Friday, December 24, 2010

President Harrison Accepts Call as Assistant Pastor

I join with many others in applauding President Harrison's recent acceptance of a call to serve as an assistant pastor at Village Lutheran Church in Ladue, Missouri. A brief blog article containing a letter sent to the district presidents of Synod explains well his rationale and the support this actions have in our synodical constitution. Serving as a circuit counselor since 2006 has allowed me to live in a world that often serves as a bridge between the local parish and the structure of the district-level and national church body. Since I live and serve in a local setting my position allows me to put a far more personal 'face' on the Synod for people who may too often see such structures as distant and irrelevant. I hope that President Harrison's actions in this case assist in doing that for him as well.

Yet more important still, I agree with him that a need exists for the president of Synod to retain a pastoral connection with the church. He notes that this is doubly important given the recent changes in synodical structure that bring more of a CEO emphasis to his position. President Harrison came to his office as a pastor-at-heart. Commenting on his previous position in that regard he writes that "In the core of my being, I am a pastor. I view life pastorally. I view the mission of the church pastorally (Jer. 3:15). My work at LCMS World Relief and Human Care moved the church’s work of mercy to a pastoral model, closely connecting care with local altars, fonts, and pulpits worldwide."

Interestingly, Harrison is doing something which he admits has not been done in "decades." It is a new thing to go back to an old thing. This is in concert as well with his book At Home in the House of My Fathers, where he helps translate and collect many documents from the early fathers of our Synod. Sometimes the most progressive thing we can do is return to the past and rediscover long lost roots. I think that returning to the pastoral roots of our church body can only bring blessings to the Office of the President and our synod as a whole.

May the Lord bless you in this new call, President Harrison!

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