Doctrinal issues once occupied much attention at conventions of the thoroughly conservative Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. But this year, the big issue at the synod’s August meeting in New Ulm, Minnesota, was whether to close one of its colleges.

After more than five hours of debate that stretched over four days, delegates voted 150 to 65 to merge Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee with Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm at the end of the next school year. The convention was told that the synod’s elementary parochial schools will not need as many teachers as was expected when the Milwaukee college (a teachertraining facility) was opened.

The synod also deplored the failure of recent attempts to conduct joint meetings with the tiny Church of the Lutheran Confession but said it is open to seeking agreement on principles of church fellowship. The Church of the Lutheran Confession withdrew from the Wisconsin Synod because it felt the latter was too slow in breaking fellowship with the larger Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. (Suspension of fellowship between the Wisconsin and Missouri bodies subsequently took place in 1961.)

The 370,000-member Wisconsin Synod, which makes up about 5 per cent of the nation’s Lutherans, approved a $5.4 million budget for the next fiscal year, an increase of 23 per cent from the previous budget. The Rev. Oscar J. Naumann, 60, of Milwaukee, was re-elected to his ninth term as synod president.


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