|By Norma A. Boeckler - Jesus Cleansing the Temple|
The LCMS-WELS-ELS colleges and seminaries were far-sighted. They spent millions on their glorious buildings and chapels, just in time for students to stay home and learn online.
Coming from a small business family, I always think of overhead. Even a donated (think Schwan) building is overhead. There is more to heat, clean, insure, and finally - repair. ELCA began dissolving and titling their seminaries first. They exist in name as small parts of colleges and are selling off assets to stay alive. Merged seminaries are just liked merged congregations - a polite way to say one is closing and moving its meager assets.
The Chinese Corona virus has kept everyone at home, including all the public colleges and schools. That will accelerate Lutheran colleges in crisis. They are not as bad as the Tisch College of Art, where room, board, and tuition are $82,000 a year! Tisch will not refund the students because going online cost them millions of dollars. The synodical schools operate on an annual basis, but the established private schools have endowments to cover shortages.
A wealthy Moliner was involved in his denomination's college. He told me about a dorm serving as a cash machine. Once the dorm is paid off, by a gift or by rental fees, the charges are almost 100% profit. Colleges demanded that students rent their tenements from the school, so the Lutheran schools made money on tuition, books, fees of all kinds, tenement rental, and cheap food.
Let's say Schwan donated a few buildings. The cost to maintain them is included in tuition. Do the students need spacious buildings with AC to study and learn? Not at all, as everyone has concluded online. I would have paid to see the Roman Catholic bishop in the academic procession at
Students already have broadband and good computers. They howled when one online school skipped printing books and charged a fee for the online version. Now all are happy (faculty included) that the textbook is available with a click and not under a pile of more interesting reading.
|John 1:και ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο και εσκηνωσεν εν ημιν; και εθεασαμεθα την δοξαν αυτου δοξαν ως μονογενους παρα πατρος πληρης χαριτος και αληθειας|
Suddenly, when stay-at-home became law or at least cautionary, most congregations were left abandoned. (Greek students would make it a middle - they made themselves abandoned.) Unprepared, they are not broadcasting their own services with the liturgy, creed, hymns and sermon. But they are asking for donations!
Confidential - online services are not the place to pass the plate.
Our congregation does well because of tent-making. There is a precedent for that. See NT History 101 - The Apostle Paul. We have very low overhead, broadcasting from - "A spare room in a rented house," as Paul McCain spat out in his plagiarized blog (without citing Bethlehem). Our monthly streaming cost is $100, though it may increase from so many using the service.
I think many clergy have resisted broadcasting because that would allow people to compare and contrast, wondering why so many pastors give exactly the same sermon, without giving any credit to the original writer - or the denomination.
Online broadcasting has allowed us to teach:
- The entire Gospel of John in Greek.
- A new course on the Gospel of John in Greek.
- Romans 1-5 in Greek.
- Pilgrim's Progress