Harrison elected to second term as LCMS president

Found on LCMS.org:

 

The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison has been elected to his second term as president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

election-inHarrison received 4,262 votes, or 66 percent of the 6,432 ballots cast.

Of the other two nominees for president, the Rev. Dr. David P.E. Maier received 1,906 votes, or nearly 30 percent, and the Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller Jr. received 264, or 4 percent.

Votes were cast by some 78 percent of the total 8,201 district delegates who were eligible to vote.

The ballots were tallied by Election-America and reported to LCMS Secretary Rev. Dr. Raymond Hartwig, who announced the results July 6.

President-elect Harrison and other LCMS officers — to be elected at the Synod’s 65th Regular Convention July 20-25 in St. Louis — will be installed in September.

To read the official notice, “LCMS president-elect announced,” click here.

 

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Comments

Harrison elected to second term as LCMS president — 24 Comments

  1. Professor Rast has a posting (http://lrast.blogspot.com/2013/07/lcms-presidential-elections.html?spref=fb) with the final results for LCMS Presidential elections since 1973:

    1973
    1st ballot, JAO Preus 606, WIliam Kohn 340. 1,055 total votes. 57%

    1977
    2nd ballot, JAO Preus 596, Charles Mueller 330. 1,083 total votes. 55%

    1981
    4th ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 722, Charles Mueller 338. 1,110 total votes. 65%

    1983
    1st ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 844, Lloyd Behnken 95. 1,079 votes. 78%

    1986
    1st ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 576, Robert Sauer 447. 1,029 total votes. 56%

    1989
    1st ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 589, Robert Sauer 433. 1,124 total votes. 52%

    1992
    4th ballot, Alvin Barry 580, Ralph Bohlmann 568. 1,148 total votes. 50.5%

    1995
    1st ballot, Alvin Barry 754, Richard Kapfer 290. 1,162 total votes. 65%

    1998
    1st ballot, Alvin Barry 657, Glen O’Shoney 343. 1,161 total votes. 56%

    2001
    4th ballot, Gerald Kieschnick 600, Dean Wenthe 582. 1,182 total votes. 50.7%

    2004
    1st ballot, Gerald Kieschnick 653, Daniel Preus 391. 1,237 total votes. 53%

    2007
    1st ballot, Gerald Kieschnick 644, John Wohlrabe 514. 1,231 total votes. 52%

    2010
    1st ballot, Matthew Harrison 643, Gerald Kieschnick 527. 1,170 total votes. 55%

    2013
    1st ballot, Matthew Harrison 4,262, David Maier 1,906. 6,432 total votes. 66%

  2. I received the notice this morning from Secretary Hartwig. Gives us a lot to think about. Here’s a few thoughts, not all of them necessarily my own:

    1. This system favors the incumbent. That’s one I’ve heard from a few sources. Can’t remember if any reasons for this opinion were offered. I think it has been suggested here at BJS that this was a ploy of the previous administration as it was “his” task force. In my view, an unprovable assertion.

    2. The synod as a whole is very conservative–more than previous elections would seem to indicate. That can’t be proven until an analysis of the voting patterns is done. As a corollary, it might show that the non-confessionals’ influence is multiplied in synod conventions.

    3. Another corollary to (2) above may be that this system greatly dilutes the influence of literature, emails, mailings, etc. for the various candidates. Having served as a delegate in 2001, 2004, and 2007, I got tons of stuff promoting the various candidates. As an elector this year (but not a delegate), I received zero promotional material of any sort. My DP, Terry Cripe, has always been steadfastly a-political with respect to elections. But I didn’t get nuthin’ from no-body. Nada. Zilch.

    4. Harrison is simply the most qualified candidate.

    Having said all that, I am uncomfortable with this scheme. There were weaknesses in the former method, to be sure, but I’m not so sure that this is an improvement. I have to think about it some more.

    I’m looking forward to the discussion here and elsewhere. And the convention itself ought to be quite interesting.

  3. Not a statement about anyone but about the Synod over all.

    >Total Electorate: 8,201 (Those who ‘paid the Poll Tax’ of attending the Certifying District Conventions.)

    Taking the figure of 12,000 possible votes [ approx. total number of congregations plus approx. total number of active Pastors] we have 8,201/12,000 = 68.3%
    Nearly one third of possible votes/rs did not even participate in the ‘certifying’ process.

    >Of those 8,201 ‘certified’ only 6,432 decided to exercise their voting options: A real participation rate of: 53.6%!!!

    >Of the total votes available in Synod, @ 12,000 Harrison received only 4,262 or 35.5%.
    A definite minority of all votes available. Just a fact: Synod now has a president who ‘lost’ nearly 2/3 of the possible votes! In fairness, the other candidates ‘lost more’!

    This speaks of the divisions in Synod: not conservative vs liberal; not Orthodox vs. progressive; not confessional vs. growthers ; OR ANY OTHER LABELS.

    BUT IT SPEAKS TO A DYSFUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION WITH ONGOING DIVISIONS AND DISTANCES AMONG THE SYNOD (AND ITS ENTITIES); THE DISTRICTS (AND THEIR PROGRAMS/BUREAUCRACIES); AND THE CONGREGATIONS (THEIR CHALLENGES/WORK).

    GIVEN THE FACTS THAT THIS VOTING FORMAT GAVE THE CONGREGATIONS AND PASTORS A ‘LARGER’ VOICE AND A ‘GRASS-IER ROOTS PARTICIPATION’ IN VOTING FOR THE PRESIDENT OF SYNOD–THEY DID: SOME ACTIVELY AND SOME PASSIVELY!

  4. According to the data from CTS Pres. Larry Rast’s website, the only previous presidential elections where the winning candidate got above 60 percent of the votes cast were:

    1981: 4th ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 722, Charles Mueller 338. 1,110 total votes. 65%
    1983: 1st ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 844, Lloyd Behnken 95. 1,079 votes. 78%
    1995: 1st ballot, Alvin Barry 754, Richard Kapfer 290. 1,162 total votes. 65%

    Elsewhere it was shown that for the 1998 through 2010 conventions, the percent of eligible synodical delegates who voted in a presidential election was 97-99+%. This high percentage of delegate voting probably occurred in conventions back to at least 1981.

    The reason(s) for the significantly lower percentage of delegate voting (78.4%) in the 2013 election (e.g., inaccessability, connectivity problems, lack of interest, personal decision) should be investigated.

  5. >>Taking the figure of 12,000 possible votes [ approx. total number of congregations plus approx. total number of active Pastors. . . Of the total votes available in Synod, @ 12,000 Harrison received only 4,262 or 35.5%. A definite minority of all votes available. Just a fact: Synod now has a president who ‘lost’ nearly 2/3 of the possible votes! . . . IT SPEAKS TO A DYSFUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION WITH ONGOING DIVISIONS

    These mistaken conclusions are based on incorrect assumptions and a misunderstanding of Bylaw 3.12.2.3 and how it has been implemented.

    •At least in South Dakota, multi-congregation parishes at the District convention have only one lay and one pastoral vote combined. (I am not certain but I believe this is the case in all Districts.) Given the large number of dual (and even tri) parishes in the Synod, this alone drastically reduces the number of potential electors, as I understand to about the 8,200 stated.

    •While there is provision for substituting electors in the event of movement from the congregation or death of a pastoral or lay delegate since the previous district convention, congregations vacant at the time of the previous district convention receive no pastoral vote, even if they have since installed a new pastor. (A neighboring congregation is in this situation and I was talking with the pastor about it last week. He was in the same District, attended the District convention, but his installation at his new congregation was a few weeks after the District convention and therefore he is disqualified.)

    •While it seems from Bylaw 2.13.1.b.1 that Specific Ministry Pastors are eligible to be electors, those congregations otherwise being served in any way other than by a regularly called pastor, such as by a retired or neighboring pastor on an informal basis, etc., do not have a pastoral vote.

    •Likewise congregations receive no pastoral or lay vote if the delegate was unable to attend the previous district convention, even if due to an otherwise excusable reason such as illness, etc.

    All this and more is what reduced the number of electors to about 8,200, so the conclusions reached above are invalid.

  6. Kevin-

    Couple of observations:

    I can understand the thinking that SD is the center of all since South Dakota State has done quite well by entering the D1 NCAA collegiate brackets!! However, to the topic, let’s dig and not frost:

    To compare with your basis as using the SD District for analysis–I have been informed that nearly 1/3 of the Congregations in the CNH District did not participate in the District Convention–Pastor or Congregation! (Now I realize the California is not the center universe either.) But there is sufficient talk about the general apathy in the Synod toward the District Conventions. Perhaps you know of it!

    (Some believe that the real purpose for the ‘Attendance at the District Convention Clause’ as part of the voting process for SP–was to increase sagging DC attendance!)

    While using SD as a microcosm of the Synod is not any more valid than using the CNH District for the same purpose, the facts are already gathered.

    Since part of the DPs’ individual District Convention responsibilities was to notify Synod which Congregations and Pastors attended the District conventions and thereby were ‘certified’ to vote, Synod would thereby know who was not certified. (Did not attend the district convention!) Perhaps we can obtain that information!!

    If we can accomplish that, then we can reflect on my factual quantitative assertions verses your assumptions that there are 4,200 votes missing due to dual parishes, vacancies, SMP, and the old Chicago favorite–voter deaths!

    Blessings on your worship Tomorrow!

  7. Whether or not you support the new process it does dramatically increase participation across the synod in the election of the synodical president. If some want to disenfranchise themselves that is very sad indeed, but it does not invalidate the process or the results of the election.

    I doubt that very few district have anywhere near 1/3rd of their congregations not participating in the district convention. However, if that is the case with the CNH district, I would say such malaise is likely based on local district rather than synod-wide factors, as I believe you wrongly conclude and on which you extrapolate many notions. In other words, instead of saying, “What does this tell us about what’s wrong with the synod?” as you do, perhaps you should instead be asking, “What does this tell us about what’s wrong with our district?”

    Even if that is the case with the CNH District, while it is a geographically very large, at 188 congregations it is average and — not taking into consideration vacancies, multi-congregation parishes, those served by district “lay deacons,” etc. — would account for only 62 of your supposed 4,200 “missing” votes.

    I too made the mistake some months ago of telling a synodical official intimately involved in the process that there should be about 12,000 electors — since there are about 6,200 LCMS congregations. He replied, “Kevin, your forgetting about dual parishes.” He indicated that factor, and parishes vacant at the time of the previous district convention (which includes all those served in other ways such as district “lay deacons” etc.), were by far the biggest reason that the the number of electors was reduced to around 8,200.

  8. Kevin

    You miss the point!

    This is not about the process, disenfranchisement, about what you believe, or extrapolation.

    The central issue is about the reaction to the votes.
    Precisely, exact figures of how many were qualified to vote and did not (which we do have!); and, the number of how many could have been qualified and were not.

    These exist, just not made available yet .

    8,200 may be a square figure. 9,500 maybe. Who knows?

    I am sure our friend Secretary Hartwig could produce the numbers for us.

    But to say that reason of why 8,200 and not 12,000 using blanket statements without numerical evidence is just absurd.

    As I stated introducing my comment this is not about a person but about Synod!!

    Incidentally, did you like the innuendo to ‘frost arena’ re: SD STATE?!

  9. @Rev ML Schulz #6
    (Some believe that the real purpose for the ‘Attendance at the District Convention Clause’ as part of the voting process for SP–was to increase sagging DC attendance!)

    District Convention attendance might be better if all delegates to it were treated with respect. Many “confessionals” in Texas deem it futile to go where they are very obviously not wanted; I shouldn’t be surprised if CNH is much the same.

    It could well be that those who didn’t attend conventions in liberal districts should be put in Harrison’s column. 😉

    Meanwhile, your “statistics” and suppositions are more doubtful than Pr. Vogt’s.

    “Incidentally, did you like the innuendo to ‘frost arena’ re: SD STATE?!”

    Yah, Sven, it vasn’t funny da first time either.” 🙂

  10. Helen

    When Sven becomes German like–I’m registering my DNA!!

    Not my statistics! Real or not it persists!!
    The 12,000 may even be an LC-MS urban legend.

    Even Kevin Admits of ‘knowing of it’ in his last post!

  11. From my limited experience it seems that most pastors are not overly excited about attending District or any other kind of convention. Getting a lay delegate takes an appeal to duty. There is no throng to chose from. Once they actually went to the convention, it did not mean that they had a big interest in voting for the Synodical president especially when things seemed to be going well.

    As with congregational voters’ meetings, attendance only peaks when there is a big problem or controversy.

    From another angle, the incumbent obviously has a big advantage, because he is the only one of the candidates who has had the opportunity to speak to all the voters at the district conventions. Even where he is represented by one of the VP’s, they are speaking for him and presenting his agenda. Of course, he could blow it by making a bad impression. How could any other candidate even have a chance to get known as well under this system?

    OT: How much of Kieshnick’s demise can be credited to the terrible selection of hymn accompaniments at that convention? Surely, this time the delegates will be able to do what they do best – sing well and lustily to the accompaniments of one of our premier organists.

  12. @Rev ML Schulz #6
    With all this discussion of lack of participation in the voting–both in the “certifying process” of the district conventions a year ago, and in the actual voting 2 weeks ago–don’t forget how the “old system” worked–in many, many cases (I daresay) less than 2/3 of the possible delegates to the Circuit Forums where the convention delegates were chosen actually showed up to the Forums and chose those delegates who elected our SP. Same problem, different form is all we have. In some cases, delegates were chosen by less than half the eligible Forum representatives. In some case, delegates were chosen *apart from* properly convened Circuit Forums, completely. (And not just in the “exceptional delegate” cases.) We’ve gotten sloppy about doing things together *at the local level.* And I take this to heart for myself, now, as I am a Circuit Counselor/Visitor.

  13. And what % of the pastors in your circuit even bother to attend the regular circuit meetings of the brethren?

  14. >>to say that reason of why 8,200 and not 12,000 using blanket statements without numerical evidence is just absurd.

    I consider “absurd” these conclusions and extrapolations based upon incorrect assumptions and a misunderstanding of Bylaw 3.12.2.3 and how it has been implemented:

    “Taking the figure of 12,000 possible votes [ approx. total number of congregations plus approx. total number of active Pastors] we have 8,201/12,000 = 68.3%”

    “Nearly one third of possible votes/rs did not even participate in the ‘certifying’ process.”

    “Of those 8,201 ‘certified’ only 6,432 decided to exercise their voting options: A real participation rate of: 53.6%”

    “Of the total votes available in Synod, @ 12,000 Harrison received only 4,262 or 35.5%. A definite minority of all votes available.”

    “Just a fact: Synod now has a president who ‘lost’ nearly 2/3 of the possible votes!”

    “This speaks of the divisions in Synod . . . IT SPEAKS TO A DYSFUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION WITH ONGOING DIVISIONS”

    It is these statements of yours that are all “absurd” — and just plain WRONG.

  15. >> less than 2/3 of the possible delegates to the Circuit Forums where the convention delegates were chosen actually showed up to the Forums and chose those delegates

    This year I was sick and missed the circuit forum — so they elected me the pastoral delegate!

  16. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #15
    This year I was sick and missed the circuit forum — so they elected me the pastoral delegate!

    “What God ordains is always good….”

    Hope you will be healthy for the convention! 🙂

  17. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #14

    EZ there KimoSabe!! The entire thought was based on taking the figure of 12,000 to begin with!

    If that’s not the beginning figure of potential ‘certifiables’, perhaps we can get it from the Secretary, like I suggested. (If you’d like I’ll contact him, OK?) I would you not think I’d be sufficiently naive to say that 12,000 is the hard figure to begin with, as even you correctly pointed out–dual parishes, etc. But, what is the real figure?

    I, too, have been a Circuit Counselor and am pretty well versed how circuits, forums, Winkels, etc operate. You can rest assured that I did not say the old way (System) was better, perfect, or worse than the present. That conclusion will come later–I’m sure by others.

    But, until we have real numbers, the percentages, and analysis stands.

    Rest easy this evening!

  18. @Rev ML Schulz #17
    If that’s not the beginning figure of potential ‘certifiables’, perhaps we can get it from the Secretary, like I suggested.

    The Secretary, on the official announcement, listed the “total electorate” at 8,201.
    Why is that number “not good enough”?

    [I mean, beside the fact that some people (e.g., as evidenced by several DP’s public opposition) would do anything to make Harrison’s position less stable… and will, no doubt, continue to attempt to undermine him. And another SP (shades of Bohlman!) interfering publicly in his successor’s job.] 🙁

    I predicted letters like yours as soon as I saw the tally, Rev. Schulz.

  19. Even if all of the 1,769 eligible delegates who did not vote in the presidential election (for whatever reason) had, instead, voted for David Maier, the results would have been:

    Matthew Harrison – 52%
    David Maier – 45%
    Herbert Mueller – 3%

  20. “Of the total votes available in Synod, @ 12,000 Harrison received only 4,262 or 35.5%.
    A definite minority of all votes available. Just a fact: Synod now has a president who ‘lost’ nearly 2/3 of the possible votes! In fairness, the other candidates ‘lost more’!”

    There is a completely wrong move made in this “calculation”. Even if we assume that there were 12,000 possible votes, to reach the conclusion that only 35.5% voted for Harrison, Schulz must assume that those 3,799 who did not vote would not vote for Harrison at all and that all those “non-votes” would go to some other candidate. In reality one should assume that those 3,799 “non-votes” would break down along the same lines of the percentages of those who did vote. Hence of those 3,799 non-votes one should assume, given the same percentages, that had they voted 2,507 would have voted for Harrison (66%). This would give Harrison 6,769 votes out of 12,000 for a still clear majority of 56%.
    (That may have been confusing. Hopefully all followed it!)

  21. >> But, what is the real figure?

    I am on a floor committee for this year’s convention, and during the recent floor committee meetings at the International Center I already had the conversation I recounted above, and was already told by a high synodical official — whom I will not name because he was speaking informally — that the factors of multi-congregation parishes receiving only one lay and one pastoral vote, and parishes vacant at the time of the last district convention receiving no pastoral vote, brought the number of electors down to about the level indicated by the Secretary.

    You seem to believe, based on your own district, that it must rather be due to mass non-participation of about 1/3rd of congregations in district conventions, which you seem to conclude is indicative of serious problems in the synod, and a lack of support for the incumbent. I seriously doubt that anything approaching 1/3rd of potential electors synod-wide were disqualified on this account. While that very high figure of non-participation may be true for your district, I would suggest that if so it is indicative not of problems with the synod as a whole, but with your particular district.

    I think another factor you are not taking into consideration is that under the new bylaws proposed by President Kieschnick’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synodical Structure and Governance and adopted by the last convention, congregations served in other manners such as district “lay deacons” are considered to be vacant for this process. Therefore, those districts heavily engaged in such programs, as I believe your district is, would indeed have their number of electors for the election of synodical president reduced correspondingly.

  22. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #22
    I would suggest that if so it is indicative not of problems with the synod as a whole, but with your particular district.

    While we are theorizing here, I hope Pr. Scheer will excuse my proposing “motives”, because I have a few!

    1. (Worst construction: I’m theorizing, remember!) 😉
    A group which did some calculations and decided it couldn’t win, may have decided not to play, in order to make just such a complaint as the rev Schulz has brought forth, (so very promptly, if I may add fuel to this one!) 😉

    2. (Fact) Confessional pastors are so harassed at some district conventions by the “majority party”, that they won’t waste their congregation’s money by attending. (Texas is one; I’ve heard men on the subject.)

    3. (Just a thought) Pastor Otten has been recounting his unhappiness with the current administration over being snubbed at Harrison’s 2010 installation, after, as he tells it, he agreed to support Harrison’s election.
    There are people, who would not vote for Rev Maier, who just might sit this one out as a protest. As we all know, there are men who should be off the roster for cause, who were not denied attendance or communion, then or since.

    [One can hope that the voted majority is comfortable enough so that Matt Harrison can mend fences with Herman Otten and finally close that chapter! If Pr. Otten has to take his case to St Peter, unresolved, it might be the worse for the unjust and ungrateful.]

  23. Carl Vehse :Even if all of the 1,769 eligible delegates who did not vote in the presidential election (for whatever reason) had, instead, voted for David Maier, the results would have been:
    Matthew Harrison – 52%David Maier – 45%Herbert Mueller – 3%

    [crickets]

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