floor committee for further consideration. Sentiment expressed on the floor was that the resolution as presented did not adequately lay out the appeals process as the memorial proposed. “From what I’ve heard from the floor and off the floor is they understand there is no appeal process for terminating for elective reasons,” says Rev. Douglas Free, chairman of the COP committee, “but it seems as if people were terminated, and it wasn’t really made clear as to why and what their recourse was then.”

Appeals for Called Workers whose Calls are terminated
The COP considered the matter of developing a process of appeal for workers whose positions are eliminated for non-disciplinary reasons. The district presidents will be working proactively with congregations that face such decisions to ensure that the divine call is honored and that affected called workers are cared for in Christian love and concern. With that system in place, the COP determined that no special system of appeal will be necessary for such workers. Source.

Applicable Sections of the Synod Constitution
Section 8.10
Synod Board of Appeals
(a) The Synod Board of appeals shall be composed of 10 members: a chairman, three pastors, three teachers, and three laymen. The Synod Board of Appeals shall be elected by the synod in convention from a slate of candidates submitted by the synod’s Nominating Committee. The chairman shall be a pastor. Members’ terms shall be for six years and they may succeed themselves once. Terms shall be staggered. Members of the Synod Board of Appeals may hold other elective or appointive offices.
(b) A five person Board of Appeals panel shall be formed to decide each appeal. The chairman or his designee plus four board members selected by the chairman shall make up a Board of Appeals panel. Each panel must include at least one pastor, one teacher, and one lay member.
(c) All correspondence and documentary evidence relative to a disciplinary action together with a summary report shall be filed in the office of the president within 60 days after the appeal has been concluded. The decision of a Board of Appeals panel shall be the final disposition of an appeal.

Section 8.20
Jurisdiction and Procedure in Disciplinary Actions and Removal from Office at the District Level
(a) In cases of discipline among pastors, teachers, and congregations of both self-supporting and mission status, the district in which such pastors, teachers, and congregations hold membership shall exercise original jurisdiction. The Synod Board of Appeals shall exercise appellate jurisdiction.
(b) In cases of discipline among the faculties of the synodical schools or the area Lutheran high schools and administrators of synodical boards and commissions, the respective board or commission shall exercise original jurisdiction. The district in which the appellant is a member and the Synod Board of Appeals shall exercise appellate jurisdiction successively.
(c) The two district vice presidents with the concurrence of the district circuit pastors may suspend the district president from his office. The president shall have 60 days thereafter to appeal this suspension. If there is no appeal within 60 days, the action shall be final and the officer is removed from office. If he appeals, the appeal will be heard by the District Board of Appeals.
(d) In the case of district vice presidents and secretary,the president with the concurrence of the circuit pastors may suspend another officer. The district officer shall have 60 days thereafter to appeal this suspension. If there is no appeal within 60 days, the action shall be final and the officer if removed from office. If he appeals, the appeal will be heard by the District Board of Appeals.
(e) The conduct of review shall rest with the District Board of Appeals. The board shall have the right and power to examine all documentary evidence and correspondence and to require such testimony that in its judgment is relevant. The decision of the District Board of Appeals may be appealed to the Synod Board of Appeals. Upon the appeal, the Synod Board of Appeals may review the action of the District Board of Appeals.
(f) In the case of removal from office of district board, commission or committee members, the board, commission or committee may suspend a member from his position. He shall be notified in writing of this action within 30 days. The member shall have 60 days to appeal the suspension. If there is no appeal within 60 days, the action shall be final and the member is removed from office. If he appeals, the appeal will be heard by the District Board of Appeals. The decision of the District Board of Appeals may be appealed to the Synod Board of Appeals. Upon appeal, the Synod Board of Appeals may review the action of the District Board of Appeals.
(g) In cases of discipline among missionaries under the jurisdiction of the Board for World Missions, the respective administrative committee shall exercise original jurisdiction. The Board for World Missions, the District Board of Appeals and the Synod Board of Appeals shall exercise appellate jurisdiction successively.

Section 8.30
District Board of Appeals

(a) The District Board of Appeals shall be composed of 10 members: a chairman, three pastors, three teachers, and three laymen. It shall be elected by the district in convention from a slate of candidates submitted by the district’s nominating committee. The chairman shall be a pastor. Their term shall be for six years and they may succeed themselves once. Terms shall be staggered. Members of the District Board of Appeals may hold other elective or appointive offices.
(b) A five person Board of Appeals panel shall be formed to decide each appeal. The chairman or his designee plus four board members selected by the chairman shall make up a Board of Appeals panel. Each panel must include at least one pastor, one teacher, and one lay member.
(c) All correspondence and documentary evidence relative to a disciplinary action together with a summary report shall be filed in the office of the district president within 60 days after such action has been concluded. The decision of a Board of Appeals panel shall be the final disposition of an appeal unless, when possible, an appeal is made to the Synod Board of Appeals. The decision of the District Board of Appeals shall be respected by all the members of the Synod, even while an appeal may be made to the Synod Board of Appeals.

Section 8.40
Rights of the Disciplined Party

(a) Any person or congregation that has been disciplined under Section 8.30 shall be notified in writing by the district president of the right of appeal under Section 8.10 of the bylaws within 30 days of completion of the disciplinary action. A copy of these sections shall be included in the letter.
(b) They shall have 60 days to appeal the action. To exercise the right of appeal the disciplined party shall file notice of appeal with the Board of Appeals within 60 days of the notification of the right to appeal.

Section 8.50
Appeals by Laypersons

(a) A layperson who has been subject to a disciplinary action by a congregation shall have the right to appeal the action. Such appeal must be filed with the district president in writing, with a copy to the congregation, within 60 days of the notice of disciplinary action.
(b) Upon receipt of the appellant’s request, the district president shall notify the District Board of Appeals.
(c) The constitution for the districts affirms that “in intracongregational matters the district shall have purely advisory authority” (Article IX, Section 2). The review shall be conducted, therefore, to determine whether the process leading to the disciplinary action and the doctrinal basis of the disciplinary action were scriptural.
(d) The conduct of the review shall rest solely with the District Board of Appeals. The board shall have the right and power to examine all documentary evidence and to require such testimony that, in its judgment, is relevant.
(e) The District Board of Appeals shall submit its decision in writing to the appellant with a copy to the disciplining body, circuit pastor, and district president. The decision of the District Board of Appeals shall be the final disposition of the appeal.
(f) Within 30 days of the board’s decision, the complete records of the board shall be filed with the district president, who shall act, if necessary, in accordance with his responsibility for the district’s doctrine and practice.

Section 8.60
Appeals after Removal from Office

(a) A pastor or teacher who has been removed from office because of “established inability to perform the duties of his/her office” (Model Constitution and Bylaws for Congregations of the WELS, 1997, Article IX, Section 2) shall have the right to have the action reviewed by the District and Synod Board of Appeals successively. The request for review must be filed in writing within 60 days of the notice of removal from office. The request for review is to be addressed to the president of the synod who shall notify the appropriate Board of Appeals.
(b) The conduct of the review shall rest with the District Board of Appeals. The board shall have the right and power to examine all documentary evidence and to require such testimony that, in its judgment, is relevant to the case.
(c) If the board rules in favor of the pastor or teacher who has been removed, the pastor or teacher shall be restored to the official list of pastors and teachers and declared eligible for a call into the ministry.
(d) If the board rules against the pastor or teacher who has been removed, the pastor or teacher shall have the right to appeal to the Synod Board of Appeals within 60 days of notification of action by the District Board.
(e) Upon appeal of either party, the Synod Board of Appeals may review the action of the District Board of Appeals. The records of the district board’s proceedings shall be used as a basis for any review.
(f) The decision of the Synod Board of Appeals shall be the final disposition of the case.


3 comments:

  1. Let me suggest that again, this article gives away its position in the title. What do you mean the proper channels "don't work?" They always work, they may just not always agree with you. I would say the only way they wouldn't work is if these boards of appeals refuse to meet. Is anyone aware of this being the case? I am not.
    The boards of appeals always do what they are supposed to do. They give you an opportunity to be heard by a larger group of your brothers in Christ. Now if after your local group of brothers and sisters don't agree with you, and your larger group of brothers and sisters don't agree with you I suppose you have two options. Either realize that the problem is with you and heed their words to you. Or understand that you are no longer in a fellowship where you agree with your brothers and sisters and Scripture teaches there is only one thing to be done in this case. What you don't get to do is stay in a group and be a vocal minority over a matter that has been thoroughly heard and discussed. Scripture is plain on this matter.
    Finally, whatever your issue is, I respect your right to have that opinion. If you think every church needs to have a pastor is a white alb that is fine with me. You have every right to encourage that practice. What you don't have a right to do is accuse others of not being Lutheran for not following a standard that is not in our confessions nor in Scripture. If you want to start your own church where that is the standard, God be praised. If you want to stay here than understand our standards begin and ends with Scripture and the Confessions, not ones personal ideas.
    Reply

    Replies


    1. Anonymous 2:19, thank you for your input on the title! That never dawned on me; I was trying to get people "thinking" but I can see now how that title could definitely be seen as you stated. I always thought coming up with the content for a blog was the most difficult, but I'm starting to think it's the title that is the hardest! It really helps when people point stuff like that out so I can do it more impartial next time. I'm still relatively new to blogging, so keep pointing things out! It helps me learn!
      -WD1
  2. Anonymous at 2:19 - Not to be argumentative but your statement is erroneous. It is true that an appeals process always works in the mechanical sense. You make your case and the Appeals Board contemplates and gives you an answer. It just may not be the correct answer in all cases. There can be a multitude of reasons for why they reached the wrong conclusion but it can be wrong. If the appeals process always comes to the correct answer, then why (shifting to a judicial example) do we find people cleared of wrong doing after spending years in prison. The Appeals Board may be wrong and if they are do you do a disservice by leaving or would all involved benefit by additional review and yes by a person being a vocal minority crying out to their brothers in Christ.

    Of course one would only suggest the latter after thoughtful reflection and prayer.

    Eine arme Schaf
They run WELS.
They can do no wrong.
Get over it.