More than 340 delegates, along with approximately 120 visitors, officials, organisers and volunteers, met in Melbourne from 9 to 12 February for the in-person sessions of the 2021–2023 Convention of General Synod of the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand.

The meeting continued the 20th LCA Convention, which opened with online sessions in October 2021 and was then adjourned until 2023. The in-person sessions consisted of two full days of business at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, bookended by part-days with gathering and closing worship services.

In passing by a strong majority an amended proposal from the LCA’s Queensland District, General Synod delegates directed the General Church Board and College of Bishops to explore the theological, constitutional and governance issues involved in establishing ‘one church with two different practices of ordination’ – specifically, that work should be done to outline how one church with two ordination practices might function.

Delegates further requested that the fruit of this work be submitted as a proposal in time for discussion at the 2024 meeting of General Pastors Conference, for the Convention of General Synod that same year. This proposal required only a simple (50 per cent) majority in order to be passed.

Synod did not pass a proposal to change the teaching of the church which would have permitted the ordination of both men and women from 2024.

As it contained constitutional amendments and a change in the teaching of the church, the proposal brought before General Synod by the St Pauls Box Hill congregation, Victoria, required a two-thirds majority of registered delegates (230 votes) to be passed. While 203 delegates voted in favour of the proposal; 136 voted against it, and three delegates abstained.

After Convention, the bishops wrote to members of the LCANZ to share information and provide clarification regarding decisions made during the in-person sessions of General Synod.

You can also read more about these outcomes, including delegates’ reflections on the ‘one church, two practices’ resolution.

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