Board Minutes - December 3, 2021


This is a summary of the recent Board meeting; the actual minutes will be posted when the Board approves them on February 20, 2022.

The LCMS Ohio District Board of Directors met on Friday, December 3 at St. Thomas Lutheran Church, Rocky River, OH. Fourth Vice President James Strawn led the devotion and noted that we often take the word “healthy” in terms of the Law - if someone performs well, he is regarded as “healthy.” However, someone could perform well outwardly, but still be unhealthy inwardly. St. Paul here notes in 1 Corinthians 15:10 that God’s grace makes such an impact on the life of the Christian that he acts in a healthy manner as his response to God’s grace. God’s grace in Christ makes us healthy! So as God’s healthy Board, we were ready to consider today’sdiscussion.

District Building Sale
President Wilson discussed the details of the sale of the District office building: 1. The District office building’s will be officially sold on December 7, 2021, bringing to a close more than 60 years of service from the same location. The price was $525,000.  2. The Ohio District office will relocate to a leased space about five minutes from the current office. It will hold about 5,000 square feet; the post box address will remain the same. 3. In the interim, the Ohio District staff will work deployed, as they did for most of 2020 due to the pandemic; the support staff has worked very diligently to prepare for the move. 4. Most of the furniture and office items which will not be used in the new office were donated to LCMS churches, schools, and not-for-profit organizations. 5. Once staff is set in the new office, a ceremony will be held to thank God for the years of service in the current office and also to ask His blessings upon the new location. As soon as this date is set, it will be communicated to all District congregations.

Present Financial Report
1. The Ohio District financial position continues to be strong with adequate cash to avoid fiscal jeopardy. 2. Mission Support continues to trend upward. The pandemic woke up congregations to increase their giving. 3. The District budget shows a surplus income which is due to a combination of extra money coming in and also the District staff underspending their budgets.

2022 Financial Narrative
In setting up the 2022 Budget, District mission and ministry staff reviewed the District's mission and three mega-outcomes but they sharpened its
focus on three needs of our congregations:
+ Assist church leaders who are still reopening congregations in the midst of the pandemic
+ Help congregations in reaching new people, especially young families.
+ Aid congregations to develop more deeply-engaged members in the life of the congregations, whether as leaders or participants.

This means the District will go forward with a two-pronged strategy:
+ Supporting staff who serve multiple churches in one or more region; and
+ Funding to support mission and ministry at the local level.

The Board discussed the reduction in staff force which is necessary to present a balanced budget for 2022. The two staff members being considered for reduction in staff are the two Missionaries-at-Large, Rev. Richard Lohmeyer, Appalachians Missions, Alderson, WV and Rev. Berhanu Arsse, Ethiopian Missions. The Board will seek a way to deal with these men in a fair, equitable way and also President Wilson will ensure that the appropriate Ohio District staff and leadership will endeavor to continue the mission work in Alderson, WV and Columbus, OH through local or regional leadership. In addition, Rev. Hurst’s position of mission developer would be eliminated and then a part- time or full-time Mission executive would be established in its place.

The 2022 budget shows the total cost of salary and benefits as $874,686 with a deficit of $93.847 before use of restricted funds. Thus, there is a net surplus of $18,653. When depreciation is factored in as a non-cash expense, the total surplus is $43,653. Thus, the 2022 shows a surplus of $43,653.

President’s Report
President Wilson discussed his work as president in relation to the Mega-ends of the Policy Manual:
A. Healthy congregations: 1. The Circuit Visitors, Presidium and Mission and Ministry staff received training in ministry partnerships before the Church Workers’ Conference in October, 2021.
B. Healthy professional church workers (PCWs) and their families: The Ohio District Fall Workers Conference was led the Grace Place Ministries. He was encouraged by the follow- up to the conference. Some pastors have shared information from the Conference with congregational leaders. He has received positive feedback from workers who are working through the book that was provided through the Board of Directors. At least one circuit is also working through Grace Place resources.
C. Healthy relationships between congregations, the District and beyond The Ohio District participates in Synod’s Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support (PALS), which was created for pastors and their spouses for the initial three years of parish ministry. Our facilitators are Steve and Heidi Lutz of Trinity – Elmore, OH. He has implemented a process to check in with our SMP pastors each August. Rev. Dr. Kevin Guynn is organizing gatherings of SMP pastors for mutual edification and support. Rev. Wilson is now serving on a LCMS Council of Presidents’ Task Force concerning the ongoing development of the SMP program, so he will gain more experience in this field.
D. District educators received training by MinistrySafe, a potential ministry partner for the entire District.

These were the main topics discussed and voted at the Board of Directors meeting - December 3, 2021.