Sad we have to find out these kind of details from secular news agencies rather than the church body we belong to together.
The Oregonian has been digging into the closing of Concordia, Portland. There is much to be gained from their recent article. Here are some basic summary points:
-We got into deals that did not help us (Hotchalk sounds like a major ripoff).
-Administration apparently hid details (from the looks there were few people who knew details of agreements and so forth). This does not include Pres. Ries who just took over in January.
-We tried to make our college just like any worldly endeavor, with high salaries (for administrators, not teachers) and so forth. Pres. Schlimpert went from 175K a year in 2010 to 310K in 2017. He retired just a while ago, and according to the news article he did so with the financial state of the college in poor shape and a long-term contract only going worse for the college.
Given the lack of information available in minutes (not to mention how long it takes to get official minutes) perhaps “executive session” usage should be lessened across synod’s boards, councils, and commissions.
According to the article, this was years in the making. Why didn’t the 2016 and 2019 Conventions of the LCMS bring synod up to speed? The general message of those conventions when I attended them was something close to “everything is good”. A review needs to be done on how the LCMS is using its communications and what information is being communicated vs. what information is not.
How many other Concordias have made bad deals and are operating in such a worldly fashion? We won’t find out because the LCMS has a track record of not telling us bad news or something that will reflect poorly on the institution. Maybe some individual Concordias can show leadership on this (after all, with two Concordias closing in the last few years, it’s not like continuing the status quo will build more confidence in their long term viability). Maybe some districts could show the greater synod what transparency looks like. No one can offer real help unless they know the real problems we are having. Somewhere along the way, it seems we lost some integrity for the sake of positive spin and advertising. Or maybe we’ve just become incompetent to handle these things. It’s a sad tale, and I am just waiting for the next chapter to unfold. Too bad it will take the world’s media to get us information like this Oregonian article provided.