The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod opened its 62nd Regular Convention, a nationwide gathering that occurs once every three years, with the re-election of its current president, Gerald Kieschnick on July 11, 2004, at America’s Center Convention Plaza in St. Louis, Missouri.
Kieschnick, who began his service to the 2.5 million member evangelical church body in 2001, is set for another three years as the denomination’s ecclesiastical and congressional head.
Despite the nomination of four other candidates, Kieschnick received the votes of more than 50 percent of the delegates on the first ballot.
“My belief is that this is not so much a vote for me personally as for the vision shared these past three years and for my ministry of the past 34 years,” Kieschnick said, following his re-election.
The incumbent first vice president, Rev. Daniel Preus, trailed behind Kieschnick with some 391 votes; others included Dr. Dean O. Wenthe, president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., 107; Dr. Kurt Marquart, associate professor of systematic theology at the Fort Wayne seminary, 77; and Diekelman, 9.
Kieschnick also noted in his re-election address that the board “experienced a period of disagreement the past three years,” among the synod’s elected leaders, and said he prays such disputes would not continue.
Kieschnick is a graduate of the LCMS’s flagship school, the Concordia Theological Seminary. Prior to his election to the Synod’s board, Kieschnick served 10 years as the president of the denomination’s Texas District. He also pastored congregations in Mississippi and Texas, and served as the chairman of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations.
For vice president, the delegates elected Oklahoma District President William Diekelman to his first term on the second ballot, on a close-vote. He received 641 votes to 588 for incumbent Daniel Preus.
Both Kieschnick and Diekelman will be installed to their positions this September.
The LCMS conference, which began on July 10, is set to last through July 15. The theme of the Conference reflects the focus of the denomination as a whole: “ONE Mission Ablaze!…to the ends of the earth.” Last week, the LCMS released statistical reports that showed an unprecedented growth in the number of congregations in the denomination.