On June 26–28, 864 delegates, guests and others attended the 103rd Michigan District Convention under the theme People of Hope … It’s Time! on the campus of Concordia University Ann Arbor. Here are a few of the highlights:
The Opening Worship of the 103rd Michigan District Convention took place in The Chapel of the Holy Trinity. Worshiping together was uplifting and inspiring both in the chapel and in the overflow section. Many commented on how they were moved to tears as they praised God and sang This is the Feast.
In Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison’s sermon, he referenced the convention text and theme as he further shared: “In this you will rejoice though for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials. Many families are grieved by trials every day … every one of your crosses, my dear friends, are made exactly by Christ to fit your shoulders—every pain and sorrow, every disappointment, every death, every struggle with sin. My favorite passage from the Book of Concord … ‘God determines in advance those specific afflictions by which he conforms us to the image of His Son. Therefore, all things work together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose. Hope is something that is present but unseen; it is certain. And you have it. Hope is Christ. In this crazy world, all the crosses and difficulties are purposeful for one thing: that the full number of believers come to Jesus through your witness, through your mouths. The power of the Gospel resides on the lips of the smallest child that speaks it as it was on the lips of Jesus’ (Martin Luther). People of Hope. It’s time to live certain, joyous, free under the cross. Amen.”
A special arrangement of My Hope is Built on Nothing Less was composed by John A. Behnke in thanksgiving to God for President David P. E. Maier and his service to the Michigan District from 2009–2022.
Three other worship services took place over the course of the three days: Monday morning’s Service of Invocation with Holy Cross, Jenison’s Rev. Brian West, preacher; Tuesday morning Memorial Service with Trinity, Clinton Township’s Rev. Kenneth Wise; and Tuesday evening Installation and Sending Service with Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier, Michigan District President.
Many thanks to Our Savior, Lansing for hosting the Opening Worship Service and providing ushers; organists John Horak and John Boonenberg; brass choir conductor Phil Klintworth; the bell choir; and the combined choir from Our Savior, Lansing; Concordia University; and St. Paul, Ann Arbor. Worship services were organized with President Maier by Convention Committee members Rev. William Wangelin and Rev. Erik Cloeter.
Rev. David A. Davis, age 64, of Ann Arbor, Michigan was elected to his first term as Michigan District, LCMS president on the third ballot. Davis’ education includes Concordia University Ann Arbor (B.A.), Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. (M.Div.), Classical Studies at Washington University, St. Louis, and Governance and Executive Training, Pastoral Leadership Institute. He served four congregations, all in Michigan. President Elect Davis currently serves St. Luke Lutheran Church in Haslett/Lansing as its executive pastor. Other ministry roles included Michigan District Vice President, circuit leadership, church planting, and many District events. He is also the author of Toward Significance: A Guide for Pastoring Well, and serves as Adjunct Faculty at Concordia University Ann Arbor. He and his wife Sallie have four grown daughters and two granddaughters.
Reflecting on his election, Davis shares, “I am very humbled to be elected District president, but also very excited to serve Jesus and the congregations of our District and build on the fine work of David Maier and others that have gone before me.”
President Elect Davis was installed during convention and will officially take office on October 1, 2022.
Other elections took place, including the vice presidents. They are Rev. Dean Davenport, 1st Vice President; Rev. Darryl Andrzejewski, 2nd Vice President; Rev. Craig Bickel, 3rd Vice President; and Rev. Erik Cloeter, 4th Vice President.
The convention agenda included several presentations. Floor committees brought 21 resolutions forward for voting and advisory delegate action. The convention also received three overtures of gratitude through Omnibus Resolution C and referred one overture to the CTCR through Omnibus Resolution A. Newsworthy resolutions included:
1-17 – That the Michigan District Respond to the Reversal of Roe v. Wade with Gospel Understanding and Care
To respond to the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court with rejoicing, but more importantly asking the congregations of the Michigan District to fill the Gospel need of providing support for crisis pregnancy centers, encouraging members to consider foster parenting and adoption options, and supporting many pro-life ministries in the district.
2-06a – The CUS/CUE Proposed Governance Model
To memorialize Synod to delay the CUS/CUE Proposed Governance Model until concerns about possible unintended consequences are addressed.
2-01 – To Strengthen the Advisory Delegate Participation at District Conventions
The Michigan District enabled advisory delegates to provide an advisory poll on floor committee resolutions during its regular convention and the result of that poll was shared prior to the vote of the voting delegates. The Michigan District in convention memorialized the Synod in convention in 2023 to pass a like-minded resolution.
2-08 – CUW/CUAA Board of Regents Representation
1-05a – To Address Issues of Race Utilizing Resources Such as Heart Issues are Hard Issues (michigandistrict.org/heartissues/)
1-01a – A Culture of Bible Reading
1-06 – To Focus on Spiritual Formation
1-10 – To encourage Congregations to Raise Up New Commissioned and Ordained Church Workers
During convention, delegates heard from two essayists. Rev. Dr. Chad D. Lakies is the regional director for North America at Lutheran Hour Ministries and provides leadership and operational management for the North America region. Lakies presented the topic: Plausible Hope: Faithful Witness in an Age of Distrust.
Rev. Dr. John A. Nunes is a Lutheran pastor and Senior Fellow at the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy. He has served as the President of Concordia College New York, President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief, and as a professor at Valparaiso University. His presentation included a moving acapella rendition of Great is Thy Faithfulness, sung by his wife, Monique.
Convention election results can be viewed at michigandistrict.org/convention/business/. The Convention video playlist is available at YouTube.com/michiganLCMS and includes a recap video, worship services, sermons, the President’s Address, the essayists’ presentations, and President Harrison’s presentation. Transcripts of the President’s Address and Essayists will be available in the Convention Proceedings due out early fall.
Photo of Nunes by Jeff Heisner/Michigan District, LCMS. All other photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS.