South Dakota District Convention
Defying the surge of delays for District Conventions, the South Dakota District met in early December. They join a very small contingent of LCMS Districts, the ladies of the national LWML, and the National Youth Gathering that went ahead with the normal calendar events rather than follow the Covid-delayed calendar, which has affected even the Synodical Convention (now to be held in 2023). South Dakotans re-elected their District President, Rev. Scott Sailer to another term (his third).
Concordia Portland Update
The turmoil around the closing of Concordia Portland continues. A recent court decision may make it easier for the sale of the campus to proceed, removing a note on the property about a pending lawsuit. The $300 million lawsuit in question, filed by HotChalk against Concordia, the LCMS, and LCEF still is proceeding along its course. HotChalk is trying to prove the shut down of Concordia, Portland was based upon synodical interference. The judge in the case is currently evaluating whether HotChalk has a right to access internal LCMS communications.
Concordia New York Update
After closing the campus and arranging for the sale of the main campus to Iona College this last year, 27 former employees of Concordia, New York have sued the school for $5 million, alleging violation of contracts and back salary and benefits owed to them. The State of New York has required the college to put aside money from its sale to help cover the costs of the lawsuit if it succeeds.
LCMS Council of Presidents and Online Communion
The first in-person meeting of the Council of Presidents (COP) since the beginning of the COVID pandemic took place in September. They discussed online communion, an innovation brought forth by congregations of the synod. While seemingly a very simple doctrinal matter to solve, with statements already made by both seminaries and the CTCR against the practice—the COP has continued the discussion. The continued debate demonstrates the continued difficulties of the synod to have the same mind about faithful doctrine and practice of the Lord’s Supper.
Concordia Seminary St. Louis Chapel Services
In a move toward transparency, the daily chapel services of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis have begun to be streamed online. For years, the happenings at the chapel have not been easily observed by others in the synod who were not there. The practice comes right after CSL received its new President (Rev. Dr. Tom Egger) and also a new Dean of Chapel (Rev. Dr. Jon Vieker).
Concordia Irvine – Christmas Special Aired on PBS
“A Concordia Christmas” was aired on PBS (Southern California) in the month of December. It featured the Christmas musical offerings of Concordia University, Irvine. The music reflected the (unfortunate) diversity of the LCMS in terms of worship, from traditional choral pieces to contemporary, and even rap. More than 200 performers participated in the event.
Concordia Wisconsin Presidential Search
Concordia University, Wisconsin took an abrupt shift in their Presidential search to replace now-retired President Ferry. At the final stages, when the expectation was that an election of a President would occur, the Board of Regents voted to dismiss the list they had received from across synod and also from synodical leadership (a process called prior approval). The list included many men more than capable of faithfully leading the University through the current cultural changes. The move reflects the ongoing division of the synod, especially in regard to our universities’ struggles to resist the cultural inertia behind so-called diversity pushes. (For evidence of how a more progressive mindset ends, see both Concordia, Portland, and Concordia, New York.) The abrupt move also brings to memory the strange measures used years ago at Concordia University, Texas to circumvent synodical processes under conservative controls. The process will now restart, leaving Concordia Wisconsin without the guidance and assistance of a permanent president at a crucial time of dramatic shifts in higher education.
As of the printing of this issue, the interim administration has indefinitely suspended Rev. Dr. Gregory Schulz for his public opposition to the Board of Regents’ open signaling that they want the new president of CUW to be woke, that is, a champion of “diversity,” “inclusivity,” and “equity.” Dr. Schulz’s brave stand on God’s Word has been rewarded with persecution. Please pray for him and for CUW.
CTSFW 150 Years
Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana is marking its 175th year of training men to be pastors for the LCMS. Events are planned throughout the year in celebration. Check online for more information.
WELS Publishes New Hymnal
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod released a new hymnal entitled Christian Worship: Hymnal in September. The hymnal proves to be an example of the worship practices in the very diversely-worshiping WELS. Supporting materials are set up to help congregations who are seeking to use “modern ensembles” and projection screens. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod, in fellowship with the WELS, celebrated the 25th year of its very traditional hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.
ILC – Roman Catholic Dialogue Report Published
A final report of the ongoing informal discussions between Roman Catholic officials and the International Lutheran Council (a group of various confessional Lutheran church bodies around the world, including the LCMS) has been published. The revealing report can be found at the website of the ILC.