Congregations Matter is proud to introduce our Advisory Team. These individuals want to restore our Synod to its historic role of providing congregations with advice, encouragement, and resources. By their lives and service, they have long supported the message of Congregations Matter: “The health of our Church is our local congregations.”
These four veteran LCMS leaders will serve as a public face for Congregations Matter. The team will provide accountability for the truth and Christian charity and fairness of website postings.
Our Synod leadership has gotten away from its historic role. Recently, it is more focused on 0concentrating all authority, direction, and control in St. Louis. That is not healthy for our Church. Now, via this web site, our Advisory Team joins Congregations Matter in a grassroots and nation-wide effort to restore our Synod.
Dr. Viji George, Former CUS College President
Dr. Viji George served as President of Concordia College, New York, for seventeen years. Prior to that, he was on the faculty for twenty years. Dr. George and his wife, Janet, have two daughters and one grandchild.
Dr. George’s involvement in Congregations Matter is based on his belief that Church governance should be localized and contextualized. He believes a participatory model of governance empowering regional and local judicatories to assume responsibility for their ministries is much preferred to a centralized and authoritarian Synod.
Patricia Ann Kym, Texas District and LCMS Lay Leader
Patricia Ann Kym and her late husband Don Bokenkamp, funded Upbring’s Children’s Refugee Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, as well as the Nelson Children’s Treatment Center in Denton. They were also co-founders of the Bokenkamp Pastoral Retreat Center in Burton, Texas and are major donors for the Bokenkamp Student Center, Concordia University Austin.
Through Glocal Missions, Patricia and husband Ray partner with Dr. David Kim of Houston to fund and facilitate a teaching mission to fifty pastors and their wives in Honduras. They are also supporters of Tomball Lutheran High School, as well as Concordia University Texas, and the Atlantic District Mission Society.
Synod delegates elected Patricia to the LCMS Foundation Board. She was the Secretary for the 2007 LCMS Convention Nominations Committee. Regionally, Patricia served as Chair and board member of Lutheran Social Services of the South, and as board member of Concordia University Texas. In addition, Patricia served on the Texas District Commission on Women’s Service. Currently, she is a board member of LINC Houston.
At home in Tomball, Texas, Patricia is a member of Salem Lutheran Church. She and Ray currently volunteer for Salem’s Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts and partner together to serve various other ministries, both locally and internationally.
Patricia’s lifetime of service to our Synod and to her local church motivates her support for Congregations Matter. She knows our Synod works best when it provides congregations with advice, encouragement, and resources to carry out their evangelical role of teaching and baptizing in their communities, as they see best fit for their own circumstances.
Daniel Lorenz, Attorney Formerly on CCM
Daniel Lorenz is a native Oregonian, married to Judy, and has two adult children. He is a graduate of Portland Lutheran High School and is a solo practice lawyer in the Northwest.
Dan served the LCMS for a dozen years as a member of Commission on Constitutional Matters. He is active in his home congregation, having served as President, Vice President, and as Chair of Education and of Spiritual Life. He was Chair of the Commission on Spiritual Health of the NW District for six years.
He supports the mission of Congregations Matter because he believes, as his life has demonstrated, that the health of our Synod is in our local congregations.
Rev. Howard J. Patten, Former Kansas District President
Pastor Patten is currently serving a multicultural congregation in inner-city El Paso. Previously, he was the District President of the Kansas District. Howard has served multiple congregations and schools for decades. He is a speaker and leader at District and Synodical gatherings of all kinds and also on boards, commissions and task forces of the LCMS.
Howard is on the Advisory Team for Congregations Matter because he believes that our Synod is most effective when it provides congregations with support, encouragement, and resources to carry out their gospel role of teaching and baptizing in their communities, as they envision best for their local mission. His lifetime of service to God’s people in the LCMS shows it. Howard is happily married to the love of his life, Marilyn and they have 2 children, and 7 fantastic grandchildren.
They Have Acted — Will You?
Congregations Matter will provide direct and fair information and commentary as we in the LCMS face our future. These four veteran leaders have joined and are serving the movement. If you would like to join us, here are some things to do:
- First, sign up for our email list and receive new posts from this site to become more informed on the issues.
- Next, make sure your congregation passes resolutions to district conventions and national conventions that support this effort — especially resolutions to overrule CCM Opinion 16-2791 and the changes the Board of Directors made to our Bylaws regarding “Ecclesiastical Supervision.” We must turn our LCMS leadership back to its historic role.
- Finally, elect local delegates to the District and National conventions who will vote for the primacy of congregations, not the primacy of the Synodical President and his administration.
And one more thing. You have the responsibility to nominate men and women to serve as our leaders in Synod. When it’s time to nominate a Synod President and others in 2019, let’s choose leadership that will support congregations, not use congregations to support them.