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Dr. Matthew C. Harrison is the 13th person to serve as president of the 2.3-million-member Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Based in St. Louis, the Missouri Synod is the second-largest Lutheran church body in North America. 

Upon his election, Harrison asked for prayers and said he would “work as hard as I possibly can for unity around the clear and compelling Word of God and nothing else.” 

Before becoming president, Harrison served for nine years as the executive director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care. During that time, LCMS World Relief and Human Care coordinated the $14 million LCMS response to Hurricane Katrina, and the multi-million-dollar responses to the tsunami in Asia and the earthquake in Haiti; managed relationships with some 120 LCMS Recognized Service Organizations and other inter-Lutheran social ministry organizations; worked in consultation with LCMS partner/sister churches to build capacity during numerous mercy outreach efforts; and managed LCMS pro-life efforts.

A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Harrison was baptized in a small, rural Lutheran church and raised in a large suburban congregation. Harrison served for more than a decade as a parish pastor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Westgate Iowa, (1991–1995) and Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. (1995–2001). During his pastorate at Zion in Fort Wayne, his parish embarked on the St. Peter/Zion Project for Neighborhood Renewal, a now nationally recognized neighborhood revitalization effort. Owing to the success of this effort, Harrison later founded the National Lutheran Housing Support Corp., which is a faith-based housing organization headquartered at the LCMS International Center in St. Louis that helps revitalize communities and renew neighborhoods across the country.

Currently, Harrison serves on the board of Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Services in America. Previously, Harrison served on the LCMS Board for Mission Services (1998–2001), Fort Wayne Urban League Building Committee (1999) and the LCMS President’s Church Relations Cabinet. 

Harrison and his wife live in Ballwin, Mo., and are members of Village Lutheran Church in Ladue, Mo., where he also serves as assistant pastor. They have two sons. Harrison is an avid bluegrass banjo player and builder of guitars, banjos, and mandolins.

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