Postcard Mailings

LCMS National Convention   •   July 20-25, 2019   •   Tampa, Florida

Convention postcards are designed to alert all congregations (and others as necessary) to critical convention-related information and deadlines to enable all congregations to participate fully in the process of the conventions and elections of our Synod.


Mailing No. 11: Sept. 14, 2018

It’s Time … to Submit 2019 LCMS President/Vice-President Nominating Ballots

Shortly after Oct. 1, your congregation should receive an important large white envelope clearly labeled “LCMS OFFICIAL NOMINATIONS BALLOTS.” If this envelope is lost or misplaced, a duplicate must be obtained from the Office of the Secretary of the Synod.

This envelope must immediately be brought to the attention of your congregation’s chairman. It will contain your congregation’s official ballots for participation in the nominations process for:

  • President and First Vice-President of the Synod
  • Regional Vice-President of the Synod

Also in the envelope:

  • Information regarding nominee qualifications
  • Detailed information printed on each ballot regarding its use
  • A map showing the five regions of the Synod
  • Colored envelopes for returning the ballots according to instructions on the ballots

The chairman of your congregation should determine when your congregation will be able to meet to discuss and determine the names that it will submit in nomination. The envelopes containing the completed and signed ballots must be received by Feb. 20, 2019.

It’s also time ... to register presidential election voters

Watch the mail for information on how to register your congregation’s voters, to be sent Oct. 25, 2018.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 10: Aug. 15, 2018

It’s Time … to Submit 2019 Convention Overtures

Overtures are recommendations in the form of proposed resolutions requesting action on the part of the convention.

March 2, 2019, is the DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING OVERTURES (proposed resolutions) to the 2019 SYNOD CONVENTION. Any overtures submitted after that date can only be accepted for convention attention if approved by a special committee made up of the president, first vice-president and secretary of the Synod and only if thought to introduce an important issue not adequately covered by other submitted documents.

WHILE MARCH 2 IS THE OFFICIAL DEADLINE, the Secretary’s Office encourages submission of reports and overtures by FEB. 6, 2019, to facilitate their inclusion in the 2019 Convention Workbook.

THE RIGHT TO SUBMIT OVERTURES IS LIMITED to member congregations of the Synod; circuit forums; district boards of directors, district conventions, official district conferences of ordained and/or commissioned ministers, the faculties of Synod universities, colleges and seminaries, the Board of Directors of the Synod, boards and commissions of the Synod listed in Bylaws 3.2.2,, 3.2.3, and; and committees created by prior conventions.

NOTE: Overtures addressing matters in dispute resolution or which contain libel or slander or may subject the Synod or its officers to civil action for the same cannot be accepted. Overtures that contain information that is materially in error or misrepresent the truth cannot be accepted.

AN ELECTRONIC TEMPLATE/INSTRUCTION document is AVAILABLE at To expedite the processing of your overture, please submit an electronic copy via e-mail to (Microsoft Word version is preferred). Then, print and sign the document (signature by a congregation or circuit forum officer) and submit to the LCMS Office of the President via U.S. mail. Please use as a model the general overture format found in convention materials from prior Synod conventions.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 9: Aug. 1, 2018

It’s Time … to Submit Nomination for National Convention-Elected Positions

This is a reminder that Oct. 20, 2018 is the deadline for submitting names to the Committee for Convention Nominations for the following positions to be filled by the 2019 Synod convention, which meets in Tampa, Fla., July 20–25, 2019:

  • Secretary of the Synod:
    (1 ordained)

  • LCMS Board of Directors:
    (at-large positions: 1 commissioned; 1 layperson)

    (regional positions: 1 layperson from each of the following regions: Central and West-Southwest)

  • Board for National Mission:
    (regional positions: 1 individual — ordained or commissioned — Central, Great Lakes and West-Southwest and 1 layperson — East-Southeast and Great Plains)

  • Board for International Mission:
    (regional positions: 1 individual — ordained or commissioned — East-Southeast and Great Plains and 1 layperson — Central, Great Lakes and West-Southwest)

  • Commission on Theology & Church Relations:
    (1 ordained — parish pastor and 1 layperson)

  • Concordia Historical Institute Board of Governors:
    (2 ordained and 1 commissioned or layperson)

  • Concordia Publishing House Board of Directors:
    (4 laypersons)

  • Lutheran Church Extension Fund Board of Directors:
    (1 ordained or commissioned; 2 laypersons)

  • LCMS Foundation Board of Trustees:
    (1 ordained, 1 layperson)

  • Concordia University System Board of Directors:
    (1 ordained)

  • Boards of Regents–nine colleges/universities:
    (1 ordained; 1 commissioned; 2 laypersons per board of regents)

  • Boards of Regents–two seminaries:
    (2 ordained; 1 commissioned, 1 layperson per board of regents)

Nominations may be submitted by members of the Synod (ordained ministers, commissioned ministers, congregations) or individual members of congregations. A convenient auto-fill nomination form is available at:

Not included in this call for nominations are the Synod president and vice-presidents. Nominations for these positions will be made by official ballots mailed to all voting congregations on or around Oct. 1, 2018.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 8: June 1, 2018

It’s Time ... to Elect Your 2019 LCMS Convention Voting Delegates

Each electoral circuit of the Synod (consisting of 7 to 20 congregations and 1,500 to 10,000 confirmed members) must meet to elect voting delegates to the 2019 LCMS convention. These circuit meetings must take place no later than nine months prior to the opening day of convention, or by Oct. 20, 2018.

How Electoral Circuit Meetings Must Be Conducted

Detailed instructions for the conduct of these meetings are provided in Bylaw (2016 Handbook, pp. 96–98). It will be the responsibility of your circuit visitor to conduct your meeting accordingly. However, your congregation should note the following details in particular:

1. The date and time for the electoral circuit meeting will be announced by your circuit visitor.

2. Each congregation is represented at the forum by one lay member and its pastor (who votes once, even if serving multiple congregations).

3. Prior to the day of the electoral circuit meeting,

  • each congregation of the circuit may nominate one layperson from the electoral circuit for possible election as the circuit’s lay voting delegate or alternate lay voting delegate to the convention, by submitting the name to the circuit visitor.
  • Only names submitted before the day of the meeting will be available for election as lay delegates and alternates.

What Does This Mean for Your Congregation?

1. Find out the date and time for the electoral circuit meeting.

2. Conduct a meeting of your congregation prior to the electoral circuit meeting to make the following decisions:

  • a. Select your congregation’s lay representative to attend the circuit meeting along with your pastor.
  • b. Nominate one layperson from your circuit for election as lay voting delegate or alternate lay voting delegate.

3. Submit that layperson’s name to your circuit visitor prior to the day of the circuit meeting.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 7: Jan. 30, 2018

It’s Time ... to Report Statistical Information

At this time each year, LCMS Rosters, Statistics & Research Services collects statistical information from all member congregations of the Synod. As one of the “requirements of membership,” congregations have agreed to provide annual membership and statistical information. Timely submissions enable the Synod “to plan current and future ministry efforts and to lend accuracy and integrity to the Synod’s delegate representation and voting processes.” (Synod Bylaw

Process for Reporting Statistical Information

With the cooperation of the Synod’s 35 district presidents, a process has been developed to obtain 100% participation. The process will feature electronic reporting via the Internet as well as district office monitoring and assistance. During the second week of January, every congregation will receive a letter containing Web-link and login information to access its electronic report form. The due date for submitting congregation statistics will be Feb. 28, 2018.

District presidents will receive status reports identifying the congregations in their districts that have not yet responded and will provide assistance as needed. Our goal is a 100% response—the same anticipated by Synod Bylaw

Watch the Mail

Watch for the above-mentioned mailing from the Synod’s “OFFICE OF ROSTERS, STATISTICS & RESEARCH SERVICES” in your congregation’s mailbox. In addition to Web-link and login information, it will provide additional instructions for completing the report online. Please direct any questions to; or the LCMS Church Information Center at 888-843-5267.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 6: Jan. 16, 2018

It’s Time ... to Submit Nominations for National Convention Elected Positions

It is time to submit nominations to the Committee for Convention Nominations for certain officer, board, and commission positions to be filled by the July 20–25, 2019 LCMS convention. Detailed information is being provided in a mailing that is currently being sent to all officers, agencies, congregations, and ordained and commissioned ministers of the Synod. Lay members of member congregations of the Synod may also submit nominations. All persons nominated must be members of a member congregation of the Synod. While those nominated for a regional position (Boards for National and International Mission and some lay Board of Directors positions) must reside within that region, nominations for a regional position may originate from any region.

Positions to be Filled

This is a call for nominations for positions for which the Committee for Convention Nominations will be responsible, as follows:

  • Secretary of the Synod
  • LCMS Board of Directors (At-Large and Regional)
  • LCMS Boards for National and International Mission (Regional)
  • Commission on Theology & Church Relations
  • Concordia Historical Institute Board of Governors
  • Concordia Publishing House Board of Directors
  • Lutheran Church Extension Fund Board of Directors
  • LCMS Foundation Board of Trustees
  • Concordia University System Board of Directors
  • Concordia University System Boards of Regents
  • Seminary Boards of Regents

(Congregations will receive nomination ballots for the President and regional vice-presidents of the Synod later in 2018.)

Electronic Nomination Form Available

An electronic auto-fill nomination form is available at To expedite the processing of your nomination, please complete this PDF form on a computer, save, and e-mail as noted on the form.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 5: Sept. 11, 2017

It’s Time ... to Elect District Convention Delegates

This will be a good time, since your congregation will be meeting to conduct other essential business in preparation for your circuit forum, to take care of other convention-related business, including the election of your congregation’s voting delegates to the district convention (one pastor and one layperson for each congregation or multi-congregation parish).

District Convention Delegates are no longer also Presidential Election Voters

You may recall that your congregation’s 2015 district convention attendees were the voters for the Synod President in 2016. For the 2019 LCMS presidential election, the pastor and lay voters to be designated by your congregation or multi-congregation parish are no longer required to have been the delegates in attendance at the district convention (LCMS Bylaw Your congregation may designate these voters at any time and will be able to register them with the LCMS Office of the Secretary between Oct. 1, 2018, and March 24, 2019.

What Does This Mean for Your Congregation or Multi-Congregation Parish?

1. Elect now to attend your district convention:

a. One pastor

b. One layperson

2. Your congregation or multi-congregation parish will NOT need to register the presidential election voters, until a date closer to the actual election. More information will be coming soon.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 4: Sept. 5, 2017

It’s Time ... to Participate in Determining the Synod’s Priorities

It is time for your congregation to participate in our Synod’s process for determining its mission and ministry emphases (areas in which the Synod should concentrate attention and efforts) for the 2019–2022 triennium. That process could begin during the voters meeting that your congregation will already be calling to give attention to other district and Synod convention business.

Congregations Submit Ideas to their Circuit Forums

The circuit forum provides an opportunity for your congregation to voice its opinion regarding mission and ministry areas where the Synod should concentrate efforts. The present emphasis, reaffirmed in 2016, is “Witness, Mercy, Life Together,” with its seven associated priorities (2016 Res. 4-02A, Convention Proceedings 2016, Pages 145–146). Your congregation has this opportunity for input. According to Synod Bylaw 4.2.1 (b): The district convention is the instrument to receive overtures (Bylaw, including overtures and recommendations for synodwide mission and ministry emphases submitted by member congregations and adopted by a circuit forum.

Ideas Adopted by Circuit Forums Receive District and Synod Attention

Bylaw 4.2.1 (d) states: The district convention shall, through delegate vote, forward to the national convention a list of two or three triennial mission and ministry emphases for consideration by the national convention. The emphases adopted by the Synod convention provide the primary focus for the Synod’s mission offices and foster specific goals to support ministry at the congregational level.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 3: Aug. 28, 2017

It’s Time … to Nominate Candidates for Circuit Visitor

It is time for your congregation to nominate its candidates for the office of circuit visitor for the 2018–2021 triennium. This will require official action by your voters assembly prior to the circuit forum that will conduct several items of business related to the 2018 district and 2019 Synod conventions.

Submitting Circuit Visitor Nominations

Synod Bylaw 5.2.1 speaks of a circuit visitor as the principal officer of the circuit. His considerable duties are described in Bylaws 5.2.3– According to Bylaws 4.3.1 and 5.2.2 (d), pastors on the clergy roster of the district who are either actively serving congregations or having emeritus status are eligible for nomination. These bylaws leave open the possibility of nominating active or emeriti pastors from outside the circuit (but not outside the district). Note that pertinent [biographical] information regarding each pastor should be available for presentation at the circuit forum (Bylaw 5.2.2 [d] [1]). Nominations and the related bio info must be submitted to the circuit visitor prior to the day of the circuit forum.

Other Congregation Responsibilities

The nomination of circuit visitor candidates is the second of four topics requiring your congregation’s attention in preparation for the 2018 district and 2019 Synod conventions. Each will be the subject of a postcard mailing, offering information to assist your congregation in carrying out its responsibilities as a member of the Synod. Copies of these cards may be a helpful handout at your voters meetings.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 2: Aug. 21, 2017

It’s Time … to Designate Circuit Forum Representatives

It is time for your congregation to designate its representatives to attend its circuit forum. The forum will handle matters related to the 2018 district and 2019 Synod conventions. Unless your congregation has another official way to do this, a voters meeting should make this decision in advance of the upcoming circuit forum.

Your Congregation’s Two Representatives

The circuit forum consists of a pastor of each congregation and one lay member of each congregation designated by the congregation (Synod Bylaw 5.3.2). If your congregation has more than one called pastor, the congregation must determine which pastor will represent it. If your pastor serves more than one congregation, he is the pastoral representative of all those congregations (but votes only once). Each congregation is entitled to one other voting representative—a lay member of the congregation so designated.

Other Preparations for the Circuit Forum

Designation of circuit forum representatives is one of four matters requiring your congregation’s attention prior to the circuit forum. Watch for future postcard mailings that will address the other three:

1. Nomination of candidates for circuit visitor for the 2018–2021 district triennium

2. Participation in the triennial process for determining the Synod’s priorities

3. Election of your congregation’s delegates to your district convention

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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Mailing No. 1: Aug. 14, 2017

It’s Time … to Prepare for Circuit Forums

It is time to begin your congregation’s preparations for the 2019 convention of our Synod. It all starts close-to-home with preparations for a circuit forum, soon to be scheduled by your circuit visitor. The forum will handle 2018 district convention business and matters related to the 2019 Synod convention. An official voters meeting of your congregation prior to the circuit forum will be required.

Four Essential Items

The following four items should appear on the agenda of your voters meeting:

1. Designation of pastor and lay representatives to attend the circuit forum (Synod Bylaw 5.3.2)

2. Nomination of candidates for circuit visitor for the 2018–2021 district triennium (Bylaw 5.2.2)

3. Participation in the triennial process for determining the Synod’s priorities (Bylaw 5.3.4)

4. Election of your congregation’s (or multi-congregation parish’s) delegates to your district convention (Synod Constitution Article V A and Bylaw 4.2.2)

More Information to Come

Watch for the next four postcard mailings. Each will provide helpful information regarding one of these agenda items. For now, be sure to identify an appropriate date to hold your congregation’s meeting.

John W. Sias, LCMS Secretary

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