There is deep disappointment throughout our Synod at the closure of our only historically black college, Concordia College, Selma, AL. It is especially sad recalling that recently-elected COP Chairman, David Maier, led a team preventing the closure of Ann Arbor just nine years ago. The difference? Leadership.
In 2010, the LCMS adopted sweeping changes to the Handbook of the Synod. Here’s the strange twist: while the convention adopted the “Blue Ribbon Taskforce” changes, delegates also strangely (and certainly ironically) then elected as President a man who opposed the changes, Matthew Harrison. Delegates wanted Synod’s work to be more responsive to the congregations of the Synod. What have we gotten instead?
Our Seminary in Fort Wayne posted on Facebook about a group of congregations building “bridges of gratitude” with the Sem. The pastors, calling themselves “Friends of the Fort,” came from congregations around the country to say “Thank You” to the Faculty and staff at the Seminary for their service in God’s Kingdom.
In his February 2018 Keynote Address delivered to the Lutheran Society for Missiology, District President Robert Newton observed the LCMS is at the most critical time in her history:
“Our church body is right at a fork in the road where she chooses to walk with the mission of God, faithfully, or she chooses not just to ignore it, but, I would say, to reject it. That’s where we sit as a church body at this time.”
From an April 12 email sent to Concordia Irvine faculty and staff, it appears Matt Harrison is hijacking the search committee’s final steps and is interfering in the selection of the next President of Concordia University Irvine. Three of five highly-qualified finalists were black-balled. Why weren’t all five approved?
The news these days from Synod headquarters is that further decline is imminent: mission properties sold to help the financial distress; Synod universities will be shed. This is a nightmare for Synod. New leadership can and will bring a renewed Bible-based, Gospel-centered future for Synod.
During his speech to the Southern District Convention on March 9, Synod’s current President rejected any and all personal responsibility for the closure of Concordia College Alabama. In 45 minutes of well-presented Q & A, (Matt IS an engaging, quick-witted speaker after all), Harrison also admitted a ballooning internal debt, pitted the needs of urban and rural congregations against those of suburban Christians, and proposed a plan of planting successful churches in zip codes “amenable to the LCMS” in order to fund struggling ministries. Not bad for a Friday morning in March. The Blame Game Continues According to Matthew C. Harrison, everyone but himself is to blame for the closure of Selma. Listen for yourself to his speech by clicking on this link: http://southernlcms.org/75th-convention-livestream-its-all-about-jesus/ Here is a Harrison quote from the 1:11:15 to 1:11:35 marks on the live stream link shown above: “I stood throughout with Selma. I fought for
Sadly, on February 21, Concordia College Alabama announced it will close its doors at the end of the spring 2018 Semester. This tragedy puts an exclamation mark on the ineffectiveness of our current Synodical leadership. Our Synod’s only historically black college is shutting down. The closing of Selma is heart-breaking to tens of thousands of faithful people in the LCMS who faithfully supported Concordia Alabama for generations. The problems that led to Selma’s closing — and Concordia Portland’s problems with student clubs and their community — can be traced back to the United Lister leadership that currently controls our Synod. Selma’s Closure Happened during this Synod Leadership’s Watch Who is responsible for the loss of one of our Concordia’s? Fingers will be pointed at many people for the closure of Selma. In the end, Selma’s closure is due to failed leadership at the top of our Synod (CLICK HERE to
The Selma Times-Journal broke the story on February 6: Unless investors are found immediately for Concordia, Selma, the school will close. Click here to read the full story. That’s not what happened with Concordia, Ann Arbor, when that school was in distress. Heroic efforts were made by Michigan District President David Maier, the Concordia University System Board and other Synod leadership to find a solution. If Selma is in desperate need of an investor, why isn’t the LCMS investing? It seems that Concordia College, Selma, is being left by our leadership to go bankrupt. Is that how Synod under President Harrison and the United List majority on the Concordia University System Board make decisions now about the future of our Concordia’s? No vote of a convention. No information shared. Congregations are left in the dark. Is Synod’s leadership so secretive now we must read a local newspaper to find out
Transparency from the United-Lister Synod leadership in St. Louis is lacking. Without consultation with our largest partner church in Hong Kong, Office of International Mission leaders in St. Louis announced for the first time publicly on Monday, February 5, that LCMS Asia mission operations are moving from Hong Kong, China, to Chiayi, Taiwan, Republic of China. What is causing President Harrison to sell our $35 million Hong Kong property and relocate our LCMS Asia headquarters to distant Taiwan? Did he forget the mission work of the Lutheran Church Hong Kong Synod (LCHKS) he praised just four years ago during the anniversary of 100 years of ministry to China? Please watch and listen to the two minute video below. Hear Matt Harrison honor the work of our partner church, the Lutheran Church Hong Kong Synod. How Will St. Louis Use the $35 Million? Why up to now haven’t congregations in Synod been informed