THE JOURNEY TO SEMINARY LIFE
Q&A WITH NEW LUTHERAN HOUR SPEAKER
ANSWERING THE CALL “HERE AM I! SEND ME.”
A MUSICAL WELCOME The second annual Opening Weekend Hymn Festival featured an ensemble choir of faculty, students, staff, spouses and laypeople from local congregations. The event helped welcome new students back to campus for the 2018-19 academic year. Photo: Michael Thomas
CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 3
THE JOURNEY TO SEMINARY LIFE
Q&A WITH NEW LUTHERAN HOUR SPEAKER
ANSWERING THE CALL “HERE AM I! SEND ME.”
ON THE COVER Hunde Takele, a new Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology student, helps clean a community garden as part of Orientation Aug. 22, 2018. Photo: Jill Gray
PUBLISHER Dale A. Meyer EXECUTIVE EDITOR Vicki Biggs MANAGING EDITOR Melanie Ave ART DIRECTOR Jayna Rollings DESIGNERS Courtney Koll Michelle Poneleit WRITERS Melanie Ave Carly Hebron Kim Plummer Krull Douglas Rutt Travis Scholl PHOTOGRAPHERS Jill Gray Sid Hastings Courtney Koll Harold Rau Michael Thomas Kendra Whittle
Concordia Seminary magazine is a member of the Associated Church Press and the Evangelical Press Association.
Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, center in green, joins new students in cleaning the Dogtown Community Garden as part of Orientation. Photo: Jill Gray
“Flip or Flop” is a popular show on HGTV in which real estate agents Tarek and Christina El Moussa buy and flip houses. Think of your personal life as a house on the market. A city building inspector would say your “house” is a shambles, whatever cosmetic changes you slap on to fake people out. Who’d want to live in you? Thinking that through with quiet self-reflection, you begin to get a sense of the terror Isaiah felt when he saw the holy God. “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. … And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost’” (Is. 6:1-5 ESV). In the most recent Concordia Journal, Mark Mattes observes our world has lost the vertical dimension in life, an ever-present consciousness of God, our Creator and Judge. Isaiah experienced the vertical, Martin Luther lived it, but through the centuries it has largely gone away. Now everything is on the horizontal plane with man the center and judge of all. “Many … believe that you are first of all accountable to yourself. If there is a God, God is of value only to the degree that God helps you feel good about yourself,” writes Mattes, adding that the result — all the breakdowns of contemporary society — are “a result of a dissociation from traditional faith with its ability to anchor hearts in God’s love.” “And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for’” (Is. 6:7 ESV). This is vertical Gospel, God to us. You and I have been touched with the fire of God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ. The shambles of your condemned “house” — woe is me! — are transformed by Christ who came down to the place where death forecloses on sin, the cross, so that His Spirit through the Word can move in and renovate us through new birth for His life in this world. “The Spirit is not in this for a quick buck. He does not come in and flip a house. No, He renews it and makes it His own temple, His own eternal dwelling place” (Wade Johnston, in Mark Mattes, Concordia Journal, Summer 2018; 72). And so it’s not about us but about God who sends us on His mission. “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.'” This is why we earnestly ask you to join us in recruiting future church workers for His mission. From one generation to the next, God graciously chooses to live in us so that we proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). “Here am I! Send me.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FALL 2018 ISSUE FEATURES 7 Answering the call: "Here am I! Send me."
10 The journey to Seminary life
IN EVERY ISSUE 4 From the President
16 Alumni and Friends 18 Student Spotlight 20 News Worth Noting 28 Staff Focus 30 Support Your Sem
OUR MISSION Concordia Seminary serves church and world by providing theological education and leadership centered in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ for the formation of pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
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CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 5
ANSWERING THE CALL
‘Here am I! Send me.’ 6
BY DOUGLAS RUTT
“Here am I! Send me.” Those words immediately take me back to more than 35 years ago, when I was a seminarian. Recruiters from LCMS World Mission were on campus to talk to us about opportunities to serve overseas. My wife, Deborah, and I had barely discussed it, but one afternoon we found ourselves in a room with the mission department representatives, along with four or five other couples. Each couple was asked to introduce themselves and say a few words about their background. As soon as Deborah and I finished talking,
the recruiter looked at us and asked us point blank: “Would you like to serve overseas?” We looked at each other, blinking our eyes in surprise, not knowing what to make of the question — as I said, we really had not talked about it. Then we turned to the recruiter and said, almost in unison, “Err. Sure. Yes, we would be.” In retrospect, we didn’t have a clue what was ahead. We didn’t know where we would be sent (eventually we were sent to the urban center of Guatemala City, Central CONTINUED ON PAGE 8> CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 7
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America), what it would be like, the challenges we would face, the joys we would experience, the way our lives would be changed forever and the blessing for us that it would be to have answered that call. Like the prophet Isaiah when he was called by God, we truly did not have a clear idea of what it would mean when we answered “Here am I! Send me.” Yet we never have regretted it. The students at Concordia Seminary are men and women who courageously have made a commitment to allow themselves to be sent by God, even though most do not know yet what that is going to mean. Certainly, they know that ministry in today’s world comes with enormous challenges. A general distrust toward the
student population at Concordia Seminary know full well that ministry will not be easy. They know that it will be a challenge no matter where they eventually are called to serve, but they also know that the powerful Word of the Gospel is needed in our world more than ever. And so, they are willing to face the challenge of ministry in today’s world, to say, as the prophet Isaiah said millennia ago, “Here am I! Send me,” not knowing what that will mean or where God will lead. We rejoice over their love of their Savior and His Word, and we respect their desire to dedicate themselves to making the Gospel known near and far. These faithful and committed students know that what Jesus said 2,000 years ago is no less true today: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37-38 ESV). And so, while we thank God for their dedication, we know also that the laborers are too few. More are needed.
“THANKS BE TO THE LORD OF THE HARVEST THAT OUR STUDENTS ARE
WILLING TO TAKE ON
THAT CHALLENGE — TO SAY, ‘HERE AM I! SEND ME.’”
– Dr. Douglas Rutt
institutional church, the breakdown of the basic family unit, the competing philosophies of modernism and post-modernism, the political polarization our nation is experiencing, the sometimes-unrealistic expectations placed upon our church workers today, along with a myriad of other factors, all combine to create a stressful and demanding context for ministry. Thanks be to the Lord of the harvest that our students are willing to take on that challenge — to say, “Here am I! Send me.” The men and women who make up the
In keeping with our theme for the current academic year, “Here am I! Send me,” we have established student enrollment as a No. 1 priority. In answer to Christ’s call for more laborers and in fulfillment of the mission of Concordia Seminary, we realize that we must prepare and send even more pastors, deaconesses and other church workers to serve our troubled world. However, it is not about having additional students for Concordia Seminary and it’s not merely about “filling the pulpits” of our churches (although that is important too, with more than 450 Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregations currently in search of a pastor). It is about the Gospel and taking that message of God’s love to all people everywhere.
This is something, in effect, that we pray for every time we pray the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come.” Martin Luther explains what that means in his Large Catechism: “We pray here at the outset that all this may be realized in us and that God’s name may be praised through his holy Word and our Christian lives. This we ask, both in order that we who have accepted it may remain faithful and grow daily in it and in order that it may gain recognition and followers among other people and advance with power throughout the world.” To which he added: “All this is nothing more than to say: ‘Dear Father, we ask you first to give us your Word, so that the gospel may be properly preached throughout the world and then that it may also be received in faith and may work and dwell in us. . . .’” You see, God is a sending God. He sends workers into His harvest. Those workers are needed to teach and instruct us so that we remain faithful to the message He has graciously made known to us, but likewise, so that the Gospel will “advance with power throughout the world.” Despite all the objections and obstacles that sinful human beings put in the way, and the fact that mankind is constantly rebelling against God, out of His love, He continues to send. God the Father sent His Son. The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit. And now, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit sends the church into the world to bear witness to the mighty deeds, to His “saving health” among all nations (Ps. 67:2). But more laborers are needed — for the sake of the Gospel. To make enrollment a top priority for Concordia Seminary we need to recognize that every aspect of what we do as a Seminary community, which includes you, our
advocates and supporters, must take that priority into account. We have created a new position, the associate provost for enrollment management, who will help us build a culture of recruitment, not only at Concordia Seminary, but throughout our church. A part of what we have before us is the task of building a more ethnically diverse student population, who are more able to reach our ethnically diverse society. We need to remind young people, especially, that the calling to ministry is a high calling. They say that the millennials and Generation Xers want to make a difference in the world. What greater difference can someone make than to be ready to serve his or her fellow human beings with the life-giving message of a loving God who is there to forgive, to restore and to help people rebuild their lives in the challenging times in which we live? It is imperative that the Concordia Seminary community be more intentional in challenging people to hear and answer the call of our God, who said to Isaiah: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” It is a daunting challenge, to be sure, but we know that there are many who are up to it. In a sense, to challenge people to consider church worker vocations, as pastors, deaconesses and other roles, is to ask them to make a leap of faith; but God does not leave us without the resources to do it. He gives His Word of the Gospel, which is the power of God (Rom. 1:16), and He promises to be with those He sends always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). That is why our students, and many new students to come, can answer the call with a resounding, “Here am I! Send me.” Dr. Douglas Rutt is provost and professor of Practical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 9
The journey to Seminary life
THREE STUDENTS SHARE THEIR INDIVIDUAL PATHS BY MELANIE AVE
They come from all over the country, all over the world. Some are fresh out of college. Others from first and even second careers. They are single. They are married. They are young. They are middle age. Dozens are here from other countries as they seek to grow in their knowledge of the Gospel and Lutheran doctrine to better serve their churches and communities back home. No matter their differences, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis students all have one thing in common: They have answered God’s tug on their hearts and are now preparing for vocational ministry. Hear from three of our first-year students as they explain their individual journeys to the Seminary and why they have said, loudly, boldly: “Here am I! Send me.”
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From West Point to the Seminary MICHAEL WILKE grew up in Spring, Texas, a suburb of Houston, the son of a cancer center nurse and Lutheran high school teacher. He attended Trinity Lutheran School through eighth grade and enrolled at Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball. It was there during his freshman year that he met a representative from the United States Military Academy — better known as West Point. Michael became intrigued by the thought of going to West Point.
Korea, where he served as a fire support officer. He later served in Iraq. It was during his time in Iraq that he put together his application for the Seminary. “It had been something that was always on my mind,” he says. Through the years he had often heard from others: “You would make a good pastor.” “It came from every direction,” he says. A part of him could see it too. Michael made up his mind to pursue pastoral ministry instead of a military career. It was not an easy decision.
“I went home and told my mom,” he remembers. “She said, ‘No. You’re not going.’” His father was a little easier to convince. So Michael kept his focus and applied to West Point. To make his mother happy, he also applied to Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill. After high school graduation he and his family visited West Point in June 2009. They stood on the steps of the chapel and looked out at the picturesque view of the Hudson River. “Nature, history, everything was all together in this place,” he remembers. His mom looked at him and said, “I can see why you want to come here.” Finally, it was settled. He was going to West Point.
His advice to others who may be considering pastoral ministry? “You need to be responsible and take the time to discern whether this is what you are supposed to do,” he says. “You should be doing a lot of praying. You should be doing a lot of devotional time.”
He enrolled and for the next four years, he was challenged academically, mentally and physically.
“I’ve seen the impact that good theology and proper pastoral care can have on somebody,” Michael says. “I know when I was in my periods of greatest vulnerability and internal struggle, the people who have helped me out the most have been pastors.”
“They allowed me do things I could not have done in any other college,” he says. He worked one-on-one with an officer who oversaw 30 soldiers, observing the officer’s leadership style as he explored his own. He traveled to Africa and witnessed a similar experience with a French army officer. In May 2013, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in French and human geography and soon thereafter began his five years of required active duty at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla. Afterward, he was sent to Camp Casey in South
It was those things that moved Michael forward on his pastoral journey. With his Seminary application to pursue a Master of Divinity approved, he served his final Army active duty days at Fort Lewis near Tacoma, Wash. By June 2018, he was on the Seminary campus, officially enrolled in summer Greek and taking the first steps to being a pastor.
Studying at West Point and being in the Army was great preparation for ministry, Michael says. He learned counseling. He learned discipline. He learned leadership. He learned how to be responsible for the health and well-being of others. “I’ve done a lot of introspection,” he says. “I asked myself, ‘Do I have what it takes to do that?’ I think that I do. Ultimately, it’s just not a good idea to go against your conscience.”
ALEX SHICK is studying for her Master of Arts with a Spiritual Care Major to become a deaconess. She grew up going alone to a church down the road from her house. “They really took me in,” she remembers of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Muskegon, Mich. “That is where I got interested in the ministry.” During her summers in high school, she went to Camp Geneva, a Christian summer camp in western Michigan, and eventually became a counselor there. It had a huge influence on her faith. “I think God has given me a servant’s heart,” she says. “No matter what I do with my future, I definitely want to do something in service.” After high school graduation, she served on a short-term mission trip to Poland where she taught English at a Bible camp. “The kids were great,” she says. “I learned a lot.” She enrolled at Concordia University Ann Arbor, Mich., and studied criminal justice and Christian thought. Her original goal was to serve in the military, but a bone disorder prevented her from pursuing that career path. She is now hoping to serve as a chaplain in a correctional facility after she and her husband, Samuel, a first-year seminarian, graduate. In college, she served three internships, including two in state prisons and one in a federal prison, where she taught a re-entry program for inmates to help them acclimate to life after prison. “I loved the ministry I was able to do there,” she says. “As a prison chaplain you only come in contact with people who reach out to you. I liked being a resource for people who otherwise wouldn’t have one. A lot of them spend time in prison reading the Bible over and over again.” She offers this advice to others considering the ministry: “It’s a big commitment. It’s not youth group every night. There’s a lot to be gained. There’s a lot to be sacrificed. Make sure that it is what you are being called to and make sure that you are dedicated to it.”
From college student to deaconess student
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CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 13
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From journalist to seminarian A native of Toledo, Ohio, MICHAEL STAINBROOK taught himself to read using the sports section of the Toledo Blade. He loved sports although he soon learned that while he was good at reading about them, he was not good at playing them. The first-year Master of Divinity student grew up the son of a firefighter father and Lutheran school bookkeeper mother. Attending a Lutheran school from kindergarten through eighth grade, he often heard these words from those who knew him: “You should be a pastor.” Although he appreciated the encouragement from others, Michael chose to go into sports journalism. He enrolled at Ohio University and pursued his passion, writing for his college newspaper and eventually becoming its sports editor. After graduation, and newly married, he and his wife, Sarah, moved to Chicago so she could earn a Ph.D. in biology from Northwestern University. They were thrilled to be in Chicago. Michael landed a job at the Chicago Tribune as a part-time sports writer. He was later hired full-time as a sports editor for the Tribune’s Pioneer Press publications for Chicago’s north and west suburbs where he was responsible for making assignments and editing articles for 34 weekly newspapers.
whispers from others about his predisposition for ministry. “They never really went away,” he says. Two years ago they resurfaced as he and his wife weighed where she should go for her post-doctoral work since the couple would undoubtedly have to leave Chicago. St. Louis was one option, and Michael remembered Concordia Seminary was located there. “Maybe now is a good time to check it out,” he thought. Everything soon seemed to fall into place. His wife was accepted at the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis and Michael, at the Seminary. “I still love journalism quite a bit,” he says. “I didn’t come here to run away from journalism at all. I love it as much as I ever have. “I just feel God has called me to be in a different place, at a different time, using my skills in a different way. Just because God has given you a skill set does not mean that there is only one application for that skill set,” he says. “I sort of figured that with the skills God gave me — a passion for the truth, a passion for telling stories, a passion for speaking with people, connecting with people — I thought that journalism was the path. Now that I’m at the Seminary I feel absolutely God has a plan to use those skills in vocational ministry. If you feel God has given you a skill,
As he kept busy in his journalism career and his wife
be faithful wherever He leads you. God knows best how to
completed her doctorate, he could still hear the quiet
use the gifts He has given you.”
Melanie Ave is communications manager at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
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Dr. Michael Zeigler preached his first sermon as the Lutheran Hour Speaker Reformation Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. Photo: Courtesy Lutheran Hour Ministries.
Q A WITH NEW LUTHERAN HOUR SPEAKER BY TRAVIS SCHOLL
This fall, Dr. Michael Zeigler accepted the call to serve as Speaker of The Lutheran Hour, the legendary radio program of Lutheran Hour Ministries. Prior to this call, Zeigler served as pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in St. Louis. But he also is no stranger to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. In addition to earning his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) at the Seminary, Zeigler has taught classes here and
has been a driving force behind the Seminary’s ongoing The Gospel of Mark staged reading tour. He revised his Ph.D. dissertation and published it as the book Christian Hope Among Rivals: How Life-Organizing Stories Anticipate the End of Evil in 2017. You can watch a Concordia Theology interview with Zeigler about the book at bit.ly/2AjOQzL. We recently sat down with Zeigler to talk about his life and work as he looks ahead to his role as the Lutheran Hour Speaker.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A STUDENT AT CONCORDIA SEMINARY? Becoming a student here was something I had been talking about for seven years. When my wife, then girlfriend, Amy, was attending Concordia University in Nebraska, I visited her and sat in on her Christian doctrine class taught by Dr. Paul Vasconcellos. They were studying the Book of Concord, and I loved every minute of it! Amy joked about me asking “Vasco” more questions than the enrolled students. That trip sealed my love for Amy and theology, and talking to Amy about theology. During Seminary, Amy read every one of the many papers I wrote, including the four additional years of doctoral work and my 270-page dissertation. This invited many more theological conversations, which continue today. Those exchanges with Amy, my professors, classmates and field work congregation were the highlight of my time as a student at the Seminary.
ALUMNI AND FRIENDS HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT FROM GETTING A M.DIV. AND WORKING TOWA R D A PH.D.? When I first enrolled in the Ph.D. Program, Dr. Reed Lessing was the director. He underscored the purpose of the program: to train candidates at the highest academic level so that they may provide leadership to both church and world. Those words still weigh heavy on me. The Ph.D. studies were more demanding, but also more focused. Each additional class was a purposeful step toward making an original theological contribution to my area of study. The professors asked more questions and gave fewer answers, a process designed to form us into leaders for church and world. Much of what made it a formative experience was the variety of backgrounds embodied in my classmates. One seminar I took had students from nine countries of origin!
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE TO BE AN INSTRUCTOR AT THE SEMINARY? I’ve enjoyed getting to know the students and seeing them progress in their studies and go on to serve as vicars, pastors and deaconesses. Teaching the faith presents a challenge to each generation. Questions and comments from students and colleagues, current events in the culture and opportunities for the church keep pushing me to refine my presentations and adjust how I evaluate students’ work. I’m starting to appreciate how the body of teaching within the Scriptures remains steady while our comprehension — both mine and the students — deepens.
TALK ABOUT THE GOSPEL OF MARK PRESENTATIONS IN WHICH YOU AND OTHER SEMINARY PROFESSORS AND ALUMNI ARE INVOLVED. WHAT WERE THE PRODUCTION'S ORIGINS? WHAT DOES IT SHOW US ABOUT SCRIPTURE? The project was an idea that sprang from a Ph.D. seminar I took with Professor James W. Voelz. Drawing on insights about the nature of an oral culture, scholars have suggested that, when the early church got together, it used the text of the New Testament like a musical score. The appointed reader would study it, mark it and inwardly digest it, eventually learning it by heart when it came time to perform it for the gathered listeners. We’re working to re-introduce this practice for the church today.
These presentations have become mini-retreats for me. I am the youngest of the group and so blessed to listen to the team’s banter and learn from their long experience serving Jesus and the church. What makes the conversations along the way so delightful is that they always seem to circle back to Jesus and this text of His that’s been hidden in our hearts and keeps spilling out of our mouths. Doing this together for six years, the Lord’s Gospel according to Mark has fired our imaginations, whittled at our quirks and nourished our love for Jesus and His people.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR GREATEST JOYS — AND CHALLENGES — IN CONGREGATIONAL MINISTRY? HOW HAS IT PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR ROLE AS LUTHERAN HOUR SPEAKER? We’ve approached congregational ministry as a family affair. We intentionally bought a house within walking distance of the church, so it’s become a second home for us. My greatest joy has been sharing the Lord’s work with my family and treating the work as something like building up a large, extended family. The challenges are similar to those of being a family, especially when the family is broken, yet still expanding, fostering arrangements and adoptions, inlaws and friends who hang around, but aren’t quite ready to join. What’s special about this family, what makes it different from all others, is that we are centered on Jesus — His forgiveness and new life for the sake of the world. This experience leads me to embrace my role as Lutheran Hour Speaker and a team member at Lutheran Hour Ministries, a global outreach ministry. This is the kind of leadership Dr. Lessing said they were preparing us for! My classmates and I are getting to use our voices across the globe to expand this broken, forgiven, quirky family in Jesus.
WHAT WOULD YOU WANT READERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BOOK? My teacher [Seminary Professor Emeritus] Robert Kolb told us that, when we write, we should not seek to have the last word, but to contribute to the conversation. In Christian Hope Among Rivals, I’ve tried to do that. I’ve listened carefully to the conversation about Christian hope, especially as it’s been documented in churchly and scholarly works of the last 50 years. As I did that, I noticed some things we hadn’t been talking about. So, I’ve said, “Hey, what about this? What if we think about hope as the expectation that the Author of our life story will prove trustworthy — in spite of unexplained evil — in the end?” Putting hope in these terms might help us start some new conversations and, perhaps, with people we haven’t talked to before.
DO YOU HAVE OTHER WRITING PLANS ON THE HORIZON? I hope so!
Dr. Michael Zeigler is part of the Seminary's The Gospel of Mark presentation team. Photo: Jill Gray
Dr. Travis Scholl is managing editor of Seminary Publications at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 17
From refugee to seminarian BY REBEKAH LUKAS
Soe Moe participates in a servant event as part of Orientation Aug. 22, 2018. Photo: Jill Gray
In recent years, about 6,000 Myanmar (formerly Burma) refugees have sought new lives in Fort Wayne, Ind., as their home country transitions to a democracy. Many of the city’s churches, like Southwest Lutheran, have been stepping up and playing an integral role in caring for these refugees. The church provides ministry for the youth and children of the Christian families of the Karen ethnic group and it was this ministry that brought Soe Moe to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and started him on the journey to pastoral ministry. Soe is now a first-year student in Concordia Seminary’s Ethnic Immigrant Institute for Theology (EIIT) Program, a specialized distance education program for men and women who want to serve immigrant and English as a Second Language (ESL) communities as pastors or deaconesses in North America. Soe tells his story: “Because of the civil war, we had to leave Burma for our safety. Before we moved to a refugee camp on the border between Thailand and Burma, we stayed at some other local camp sites. I was three when the Burmese military came into camp and burned all our houses and farms. All the people in camp had to run away and couldn’t take anything with them. Staying in
the jungle was hard because we didn’t have anything to eat or drink. Some people died with high fevers. After a few weeks we couldn’t live in the camp anymore. People just started to walk out of the camp but they had no idea where they were going. It was horrible to see people crying and looking for their children. My family decided to move out because we knew God would be with us all the time, no matter what. We started to walk around the jungle and saw a small camp site and saw some soldiers. We thought it was the Burmese soldiers so we got scared. But then they started to call us to come up to them. We went closer and they were Thai soldiers. My mom speaks Thai so she talked with them, and the soldiers took us to a camp where some other Karen people lived. After a while there, some people from the United Nations moved us to a new camp far away from Burma. The camp was beautiful, surrounded by mountains and rivers. People were really kind and nice to each other so they didn’t mind my grandpa building a church in the camp. We had a lot of people come and join us at church and worship together. After more years of living in the refugee camp, the United Nations wanted to give us the chance to choose a better life in another country. It was going to be hard but we knew God would always be with us and protect us. Our parents made a choice and now we are in America. It was really hard to start a life here again but we knew we were going to be OK.”
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT While some family members connected with the Fort Wayne Baptist Church in town and others remained Buddhist, Soe became involved with the youth programs at Southwest Lutheran Church and later become a member of the church. Southwest Lutheran member Laura Burger works with the church’s youth and is called “Mama” by many, including Soe, who she considers to be a “heart son.” She says: “There has always been something special about him. He’s got an amazing heart for the Lord and a heart for other people.”
Burger sees in Soe the characteristics of a good pastor. “He’s young, but he’s respected,” she says. “He has an influence on not only his Christian friends, but his non-Christian friends as well. He has a way of loving without judging. I literally see him grow almost day by day. He’s an inspiration for so many of us.” The EIIT Program isn’t easy, but Ferry believes Soe will not only do well but excel in his preparation to be a pastor. “It’s about attitude and confidence. He knows his pastor, his church and the Seminary have confidence in him,” Ferry says.
Many refugee teenagers, once they graduate from high school, get jobs or join the U.S. military. Soe considered joining the military, but when he tore his ACL in a sports injury, it became clear the military was not going to be his calling. Through encouragement from Burger and others at Southwest, Soe volunteered at Camp Lutherhaven in Indiana, a Lutheran camp that is part of the National Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Association (NLOMA). This experience changed him and his perspective.
“I AM A CHILD OF GOD. HE CREATED ME, HE PUT ME HERE AND HE WILL BE AND ALWAYS IS TAKING CARE OF ME.” — SOE MOE
“I got a job working in the kitchen at Camp Lutherhaven in the summer of 2016,” he says. “After working with the children during ‘All Nations Outreach’ week, I felt more and more moved that those young people need to hear about Jesus. I shared my testimony with many people and my story touched lives. [The summer of 2017], I was a counselor at Lutherhaven, and that changed me even more. My eyes opened up, and I felt God’s calling.” After working at the camp, he said he started praying, asking God for help as he applied to the Seminary’s EIIT Program. His passion for faith and ministry grew. Rev. Joe Ferry of Southwest Lutheran Church, Soe’s pastor and EIIT mentor, has watched Soe’s gifts develop and unfold. Ferry was with Soe on the Seminary campus in August for Orientation week and was there when Soe received his assignment as an EIIT vicar. “He’s really excited about Lutheran theology,” Ferry says. “He gives me energy! He has a passion for people who are where he was. Because he knows Jesus, he was delivered from so many things that could have been. He has people pouring into him.”
Soe Moe. Photo: Courtesy Lay Htoo
As Soe continues this journey, daily discovering the answer to the question, “What will my life be?,” he trusts his heavenly Father. “I am a child of God. He created me, He put me here and He will be and always is taking care of me,” Soe says. “When I was 9 or 10 years old, I was wondering what I would be doing when I got older. Living in the refugee camp — is this it? Isn’t there anything better out there? This life I am living now is more than a dream come true. I can share my faith and share the love of Jesus anywhere I go.”
Rebekah Lukas is a second-year Deaconess Studies student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 19
New students welcomed, renovated library dedicated 180TH YEAR ACADEMIC YEAR BEGINS
President Dr. Dale A. Meyer shares some words of wisdom with new students. Photo: Jill Gray
NEWS WORTH NOTING
From left, Provost Dr. Douglas Rutt, President Dr. Dale A. Meyer and Associate Professor Dr. Abjar Bahkou. Photo: Jill Gray
From left, Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger, Dr. Dale A. Meyer, Kay Hasse, Dr. Michael Coppersmith and Glenn Hasse at the grand opening of the Kristine Kay Hasse Memorial Library. Photo: Jill Gray
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis officially opened its 180th academic year Aug. 24, 2018, in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus, welcoming new students, faculty and staff, and recognizing the assignments of vicarages, internships and calls for some distance education students.
After the Opening Service, the campus community celebrated
During the Opening Service, President Dr. Dale A. Meyer preached and introduced the 2018-19 theme from Isaiah 6:8, “Here am I! Send me.”
The renovated library is named in memory of Glenn and Kay Hasse’s
“Concordia Seminary cannot accept the status quo,” Meyer said in his sermon. “Our Lord Jesus bids us go into the world the way it is today. So it is my prayer that this 180th academic year will shake and send us into the future with confidence and cheerful courage in the Good News of God.” Also during the Opening Service, Dr. Douglas Rutt was installed as provost and professor of Practical Theology, and Dr. Abjar Bahkou was installed as associate professor of Practical Theology. The Seminary has a fall enrollment of 570 students, including 93 new students in residential and distance ministerial formation programs: 44 residential Master of Divinity students; eight Residential Alternate Route students; one deaconess student; nine Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) students; 28 Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program students; and three Center for Hispanic Studies students. Concordia Seminary’s Advanced Studies department also welcomed 32 new students: 10 Master of Arts students; seven Doctor of Philosophy students; six Doctor of Ministry students; and nine Master of Sacred Theology students. To watch a recording of the Opening Service, visit: livestream.com/ concordiasem/events/7632301.
the grand opening of the Kristine Kay Hasse Memorial Library. The $6-million transformation of the Seminary’s library in Fuerbringer Hall was made possible throught gifts to the Generations Campaign. daughter, who died in a car accident at the age of 17. The Hasses of Naples, Fla., provided the lead gift for the library’s renovation. During the grand opening activities, Meyer thanked the Hasses: “Because of [the Hasses’] visionary generosity, the Kristine Kay Hasse Memorial Library will provide the best of theological resources to pastors, church workers and laypeople around the world.” The library grand opening celebration included remarks by Meyer, Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger, Master of Sacred Theology student Andrew Hatesohl, the Hasses and Director of Library Services Rev. Benjamin Haupt. “The digitizing of these books opens up this library to students and people all over the world,” Glenn Hasse said. “There is no better gift that anybody can give than the gift to help people learn about Jesus. That’s what this library does.” The event also featured a lecture by Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Rosin about the historical significance of libraries and how they can sharpen contemporary Lutheran witness to God’s truth. To watch a recording of the library grand opening, visit: livestream.com/ concordiasem/events/8339268.
CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 21
SMP students celebrate first calls CONCLUDING 2018 STUDENTS ALSO RECOGNIZED
From left, top row: President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, Director of Placement Dr. Glenn Nielsen and SMP Director Dr. W. Mart Thompson. Concluding students, from left, middle row: Jarrett Jones, Anthony Celia, Karl Glander, Matthew Hauser and Chad Kogutkiewicz; and front row, Charles Fenton, Curtiss Lanham, Michael Phillips, Nicholas Cordt and Andrew Gomez. Photo: Courtney Koll
Six students in the Seminary’s Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program were recognized as having received their first calls in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus June 29, 2018. Eleven students who completed the program in the summer also were recognized.
SMP STUDENTS RECEIVING FIRST CALLS: Kenton Abbott: St. John’s Lutheran Church, Ellinwood, Kan.
CONCLUDING SMP STUDENTS RECOGNIZED FOR COMPLETING THE PROGRAM:
Corey Brooks: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Ridgeway, N.C.
Anthony Celia: Water’s Edge Lutheran Church, Frisco, Texas
John Elliott: St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Oviedo, Fla.
Nicholas Cordt: Risen Savior Lutheran Church, Wichita, Kan.
Henry “Frank” Hart: Oikos Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas
Charles Fenton: Eastern Heights Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn.
Lawton Thompson: St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Oviedo, Fla.
Karl Glander: Amigos en Christo, Immokalee, Fla.
Mark Wiegert: St. Paul’s/Trinity/Our Savior Lutheran churches, Lewistown/Stanford/Denton, Mont.
Andrew Gomez: Memorial Lutheran Chapel of the Deaf, Fremont, Calif. Matthew Hauser: Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Saginaw, Mich. Keith Hills: Faith Lutheran Church, Sweetwater, Texas Jarrett Jones: St. John Lutheran Church, Mansfield, Texas Chad Kogutkiewicz: Hales Corners Lutheran Church, Hales Corners, Wis. Curtiss Lanham: CrossPoint Lutheran Church, Katy, Texas Michael Phillips: Grace Lutheran Fellowship, Romeo, Mich. “We rejoice with these pastors who are completing the four-year Concordia Seminary SMP Program,” said SMP Director Dr. W. Mart Thompson. “We join in celebration with their families and the specific ministries in which they serve across the country!”
From left, top row: Meyer, Nielsen and Thompson. Students receiving their first calls, from left, middle row: Henry “Frank” Hart, Lawton Thompson and John Elliott; and front row, Kenton Abbott, Corey Brooks and Mark Wiegert. Photo: Courtney Koll
The SMP Program is a four-year distance-education program in which men receive academic training in the setting in which they will continue to serve following ordination. To learn more about the Seminary’s SMP Program, visit www.csl.edu/smp.
NEWS WORTH NOTING
The class of 1968 and their spouses pose for a group photo in chapel. Photo: Harold Rau
Alumni return to campus More than 100 graduates, spouses and widows of class years ending in “3” and “8” came to campus Sept. 20-21 for the 2018 Alumni Reunion. The event included special recognition of the jubilarian class of 1968 and all alumni in chapel; an organ and hymn sing in chapel; a presentation by Rev. Micah Glenn (’16), executive director of the Lutheran Hope Center in Ferguson, Mo.; a banquet featuring The Gospel of Mark presentation by Dr. David Schmitt, the Gregg H. Benidt Memorial Professor of Homiletics and Literature; and a St. Louis-themed dinner.
J.S. BACH’S ST. MATTHEW PASSION
3 P.M. SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 2019 Valparaiso University Chorale, Leipzig Baroque Orchestra, the Valparaiso University Bach Orchestra and Choir, and the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir
Opening Weekend Hymn Festival The second annual Opening Weekend Hymn Festival was held Aug. 26, 2018, as new and returning students were welcomed to campus for the 2018-19 academic year! The festival — the inaugural performance of the Concordia Seminary Concert Series — featured guest artist Kantor Kevin Hildebrand from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., as well as an ensemble choir made up of faculty, staff, students and local congregations. Learn more about the concert series at www.csl.edu/concertseries. Photo: Michael Thomas
I AM FOREVER WHO I AM: THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR
3 P.M. SUNDAY, MARCH 31, 2019 University A Cappella Choir from Concordia University, Nebraska, Seward
All performances are held in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus on the campus of Concordia Seminary. All concerts are free and open to the public. A freewill offering will be taken. Learn more at www.csl.edu/concertseries.
“This particular 2018–19 series promises to be truly outstanding.” —DR. JAMES MARRIOTT, KREFT CHAIR FOR MUSIC ARTS
CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 23
BY JAN. 7, 2019
2019 Pre-Lenten Workshop Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
$50 REGISTRATION FEE
BY JAN. 14, 2019
2019 Winter Lay Bible Institute Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. $20 REGISTRATION FEE
LET MY PEOPLE GO! There is no doubt the Exodus was a foundational event in the history of Israel — the Hebrew Bible mentions God’s saving deliverance from Egypt 125 times! This Lenten Dr. R. Reed Lessing sermon series explores what Exodus means for us as Christians, what it shows us about God and, in the process, gives us a portrait of who Jesus is for us.
2019 LENTEN SERMON SERIES INCLUDED WITH REGISTRATION!
Visit www.csl.edu/pre-lenten for more information. Registration deadline is Jan. 7, 2019.
EXODUS: THE GREATEST (OT) STORY EVER TOLD Rev. Thomas Egger
The book of Exodus is foundational to the Bible’s story of salvation — finding its climax and fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Its vivid episodes stand as an enduring revelation of the character of our God and of His ways with His people. Join Egger for a lecture and discussion as he walks through the book of Exodus and illuminates its significance for Christian faith and life today. Visit www.csl.edu/LBI for more information. Registration deadline is Jan. 14 2019.
SAVE THE DATE
SHAME AND HONOR: GOSPEL PROCLAMATION IN THE MAJORITY WORLD
2019 Multiethnic Symposium Thursday, April 25 – Friday, April 26, 2019 $50 REGISTRATION FEE
Visit www.csl.edu/multiethnic for more details and registration information.
THE CROSS ALONE IS OUR THEOLOGY
29th Annual Theological Symposium highlights
More than 175 people attended the Seminary’s 29th Annual Theological Symposium, “The Cross Alone is Our Theology,” held Sept. 18-19, 2018. The symposium featured plenaries, sectionals, an art exhibition in the library curated by the Intersect Arts Center in St. Louis and a Prof ’n Stein with Dr. Erik Herrmann, associate professor of Historical Theology. Dean of Theological Research and Publication Dr. Charles Arand said 30 pastors submitted papers to present during the open sectionals. Plenary speakers included: Dr. Jeff Kloha, former Seminary provost and chief curatorial officer at the Museum of the Bible; Dr. Kent Burreson, the Louis A. Fincke and Anna B. Shine Professor of Systematic Theology and dean of chapel; and Dr. Joel Okamoto, the
PROF ’N STEIN
Waldemar and Mary Griesbach Professor of Systematic Theology. The symposium addressed what it really means to have cross-centered theology, cross-centered pastoral care and a crosscentered life. About 40 registrants came early to the symposium and enjoyed a free golf outing at the Highlands Golf and Tennis Center at Forest Park, sponsored by the LCMS Foundation Sept. 17. The symposium also included the Fourth Annual Dr. Jack Dean Kingsbury Lecture “The Death of Jesus and its Aftermath in the Gospel According to Mark” by Dr. James W. Voelz Sept. 18.
SAVE THE DATE 2019 Theological Symposium Visit www.csl.edu/symposium for additional details and registration information.
Lay Bible Institute highlights
Participants of the Summer Lay Bible Institute listen as Dr. Mart Thompson leads the one-day workshop, “You Are a Royal Priesthood: God Calls All Christians to Serve” Aug. 4, 2018, on campus. The workshop explored God’s Word and how it teaches that all Christians share God’s grace with others. Photo: Courtney Koll
Rev. David Lewis shares insights about Christian theology in films during the four-week Fall Lay Bible Institute held in October on campus. “The Bible, Theology and Christ-Figures in Film” explored various ways American cinema has appropriated the biblical narrative, Christian theology and the story of Jesus to tell its own stories. Photo: Courtney Koll
CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 25
Program on ministry, Gospel debuts on KFUO SEMINARY PRESIDENT HOSTS PROGRAM WITH WEEKLY GUESTS Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer is taking the voices from the front lines of ministry to the air waves of KFUO in a new weekly program called “Word and Work: An Intersection,” which debuted in September. The program airs at 2 p.m. Thursdays (CT) on KFUO AM 850 or www.kfuo.org. “Word and Work” provides a behind-the-scenes look at ministry where everyday life and God’s Word meet. Each episode features Meyer interviewing a different guest — including pastors, faculty members, authors, students, missionaries, laypeople and church officials. “To inform and stimulate, that’s what I hope ‘Word and Work: An Intersection’ will do,” Meyer said. “The more informed we are about what’s really going on in the church, the more we’ll be equipped to join with others in taking the Word of Christ into work and daily life. Join us, and pray for our mission.” Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, right, interviews Dr. Lawrence Rast, president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., for “Word and Work: An Intersection.”
Find the video and audio archives of “Word and Work: An Intersection” at concordiatheology.org/wordandwork.
NEW VIDEO SERIES AND STUDY GUIDE HELP PEOPLE BETTER SHARE THEIR FAITH Explore the 10-part video series for use by congregations or small-group discussions created by Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Kolb. Viewers are guided through a discussion of how to share their faith with those around them.
TO VIEW THE VIDEOS AND DOWNLOAD THE STUDY GUIDE, VISIT SCHOLAR.CSL.EDU/CHRIST_TO_NEIGHBOR/.
NEWS WORTH NOTING
Professor Emeritus Dr. Charles T. Knippel enters rest Dr. Charles T. Knippel, professor emeritus of Practical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, entered rest in Christ Jesus July 24, 2018. He retired in 1992 after 11 years of distinguished service as professor of Practical Theology (1981-92). He came to the Seminary as a visiting instructor in 1971 and was named associate professor in 1981. “I first met Charles Knippel in 1971 when he was a visiting instructor at Concordia Seminary. To this day I remember with appreciation what he taught me in that class,” said Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer. “He was one of the fairest and most caring men I have ever known. Many have been blessed by his life and ministry.” Before joining the Seminary, Knippel served as pastor at several churches throughout Oklahoma and Missouri. Knippel’s legacy includes specialized service to those suffering from addiction. He authored numerous works. Knippel also served as a visiting professor at Washington University School of Continuing Education (1971-75). He received his Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology from Concordia Seminary (1952, 1969). He earned an associate’s degree from St. John’s College in Winfield, Kan. (1947), and a Ph.D. from St. Louis University (1987). Knippel was preceded in death by his wife, Donna Marie, and their son, Charles Andrew. He is survived by daughter, Anne Marie (Jerry) Glassmeyer, and grandson, Gregory J. (Kacie) Bamert Jr. The faculty, students and staff of Concordia Seminary have been blessed by Knippel’s leadership, scholarship and ministry. He will be missed.
Professor Emeritus Rev. William Schmelder enters rest Rev. William Schmelder, professor emeritus at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, received his eternal reward in Christ Jesus June 18, 2018. “On behalf of the faculty, staff, students and Board of Regents, I extend our Christian sympathies to the Schmelder family,” said Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer. “I first met Professor Schmelder when he was a pastor in Fort Wayne. Later in the early 1980s I had the privilege of serving with him on the faculty of Concordia Seminary. Rock solid in his commitment to the biblical teaching of our Lutheran church, he always stimulated thought.” Schmelder retired in 1996 after 22 years of distinguished service in various roles at the Seminary. Before joining the Seminary faculty, he served as pastor at various churches throughout Arizona, California, Indiana and Missouri. For more than 30 years, he assisted the ministry of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Olivette, Mo. He received a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College New York in Bronxville, and Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology from Concordia Seminary (1959, 1960). Schmelder was preceded in death by one daughter, Lynn Voelkel. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Delle; four children, Bill Jr., Keith, Craig and Kathi Kean; 12 grandchildren; and four brothers and sisters. God richly blessed Concordia Seminary through the work of Professor Schmelder. He will be missed.
CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 27
A & Q
with Lara Harris
BY CARLY HEBRON
Lara Harris serves as the director of Campus Services at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, where she has been on staff for seven years. She began as an assistant and also served as an event coordinator before her promotion to director in 2013.
YOU PLAY A KEY ROLE IN SOME OF THE SEMINARY’S LARGEST EVENTS LIKE CALL DAY AND COMMENCEMENT. HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE MYRIAD OF DETAILS?
Organization and communication are key, but I am blessed to work with a great group of people across campus who all contribute to the success of these events. The Campus Services staff and student workers know that these events mean all-hands-on-deck and they pitch in wherever they are needed. As I say in my thank you notes just about every year: The planning that goes into the events for these couple of days is nothing compared to all of the time that our faculty, staff and the Seminary’s various partners spend preparing our graduates for their future ministry.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE JOINING THE SEMINARY STAFF?
I am a native St. Louisan but after high school I studied art at the University of San Diego. After graduation I realized that the cliché of the starving artist exists for a
She is married with two young children and is currently studying for her Master of Business Administration at Maryville University. She has one dog named “Princess,” a husky mix her family adopted from a local shelter. To Harris the Seminary serves to bring a sense of belonging to the entire community — students, faculty and staff. “The Seminary connects, or reconnects, us to one another by a common thread, a belief in a greater purpose,” she says. “I find peace in knowing that my ‘thread’ will have a lasting effect and is put to good use toward that greater purpose.”
TELL US ABOUT YOUR AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY? I supervise many of the Seminary’s day-to-day auxiliary services — Residential Services (including the Food Bank, Re-Sell It Shop and dining services), campus events, campus tours, the Mail Room, Copy Center, Welcome Center, switchboard operations and purchasing. I also serve as administrator of faculty housing and as a member of process improvement groups and planning committees for various parts of campus. In 2016, I helped form the Seminary’s first Title IX Team, obtaining certification through the Association of Title IX Administrators as a Civil Rights Investigator. My favorite part of my job is the wide variety of projects on which I get to work across campus. I get to work on everything from seeking proposals for projects to decorating Christmas trees.
In a word, fluid. My schedule is never set in stone. In the last few weeks I have been working on campus surveys to gain some feedback from our community on the services we provide. I have been analyzing those results and compiling them into action plans for the future. I also have been working with Technology Services on developing a guest housing reservation system to help us better track room usage and improve administrative and labor efficiencies. And just yesterday, my calendar sent me some Commencement and Call Day planning reminders.
STAFF FOCUS reason! I returned to St. Louis and worked on commissioned murals for people’s homes while waiting tables until my husband and I bought a neighborhood bar and grill. Over the next seven years, we owned three small businesses: a restaurant, a catering company and a retail pilot supply store. We have since sold the businesses and moved on. I still love to paint and encourage my children to express themselves through art.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? My greatest role model is my mother. She was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after I was born and passed away when I was nine due to complications from the disease. My mother had five children and she managed our crazy house and her illness with calmness, grace, optimism and just the right amount of humor that I hope to emulate with not only my kids, but with everyone around me.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE WORK LIFE AND
I try very hard to plan out my days in blocks of
FAMILY BALANCE? time. Whenever possible, I try to keep weekends free of work and homework so I can have some unstructured time with family.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT PROJECT OR
Last year we implemented Event Management
ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE SEMINARY? Software (EMS). Our old system was clunky and did not serve our needs well. Technology Services was great to work with and guided us toward a better solution that has been much more user-friendly and intuitive. Our single-student dorm received a fresh coat of paint, new window treatments and new lounge furniture this year that I think the students really appreciate. We also recently upgraded our Mail Room equipment and software. This may not be something that the average person thinks is exciting, but our staff is happy with the high-tech switch!
WHAT DOES THIS YEAR’S ACADEMIC THEME FROM
It speaks to our need to practice servant leadership.
ISAIAH 6:8, “HERE AM I! SEND ME,” MEAN TO YOU? I serve the vision and mission of the Seminary by serving the people. That also means being open and willing to serve when and where I am needed most.
Carly Hebron is a St. Louis-based freelance writer.
Lara Harris. Photo: Jill Gray
CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 29
Christian stewardship a priority FATHERS’ DEATHS SPOTLIGHT NEED, OPPORTUNITY TO TRAIN FUTURE PASTORS BY KIM PLUMMER KRULL
The Foats enjoy a visit to Japan in 2015. Photo: Courtesy Dana and Kathryn Foat
The deaths of their fathers within a week of each other in 2014 opened Kathryn and Dana Foat’s eyes to the importance of estate planning, something many people ignore. When they added up their own assets, they realized they had more than they thought. Because both their fathers had estate plans, their children clearly understood how the men wanted their resources distributed. “Instead of a burden of responsibility, we felt relief that we had their guidance,” Kathryn Foat said. “That made things a little easier.” That guidance from their fathers — faithful Christians who had long modeled stewardship — prompted the Foats, members of The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Silver Spring, Md., to update their will. We recently sat down with Dana, now 57 and a manager with a 37-year career with the U.S. Department of Defense, and Kathryn, now 56 and a former science educator, and talked about Christian stewardship and their support of Concordia Seminary. HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE SEMINARY? “Our parents modeled the importance of supporting the church with their time and financial resources. A member of Kathryn’s home congregation decided to become a pastor as a second career. That focused Kathryn’s parents’ giving to meet the needs of the future
church. They began supporting Seminary students to help meet the financial burden of education." WHY IS THE PREPARATION OF PASTORS AND CHURCH LEADERS THAT CONCORDIA SEMINARY PROVIDES IMPORTANT TO YOU NOW? “We have had and continue to have strong relationships with our pastors. Not like friends, but as a religious leader to his congregants, a trusted resource for guidance for our spiritual health. Lay leaders are wonderful resources — and we have served as lay leaders — but formal ministerial preparation adds an element of leadership and depth of knowledge." WHAT DID YOU LEARN THROUGH UPDATING YOUR WILL THAT MADE ESTATE PLANNING EVEN MORE IMPORTANT? “We’ve been blessed and have always tried to be good stewards with our blessings. We had an estate plan, but if we were to die today in a car crash, we wanted decisions about how our estate should be handled to reflect the resources available now versus if we were much older and used those resources for our care. We chose six organizations that have been highly influential in our lives and that
SUPPORT YOUR SEM we want to be there for others going forward. We wanted to support the church of the future and a planned gift to Concordia Seminary allows us to do that.”
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL FELLOW CHRISTIANS WHO SAY THEY KNOW THEY SHOULD HAVE AN ESTATE PLAN BUT LACK THE TIME TO PUT ONE TOGETHER OR DISLIKE THINKING ABOUT DEATH?
CAN YOU SHARE A BIT MORE ON WHY YOU INCLUDED THE SEMINARY IN YOUR WILL?
“We’ve had those conversations with friends. When we lost our fathers, we realized the decisions you need to make if you want others to understand what you want them to do with your resources. It was good to sit down and determine that, at different stages of your life, estate planning is a process. We know we can always update it, but we have peace of mind knowing our will is in place.”
“We support our current church and pastors, but know that not every church is blessed with its own pastor. We’ve lived in communities where the church had difficulty filling a pastoral vacancy. Kathryn grew up in Nebraska, where congregations shared a pastor. When we lived in Pittsburgh, Penn., we had to travel a fair distance, including crossing a river, to find a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod church with a pastor.” HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR GIFT TO THE SEMINARY THROUGH YOUR ESTATE PLAN WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE? “We want the church to evolve and grow in a changing world. To do this, professional preparation for church staff also must adapt. We love our Lutheran theology. We look forward to going to church and knowing every Sunday the Gospel will be preached and where we will be in the lectionary. We love knowing that we’re part of God’s family by what is preached. But as we become older adults, we see how the church must connect with the next generation. Kathryn grew up going to church every Wednesday and Saturday, but that’s not what works with most people today. We think of the young pastor at a church where we’ve worshiped in Florida, with his iPad and hockey jersey. That church was filled with young families and kids! It was cool to see him making a connection, communicating in ways that relate to young people all the while being scripturally based and theologically strong.”
Dana and Kathryn Foat enjoy the outdoors and took a hike in 2017 together. Photo: Courtesy Dana and Kathryn Foat
To learn more about creating a Christian estate plan, visit the Seminary’s website at www.csl.edu/support, or contact Seminary Advancement at email@example.com or 800-822-5287. Kim Plummer Krull is a St. Louis-based freelance writer.
Discover PLANNED GIVING Planned giving is a way for you to make a gift to a ministry dear to your heart like Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The right planned gift also can provide you and your loved ones with tax and income benefits. To learn more about the benefits of planned giving, please contact Seminary Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-822-5287.
801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105
AN INTERSECTION A behind-the-scenes look at ministry where everyday life and Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Word meet Hosted by Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer Airs weekly at 2 p.m. (CT) Thursdays on KFUO Radio at AM 850 in St. Louis and www.kfuo.org Download the archived video and audio programs at concordiatheology.org/wordandwork