Congregations Matter extends its congratulations to President Harrison on his victory in last week’s Synod presidential election. We join the church in praying for God’s richest blessings upon him as he carries out his important responsibilities over the next three years. He must work to collaborate with the WHOLE Synod to provide more transparent, fiscally responsible, and trustworthy leadership.
From the beginning of our Synod, we struggled with big questions of relationships and governance polity. Should the laity have authority over the clergy? Should the clergy have authority over the laity? Should a “bishop” have authority over the congregations? Questions like those formed the chaotic beginning of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod! This essay will follow the decisions our Synod has made from its beginnings with quotes from C.F.W. Walther and our own LCMS Constitution. Top-down or bottom-up? What is right-side up?
On late Friday afternoon, February 8, 2019, Matthew C. Harrison publicly admitted interfering in Synod’s Presidential nomination process. What did Harrison do wrong? He tainted Synod’s nomination process by giving wrong advice to pastors about who could nominate him, and he did so at Synod expense.
President Harrison sent handwritten postcards on January 3rd and 4th from the President’s Office at Synod expense to the pastors of select congregations. Because he advised them to circumvent their Voter’s Assemblies if they could, are his nominations valid?
The Constitution and By-laws of the Synod describe a very important working relationship between the Synod President and District Presidents. Sadly, during the past eight years, President Harrison broke that relationship. It’s time for a change in Synodical leadership.
President Harrison, Secretary Sias and the LCMS Board of Directors (BOD) shamefully hid from Synod their true intentions regarding Selma. Newly shared documents and open records from Synod BOD minutes, convention records and the CCM opinions reveal their double-dealing. Selma never had a chance. Could this happen to a Concordia near you?
Harrison’s plan to centralize control of our local Concordias under one President and Board of Regents is a dangerous power-grab. Who gave Harrison and Sias the authority to do this?
In a move that surprised Concordia University Presidents, President Harrison and Secretary Sias will propose the elimination of all Concordia Boards of Regents at the Tampa Convention in 2019. However, President Tom Ries of Concordia, St. Paul, revealed that our Concordia University Presidents are unanimously opposed to Harrison’s plan.
During the Florida-Georgia District Convention, the 160+ voting delegates delivered clear and direct messages to third-term LCMS President Harrison. Disappointed by Harrison’s scripted remarks and unpersuaded by deflective non-answers to specific questions, they overwhelmingly rejected his Presidential actions in vote after vote.
In Part One of the Congregations Matter article about United Listers, concerned LCMS members learned two things. First, the groups that form The United List are well-funded with hundreds of thousands of dollars in their war chests for political purposes. Second, United Listers control Synod. Laypeople and pastors alike can hardly believe this happens in the LCMS.