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.
Many LCMS people have heard President Harrison’s version of the closure of Selma: he’s sorry, but it’s everyone else’s fault. A few facts line up with his story. But what is the fully true story of Selma’s closure? Those who know are starting to speak up.
On May 4, 2018, the Board of Regents of CU Irvine announced their unanimous vote to continue the search process and select an interim president. Congregations Matter applauds the responsible group of leaders who faithfully serve on the Board of Regents at CU Irvine. Congregations — and the selection of our University and Seminary Presidents — matter.
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?
Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier has been elected as the new Chair of the Missouri Synod’s Council of Presidents (COP). Rev. Maier’s selection as chair by his peers in the COP comes after almost nine years of service with them. His colleagues had ample time to observe his kind nature and leadership. They know him well, and have selected him as their leader.
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