By James Heine
Synod President Rev. Matthew C. Harrison was installed Jan. 9 as assistant pastor at Village Lutheran Church, Ladue, Mo.
The rite of installation took place during Village Lutheran’s 10:45 a.m. service. LCMS Missouri District Circuit Counselor Rev. Joel Hempel, representing Missouri District President Dr. Ray Mirly, served as officiant for the installation.
With his installation as assistant pastor at Village Lutheran, Harrison becomes the first LCMS president in several generations to serve as a Synod president and also be called to serve a congregation.
The Constitution and Bylaws of the Synod allow a Synod president to be called as an assistant pastor, “provided such services do not interfere with his official duties as president” (Bylaw 3.3.1).
As Village’s assistant pastor, Harrison will preach occasionally. As his Synod duties allow, he also will make home, hospital, and nursing-home visits. He will receive no compensation and have no administrative responsibilities.
Village Lutheran issued the call to Harrison in October. In a Dec. 19 letter to the Synod’s district presidents, in which he announced his acceptance of the call, Harrison said the call would be a blessing for his family also.
While his first priority is to serve as Synod president, the prospect of preaching and making hospital calls is something that he finds uplifting and beneficial, Harrison said.
With respect to district presidents, Harrison has noted that not all have the same freedom as the LCMS Constitution and Bylaws extend to him.
“I’m not making some kind of statement on the correctness of the Synod’s position on the doctrine of the ministry or anything like that,” Harrison told Reporter in announcing his acceptance of the call. “I just believe this is the right fit for the congregation and for me and my family, and I think it’s a very healthy thing.”
Dr. Kevin Golden is pastor of Village Lutheran. The congregation has about 200 baptized members.
Harrison’s acceptance of the call to serve as assistant pastor is a blessing all around, Golden said. “We pray for Christ’s blessing on his service at Village, and we pray that we might be a blessing to him and his family.”
Posted Jan. 12, 2011