Two more Board items

July 28th, 2008 Post by

Mollie here. One of the two most discouraging things to happen in Synod this year was the resignation in March of Pastor Edward Balfour from the board of directors. Balfour is this larger-than-life force of nature with a rather unlikely story. He was born and raised an Orthodox Jew in New Orleans and ended up a confessional Lutheran pastor in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and a stalwart against some of the church-growth shenanigans being pulled by some in leadership. I just LOVE Pastor Balfour. Anyway, the Board Briefs included a notice of his resignation.

The other notice was an oh-so-brief mention of the Issues, Etc. debacle:

Board for Communication Services Executive Director David Strand provided information regarding the cancellation of the KFUO radio program, “Issues, Etc.,” attributing his decision to his duty to balance the budget in light of the financial conditions being faced by the Synod, noting that the program constituted 18 percent of KFUO programming while being responsible for 40 percent of the AM station’s financial shortfalls over the past several years.

So I guess that’s how the Synodcrats are going to play it. If they just repeat this bullhonkey numbers enough, they believe them? I mean, take, for instance, the fact that Issues, Etc., was responsible for 100 percent of KFUO’s nationally syndicated programming. Or the fact that the numbers used to make these claims were based on questionable assumptions. I know — I was on the board that asked for itemized budgets. Or take that the LCMS Foundation skimmed 25 percent of the funds raised for every program. Or that the LCMS Foundation was completely asleep at the wheel on fundraising efforts. Or that funds that were given to Issues, Etc., by local listeners didn’t make it to the Issues, Etc. ledger. Or that the FM station that was supposed to be funding the AM station had been managed miserably for years. Or that David Strand and other synodocrats foiled my board’s attempts to improve the management of the radio station. Or that the litany of fundraising, programming and cost-saving measures that Todd and Jeff proposed to David Strand weren’t even considered.

But yeah, glad to see that the board is doing due diligence here. What a farce.

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  1. July 29th, 2008 at 12:01 | #1

    I’m glad that Pr. Balfour will have more time to devote to his health, his wife, and his parish. His resignation, though, shows the hopelessness (humanly speaking) of the situation with the LCMS BOD. While there was great conflict in the previous triennium and while it consumed bodily strength that he did not have, due to the battles he fought health-wise, he was willing to sacrifice all in the hope that it would make a difference, that the pastors and people of LCMS parishes would not see their money wasted for unwise–unscriptural!–programming and anything else that ends against a proper confession. It is very fitting that he is a bearer of The Sabre of Boldness, and it is a sad day for confessional orthodoxy in Missouri that he will no longer be giving voice to her concerns in the meetings of the BOD.


  2. July 29th, 2008 at 20:31 | #2

    One of the interesting things from when I served on the KFUO Audit Committee, (which was responsible for “auditing” program, management and fiscal operation of KFUO for the purpose of “balancing the budget” to use a Strand term) was that when we talked about cutting staff to reduce expenses, we kept being told by Strand and the General Manager, that it was too “expensive”. “Yes, we HAVE to pay six months severance to any employee terminated, so we just can’t cut staff.” (emphasis mine) Then they turn around and terminate Wilken and Schwarz in the interest of “balancing the budget”. What a farce. I should release my note of those meetings. What an eye opener that would be when things like the General Manager admitting to the committee that there had not been any “development” (read fund raising) for the AM side of KFUO for TEN YEARS!!! What?? So what has management been doing for that time? Climbing into bed with the social elite of the St. Louis Arts Council to boost the fund raising for the FM station which COULD be selling advertising to earn money. But, with such poor listenership, they can’t sell enough advertising so they have to resort to fund raising. Funny how they couldn’t do it for the AM side. I get disgusted every time I think about the whole situation. How very sad that an arm of the church plays such games to cover up poor management and bad judgement. Kyrie Eleison!

  3. Mark Dowell
    July 29th, 2008 at 21:00 | #3

    “…while being responsible for 40 percent of the AM station’s financial shortfalls…”

    I noticed that in the July 2008 “Board Briefs” the KFUO 2008/09 budget is $3,761,960 vs $3,690,792 in 2007/08 – an increased of 2%.

  4. Ross
    July 29th, 2008 at 22:22 | #4

    It appears that since Synod Inc. can be trusted with little, they must be given little. How can we keep our offerings from getting into company hands? Is it acceptable for local congregations to forward their gifts directly to seminaries and missionaries and skip over the middlemen of district and Synod?

  5. SteadfastLutherans
    July 29th, 2008 at 23:22 | #5


    My personal opinion on this is that one needs to determine what is required for a synod to provide the basic services that a single congregation cannot provide. The answer to that differs greatly from person to person and congregation to congregation.

    We have a motion in front of our elders right now to limit, even eliminate what we send to the synod. It will be an interesting discussion to see what our elders decide and then see what our voters assembly decides to do with that recomendation.

    Whatever that number is, I believe as long as we belong to a synod, it is right for us to give that amount to the synod.

    I know of pastors and congregations who I respect who give very little to synod (as a protest) and some who give substantially, that I also respect. It is a congregational decision.

    The greater issues are: how can we fix the problems with spending in our synod and is there a point at which it is determined that it is not fixable and we need to do a redo on synod. If the latter is the right way to go, that needs to be handled very slowly and deliberately.

    Pastor Rossow

  6. SteadfastLutherans
    July 30th, 2008 at 07:23 | #6

    Mark D.,

    This is an incredible point. After firing Pastor Wilken and Jeff for fiscal reasons, the budget went up? Mollie, Pastor W, Jeff, Pastor Berger or anyone else out there that knows these budgets – can this actually be the case? If it is, this seems to me to be very important piece of information to communicate as broadly as we can in the continued critique LCMS Inc.’s desire to eliminate sound doctrine in our Synod.

    Can anyone out there provide further commentary on this?

    Pastor Rossow

  7. SteadfastLutherans
    July 30th, 2008 at 07:25 | #7

    I should have known Mollie would already be on this. I did not check her blogroll before I made the previous comment.

    Thanks again Mark for highlighting this.

    Pastor Rossow

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