What the picture doesn’t show (fatherhood and a Synodical President)

February 16th, 2011 Post by

Since BJS is dedicated to helping restore fatherhood, I thought I would share a moment from the BJS Conference this past weekend.  While attending the first lecture on Witness, my wife and children accompanied me into the sanctuary of Bethany in Naperville (our family vacation time was originally around Symposia week, but chicken pox stopped that from happening, so BJS provided a second chance).

The picture in this post is of President Harrison interacting with my oldest daughter, who was reading “The Magician’s Nephew” by C.S. Lewis and also spending time being artistic with the BJS place mats from the morning breakfast.  What this picture doesn’t show is that just minutes later my youngest daughter was struggling to keep quiet and was getting very tired of her dad’s efforts to keep her under the acceptable volume for a presentation.  All of my efforts to distract her to do something else were not working, and she was beginning to raise a bit a of a ruckus.   President Harrison intervened and asked my daughter to come back by him and show him her book “Treasury of stories for four year olds”.  He then interacted with her as she told him all about each of the stories which she has already almost memorized (from some of dad reading, but mostly mom).  My eldest daughter also came back and showed her work and books as well.  President Harrison did a wonderful job with them, and as a father I was thankful to have a moment to hear the presentation and look on as my daughters interacted with the Synodical President no different than they do with any member of the congregation I serve.

As a pastor in the LCMS, it was humbling to see the Synodical President interacting with children at such a time (I am sure he had about a hundred other things that he could have been working on).

Thanks to Norm for capturing the moment.






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  1. Todd Wilken
    February 17th, 2011 at 00:45 | #1

    This says it all about our new SP.

  2. Jason
    February 17th, 2011 at 08:07 | #2

    The faithful remnant of Grandpa’s church is still alive, and hopefully returning form exile. What a blessing to have a pastor leading a church.

  3. February 17th, 2011 at 08:15 | #3

    I got to watch this little story unfold from the foyer of the sanctuary, about 20 feet away. It went on for several minutes. This was no little exceptional moment with a child. I was very inmpressed both Friday and Saturday with the genuiness and sincerity of President Harrison. I was with him and around him for about 12 hours in four or five different contexts. This spirit of humble servanthood was present for the entire time. You can fake it for an hour or so in one setting but not for 12 hours in a number of different settings.

    You have heard me say on this website that I do not know Matt Harrison personally. The things we wrote for the last two years on this website supporting his candidacy were based on the testimony of others. After this weekend, I can now say that I know him well. It is all good. Wilken has known him for years and as he said – the picture says it all. I now know what he means.

    This is no love fest. I am sure there will be some things Harrison will do or not do in the years to come with which I will disagree. If I ever do disagree, I will be disagreeing with a godly, humble, sincere man who has time for the children. Based on his presentation at the banquet however, I can see there will be much “koinonia” between us and much in which to rejoice for our synod.

    TR

  4. Mary Ellyn
    February 17th, 2011 at 08:25 | #4

    We are the couple sitting in front of Pastor Scheer’s family. While the kids were just being kids they were actually not that noisy. Of course they were not my kids so my perspective doesn’t really count. However I remember that all of sudden it was very quiet behind us. Now I know the rest of the story.

    I was the lady on crutches and Friday evening before the banquet started Pastor Harrison came over to greet me and I was thrilled that he dropped down physically to my level as I try to find places to sit whenever possible. In addition when he visited with our 13 year old son he gave Alex words of encouragement about making the transition from Lutheran school to public high school. He spoke as a father because his son had already made that transition. We are truly blessed to have such a Godly man leading our Synod.

  5. Rev. Mike Mathey
    February 17th, 2011 at 12:06 | #5

    It’s always good to see one of the so-called “higher ups” remembering that they are first and foremost pastors. As the father of an almost 5 year-old and a 2 month-old, I can say that I appreciate brother Harrison’s efforts to help out. For that matter, I know that I can speak on behalf of my wife that she would have been extremely greatful if this had been her with our kids. There is nothing more upsetting to her than having the kids acting up a little bit, and getting those all-too-familiar glances from people around her. Thank you Pastor Harrison for setting a good exmple of how to help a family with young kids.

    PS I would like to shamefully use this episode to lobby for the availability of child-care at future conferences (and it doesn’t have to be free either!) such as this one. I know that many young families would be interested in attending more such events, but the challenge is always what to do with the kids? This is especially the case in families like mine where my wife and I are both confessional Lutherans, trained church workers and looking to keep informed and active in the life of the church beyond the congregation. Even if no one takes advantage of the service, it would be nice to have it available to encourage even more participation from younger families.

  6. Rev. George Poulos, Jr.
    February 17th, 2011 at 12:21 | #6

    Thanks, Joshua, for sharing this photo and posted comments. The additional comments and personal accounts match my two brief interactions with our brother and SP Matt Harrison. Let us faithfully continue our prayers for him and his leadership among us. We are, as Mary Ellyn commented, truly blessed to have him as our president.

  7. mames
    February 17th, 2011 at 14:59 | #7

    The display of a Pastoral heart. Thanks for catching someone doing the right thing and affirming it. ‘Takes me back to the couple of Pastors who did the same for me. A Pastor with a heart for the flock is a golden gift from God. Te Deum!

  8. Stand up and Shout
    February 17th, 2011 at 16:37 | #8

    Thank you for sharing this. Each and every time someone shares a story of mercy from President Harrison, it just solidifies more and more what a blessing he is to us all in so many ways.

  9. Larry Elliott
    February 17th, 2011 at 21:35 | #9

    I have had the pleasure to meet President Harrison on multiple occasions, including this weekend. I must say I have always been impressed by how caring he is and easy to like, I mean love.

  10. Rev. Mike Mathey
    February 18th, 2011 at 10:17 | #10

    Just a random thought, can anyone think of any other Synodical official who would have done this? District or Synodical level.

  11. The Rev. BT Ball
    February 18th, 2011 at 10:49 | #11

    Jerry Kieschnick

  12. Pastor Joshua Scheer
    February 18th, 2011 at 11:37 | #12

    @Rev. Mike Mathey #10
    My District President (Donald Fondow) has interacted well with my children.

    @The Rev. BT Ball #11
    President Kieschnick and his wife have included my middle child in their prayers since she was very sick. As far as the example with President Harrison, I was not in any similar situation with President Kieschnick.

    I believe that both in the same situation would have acted the same way as President Harrison.

  13. The Rev. BT Ball
    February 18th, 2011 at 13:01 | #13

    Pr. Scheer-
    exactly. I know bunches of synodical types, DP’s, administrators, office guys, and they are dads, grandpas, love little children, open doors for women, help old ladies cross the street etc. Even though Brother Rossow said this isn’t a Harrison love fest, it is exactly what it is. I think there is a song I heard somewhere with a line, “trust not in princes they are but mortal.”

  14. Pastor Joshua Scheer
    February 18th, 2011 at 16:09 | #14

    @The Rev. BT Ball #13
    Certainly not a love fest, but speaking well of the neighbor when and where we can. President Harrison didn’t do what he did because it would cause people to like him more, but just did it. I, as his “neighbor” want to tell others of the good example that he set.

    Thanks Rev Ball for the encouragement to put our trust not in men, but in God – I think that most Synodical officials (past and present) would totally agree. They have enough to do as it is without having to be gods as well.

  15. Rev. Keith Knea
    February 22nd, 2011 at 16:03 | #15

    I want to let you know at a SWD convention a few years ago. President Kieschnick interacted with my three little ones, something I was impressed about as well. I love when people realize the future of the church is the little ones. Jesus says bring the little ones to me and do not hinder them. I am so excited for the LCMS and its leadership as it puts its focus on the future. God bless

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