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Harrison accepts call — 31 Comments

  1. I was reading the other thread for when he received the call and people were saying that just being ordained doesn’t give one the right to preach and that they must have a call. President Harrison recently preached during chapel at Fort Wayne. Since he didn’t have a call wouldn’t that mean he shouldn’t have preached?

    Also, could someone reference scripture that backs up that one must have a call to preach? I know what Book Of Concord says. I would like to know where I can go to in the Bible that will back that up.

  2. First, even in Luther’s day there were superintendents and the like that didn’t have calls to local parishes, necessarily. It was sufficient that they had been called into the office. I don’t believe Chemnitz always had a call to a parish, but I’d have to look that up to be certain. Normally, that means that they had served in a parish. Wyneken likewise left his parish in St. Louis, moved to Decatur, Indiana, and from there served as full time president of synod from 1859-64. (this is noted in the Lutheran Cyclopedia.) It has been several years since Pr. Harrison has served a parish. He preached regularly around the synod, representing LCMS World Relief, including at my mother’s church, where Stephen Starke is the pastor. So he would be under no obligation to take such a call. But if he wants to do it, I think it is a fine thing.

  3. We now have a two officers in the synod who are ecclesiastical supervisors of each other with the authority to place each other on restricted or suspended status leading to possible removal from synodical membership.

  4. The ecclesiastical supervisors I am referring to are the SP and the Missouri DP. These are the two that have the authority to place synodical members (and in this case each other) on restricted or suspended status that can result in being removed from synodical membership. The Village Lutheran Church, Ladue, senior pastor, while responsible for doctrinal supervision within his congregation, cannot place anyone on restricted or suspended synodical membership status.

  5. @Carl Vehse #5

    So, we seem to have a gap in some human rules. Do you anticipate a specific problem?

    Can you come up with other entertaining and interesting dilemmas for us if you work on it?

  6. Just think this gets to go all around the world….and not just internet here, it went over the radio station KFUO am this morning…Almost as good as the free publicity Issues Etc. got Eh!

  7. @Michael #1

    I’m subbing for my pastor on New Year’s Eve and January 2, when he goes on vacation with his wife for their 10th wedding anniversary. I don’t have a “regular call” to preach at my church (I am ordained & on the LCMS roster, candidate status), but I am employed as kantor, and as part of the job description I fill in for my pastor when he is unable to preach. Is that wrong? I see no problem, because I am considered “called” for that particular service. What do others of you think?

    Also … in light of President Harrison’s call (which I understand is a non-compensated call), considering my current situation, would there be a problem with my church “calling” me as an assistant pastor in charge of parish music? Just wondering what y’all would think about that …

  8. @Timothy C. Schenks #12
    “Kantor Dennis Boettcher :I see no problem, because I am considered “called” for that particular service. What do others of you think?”

    If preaching is part of your ‘job description’, I should think you are “called” now.
    The rest is semantics, from this pewsitter’s POV, although from yours I don’t doubt that the title of assistant pastor might be desirable. Since you’ve been there several years, someone should have thought of it before now.

    Another voice on here has said that, if you were removed from your previous call illegally, you are still a Pastor. They can’t take that away from you w/o cause.

    [I welcomed the thought, since it has sometimes seemed as if half my dear friends were CA. (Two of them have since taken calls.) The others “fill in” wherever/whenever they are asked to do so. The CC who strongly disapproved of the unorthodox behaviors of some congregations is one who asks regularly.]

  9. Plus he would be preaching as an ordained minister of the LCMS as teachers and kantors are not Divine Calls.

  10. I’d love to know what the Council of Presidents thinks of this. My understanding is that such calls are STRONGLY discouraged. What fun it would be to be a mouse at some of their gab-fests! Lol!

  11. @Elnathan45 #15
    My understanding is that such calls are STRONGLY discouraged.

    Which calls are you referring to?

    What the COP should be discouraging is the dismissal of faithful pastors with none of the legitimate reasons given for such action.

    But since there has been no uproar from the COP over TCN, which recommends that pastors leave if they can’t raise their numbers in attendance by a prescribed %, [which is not a Lutheran reason for dismissal either!] it would appear that the majority of DP’s are not concerned about encouraging Lutheran practice.

  12. @Helen #13

    Since you’ve been there several years, someone should have thought of it before now.

    The idea has been discussed … and strongly discouraged by our DP, for a number of reasons that have been discussed (e.g. no call should be without compensation or considerable under-compensation). That’s why I, too, am curious as to what the reaction would be now, considering our own SP is accepting, from what I can see, a non-compensated call.

  13. @Elnathan45 #15

    You wrote, I’d love to know what the Council of Presidents thinks of this. My understanding is that such calls are STRONGLY discouraged.

    “What the Council of Presidents thinks” has hardly proven a guide to good practice in the LCMS.

    TW

  14. I believe this is a great day in the LCMS for a number of reasons!

    First, we have a synodical president how has sent a strong message to the synod and the world that parish ministry, Word and Sacrament ministry, the delivery of the deliverance to the people of God, is primary in Lutheran doctrine and practice.

    Second, we have a strong example that an uncompensated call is not somehow fake or phony and certainly not illegitimate.

    Finally, this call and acceptance has given hope to the many candidate and non candidate pastors in our synod who have been waiting patiently for the synodical “process” to work. I know of many faithfull pastors who have been having a very difficult time even being considered for a call. If a pastor is able to accept a non compensated call and the “candidate” or “non candidate” stigma is removed, congregations may more willingly consider them for a part time or full time compensated call.

    I believe this is a great day in the LCMS!

  15. @Kantor Dennis Boettcher #19
    …no call should be without compensation or considerable under-compensation).

    Are you uncompensated for your present position then?

    Nice of your DP to be concerned about under-compensation.
    I know a couple of people in “mission” situations who will be compensated depending on the souls they can gather, and those people’s abilities to support the Pastor.

    No, the district will not subsidize; these are confessional efforts.

    [I don’t think my son earned “district scale” in his [short] life, certainly not in Texas.]

  16. Does President Harrison’s acceptance of a call as a noncompensated assistant pastor, having occasional preaching, limited visitation, and no administrative responsibilities send a message to full-time district presidents, and other ordained synodical, district, auxiliary, RSO, and seminary staff that they should also accept similar calls from local congregations as a noncompensated assistant pastor, having occasional preaching, limited visitation, and no administrative responsibilities?

    How would such a message affect the candidate and non-candidate ordained members in our synod who have been waiting patiently for calls to be compensated pastors with full-time preaching, visitation and administrative responsibilities?

  17. The impression that I have always gotten from synodical bureaucracy is that these are men who are too important to be bothered by “normal” people because they’ve got more important things to do. This is probably an unfounded assumption, but Pres. Harrison taking a call to a small congregation and visiting shut ins is more a change than anything else we’ve done in the past 30 years. It also serves as an example for parish pastors who cannot find time to prepare sermons or visit shut ins. This is indeed a great day.

  18. Kantor Dennis Boettcher :@Timothy C. Schenks #12
    So is it wrong for the retired/emeritus pastor to fill in the pulpit for a Sunday or two while a pastor is on vacation or absent for some other reason? That’s the essence of what I’m doing in my own parish.

    Rev. Boettcher, your statement, that you are “Called” for a particular service was the error or problem in question. You are not Called for a single service as there is no such thing as a temporary Divine Call. So basically, you as a member of the ordained ministerium of the LCMS are providing pulpit supply or acting as a guest preacher, right? That is not a Call.

  19. Helen :
    He is an ordained minister of the LCMS.If he or any other CA should get a call, they are NOT ordained again.

    ???

    Helen, I didn’t say he wasn’t, or that he had to be ordained again.

  20. @helen #23

    Are you uncompensated for your present position then?

    Actually, Helen, as an organist/choir director, I am very fortunate to be compensated at the level that I am. IOW, they are treating me well, paying me a salary instead of a per diem.

    Understand that my primary vocation is that of church organist/choir director = “kantor.” A unique situation, insofar that I am also a candidate on the LCMS ordained minister roster. The way this church has developed this position is that, whenever the pastor is absent for whatever reason, I step into the pulpit and I arrange for a substitute organist for the service. My compensation for preaching/leading Divine Service is considered a part of the monthly salary that I draw as kantor, with no extra bonus above and beyond. (And just for the record, I receive more per week as a kantor than I have ever received as a guest pastor.)

    Hope this helps you understand where I am now. Cheers! 🙂

  21. @Timothy C. Schenks #26

    you as a member of the ordained ministerium of the LCMS are providing pulpit supply or acting as a guest preacher, right?

    Yes, that is correct. And that’s probably the easiest way to understand my unique situation as “kantor” at my current congregation. They pay me a bi-weekly salary, and whenever I do pulpit supply for my pastor when he is out of town, my compensation for preaching is considered a part of that bi-weekly check that I receive for services rendered.

    FYI, I have heard others refer to pulpit supply as a form of a “temporary call,” hence my feeble attempt to use that word picture to explain my situation. My apologies.

  22. @Timothy C. Schenks #27
    “Plus he would be preaching as an ordained minister of the LCMS …” –TCS

    He’s doing that now, as I pointed out.
    If you meant that he would be preaching as a Called minister perhaps that would have been the term to use?

    So you are already a “Pastor w/o compensation”, Pr. Boettcher. If they find that too hard to swallow they should give you the going rate for guest pastors when you conduct the service.
    Or recognize the facts and give you the Call.

  23. Maybe he should focus on the duties of the president. Or perhaps be a president w/o compensation. We have too many issues that need to be handled. Focus on what the people have elected you to do. Tell me another CEO that has a part time job? Ridiculous.

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