HOUSTON -- The Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, executive director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care and a Sioux City native, is the new president-elect of The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod. The Rev. Herbert C. Mueller Jr. will serve as first vice-president.
Harrison was elected on the first ballot July 13 by delegates to the church body's 64th Regular Convention, meeting in Houston. He received 643 votes, or 54 percent; 593 votes were needed to win. He has been director of LCMS World Relied and Human Care for the Lutheran Church.
The Synod's current president, Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, received 527 votes, or 45 percent. Mueller, also on the ballot for president, received 8 votes. Dr. Carl C. Fickenscher II received 5, and Dr. Daniel L. Gard received 1. Mueller was elected on the first ballot for first vice-president, receiving 631 votes, or 53 percent.
Prior to his call to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, Harrison served for more than a decade as a parish pastor in rural Westgate, Iowa and inner-city parishes in Fort Wayne, Ind. During his pastorate at Zion in Fort Wayne, his parish embarked on a now nationally recognized neighborhood revitalization effort. Harrison also served on the LSMC Board fo Mission Serice and presently serves on the board of Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore, and Lutheran Services in America.
He is a 1980 graduate of Sioux City East High School and a 1987 graduate of Morningside College. He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, and earned his Master of Sacred Theology degree there in 1991. His academic pursuits have continued in the authoring, editing and translating of several articles and books.
Harrison was baptized at Bethel Lutheran Church in Lawton, Iowa and grew up n Sioux City as a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church. He resides in Ballwin, Mo., with his wife Kathy and their two sons.
The LCMS convention is meeting through today at the convention center under the theme"ONE People -- Forgiven." Among the some 3,000 participants are 1,218 clergy and lay voting delegates. The convention serves as the principal legislative assembly for the church body and includes opportunities for worship, inspiration and fellowship. LCMS conventions are held every three years.