Author Topic: Concordia University Texas  (Read 1585 times)

Birkholz

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Concordia University Texas
« on: November 09, 2022, 03:37:26 PM »
Yesterday the regents of CU-Texas voted to become independent of LCMS authority, with the Board of Regents as the sole governing authority.

Letter:
https://www.concordia.edu/about/PRES-Memo-11.8.22.pdf
Pastor Mark Birkholz
Zion Lutheran Church
Naperville, IL
www.zionnaperville.org

Dave Benke

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2022, 03:41:54 PM »
Yesterday the regents of CU-Texas voted to become independent of LCMS authority, with the Board of Regents as the sole governing authority.

Letter:
https://www.concordia.edu/about/PRES-Memo-11.8.22.pdf

Very interesting - it will be interesting to follow the flow of this decision over the next months.

Dave Benke
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therevev

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2022, 03:43:33 PM »
Is this bad news or good news? The synod is an advisory body that helps congregations walk together in mission and ministry. If a governance structure prevents a place from fulfilling their mission, then an examination should be undertaken to figure how best to accomplish the goals of the institution. Concordia Texas has done this work and has determined that structural alignment with the synod does not help them in their walk together. I wonder if this direction may be similar to what larger congregations in our synod will study. As the voting power at the district and in the synod gets further away from where the majority of members reside, there will be increasing struggles on what it means to remain structurally united.
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George Rahn

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2022, 04:16:11 PM »
I just saw this thread.  I live in San Antonio part-time and attend an LCMS congregation when I am not providing assistance as an interim pastor at a NALC congregation near the valley.  There is a real sense in this LCMS Texas District of a vitality in Christian mission unseen in other Lutheran parts (either LCMS or et. al.) and I can see that CU may want less intrusion by Synod as that might slow vitality.  Whatever it means I’ll collect more opinions as time goes on and in hopes of reporting back.

Dave Benke

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2022, 05:30:17 PM »
I just saw this thread.  I live in San Antonio part-time and attend an LCMS congregation when I am not providing assistance as an interim pastor at a NALC congregation near the valley.  There is a real sense in this LCMS Texas District of a vitality in Christian mission unseen in other Lutheran parts (either LCMS or et. al.) and I can see that CU may want less intrusion by Synod as that might slow vitality.  Whatever it means I’ll collect more opinions as time goes on and in hopes of reporting back.

That's quite an insight, George.  I have been involved in a project called The Great Sending.  http://www.thegreatsending.org/.  Connected to your statement, the organization and carrying out of that project is headquartered in Texas, all about evangelistic outreach and discipleship.  It's quite a network there which spreads, as therevev indicates, to the larger and outreach-oriented/not-as-traditional in worship congregations throughout the denomination.

Of course, the next question is whether this action leads to other institutions and their boards of regents heading in the same direction.  I don't see the letter as having a ton of animus in it, simply a desire to effect better governance for the region of the church and the population they serve. 

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George Rahn

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2022, 06:16:54 PM »
I just saw this thread.  I live in San Antonio part-time and attend an LCMS congregation when I am not providing assistance as an interim pastor at a NALC congregation near the valley.  There is a real sense in this LCMS Texas District of a vitality in Christian mission unseen in other Lutheran parts (either LCMS or et. al.) and I can see that CU may want less intrusion by Synod as that might slow vitality.  Whatever it means I’ll collect more opinions as time goes on and in hopes of reporting back.

That's quite an insight, George.  I have been involved in a project called The Great Sending.  http://www.thegreatsending.org/.  Connected to your statement, the organization and carrying out of that project is headquartered in Texas, all about evangelistic outreach and discipleship.  It's quite a network there which spreads, as therevev indicates, to the larger and outreach-oriented/not-as-traditional in worship congregations throughout the denomination.

Of course, the next question is whether this action leads to other institutions and their boards of regents heading in the same direction.  I don't see the letter as having a ton of animus in it, simply a desire to effect better governance for the region of the church and the population they serve. 

Dave Benke



The LCMS congregations, here in San Antonio, at least, do not sacrifice the liturgical ordo for other worship styles but sees the ordo’s classical benefit as a mission and teaching resource for new Christians.  The focus on outreach to the community is of first and foremost tied with the training of the newly baptized within a supportive environment of the more seasoned.

I can’t see anything other than a plus in CU-Texas’ strategy at this point.

aletheist

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2022, 11:23:41 PM »
President Harrison and the Chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors issued a joint statement about this situation today: https://reporter.lcms.org/2022/lcms-statement-about-concordia-university-texas/
Quote
The CTX Board of Regents ... acted without proper authority and contrary to consistent advice and admonition. ...
The Synod President and the Chairman of the Synod Board of Directors condemn this unilateral attempt of CTX to separate from and dictate new terms of relationship to the Synod ...
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

"We believe, teach and confess that by conserving the distinction between Law and Gospel as an especially glorious light
with great diligence in the Church, the Word of God is rightly divided according to the admonition of St. Paul." (FC Ep V.2)

peter_speckhard

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2022, 11:37:20 PM »
President Harrison and the Chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors issued a joint statement about this situation today: https://reporter.lcms.org/2022/lcms-statement-about-concordia-university-texas/
Quote
The CTX Board of Regents ... acted without proper authority and contrary to consistent advice and admonition. ...
The Synod President and the Chairman of the Synod Board of Directors condemn this unilateral attempt of CTX to separate from and dictate new terms of relationship to the Synod ...
There is a big difference between acting without proper authority and acting contrary to consistent advice and admonition. The former would invalidate the action. The latter would simply complicate a relationship informally.

Dave Benke

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2022, 09:32:25 AM »
President Harrison and the Chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors issued a joint statement about this situation today: https://reporter.lcms.org/2022/lcms-statement-about-concordia-university-texas/
Quote
The CTX Board of Regents ... acted without proper authority and contrary to consistent advice and admonition. ...
The Synod President and the Chairman of the Synod Board of Directors condemn this unilateral attempt of CTX to separate from and dictate new terms of relationship to the Synod ...
There is a big difference between acting without proper authority and acting contrary to consistent advice and admonition. The former would invalidate the action. The latter would simply complicate a relationship informally.

Yes - this is a messy relationship.  There has to be a fundamentally broken sense of trust at CTX with the church-wide higher education decision/involvement-process behind the CTX letter.  Three closed campuses and a highly fraught selection process at a fourth nationwide readily provide a rationale for coming to that conclusion.

Underlying is the issue of Lutheran identity tied to enrollment and the long-held "originalist" view that these were founded as church worker preparatory institutions and have lost their way so it's no harm, no foul if they're closed (3) or harmed (CUW), because at the heart of it they're really not "our" institutions anymore, but damaged/infected worldly campuses.  Hence the desire for a non-infected newbie, Luther Classical in Wyoming. 

What's the eventual finish line in this situation?  Buy-out?  CTX pays LCMS.Inc X$ millions for independence and for the property, and can no longer use the name "Concordia" while CTX becomes a Synodical Recognized Service Organization, remaining under the Synodical umbrella in a different way?  That might take awhile.  I foresee legal fees.

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Dave Likeness

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2022, 06:33:09 PM »
Currently, the LCMS has University campuses in Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska
Michigan, Minnesota, California, Texas.  Five of those are in the Midwest which
is the heartland of the LCMS.

My question is this: How much financial support does the LCMS provide on an
annual basis to the budget of each Concordia University?

Jeremy_Loesch

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2022, 07:05:36 PM »
Rev. Likeness, when I was at CURF in the early 90s, synodical financial support was already a small amount. I can't imagine it has gotten any bigger.

One thing from the president's letter that caught my eye was that some of CTX's regents have resigned following CTX's decision to restructure their relationship with synod. That struck me as curious.

Jeremy

Dave Benke

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2022, 08:09:33 PM »
These are the board members listed on the CTX website.  Powerful folks - I only know a couple of them, but they're Texas strong - https://www.concordia.edu/about/office-of-the-president-and-ceo/the-board-of-regents.html

Dave Benke
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Jeremy_Loesch

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2022, 08:44:43 PM »
They all seem well qualified. Good and varied experience in the world and with the church. But have some of them resigned since the recent announcement?

Jeremy

PS And where has that Packers team been all year?!?!

Dave Benke

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2022, 08:11:13 AM »
They all seem well qualified. Good and varied experience in the world and with the church. But have some of them resigned since the recent announcement?

Jeremy

PS And where has that Packers team been all year?!?!

a) Unknown
b) Unknown

Dave Benke
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Mark_Hofman

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Re: Concordia University Texas
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2022, 12:09:58 PM »
Currently, the LCMS has University campuses in Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska
Michigan, Minnesota, California, Texas.  Five of those are in the Midwest which
is the heartland of the LCMS.

My question is this: How much financial support does the LCMS provide on an
annual basis to the budget of each Concordia University?

It's probably best to ask each college directly.

This is one of those questions that can lead one into a state of vast confusion. One might ask, "How much support does the Mormon Church (Baptist Church, Catholic Church, ELCA, Wisconsin Synod,....) provide to each Concordia University on an annual basis? How many students do those groups provide? Because whatever isn't funded by those groups is most likely coming from "The LCMS".

A person could be viewing the acronymn "LCMS" as being limited to the corporate Synod budget. On the other hand, a person could come at "LCMS" as being the owners of the corporation and the membership of those owners. Or just the individuals who worship and are active participants in an LCMS congregation alone, because all of the money for church-related operations has to come from individuals/couples/families in some form or fashion.

Which is it?

The corporate Synod (LCMS, Inc.) doesn't subsidize individual colleges using the worship offerings it is handed by congregations via district budgets. That stream of income has steadily shrunk over the years, compounded by the eroding effects of inflation on the purchasing power of each dollar it does receive. (Ref. https://www.lcms.org/makeagift/together-as-synod, specifically "What about my Sunday worship offering?")

But the owners of the Synod (congregations who voluntarily associate) continue to supply financial gifts and offerings, as do the individuals and families within those congregations. The dollars just go directly to the college(s) rather than through the corporate Synod budget. And of the worship offerings corporate Synod does receive, there is a 'draw' order - a priority of claims laid on those resources - defined by a number of things such as the structure of the national Synod and the commitments the Board of Directors make on behalf of the owners who elect them. For example, a loan creates a legally binding commitment by the owners that must be repaid using the funds the owners supply to the Synod. Board policy (ref. the example of BOD Policy 5.2.6.3.) also prohibits using anything but owner funds to pay for things like the annual independent external audit, legal representation, expenses of the boards and commissions, and the salaries of elected officers mandated by the Constitution and Bylaws.  So "stuff" like that has to be funded first, before the Board can begin to dole out worshipo offerings in a discretionary fashion. And by the time they get done allocating funds to pay for all of that, there really isn't all that much left.

Now, if by LCMS one means the people who actually have the funds to begin with - the source and font of material blessings - there would have to be transparency on the part of the universities to spell out how much is coming from LCMS congregations, men's and women's groups, LCMS family foundations, congregation members and the like compared to what's coming from the Methodists, Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, non-denominational Christians, and atheist/agnositcs.

To come at this from another perspective, LCMS households and congregations are now contributing more to support LCMS-called/appointed missionaries (around $13.5 million annually) than the amount that comes to corporate Synod from the Sunday-morning offering plate (just over $12 million). The total budget of the national operations is around $60 million, with most revenue restricted by the giver for a specific purpose. Worship offerings that ultimately make it to the two LCMS seminaries are a small amount compared to the $3 million that God's people gave to them last fiscal year via the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund and the nearly $700,000 they gave through corporate Synod as student aid.  And those two amounts pale in comparison to what God's people give directly to each seminary. 

We just don't fund the "fun stuff" out of regular worship offerings. Beyond what the congregation itself must spend locally, and the limited amount they forward to their district office (who has regional mission work to perform), worship offerings aren't funding missionaries, colleges, national mission programs (think Youth), disaster response work, international projects, and even seminaries. That's not how people, congregations and even districts are choosing to support the bigger ticket items. They want to do that directly, to feel closer to the action than they do when they lay an envelope in the offering plate on Sunday.

Finally, it sure seems as though we don't quite have common agreement on what gets attached to "the LCMS" or "the Synod" (let alone "synodical" which is a goofy useless word to begin with).  And the truth is that, without the people who associate with congregations who are owners of the LCMS, "the (corprorate) Synod" wouldn't have a DIME to give to anyone.





« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 01:29:19 PM by Mark_Hofman »