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, e.g. at the 11th hour, Concordia College Alabama (CCA) did have significant debt, and various executives from other Concordias did visit Selma and reported it could not be saved. But what is the fully true story of Selma’s closure? Those who know are starting to speak up.
LCMS Congregations Were Kept in the Dark
What is the fully true story of Selma’s closure? Could CCA have been saved if Synod’s United Lister leadership had not covered up Selma’s financial problems and not kept them secret from congregations until it finally was difficult to save Selma?
So much secrecy surrounds Selma’s closure it is still hard to penetrate the cover-up.
The truth is starting to come out.
In a widely-viewed 16 minute video now available on Facebook called Stories from Selma, the truth about Synod’s current leadership’s abandonment of Concordia College Alabama is finally emerging.
Please watch the entire video and make up your own mind if Synod’s current leadership acted honorably in regard to Selma by clicking on the video below:
Well-placed sources in the LCMS say the video is accurate. In it, Reverend Dr. McNair Ramsey, former Interim President of Concordia College Alabama, transparently describes what Synod’s current leadership did, and did not do, to and for Selma.
Did Synod’s Leadership Vote to Close Selma…But Deny Doing So?
Dr. Ramsey says (at 8:35 mark):
“No (local Concordia) Board of Regents can close a school – that’s in the Handbook – probably the second Bible of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod – but the Handbook states that the chain of command is the (LCMS) Board of Directors is at the top, the Concordia University System (is second), then the Board of Regents (of Concordia College Alabama) … I know for sure that our (CCA) Board of Regents has not, and did not, decide to close this institution. I know that for a fact. And the Synodical Board of Directors voted to close this school and the word got out that they had voted and then they pulled back and denied that they had decided to do that.”
Why Did Synod’s Leadership Keep Selma Problems Secret?
Dr. Ramsey continues (10:00 mark):
“So I cannot understand why … (given) the importance of this institution with the influence that it plays on the people’s lives in this particular area of the country … why our Synod would decide that they are going to close this institution based on a few million dollars which could have very easily been given had transparency been used to say to our church body that Concordia College Alabama is in need of help (and) I call upon our church people to offer help, but transparency was not offered in terms of the decision and why they wanted to keep it such a secret is yet to be known.”
Dr. Betty Hubbard, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, adds (11:05 mark) Selma even prepared fund-raising letters explaining to congregations about the financial need and that Selma will not soon be viable without help, but Synod’s attorneys would not even let Selma send fund-raising letters out.
Synod Leadership’s Damage to Employees and Students
About 100 CCA employees are losing their jobs. About close to 400 students lost their school. A whole cadre of students will never get an education now. But, even this bad news is not the worst of it.
Synod’s Leadership Turned Its Back on People Who Don’t Know Jesus
As Dr. Ramsey adds (14:00 mark):
“This institution offered a sense of color to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and I feel that we need to broadcast that … we need to let it be known that the LCMS is made up of multi-racial individuals … we have African American people who have never heard the name Jesus and are we going to turn our back on an institution that has been saying that for 96 years?”
Selma’s Closure Is Now a Shameful Chapter in LCMS History
Congregations Matter doubts any LCMS person can watch the Stories from Selma video without their heart breaking.
Our current United Lister leadership in St. Louis closed Selma. Synod’s current President publically predicts our beloved Synod will decline by another 500,000 members over the next 10-15 years. Our Synod used to sacrifice – financially and in every other way – to share the name of Jesus.
How far we have fallen!
Congregations Are Seeking New Synod Leadership
The closure of Selma is now a sad chapter in our Synod’s glorious history.
But our beloved Synod can be restored. We have so many faithful and responsible pastors and lay leaders remaining in our Synod. Let’s nominate and elect determined and optimistic new leadership and start to share the good news about Jesus again!
Congregations — and leaders who won’t turn their backs on those for whom Jesus died — matter!