Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod issues statement on Concordia closing

Published 9:17 pm Friday, February 23, 2018

The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod has released a statement on the closing of Concordia College Alabama, which was part of a 10-university system associated with the church.

The school announced it was closing at the end of the current semester Wednesday after failing to find investors to help the school stabilize its finances.

“It is with deep sadness that The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod acknowledges that Concordia College Alabama (CCA) has announced it will be closing due to financial reasons,” the church said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

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Dr. James Lyons, chief transition officer and interim president, broke the news of the school’s closing to faculty, staff and students Wednesday. He said the school’s board of regents set a deadline of Feb. 16 to strike a deal with an investor.

“The Synod has long recognized and appreciated the important educational, cultural and spiritual role CCA has played in the Selma, Alabama, community and valued CCA as a unique opportunity for ministry,” the church stated.

“It is for this reason that the LCMS, the Concordia University System, other Synod-related entities, and countless individual members and congregants have provided CCA with significant financial, operational and spiritual support throughout the institution’s existence.”

The church said it has provided around $5.2 million to the college over the last decade, supporting its growing financial and operational troubles.

“In fact, since July 2006, of the total subsidy (not including scholarships) given to the 10 campuses of the Concordia University System, CCA alone has received more than 44 percent of that amount,” the church stated.

“But in spite of this assistance and funds from other sources, CCA — whose own efforts to stay viable have been robust — was not able to achieve acceptable and sustainable financial performance.”

Lyons said the school needed to find an investor that was willing to pledge at least $8 million to help the school remain open for a year and a half and pay off its debt.

As the end of the semester approaches at the end of April, Lyons said the school would be focused on helping students find programs to transfer to, as well as helping teachers and other staff members find new employment.

The school was founded in 1922 and was originally known as Alabama Lutheran College. Lyons said the school currently has an enrollment of around 400 students and a faculty and staff of around 150.