Last June, after our District Synod, I wrote a brief reflection for the Newsletter about raising up younger delegates.
I explained that I had declared to the delegates as the Synod, that I would not be seeking re-election at the 2021 Synod, when my second term as bishop ends. The forum of the Convention gave me the opportunity to explain to the people of our Church that the sole reason for not standing for a third term, was to highlight our need for younger pastors to step into leadership roles in our Synod.
To make this point to Convention delegates during the time of my report on the Saturday of District Synod, I asked all the pastors to stand up, then progressively asked them to be seated in “bands”: first those 70 and over, then those 60 and over, then those 50 and over, then those 40 and over. It was very clear that we have only a few pastors serving who are in their 20s and 30s.
Knowing that we will be having an election for a Queensland District Bishop next year, I would like to encourage the communities of our District to take this as an opportunity to gather the voice of younger Lutherans into the work of our Synod gathered in Convention. I encourage the local communities of our District to consider joining me in the journey of stepping aside in two years, and raising up younger delegates to represent the people.
This year, at the Toowoomba Synod, I invite our communities to plan to send a younger person along with the regular delegate as a “guest” (or co-delegate if you are allocated more than one delegate in your congregation) so that the younger person might, “learn the ropes” of being a delegate. Then, for the Synod in 2021, I encourage the communities of our Church to send the younger person as THE actual delegate where they will take part in voting for their new bishop.
I don’t write this as a “law” for the Church. I write this as a strategy to make the most of a key marker in this history of our Church, which is the election of a bishop. I believe that this strategy might certainly help to engage younger people in the life and work of the synodical structures of the LCAQD.
“For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures …” (1 Cor 15)