Lay delegate James Lake was one of 84 men at this convention who also served as delegates in 2021. Since about 75 percent of delegates (including Lake) served virtually in 2021 due to the pandemic, all 2021 delegates were invited to serve in 2023 as well—this time in person. Here’s what Lake had to say about serving as a delegate:
Congregation: Grace, Falls Church, Va.
On serving as a delegate in general: “You really get to see how the business in synod is done, and it’s extremely interesting, humbling, and a little amazing to see it at the strategic level.”
On the difference between serving virtually and in person: “It was a super opportunity to get to do it at all as a virtual delegate, but it was a real blessing to be given the opportunity to do it again. It’s a whole different world being here in person. I have had so many inspiring, emotionally overwhelming moments. Certainly the amazing experience of the opening service: Having a church packed to the gills with people singing at the top of their voices—you just don’t experience that much anymore. And then sharing and understanding at the same time what great work we are doing as a synod, seeing the success of the foreign mission fields and the success of the home mission fields—they really give you chills. It’s sort of like a spiritual buzz in the room—it’s hard to describe.”
Favorite moment: “Having so many people commune together. When have I ever communed with hundreds and hundreds of people? When we sang ‘For All the Saints’ during Communion, I couldn’t quite get through the last verse because it was so overwhelming.”
David Fredrickson, a lay delegate, was joined by his wife, Kathy (a guest at the convention).
Congregation: Zion, Rhinelander, Wis.
David’s thoughts on WELS missionary presentations: “They covered so much ground about all they have to do and how they do it. It has also been eye-opening to see how much our synod does outside and inside the U.S.”
Kathy’s impressions as a convention guest: “It’s amazing to find out so many things you’d never know about. It’s been wonderful to see how many people are joining with us in helping to get the Word all around the earth.”
David’s most impactful convention experience so far: “During the church service on Monday night—I’ve never been with so many good singers.”
A lay delegate
Congregation: Divine Savior Lutheran Church‒Sienna, Missouri City, Texas
Experience with WELS conventions: As a first-time delegate for a synod convention, this is “the biggest group of fellow WELS Lutherans that I’ve ever participated in.” He did help with South Central District conventions held at his then-home congregation Calvary, Dallas, Texas, when he was young: “I cut a lot of potatoes!”
Thoughts on opening service: “The ending hymn [‘Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending,’ Christian Worship 487] is near and dear to my heart and so just getting to hear that was beautiful. The sermon that was shared was so encouraging. We are going through a lot of challenges and there are many tough issues that we’re facing today. It was great to have that reminder that it’s all about Jesus.”
Impressions of the convention: “It’s very encouraging to see all the things our synod is doing. I like the theme that they chose for the convention, recognizing that we’ll have trouble in this world but at the end of the day we can anticipate the crown.”
Hear more reactions from delegates in this Together video update.
Volume: 110, Number 09
Issue: September 2023