And the ‘Mustache Resolution’ winner is …

Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison (center) and LCMS Montana District President Rev. Terry R. Forke lightheartedly show their freshly shaved faces as a result of the “Mustache Resolution” initiative Jan. 4 at the National LCMS Campus Ministry Conference in College Park, Md. With them onstage is fake-mustached Martha Mitkos of LCMS Mission Advancement. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

By Kevin Armbrust

Synod convention resolutions do not usually play a prominent role in college ministry conferences. However, 2016 convention Resolution 13-06, informally called “The Mustache Resolution,” became the source of great anticipation and frivolity Wednesday night, Jan. 4, as the winner of the mustache showdown was announced at the 2017 LCMS Campus Ministry “Liberty” Conference at the University of Maryland campus in College Park, Md. (See a related story, “Liberty and liturgy in the nation’s capital.”)

The “Mustache Resolution” initiative generated $22,632 by that date, with each dollar equaling a vote for either LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison or Montana District President Rev. Terry Forke as having the “best mustache” in the Synod. The amounts corresponding to the votes for the two presidents broke down as follows: Harrison — $9,444.54, and Forke — $13,187.46.  The total amount generated rose to $24,172.80 by Jan. 20, with no effect on the outcome of the voting.

So, following a stipulation of the resolution, the vote meant that Harrison would shave his ’stache. In a valiant effort to save the Synod president’s facial hair, vote-winner Forke spoke up, “I volunteer as tribute.” After Forke’s face was cleanly shaven, Harrison — to thunderous applause — spontaneously took his place in the barber’s chair and gave the crowd what it wanted.

The Rev. Dr. Roger C. Paavola, president of the LCMS Mid-South District, who presented the “Mustache Resolution” to the convention, watched the proceedings from home, via Facebook, with vested interest.

As part of the resolution, Paavola agreed that if the initiative’s admittedly ambitious $2 million goal was not met, he “would be required to grow facial hair until it either resembles the beard and mustache of Dr. Roland Ziegler” (a professor at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.) or “his wife begs him to shave.” Paavola, therefore, noted, “My wife began agonizing about the results of the shortfall and what that might mean to my morning routines.”

More seriously, Paavola said that although he is disappointed that the resolution’s goal was not met, he is grateful to those who have participated in the initiative.

“Even though the deadline has passed,” he added, “I would encourage people to please consider making contributions to the fund to assist our students toward the work of the Church and our beloved Synod.

“The ‘Mustache Resolution’ has provided us with a whimsical way for many to show their love for the Synod’s educational institutions.”

Dr. Kevin Armbrust ( is manager of Editorial Services with LCMS Communications.

Posted January 18, 2017 / Updated January 23 and 26, 2017

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