Minutes · July 23, 2022

Annual Meeting

National Lutheran Secretariat Annual Meeting
Minutes of July 21 to July 23, 2022 Meeting

Present:  John Aclin, Pastor Sue Beall, Jim Ryan, Karen Weires, Jane Winge, Carolyn Witham, Brian Schwarz, authorized delegates

Absent:  (list secretariats with no delegates present…

Call to Order and Opening Prayer:  John called the National Lutheran Secretariat (NLS) annual meeting (NLSAM) to order and Pastor Sue opened the meeting with prayer.

Seating of Delegates

Carolyn seated the delegates present in the room at Texas Lutheran University.

The NLSEC presented a motion to accept virtual delegate participation and opened the floor for discussion. No comments were made and the motion was accepted by acclamation.

Carolyn seated the virtual delegates and affirmed that a quorum was established.

Pastor Sue commissioned the delegates for the 2022 NLSAM.

Members of the NLS Executive Committee (NLSEC) were introduced.

Nominations for NLS Executive Committee positions

John announced the names of the individuals presented to the NLS for election to the NLSEC by the nominating committee:

  • Secretary – Carolyn Witham
  • Spiritual Director (SD) – Pastor G. Karl Gaston and Pastor Percy Smerek
  • Treasurer – Steve Barnett and Raleigh Sandy
  • Vice President of Administration (VPA) – Jane Winge

John reviewed the election process and proceeded with floor nominations as follows:

Secretary:  John opened the floor for nominations for Secretary. The question was brought forth three times. No nominations were made from the floor. John closed the nominations for Secretary.

Spiritual Director (SD):  John opened the floor for nominations for SD. The question was brought forth three times. No nominations were made from the floor. John closed the nominations for SD.

VP of Administration (VPA):  John opened the floor for nominations for VPA. The question was brought forth three times. No nominations were made from the floor. John closed the nominations for VPA.

Treasurer:  The floor was opened for nominations for Treasurer. The question was brought forth three times. No nominations were made from the floor. John closed the nominations for Treasurer.

Steve Barnett made a motion to close all nominations and Raleigh Sandy seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Bobbi Jo Koski made a request to accept Carolyn Witham as Secretary and Jane Winge as VPA by acclamation. John asked if there were any objections. As none were raised, John declared that Carolyn and Jane were elected to the positions of Secretary and VPA, respectively, by acclamation.

Presentation of the Proposed 2022-2023 Budget

Treasurer Jim Ryan presented the proposed budget for 2022-2023. The proposed budget matches the budget approved for 2021-2022. John and the NLSEC answered questions raised.

A motion was made by Dave Lambert and seconded by Pastor Dennis Lawson to recess the meeting until Saturday. The motion passed unanimously.

Saturday July 23, 2022 Call to Order and Opening Prayer:  John reconvened the NLSAM and Pastor Sue prayed.

Quorum Declaration

John called on Carolyn to give a numerical declaration of the quorum. There are 44 affiliated secretariats with 175 potential lay and clergy delegates. We needed at least 88 delegates to form a quorum. There were a total of 92 individuals authorized to serve as delegates by the secretariats. On Thursday, three virtual delegates were not able attend. The remaining 89 authorized delegates were all seated.


Delegates cast their votes for Treasurer and Spiritual Director. Pastor Sue Beall, Brian Schwarz, and Karen Weires tabulated the results. Steve Barnett was elected to the NLSEC as the Treasurer and Pastor G. Karl Gaston was elected as the NLS Spiritual Director.


While not a budget item, Treasurer Jim Ryan asked that John share that the NLSEC has voted to loan INKY $6000 for upfront costs for hosting the 2023 annual gathering. This was done as INKY just stepped forward to host next year’s meeting and has not had the opportunity to begin fund raising for the event yet. John also shared that the NLSEC will also assist in raising money for the 2023 NLSAG given that these are unprecedented times.

Bobbie Jo Koski made a motion to accept the proposed budget as presented. Debbie Janies seconded the motion. John asked if there was any discussion. There being none, John asked for all delegates to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to accept the proposed budget. The budget was approved.


Jane spun the ‘wheel of names’ and announced that Marilyn Potter won the survey raffle.

John then introduced the appointed committee chairs currently working with the NLSEC.

Future Plans

John introduced what the NLSEC is working on and is interested in working on as a way of beginning a dialogue with secretariats within the NLS. He appealed to all: interact with us. Let us know where you’d like to get involved. What do you want to add? What can the NLSEC do differently? We exist to serve you, so your input is vital.

  • 50th anniversary celebration – 2022 is the 50th anniversary of the first Via de Cristo weekends being held; in the next week or two a 50th anniversary edition of Conexiones will be posted. We don’t want this to just be a nostalgic reflection of the past but a time to reflect on the gift God has given us and how we can use that to focus, energize ourselves and move into the future. Our archivist, Dave has made a plea for photos from prior annual gatherings. Please contact him at archivist@viadecristo.org. We welcome any contributions toward our archives or 50th anniversary celebrations.
  • Communications – we’re looking to add a page on the viadecristo.org site that is password protected page. Behind this, we will post the most current secretariat roster provided by each affiliated secretariat. This way, each secretariat will be able to know what data the NLS has for your secretariat. The NLSEC will still need affiliated secretariats to proactively send us your current secretariat roster, but you’ll be able to easily see if we have the current one or not. What is the NLS doing? –This quarterly communication is going out to a broad audience. If you are not getting it and you want to, please contact databasecoordinator@viadecristo.org. The in-person NLSAG is vital. We are trying to communicate more throughout the year in other ways too. Examples are the Essentials Webinar held in April, the Bylaws Town Hall hosted in May and quarterly Lay Director round table conversations. In the Conexiones, we’re adding a  Faith Corner/God Moments section as an opportunity to encourage one another. Please share your stories! You may think your story may seem little or unimportant but it might just be the message someone else needs to hear. Send your story to newsletter@viadecristo.org.
  • Technology updates – Please send suggestions of things to add or change. We’re looking to improve a welcome landing page for those looking to learn more about Via de Cristo. We want to add helpful information for sponsors. We’re looking to use videos.
  • Bylaws – An effort to revise bylaws was led but then got hung up at the 2020 NLSAG. We had hoped to vote on those changes this year, but with some in-person and some virtual delegates, it didn’t seem possible to get this accomplished. Four other past presidents all confirmed that getting a quorum is a problem. This needs to be remedied. Our bylaws should be a tool for us to do our work, not be an impediment to progress. We want to address this prior to next year. Our plan is to create a special committee of no more than seven people to meet in August and September to propose revised bylaws related to quorum. We will then hold two Town Hall meetings in the fall to gather feedback and have an open dialog on the proposed bylaws. Then, we intend to hold a special called meeting of the NLS via Zoom. This will work if all delegates participate in the two Town Halls so that everyone is privy to the conversations held and prepared to vote on the proposed bylaw revisions. John clarified that the delegates to the special called meeting do not have to be the same as those at this NLSAM but the process for authorizing delegates in writing to the NLS Secretary at secretary@viadecristo.org will be the same. As soon as dates are set for the Town Hall meetings and the special called meeting, those dates will be shared. The NLSEC really wants to get these bylaw changes behind us so that we can focus our attention on reenergizing Via de Cristo. When the bylaw conversations are done us we can fully concentrate on encouraging one another in our business of changing the world for Christ.

2023 NLSAG

The next NLSAG will be hosted by INKY and held at the University of Indianapolis, Indiana Thursday, July 27 to Sunday, July 30, 2023. The theme for the 2023 NLSAG comes from Hebrews: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up on meeting together…but encouraging each other”.

Welcome to new NLSEC members – SD Pastor G. Karl Gaston and Treasurer Steve Barnett

Thank you to outgoing NLSEC members – SD Pastor Sue Beall and Treasurer Jim Ryan

A motion to adjourn the 2022 annual meeting was made by Gene Holiman, seconded by Pastor Dennis Lawson, and then passed unanimously. 

Closing Prayer – Pastor Sue closed the meeting with prayer.

Next Regular Meeting – July 24, 2022 for NLS Executive Committee members

Respectfully submitted,
Carolyn Witham