The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has elected the denomination’s director of disaster response as president, a candidate backed by its more conservative members. Matthew Harrison received 54 percent of the vote for the three-year term, defeating three-term incumbent Gerald Kieschnick, who received 45 percent.
When the nominations for president of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod were tallied and released in April, a collective gasp went up from Lutherans who pay attention to things like presidential nominations.
It wasn’t just that nine-year incumbent Gerald Kieschnick, 67, received only 755 votes, but that Matthew Harrison, 48, received nearly double that amount: 1,332.
In a statistical report that likened its declining numbers to those of ecumenical Protestant denominations, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod said that its baptized membership fell in 2008 by 45,735 members to a total of 2.33 million.
A group of Lutherans upset over the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s recent decision to allow qualified noncelibate gays to serve as clergy voted to create a freestanding synod and to study for a year whether to leave the denomination.
The president of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod expressed “great disappointment and deep sadness” over recommendations before the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to ordain partnered gay and lesbian ministers.
Governor Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana has signed into law two bills banning a controversial form of late-term abortion, making that state the first to outlaw the procedure after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal ban in April. Under the two laws, which went into effect July 13, anyone convicted of performing “a partial birth abortion . . .
The incumbent president of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has been reelected to another three-year term—essentially ending a long debate over his backing of a New York minister who took part in a post–September 11 event that some church leaders said violated LCMS rules against participation in interfaith and ecumenical services.
Colorado’s highest court has ruled unconstitutional a state law that would have set up a school-voucher program, including religious and other private schools. On a 4-3 vote, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled June 28 that the state’s law violated a state constitutional provision regarding local school boards’ control over educational instruction in their districts.
John H. Tietjen, a seminary president who led a mid-1970s revolt of moderates against fundamentalists in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and contributed to a three-way merger of Lutheran bodies in 1987, died at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, after a long struggle with cancer. He was 75.
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