Concordia Seminary | Summer 2019

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first look

Lifting voices in song! Multiethnic Symposium participants are treated to the North American Nuer Choir, a Sudanese group who sang before, during and after a worship service in chapel April 26, 2019. Photo: Jill Gray


pr esid ent FROM THE

ON THE COVER Rev. Chou Vang, a 2016 Concordia Seminary graduate and pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wis., preaches during chapel during the Multiethnic Symposium, held April 25–26, 2019. Photo: Jill Gray

PUBLISHER Dale A. Meyer EXECUTIVE EDITOR Vicki Biggs MANAGING EDITOR Melanie Ave ART DIRECTOR Jayna Rollings DESIGNER Michelle Poneleit WRITERS Sarah Maney Daniel Mattson Lisa Mills Travis Scholl

PHOTOGRAPHERS Jill Gray Sid Hastings Courtney Koll Sarah Maney Michelle Poneleit Harold Rau

Join me, please, in thinking about the word “parochial.” I first learned the word as a grade school student at St. Paul’s Lutheran School. Our pastor and teachers regularly referred to our school as a “parochial” school. “Parochial” means the school was connected to a parish. Your seminaries in St. Louis and Fort Wayne, Ind., are parochial in that sense, not tied to one congregation but serving all the congregations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). “Parochial” has another meaning, and this meaning is a put-down: “Narrowly related in scope or outlook; provincial” (The American Heritage Dictionary). Think blinders on a horse. Two seminaries isolated in the Midwest? What do they know about life on the coasts or in the South? I hear that regularly but don’t buy it. California is different from New York and New York is different from Dallas-Fort Worth, which in turn is different from El Paso. And wouldn’t it be interesting to hear a high-rise urbanite talk with a farmer about soy beans or corn or the price per hundred? Contexts are countless. There’s only one normative context, the one spelled out by the text of Scripture, the gathering of God’s people around Word and Sacrament, the Body of Christ. Your seminaries are not provincial, not “parochial” in a horse-blinders sense. Our professors travel and teach around the world. In the last three years Concordia Seminary professors have taught Lutheran theology in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Antwerp, Belgium; Tromsø and Oslo, Norway; Oberursel and Wittenberg, Germany; Belize; Puerto Rico; Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico; São Leopoldo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Santiago, Dominican Republic; Addis Ababa and Bishoftu, Ethiopia; and Kampala, Uganda. Our brothers from Fort Wayne are equally active in global mission. Professors



6 Partnerships With a

4 From the President

Global Perspective

9 Preparing Leaders for U.S. Immigrant Ministry Concordia Seminary magazine is a member of the Associated Church Press and the Evangelical Press Association.



12 Call Day Special Section 18 Strategic Priorities Update

20 Student Spotlight 22 Staff Focus 24 News Worth Noting 32 Alumni and Friends 34 Support Your Sem

Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer addresses the Multiethnic Symposium attendees April 25, 2019. Photo: Jill Gray

come back enriched by their experiences with the challenges of different contexts so that their teaching is globally aware, not provincial.

with people in America and around the world. Campus culture sensitizes your future pastors and deaconesses to learn and respect different cultural contexts when and wherever they enter ministry.

Our student population reflects a diverse perspective, and please note: Your seminaries are more diverse than the overall membership of the LCMS. Concordia Seminary’s Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS) and the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) offer distance contextual learning, mainly to first generation immigrants. Through CHS, our Seminary was one of the first to offer a master’s degree in Spanish. This diversity is also global. Thirty-eight students from 17 countries study at Concordia Seminary. Not only do these students get world-class formation in confessional Lutheran theology, but they also enlarge the panorama of mission for our traditional American seminarians. As your seminarians interact with immigrants and international students, they cannot help but take the vision to the congregations they will be called to. Seminary students take advantage of immersion experiences, overseas in countries like Israel, Brazil, Guatemala, Germany, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and domestically in urban and rural settings. Walk with me through our hallways. As we pass by offices, it’s not unusual to overhear professors speaking foreign languages

“Parochial” goes back to the Greek word paroikos, literally someone who is away from home (forms of the word are in Luke 24:18; Acts 7:6, 29, 13, 17; Heb. 11:9; 1 Peter 1:17, 2:11). Like the parochial school that formed me, students go forth from parochial seminaries formed for witness to a world that needs Jesus. The context of ministry (urban, suburban, small town, rural, coastal, Midwest, South) is important, but context is not the text of ministry. The formation programs of your seminaries are immersions in the texts of God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions, and these formative times with texts are spent in cross-cultural and globally conscious seminary communities. As one veteran pastor said, “The Seminary gets you ready to be a pastor. You will become a pastor later.” “Parochial,” paroikos, signals the call away from the home that formed you to go share the Gospel with all people in their cultural contexts. There is nothing provincial about your Seminary!

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.

WANT TO JOIN OUR MAILING LIST? To be added to the mailing list, or to receive the magazine electronically, address correspondence to: Concordia Seminary magazine, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105; call 800-822-5287; or email Congregations may request copies in bulk for distribution within their churches. Copyright © August 2019, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission of Concordia Seminary. CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 5





Exposed to dust and heat in the high elevation of southeast Ethiopia, the nearly open-air shops in Bishoftu have just about everything you might need. Need a bed? A steel door or gate for your compound? Haircut? Tires for the cart your horse is pulling? It’s all here, on the streets of Bishoftu, a bustling city southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where crowds of people swarm, sit and watch life go by. Goats munch on the sparse grass. Concordia Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer takes it all in through the car window. It’s early March, and Meyer has traveled nearly 8,000 miles from home. He’s in Ethiopia with President Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr., his counterpart at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Dr. Jeff Skopak and Andemichael Tesfazion, both of Grace Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, Fla.

While in Bishoftu, Rev. Jira Dusera Ganty, an EECMY pastor, took Meyer, Rast and Skopak to a congregation he planted. Today, it’s a large congregation with a day school. This congregation has planted 70 other congregations. Seventy! While visiting that congregation, Meyer recalls hearing the local mosque broadcasting its call to prayer. In this place, Ethiopian Lutherans are worshipping while minarets blare in the distance, calling Muslims to worship. These are not “traditional” mission fields. There are already more than three times as many Lutheran Christians in Africa as in North America. Rather than “us” going to “them,” these churches are coming to Concordia Seminary, inviting us to partner with them to address needs

Besides becoming acquainted with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) — rapidly approaching 10 million members — a main purpose of this visit is for the two seminary presidents to spend time with Dr. Bruk Ayele, president of the Mekane Yesus Seminary. “Present and future collaborations were discussed in detail,” Meyer says. “Concordia Seminary currently has seven students from this Ethiopian church and we hope for more to study with us in coming years.” In one sense, the visit represented a continuation of what the Seminary has already been doing on the African continent. In recent years, a number of our professors have taught at seminaries in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Togo and Ethiopia, including Professor Emeritus Dr. Victor Raj, who will make a trip to Kenya this fall. And Concordia Seminary has developed and delivered a program for continuing education of Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) missionaries in the eastern and southern African regions. Here in the United States, African immigrants, along with immigrants from other parts of the Global South, have been trained for ministry through the Seminary’s Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT). “As we ponder the future of our Seminary, partnering in theological education with those who desire our biblical and Lutheran theological education — both in the United States and around the world — will be key to our future vitality,” Meyer says. Lutheran churches in African countries like Ethiopia, Madagascar and Tanzania have experienced the most rapid growth anywhere in global Lutheranism in the 21st century, growth like the early church experienced in the Acts of the Apostles.

From left, Dr. Jeff Skopak, Dr. Dale A. Meyer, Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr. and Andemichael Tesfazion in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. Photo: Courtesy Dr. Dale A. Meyer

that they themselves have identified. In most cases, this involves theological education. The resources of an established institution such as Concordia Seminary — recognized both for high standards of scholarship and teaching and for faithful commitment to biblical theology — can help fast-growing African churches approach their ongoing mission and ministry with theological depth and advanced training. This reflects the 21st-century reality of global Christianity: multiplying networks of mutually beneficial partnerships and exchanges. As a result, Lutheran churches in the United States will see the benefits of these partnerships and exchanges as they welcome the presence and perspectives that Christians from the Global South (not just Africa) will bring to their doorstep. African churches are already sending their best and brightest to places like Concordia Seminary to receive advanced theological training. CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 > CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 7



In April, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League presented Concordia Seminary with a grant to help fund the education costs for Graduate School students from African countries. At the check presentation ceremony, Rev. Tibebu Teklu Senbetu, one of the Ph.D. students from Ethiopia currently on campus, stated, “Although the Lutheran church is growing fast in Ethiopia, our biggest challenge is to have well-educated deaconesses, pastors and professors. … There is a pressing need to have well-trained pastors and professors from the confessional Lutheran seminaries.” The implication is that Senbetu will do exactly that: He will take his advanced theological training back with him to teach future generations of pastors and evangelists in Ethiopia. The presence of these international students infuses global perspectives and awareness among all the students at Concordia Seminary, wherever they come from and wherever they are going. Likewise, local churches in the United States welcome their fellow Christians from places like Ethiopia, Madagascar and Tanzania, and, as a result, their own communities will experience a kind of transfusion of the Gospel-centered energy they bring. What we may imagine as a “mission field” is no longer a distant exotic location on a map, but a present reality for more and more LCMS churches. For instance, Ethiopians living in the United States number some 2 million people, many of whom are already Lutheran. African refugees and immigrants have been connected to



Many children are among the 2,000 in attendance at a church service in Dukem, Ethiopia, in which Dr. Dale A. Meyer preaches. Courtesy: Dr. Dale A. Meyer

many congregations, even in the traditional LCMS “heartland” of the Midwest. Again, this is not an instance of “us” bringing “them” what we perceive they are lacking. These are mutually beneficial relationships where the total of everyone involved is greater than the sum of their individual parts. Or, as Meyer says in an essay he co-wrote with Rast: “A vision that God’s work is global and multiethnic in the United States is a key to energizing local ministry and mission.” (Read the full essay on, at the following link: Part of that work will include not only encouraging students to enroll in our distance programs geared to ethnic immigrants, or international students into our graduate programs, but also reaching out to the second and third generations of immigrant Americans for candidates in the Seminary’s residential programs for pastoral and deaconess studies. For Concordia Seminary, this is not a short-term, stopgap measure. We are in it for the long haul, and it is part of a generational effort. “Working now to increase the number of ethnic pastors and deaconesses will help us reach communities that otherwise may not be blessed with our Christ-centered Gospel, that ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Romans 10:13 ESV),” Meyer says. Not only is Concordia Seminary sending professors to seminaries in the Global South to teach, but theologians from the Global South are here, at the Seminary, teaching and enlarging the minds and hearts of future church workers of how God is at work in the world. All of it is part of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify the whole church on earth, in every place.

Dr. Travis Scholl is managing editor of Seminary Publications at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.




“The Missouri Synod began as an immigrant church reaching out to new immigrants. I hope that all our graduates … will be equipped and ready to cross cultural boundaries to share the Good News of Jesus and be the missionaries our country so desperately needs.” New EIIT students pause for a group photo during 2018 Orientation. Photo: Harold Rau


< CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 You see them all the time, foreign-born U.S. citizens. They are your doctors, first responders and other health care workers. They are athletes and entertainers. They are construction workers, shop owners and sales people. There are about 44 million foreign-born immigrants in the United States today, and many of them have connections with the Christian church by the time they arrive in this country. About 39 percent of these Christian immigrants identify as Roman Catholic and about 25 percent as Protestant, according to the Pew Research Center. But as Lutherans well know, it is easy for people to get lost, especially when they stand at the beginning of a whole new way of life. U.S. immigrants often find little support for their Christian faith in the surrounding culture unless Christians care. On top of this, they face struggles that people who have lived in the United States their entire lives often don’t recognize. Ordering food in a restaurant, addressing an envelope or opening a bank account can feel like insurmountable challenges to immigrants who aren’t familiar with the English language and U.S. culture. While each person experiences these challenges differently, the challenges themselves aren’t new. Back in the 19th century, Dr. C.F.W. Walther, the first president of Concordia Seminary and the first president of The Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod (LCMS), himself an immigrant from Germany, recognized that new immigrants needed to hear the Gospel. As such, Lutherans in his generation devised ways of attracting and incorporating the new arrivals into the life of the church at once, before they became lost in American culture. Twenty-first century immigrants need to be approached as soon as possible upon arrival too, especially since they are entering a culture in which freedom of religion means



freedom from religion to more and more people. Recognizing this need, the LCMS has encouraged congregations to reach out to the immigrant communities around them. We recognize that people who are so dedicated to serving God that they care for their communities, providing pastoral and diaconal care, gathering people together for instruction in the Christian faith and life, and assembling them for the worship of God who loves them for Jesus’ sake — these people have servant hearts, and they belong in ministry. As part of this initiative, Concordia Seminary in 2003 established the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT), a distance education program aimed at increasing the number of immigrant men and women prepared for ministry in the Lutheran church. EIIT students are immigrants themselves who become certified as pastors or deaconesses to serve immigrant communities in the United States. For the most part, ministry is these students’ vocation, not their job, since the communities involved are generally too small and too poor to afford full-time pastors. EIIT students are required to have served as congregation leaders before entering the program and to be involved in service when they enroll. As soon as they are admitted to the program, they are placed as vicars or deaconess interns in the congregations they are serving. They also are assigned a mentor who accompanies them through the entire program. “EIIT students are very special people,” says Dr. John Loum, an immigrant from The Gambia and the director of the EIIT Program. “We admire them not only because they are involved in the EIIT Program, but most of them also have jobs to support their families. It is not easy to be a job holder, a Seminary student and the leader of a congregation all at the same time.”

During the LCMS convention in July 2019, delegates passed a resolution reaffirming the importance of reaching multiethnic communities in their primary languages through church workers who recognize community needs. With 15 years of experience behind the EIIT Program and with renewed vigor from the resolution, the Seminary is taking a serious look at how the program can be updated to meet society’s current needs. New course offerings are being examined that address the fast-changing culture of the 21st century and take advantage of new tools available for effective distance education programs. The updated EIIT Program consists of 20 seven-week courses and four three-week courses offered over a four-year period. Aside from a brief orientation on the Seminary campus at the start of the program, all class work is via distance education techniques. “Courses deal with topics regularly discussed in a Lutheran seminary curriculum,” says Dr. Joel Okamoto, one of the architects of the Seminary’s updated Master of Divinity (M.Div.) curriculum and the EIIT’s revised curriculum. “Particularly close attention is paid to practical theology, but study of the Bible, church history and Christian

doctrine are not neglected and are always applied to the life of the church.” There are more than 70 EIIT graduates serving in ministry today, and the Seminary looks forward to forming many more faithful pastors and deaconesses to serve U.S. immigrant communities. “The Missouri Synod began as an immigrant church reaching out to new immigrants,” says Provost Dr. Douglas L. Rutt. “I hope that all our graduates, whether they are out of the residential Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Program, the Specific Ministry Pastor Program (SMP) or the EIIT Program, to name only three of the choices, will be equipped and ready to cross cultural boundaries to share the Good News of Jesus and be the missionaries our country so desperately needs.” Find additional information about the EIIT Program at

Dr. Daniel Mattson is an academic assistant in Ministerial Formation at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.




Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer speaks to the concluding students on Call Day. Photo: Jill Gray

Unless otherwise noted, all calls were in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Program and announced on Call Day, May 1, 2019.

CALLS INTO THE PASTORAL MINISTRY ATLANTIC DISTRICT Forgione, Anthony: Our Saviour New York, Rego Park, NY (SMP Fall ’18)

CALIFORNIA-NEVADA-HAWAII DISTRICT Finger, Sylvan: Mount Olive/First Lutheran Churches, Corning/Willows, CA Muldowney, Brian: St. Andrews Lutheran Church, Stockton, CA

Dietrich, Joel: St. Paul Lutheran Church, Peachtree City, GA (SMP Spring ’19)

Jones, Christian: Franklin Avenue Mission/ Michigan District, Flint/Ann Arbor, MI

Futch, Christopher: Our Savior Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg, FL (SMP Fall ’18)


McCarty, Nathan: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Jacksonville Beach, FL

Mathis, John: Christ Lutheran Church, Little Rock, AR (SMP Fall ’18)

VanGorder, Laird: The Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, Macon, GA (SMP Spring ’19)


INDIANA DISTRICT Minetola, Victor: Cornerstone Lutheran Church, Carmel, IN (SMP Fall ’18) Watt, Luke: St. John Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN

Albright, Matthew: Messiah Lutheran Church, Mounds View, MN Baker, Jesse: Zion Lutheran Church, Hardwick, MN McCourt, Craig: New Creation Lutheran Church, Shakopee, MN (SMP Spring ’19)


Reat, Gatluk: Sudanese Evangelical Lutheran Mission Church, Southern Minnesota (EIIT Spring ’19)

Weight, Caleb: Our Savior Lutheran Church, Bettendorf, IA



Bartok, James: Faith Lutheran Church, Springfield, MO


Freudenburg, Trevor: Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sioux City, IA

Gensch, Jeremiah: Child of God Lutheran Church, St. Peters, MO

Allen, Stanley: Redeemer Lutheran Church, Stuart, FL (SMP Fall ’18)


Lehenbauer, Andrew: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Concordia, MO

Apple, Andrew: First Lutheran Church, Clearwater, FL (SMP Fall ’18)

Geraci, Coleman: St. Paul’s/St. Thomas Lutheran Churches, Milan/Ann Arbor, MI

Mueller, Alan: Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sweet Springs, MO

EASTERN DISTRICT Fink, Samuel: St. John’s Lutheran Church, Orchard Park, NY Saie, Peter: Trinity/Redeemer Lutheran Churches, Utica/Canastota, NY (EIIT Fall ’18)



Schultz, Jacob: Concordia Lutheran Church, Kirkwood, MO (Fall ’18) Stallings, Cory: The Exchange Communities Lutheran Church, Jackson, MO (SMP Spring ’19)

OKLAHOMA DISTRICT Chang, Wangdoua: LCMS Oklahoma District, Edmond, OK (EIIT Fall ’18) Steffenson, Jason: First Lutheran Church, Ada, OK



Edwards, David: Word of Life Lutheran Church, Lincoln, NE

Grant, Corey: St. John’s Lutheran Church, Oxnard, CA (CMC Fall ’18)

Flo, Paul: Hope Lutheran Church, South Sioux City, NE

Huse, Thomas Nathan: Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Tempe, AZ (SMP Fall ’18)

Lark, DeVon: Word of Life Lutheran Church, Lincoln, NE (SMP Fall ’18)

Rand, Gregory: St. Luke Lutheran Church, Claremont, CA (CMC Summer ’19)


Wellik, Bradley: Mountain View Lutheran Church, Las Vegas, NV

Fjordbotten, Dale: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Somerset, NJ



Rusnak, Joshua: Rock of Ages Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO

Shane, Brian: Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND (RAR Spring ’19)

Scheele, Luke: Trinity Lutheran Church, Cortez, CO



Anderson, Ryan: Trinity/Saint John Lutheran Churches, Vesper/Sigel, WI

Baumann, Jacob: theCross Lutheran Church, Mount Dora, FL (SMP Spring ’19)

Bergstresser, Matthew: St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Rapids, WI Bridgman, Richard Adam: Faith Lutheran Church, Appleton, WI Rodriguez, James Adam: Trinity Lutheran Church, Merrill, WI Smith, Timothy: Trinity Lutheran Church, Wausau, WI Wangelin, Kyle: Zion Lutheran Church, Wayside, WI

NORTHERN ILLINOIS DISTRICT Dassow, Gene: Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, Roscoe, IL (SMP Fall ’18) LaMie, Julian: St. John Lutheran Church, Beecher, IL Marque, Edward Alexander: Concordia/ Mount Olive Lutheran Churches, Machesney Park/Rockford, IL

Crossman, Mark: theCross Lutheran Church, Mount Dora, FL (SMP Spring ’19)

SOUTH DAKOTA DISTRICT Koester, Kevin: Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Huron, SD Meadows, Bryan: Zion Lutheran Church, Rapid City, SD

Bluege, Joseph: Salem Lutheran Church, Tomball, TX (SMP Fall ’18) Cleland, James: SoulThirst Lutheran Church, The Colony, TX (SMP Fall ’18) Hamre, Jason: SoulThirst Lutheran Church, The Colony, TX (SMP Fall ’18) Jenkins, William Jeff: Redeemer Lutheran Church, Lubbock, TX Lahue, Alexander: Messiah Lutheran Church, Boerne, TX Morales, Cristian: Texas District Board of Mission Administration, Austin, TX (CHS Fall ’18) Salomon, Jeffrey: Trinity Lutheran Church, Fairfield, TX (SMP Fall ’18) Schleicher, Jason: Salem Lutheran Church, Tomball, TX (SMP Spring ’19) Terral, Paul: Faith Lutheran Church, Gainesville, TX

PENDING Baughman, Terry: Placement pending (SMP Fall ’18) Hatesohl, Andrew: Placement pending

DEACONESS CALLS IOWA DISTRICT WEST Johnson, Tiffany: Trinity Lutheran Church, Manilla, IA (Winter ’19)

MISSOURI DISTRICT Jostes, Laura: Village Lutheran Church, Ladue, MO

Slavens, Douglas: Memorial Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD

SOUTH WISCONSIN DISTRICT Conkling, Christopher: Trinity Lutheran Church, Mequon, WI Grotelueschen, Joshua: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Janesville, WI Klatt, Zachary: Grace Lutheran Church, Menomonee Falls, WI



Boriack, Mark: Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Springfield, VA (SMP Fall ’18)

Cario, Matthew: Our Savior Lutheran Church, Tacoma, WA (SMP Spring ’19)

Gonzalez, Nicholas: The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew, Silver Spring, MD



Dittmar, Gary: St. John Lutheran Church, South Euclid, OH (SMP Fall ’18)

Black, Ricky: Trinity Lutheran Church, Amarillo, TX (SMP Spring ’19)

Dr. Dale A. Meyer, left, congratulates concluding seminarian David Edwards on his placement. Photo: Jill Gray


195 116 More than

27,900 views for the Call Day live streams! SENT TO SERVE ON CALL DAY, MAY 1


FARTHEST CALL OR ASSIGNMENT? A: RYAN SCHNAKE Vicar, Kaiserslautern Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kaiserslautern, Germany


From left, Deaconess Studies students Rebekah Lukas, Amanda Hellwege and Jennifer Wientge celebrate with Master of Arts student Nokukhanya Shabalala on Call Day. Photo: Harold Rau



students receive calls at the Call Service on Call Day

“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.’” New vicar Joel Kosberg poses for a photo on Call Day with his wife, Rebecca, and daughter. Photo: Harold Rau


students receive vicarage assignments on Call Day









Bellinghausen, Jake: Faith

González-Feliciano, Miguel: Our

Lutheran Church, Gainesville, FL

Redeemer Lutheran Church, Iowa City, IA


Hickey, Aaron: Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Warner Robins, GA


Chanderdatt, Henry: St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, NY (EIIT Fall ’18) Dorner, James: St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Albany, NY Johnson, Erik: Our Saviour New York, Rego Park, NY (SMP Fall ’18) Kandakai, Zaza: Christ Assembly Lutheran Church, Staten Island, NY (EIIT Fall ’18) Pinedo Whatts, José: St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, NY (CHS Fall ’18) Smith, Jacob: Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Garden City, NY

CALIFORNIA-NEVADA-HAWAII DISTRICT Garrity, Corey: Redeemer Lutheran Church, Redwood City, CA (CMC Spring ’19) Lauaki, Paul: LINC Ministries International-Bay Area, Hayward, CA (EIIT Fall ’18)

Kyle, John: Grace Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg, FL

Brown, Nathaniel: Trinity Lutheran

LaMay, Colton: St. Michael Lutheran Church, Fort Myers, FL (SMP Fall ’18)

Huffman, Zachary: Ascension Lutheran

LeBorious, Joshua: St. Paul Lutheran Church, Boca Raton, FL

Reseburg, Aaron: Beautiful Savior

Luke, Leo Patrick: Our Savior Lutheran Church, Orlando, FL (SMP Fall ’18) Martínez, Eduardo: Iglesia Evangelica Luterana Esperanza Viva, Orlando, FL (CHS Fall ’18)

Church, Girard, KS Church, Wichita, KS Lutheran Church, Olathe, KS

MICHIGAN DISTRICT Longden, Daniel: First Lutheran Church, Charlotte, MI (SMP Fall ’18)

Moore, Brendon: Grace Lutheran Church, Winter Haven, FL

Magneson, Scott: Light of Christ Lutheran

Will, Kyle: Epiphany Lutheran Church, Lake Worth, FL

Mussell, Andrew: Our Savior Lutheran

INDIANA DISTRICT Berry, Matthew: St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Columbus, IN

Rockemann, Joel: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Tracy, CA (CMC Spring ’19)

Borcherding, Kyle: Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, Avon, IN (SMP Fall ’18)

Roggow, Timothy: Faith Lutheran Church, Pleasant Hill, CA (RAR Spring ’19)

Hecksel, Shawn: Cornerstone Lutheran Church, Carmel, IN (SMP Fall ’18)


Moe, Soe: Southwest Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, IN (EIIT Fall ’18)

Ahn, David: St. John’s Lutheran Church, East Moline, IL

Ronchetto, Kyle: Immanuel Lutheran Church, Seymour, IN

Evans, Timothy: Our Savior Lutheran Church, Washington, IL

Troemel, Samuel: Calvary Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN (SMP Fall ’18)

Church, Marysville, MI (SMP Fall ’18) Church, Lansing, MI Shaffer, Corey: St. Lorenz Lutheran Church, Frankenmuth, MI Zobel, Andrew: Messiah Lutheran Church, Clio, MI

MID-SOUTH DISTRICT Bodemann, Daniel: Christ Lutheran Church, Little Rock, AR (SMP Fall ’18)

MINNESOTA NORTH DISTRICT Brown, Scott: Ebenezer/St. James Lutheran Churches, Alexandria/Parkers Prairie, MN (RAR Spring ’19)

EASTERN DISTRICT Bocian, Brian: St. Luke Lutheran Church, Cabot, PA (SMP Fall ’18) Christ, Jason: First Trinity Lutheran Church, Tonawanda, NY (SMP Fall ’18) Johnson, Peter: Faith Lutheran Church, Rochester, NY (SMP Fall ’18)

ENGLISH DISTRICT Dass, Jawed: Living Faith Lutheran Church, Cumming, GA (EIIT Fall ’18) Glenn, Ellory: Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church, St. Louis, MO (SMP Spring ’19)

Dr. Dale A. Meyer, left, congratulates Benjamin Hayter on his vicarage assignment. Photo: Jill Gray




Cornes, Martin: Peace Lutheran Church,

Maser, Ryan: Zion Lutheran Church, Pierce, NE

Robbinsdale, MN (SMP Fall ’18) Dunavan, Dean: Woodbury Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN (SMP Fall ’18) Ghebru, Yohannes: St. Stephanus Lutheran Church, Saint Paul, MN (CMC Spring ’19)

Mestayer, Carlos: Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, La Vista, NE (CMC Spring ’19) Oeschlaeger, Benjamin: GraceHill Lutheran Church, Omaha, NE

Jander, David: Trinity Lutheran


Church, Carver, MN

Deneen, Christopher: Peace Lutheran Church, Antigo, WI

Kangar, Bennego: LINC Twin Cities, Saint Paul, MN (EIIT Fall ’18) Koll, Quincy: Woodbury Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN Takele, Hunde: LINC Twin Cities, Saint Paul, MN (EIIT Fall ’18)

MISSOURI DISTRICT Beckett, Garrick (Ricky): St. Paul Lutheran Church, Union, MO Cullen, Justin: Immanuel Lutheran Church, Olivette, MO Drengler, Micah: Christ Memorial Lutheran Church, St. Louis, MO Greg, Daniel: Village Lutheran Church, Ladue, MO Mueller, Jacob: Immanuel Lutheran Church, Washington, MO Nowak, Brian: Salem Lutheran Church and School, Affton, MO Peterson, Kevin: Blessed Savior Lutheran Church, Florissant, MO Rempfer, Paul: Christ the King Lutheran Church, Lake Ozark, MO Ridley, Charles: Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Sunset Hills, MO Schnake, Ryan: Kaiserslautern Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kaiserslautern, Germany Thormodson, Ian: Immanuel Lutheran

VanPay, Craig: St. John Lutheran Church, Luxemburg, WI (SMP Fall ’18) Wondrasch, Connor: Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Green Bay, WI

NORTHERN ILLINOIS DISTRICT Kolupa, Christopher: St. John Evangelical Church-Rodenburg, Schaumburg, IL (SMP Spring ’19) Morales, Jesús: St. Paul Lutheran Church, Aurora, IL (CHS Spring ’19) Novacek, Mark: Trinity Lutheran Church, Roselle, IL (SMP Spring ’19) Valencia, Erwin Andrés: Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Mount Prospect, IL (CHS Fall ’18) Wyeth, Dwight: Zion Lutheran Church, Bonfield, IL

NORTHWEST DISTRICT Dollar, Christian: Peace Lutheran Church, Philomath, OR Maxson, Benjamin: Makah Lutheran Church, Neah Bay, WA (SMP Fall ’18) Nix, Joshua: Trinity Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, OR (SMP Spring ’19) Raynor, LeRoy: Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Ontario, OR (RAR Fall ’18) Simmons, Christopher: Xrossway Lutheran Ministries, Twin Falls, ID (CMC Fall ’18)

Church, St. Charles, MO


Vieth, Mason: Chapel of the Cross

Bolosan, Chad: St. Paul Lutheran Church, Westlake, OH

Lutheran Church, St. Peters, MO Ward, Dale: New Beginnings Lutheran Church, Pacific, MO (SMP Spring ’19)

Renner, Mark: Holy Cross Lutheran Church, North Canton, OH

Top photo: New vicar Matthew Berry and his fiancée, new deaconess intern Amanda Hellwege, are all smiles on Call Day. Photo: Michelle Poneleit. Bottom photo: New vicar Zachary Huffman reviews his assignment with his wife, Jodi. Photo: Harold Rau



OKLAHOMA DISTRICT Harms, Myron: Messiah Lutheran Church, Oklahoma City, OK (SMP Spring ’19) Lorenz, Matthew: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Edmond, OK

PACIFIC SOUTHWEST DISTRICT Kosberg, Joel: Christ’s Greenfield Lutheran Church, Gilbert, AZ Stevens, Art: St. John’s Lutheran Church, El Segundo, CA (SMP Spring ’19) Tucker, Jeffrey: Christ Church— Lutheran, Phoenix, AZ Woolweber, Donn: Our Savior’s First Lutheran Church, Granada Hills, CA (RAR Spring ’19)

ROCKY MOUNTAIN DISTRICT Harrell, Brenden: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lakewood, CO

SELC DISTRICT Fitzpatrick, Matthew: Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Lake Mary, FL (SMP Fall ’18)

Students sing as they await the announcement of calls on Call Day. Photo: Sid Hastings

SOUTHERN DISTRICT Scheler, Jacob: Hope on the Beach Lutheran Church, Santa Rosa Beach, FL (SMP Spring ’19)


Howe, Danlias: Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Lake Mary, FL (SMP Fall ’18)

Hayter, Benjamin: Zion Lutheran Church, Bethalto, IL

Lukas, Hayden: St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Oviedo, FL

Nehring, Joseph: Trinity Lutheran Church, Harvel, IL (RAR Spring ’19)

Robison, Daniel: Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Lake Mary, FL (SMP Spring ’19)

Pierson, Joseph: Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Collinsville, IL



Vogel, Joshua: Emanuel Lutheran Church, Milbank, SD

Argueta, José: Iglesia Cristiana Emanuel, Houston, TX (CHS Fall ’18)


Bresson, Chad: St. Paul Lutheran Church, Harlingen, TX (SMP Spring ’19)

Santos, Jesús: Centro Familiar Cristiano, Houston, TX (CHS Fall ’18) Wallingsford, Jason: Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Austin, TX (SMP Fall ’18)

DEACONESS INTERNSHIPS INDIANA DISTRICT Hellwege, Amanda: St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Columbus, IN (Spring ’19)


Veen, Evan: Trinity Lutheran Church, Howards Grove, WI

SOUTHEASTERN DISTRICT Baker, Sean: St. Stephens Lutheran Church, Hickory, NC Drye, Jerrod: Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church, Concord, NC (SMP Spring ’19) Lane, Morgan: Bethel Lutheran Church, Claremont, NC (SMP Fall ’18)

Farias, Roy: Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, San Antonio, TX (SMP Spring ’19) Herrera Varela, Baudilio: Gloria Dei En Espanol, Houston, TX (CHS Fall ’18) Johnson, Alex: Redeemer Lutheran Church, Austin, TX (EIIT Fall ’18) Johnson, Andrew: St. Paul Lutheran Church, Fort Worth, TX

Sarrault, Zachery: Hope Lutheran Church, Wake Forest, NC

Park, Jae Hyun: Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Carrollton, TX (EIIT Fall ’18)

Shaw, Alan: Resurrection Lutheran Church, Cary, NC (SMP Spring ’19)

Payne, Mark: Lamb of God Lutheran Church, Flower Mound, TX (SMP Fall ’18)

Singer, Bradley: Living Savior Lutheran Church, Fairfax Station, VA

Pieper, Christian: Concordia Lutheran Church, San Antonio, TX

Velásquez, Fabricio: St. John’s Lutheran Church, Alexandria, VA (EIIT Fall ’18)

Sansom, Vernon (Trey): Christ the King Lutheran Church, Kingwood, TX

Wientge, Jennifer: Lutheran Senior Services, Webster Groves, MO (Spring ’19)

NORTHERN ILLINOIS DISTRICT Estrada, Nancy: St. Paul Lutheran Church, Aurora, IL (CHS Fall ’18) Villegas de Morales, Mariaisabel: St. Paul Lutheran Church, Aurora, IL (CHS Fall ’18)

SELC DISTRICT Lukas, Rebekah: St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Oviedo, FL (Spring ’19)

TEXAS DISTRICT Ramírez, Jazmín Abigail: Cristo El Salvador Lutheran Mission, Del Rio, TX (CHS Fall ’18) CHS: Center for Hispanic Studies CMC: Cross-Cultural Ministry Center EIIT: Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology RAR: Residential Alternate Route SMP: Specific Ministry Pastor


More students needed to meet growing demand for pastors RECRUITING REMAINS PRIORITY As Concordia Seminary strives to address the No. 1 priority of its 2018–20 strategic plan, Concordia Seminary magazine spoke with Dr. Glenn Nielsen, director of Placement and director of Vicarage and Deaconess Internships, about the need for more students and the related impact of fewer calling congregations. Seminary’s No. 1 strategic priority is to Q Concordia recruit qualified ministry candidates and leaders in

sufficient quantity to meet the demands of the church in today’s world. Please help us understand the numbers.

no secret that enrollment in the pastoral, residential A It’sprograms of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS)

two seminaries is a top priority for both institutions. In the last three years, combined enrollment in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Residential/Alternate Route (RAR/AR) programs at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (CSL) and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., (CTSFW) dropped from 436 in 2016 to 381 in 2018 — a decline of 13 percent. On Call Day 2019, the two seminaries had 82 M.Div. and RAR/ AR students available for pastoral placement. By comparison, in 2009 the two seminaries had 159 M.Div. and RAR/AR candidates ready for placement — a 48 percent decrease.


Many in the church are aware that fewer students mean fewer future pastors to fill pulpits and to serve as missionaries. But there also is another consequence that may not be as widely recognized. Please explain.


As spring rolls around each year and Call Day approaches, there are fewer students graduating from the seminaries, ready to be placed as pastors in LCMS congregations. As a result, some parishes which would have sought a candidate from the seminaries will instead call from the field. Between 2016 and 2019, the number of calling congregations to the two seminaries slipped from 178 to 148. When congregations call a pastor from another congregation — rather than from one of the seminaries — that means a different congregation is now without a pastor. It doesn’t reduce the number of vacancies in the LCMS. In fact, with



many pastors now retiring, the number of vacancies will continue to increase. Further, congregations that go without pastors for very long often struggle to stay open and to properly serve and shepherd their communities. And as they struggle, many lose members and become unable to afford a full-time pastor. The result is an increasing number of congregations using part-time pastors. In 2017, there were 360 congregations with part-time pastors. That number increased to 432 in 2018 and to 485 in 2019. In the last two years alone, the number of congregations served part-time has jumped 12 percent. The dip in calling congregations is a concern not only for the seminaries but for the entire church body. Very simply, we need more students because if we don’t have more students, more congregations will go without pastors and will become too small to support one. will take a concerted, churchwide effort to create a Q Itculture of recruitment. What can our readers do to help? and their members have a key role in A Congregations increasing pastoral enrollment. This is a churchwide

imperative. Everyone can pray for, identify and encourage prospective students to enter the pastoral ministry. When I went to high school in Pittsville, Wis., my pastor was Rev. E.T. Keller. He took care of the church in town (Pittsville had a population of 708 then) and a small rural congregation 15 miles away in Sherwood. He also guided me toward the pastoral ministry. When congregations like these are without a pastor, not only will they suffer without a full-time pastoral presence, but someone from the congregation may miss out on the encouragement to go to the Seminary like Pastor Keller did with me. We don’t want that to happen.


Haupt appointed associate provost Concordia Seminary faculty member Dr. Benjamin Haupt has been appointed the institution’s first associate provost, effective July 1. In his new role, Haupt will assist the Seminary provost in achieving key strategic priorities in support of the mission of the Seminary. The immediate first priority centers on recruitment and enrollment. Haupt will lead the Seminary’s efforts in recruiting qualified ministry candidates — who reflect the rich diversity of the country — to meet the demands of the church. “By establishing this position with its focus upon recruitment, and by naming Professor Haupt as associate provost, Concordia Seminary is taking a giant step forward,” said Dr. Dale A. Meyer, president of the Seminary. “Yes, we need to increase the number of pastors for the future, but we also need our seminarians to reflect the diversity of America and the wonderful vision of heaven, ‘a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages’ (Rev. 7:9 ESV). Professor Haupt will foster a culture of pastoral recruitment that promises to reach more and more people who need the Good News of Jesus Christ. We’re thrilled by this great step forward in our Lord’s mission through Concordia Seminary.” Haupt will oversee and guide the Seminary’s recruitment and admissions team, and he will serve as a liaison to faculty and staff involved in accomplishing the Seminary’s enrollment goals related to its residential, distance and multiethnic ministerial formation programs and Advanced Studies programs. Haupt’s immediate efforts will include collaboration with colleagues at the Seminary and across the LCMS to build bridges and engage those with the ability to assist in the referral and enrollment of prospective students.

Dr. Benjamin Haupt.

Haupt received his Ph.D. in July from the University of Birmingham, U.K. He earned a Master of Sacred Theology in 2011 and a Master of Divinity in 2005, both at Concordia Seminary. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, in 2000. Haupt joined the faculty of Concordia Seminary in 2013 as assistant professor of Practical Theology and director of Library Services. Previously, he served as pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gainesville, Ga., from 2008–13 and as associate pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Boca Raton, Fla., from 2005–08.






Lucas Becker. Photo: Jill Gray


The year is 1914. Model T cars and horse-drawn buggies crowd the crossroads of South Jefferson Avenue and Winnebago Street near Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. A young man, William Adolph Herman Becker, prepares for a momentous occasion. He is about to graduate.

Lucas prepared himself. He studied for the exams that he would have to take to qualify for the International Seminary Exchange Program at Concordia Seminary that would begin in the fall of 2018. Through the program, students study at partnering seminaries across the globe.

Fast-forward a century later. Becker’s great-grandson, Lucas, is attending Seminário Concórdia in São Leopoldo, Brazil, when he learns about the yearlong exchange program to attend Concordia Seminary thousands of miles away in the United States.

Along the way he discovered some differences between the two cultures and seminaries, beginning with the length of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Program — the heart of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) preparation of forming pastors for its congregations and worldwide ministries.

Lucas wondered: Should he seize an opportunity to study there like his father’s grandfather? He thought about him as he weighed the decision. “After my great-grandfather’s vicarage, he was called as a missionary to the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul — and he stayed there to serve,” Lucas says. “The Lutheran church in Brazil is the fruit of the mission from the United States. All of this made me want to apply for the exchange program.”



“In São Leopoldo, students can go directly to seminary from high school, completing their Bachelor of Arts and M.Div. within six years. At Concordia Seminary, it’s four years [typically after a student has spent four years earning a bachelor’s],” Lucas explains. “In Brazil, classes are about three to four hours long,” Lucas says. “Here, classes are about one and a half hours at the most, and reading takes place much more outside the class.”


But the main reason Lucas wanted to come to Concordia Seminary was for the theological education he could receive. He was thrilled when he was accepted into the Seminary’s exchange program. He recalls one of his favorite classes, Interpreting and Communicating the Word with Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs, professor of Exegetical Theology.

“When I look back, I see how important the vicarage experience was in my life,” said Lucas. “Bringing the Word into the lives of others there meant learning from my own adviser about the lives, traditions and customs of the people — and to preach Law and Gospel to their own life context. This helped me prepare for the exchange program.”

“It was about exegesis,” Lucas says. “I deepened my knowledge of the right way to read the text of the Bible, especially the biblical narratives, and how to bring the Word into the lives of others.

In December, Lucas will finish the M.Div. in Brazil. “My church in Brazil is encouraging me to continue studying at Concordia Seminary. In the summer of next year, I’m coming back to start the Master of Arts Program, and would like to have the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D.,” Lucas says.

“I’ve also learned to not insert myself directly inside of biblical text, but to take what the text is saying in the context that it was given. For example, consider this verse from Joshua: ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9 ESV). Many people will read that as a personal message. But it’s important to ask: For whom is God telling that? It’s for Joshua — and not primarily to me.” Lucas is also grateful for the opportunity to refine his English. “English is a universal language and the best research is in English,” Lucas says. “Even in Brazil, we have to read books, commentaries and articles in English, so I’ve been thankful to practice it during the exchange program.” As he reflects on the art of communicating the Word, Lucas thinks back to his vicarage year in Brazil, where he served a parish with three congregations in Santa Maria de Jetibá, Espírito Santo. In this area of the country, two languages are spoken, Portuguese and Pomeranian.


The Pomeranian language is a kind of German from the old country of Pomerania, which used to exist between Germany and Poland. German immigrants began settling in the southern Brazilian states around 1818, bringing the Pomeranian language and customs with them. Today, Pomeranian is not a written language. It’s mostly a spoken language.

Lucas’ great-grandparents, Rev. William Adolph Herman and Emilia Becker. Photo: Courtesy of the Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil (IELB)

Whatever happens with his future theological studies, Lucas says he appreciates all he has learned at Concordia Seminary and looks forward to faithfully sharing the Word of God with a world that needs to hear it. “I come from a family of pastors,” Lucas says. “My great-grandfather was a pastor, my grandfather is a pastor, my father is a pastor and now, I’m studying to become a pastor.” Lucas’ family heritage is part of a much grander story, God’s story, serving Him wherever God sends him, whether in São Leopoldo, St. Louis or the ends of the earth. Sarah Maney is a communications specialist at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.


Serving He


Jill Oschwald. Photo: Jill Gray



Listening to Jill Oschwald’s journey is much like watching a master artist place pottery pieces and ceramic shards into an intricate mosaic. The first few pieces were cemented in childhood. She grew up in a Christian family in which service to the church was of paramount importance. “God has a lot of surprises for us along the way,” Jill says. “As I grew up, I often would pray, ‘God, please choose me to be a missionary,’ not realizing, of course, what that fully meant.” More of the mosaic emerged when she was a teen, during confirmation. “There was a big reception afterward,” Jill recalls. “Having taught us for many years, our pastor went around the room, telling all in attendance what he thought each



of us would become. When he got to me, he said I would work for the church. Surprised, I tucked that away in my memory.” While in high school, she joined European Youth Encounter, a group from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) that traveled to Norway, Sweden and Denmark to witness for Christ. “At that time, I knew that I wanted to serve God in whatever capacity He could use me,” she recalls. She graduated as a parish worker from St. John’s College in Winfield, Kan., and was about to receive her first placement. As she contemplated her future, Jeff Oschwald, whom she was dating, proposed marriage. He was completing his bachelor’s degree at Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich., in preparation for seminary and wanted Jill by his side.


“I told Jeff that I wanted to go where God wanted me,” Jill says, “even if it meant some place other than Ann Arbor. In God’s time, we would marry.” As it turned out, she was hired to be secretary to the superintendent of Lutheran schools for the LCMS Michigan District. Jeff and Jill were married, excited about their future together. Years later, as the couple considered seminary plans, a position opened up for Jill at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. As a result of that and other factors, Jeff began his Master of Divinity studies there as she continued to fulfill her calling. After seminary and graduate school, Jeff took his first call, serving a parish for three and a half years. Demands of parish life made completing a Ph.D. dissertation difficult, so a year away was needed to complete the degree requirements. As graduation neared, waiting for another call became disheartening. “He was serving as a vacancy pastor,” Jill says. “When it was time for the prayers, he prayed silently, ‘God, I’m willing and I’m able. We’re willing to go wherever you want us. Just call us.’” The very next day, Jeff — while working at the seminary library in Fort Wayne — received a phone call from a retired professor who had just returned from Taiwan. He wanted to know whether Jeff had finished his dissertation, and, if so, whether he had already accepted another call back into ministry. Having received the hoped-for responses, the professor inquired further, “Would you consider going to Taiwan?” Jeff immediately put him on hold, ran over to Jill’s office and asked if she would go to Taiwan. Ironically, that same morning, she had received two newly-translated Chinese books for the library. “It was a pretty amazing set of circumstances,” Jill says. “Without hesitation I replied, ‘Of course! Would you?’” More mosaic tiles. “With three young children at the time, we had a lot to consider,” Jill says. “They had never sent a family of our size. We were a bit of an experiment.” As they prepared to go, they were told that they were all missionaries, even the children. “We used that to our benefit to train our kids that being a witness is not just going and knocking on a door,” Jill says. “It’s the life you lead and how you speak to people — how you welcome them into your home and how you interact with them. These are all forms of witness.” Jill was unsure of what her role would be in Taiwan. Yet again, the Lord provided. Jill stepped into the role of business manager for the LCMS missionary community, replacing a missionary who was leaving. Later, Jill also served at Morrison Academy, where her children attended school, as the middle school library circulation assistant. After moving to Hsinchu, she assisted the seminary librarian there with the English collection.

“Although I was met with challenges of language, culture and my own shortcomings, I would never trade our time in Asia,” Jill says. “There is great joy to be had in knowing Who you serve. He lightens our burdens and directs our paths if we open our hearts to His will for our lives.” The Oschwalds spent nine years in Taiwan before returning to the United States. Today, Jill serves as the library acquisitions assistant at the Seminary’s Kristine Kay Hasse Memorial Library. Her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Oschwald, is the chairman of the Department of Exegetical Theology. Their children are now grown with eight children between them. “It’s really wonderful to see our patrons enjoying our newest acquisitions as well as their continual return to books that have lasted through the ages,” Jill says. “The library is a happening place.”


The mosaic of Jill’s life continues to take shape, and as it does, she often reflects on her time on the mission field and the many things God has taught her along the way. “I hope that, as a result of my experience, I am more interested in loving people regardless of how different they may be from me and in finding ways to be of service to them rather than striving after earthly wealth or prestige,” Jill says. “I remind myself of the many times God has provided for me and my family, protected us and nurtured us, despite some very difficult situations. When I remember to give things up to God’s care, life becomes more manageable and joyful.” Sarah Maney is a communications specialist at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.


Commencement celebrates 67 students SEVEN HONOREES RECOGNIZED

It’s all joy for Master of Divinity graduate Alexander Lahue during Commencement. Photo: Jill Gray




The graduates during Commencement exercises. Photo: Courtney Koll

Marking the end of the 180th academic year, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis celebrated 67 students and seven honorees May 17 as part of the school’s 2019 Commencement exercises. Of the students recognized, 40 earned the Master of Divinity degree, five earned the Master of Arts degree and seven earned a Master of Sacred Theology degree. In addition, six earned the Doctor of Ministry degree and four earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Five students who earned their Residential Alternate Route certificates also were recognized.

the Seminary, from which their son, John, graduated. The faculty also presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award to Dr. Samuel Nafzger (’65) of Washington, Mo.; an honorary Doctor of Divinity to Archbishop Jānis Vanags of Riga, Latvia; honorary Doctor of Letters to Dr. Werner Rudolf Albert Klän of Oberursel, Germany; and an honorary Doctor of Laws to Bucshon and to Dr. Melissa Salomón of Chula Vista, Calif.

“The church in the name of God is sending you, sending you to lead lives of significance,” Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer told the graduates. “It is a great time to be getting into the ministry, and it is a great time for all of us being the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The day’s activities began at 10 a.m. with the Theological Diploma Service in the Seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus, during which Provost Dr. Douglas L. Rutt, professor of Practical Theology, encouraged graduates in their journey to lead with the Lord. Commencement exercises took place at 7 p.m. in the Seminary’s Main Quadrangle. U.S. Rep. Dr. Larry Bucshon, congressman for the 8th District of Indiana and a ceremony honoree, delivered the Commencement address, commenting, “As an elected official, I’d like to encourage you to find an avenue to engage with your government officials. … A message of love, understanding and forgiveness is one everyone should embrace.” The Seminary’s faculty presented the Christus Vivit Award to Dan and Marti Huss of Cincinnati, Ohio, in recognition of their exemplary service to the church. The Husses have been active in area Lutheran ministries and are avid supporters of

Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, left, congratulates Master of Divinity graduate Richard Bridgman. Photo: Jill Gray

This year’s graduates will be joining more than 7,000 called leaders of the LCMS around the world and more than 12,500 individuals who have received degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in the school’s history. CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 25

SEMINARY CELEBRATES FACULTY AUTHORS The Seminary honored faculty and staff members who wrote or contributed to published books during the 2018–19 academic year at its annual Faculty Author Reception May 14 cohosted by Concordia Publishing House.


Louis A. Fincke and Anna B. Shine Professor of Systematic Theology

DR. BETH HOELTKE Director of the Graduate School

Death, Heaven, Resurrection, and the New Creation

DR. ROBERT KOLB Professor Emeritus, International Research

Martin Luther as He Lived and Breathed Wipf and Stock, 2018


Professor of Exegetical Theology

Matthew Volume 3 21:1—28:20 Concordia Publishing House, 2018

Concordia Publishing House, 2019

DR. ERIK HERRMANN Associate Professor of Historical Theology



Martín Lutero: Comentario a los profetas menores Vol. 2

A Lutheran Response to the Reformed Tradition “Luther’s Divine Aeneid: Continuity and Creativity in Reforming the Use of the Bible”

Guest Instructor

(Commentary on the Minor Prophets, Vol. 2)

DR. ROBERT KOLB Professor Emeritus, International Research

Nikolaus von Amsdorf: Champion of Martin Luther’s Reformation Concordia Publishing House, 2019

Concordia Publishing House, 2019

Vanderhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018

DR. DAVID PETER Professor of Practical Theology

Maximizing the Midsize Church: Effective Leadership for Fruitful Mission and Ministry Kregel Publications, 2019


Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries

Sculptor Spirit: Models of Sanctification from Spirit Christology InterVarsity Press, 2019



DR. RICHARD WARNECK Professor Emeritus, Practical Theology

Pastoral Ministry: Theology and Practice Concordia Publishing House, 2018

Photo: Courtney Koll




Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries

Professor Emeritus, International Research

“Scripture or Pope? The Exegetical Basis of Matthias Flacius’ Understanding of Authority in the Church,” in Matthias Flacius Illyricus. Biographische Kontexte, theologische Wirkungen, historische Rezeption, editors Irene Dingel, Johannes Hund, Luka Ilić and Marion Bechthold-Mayer (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019) “The Formula of Concord and the Book of Concord. The Path to Consensus and Definition within the Wittenberg Circle,” in Bekennen und Bekenntnis im Kontext der Wittenberg Reformation, editors Daniel Gehrt, Johannes Hund and Stefan Michel (Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte 128, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019) “The Influence of the Lutheran Confession in Areas Beyond the Continent of Europe,” in Bekenntisbilunung und Bekenntnisbindung. Bestimmung und Geltung von abgeleiteten Grundsätzen im Normengefüge lutherischer Kirchen, editors Werner Klän and Bernd Oberdorfer (Edition Ruprecht, 2019) “Luther’s Transformation of Scholastic Terms,” in Handing over the Good. Determined to Proclaim Nothing but Christ Jesus and Him Crucified. Essays in Honor of James Arne Nestingen, editors Steven Paulson and Scott L. Keith (1517 Publishing, 2018)

“Quatenus sana philosophia theologiae serviet. The Relationship of Reason and Theology in Early Modern Lutheran Exegesis,” in Das Projekt der Aufklärung. PhilosophischTheologische Debatten von der Frühen Neuzeit bis zur Gegenwart. Warter Sparn zum 75. Geburtstag, editors Joar Haga, Sascha Salatowsky, Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann and Wolfgang Schobert (Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2018)

“The Holy Spirit and the Son’s Glorification: Spirit Christology as a Theological Lens for Interpreting John 7:37–39, introduction with Dr. Myk Habets, Spirit Christology and the Theological Interpretation of Scripture,” in a special issue of Journal of Theological Interpretation 12, No. 1. (Penn State University Press, 2018)

DR. BRUCE SCHUCHARD “Melanchthon .. Ein ‘Lutheraner’? Zu Vielfalt und Einheit der Wittenberger Theologie,” in Melanchthon. Der Reformator zwischen Eigenständigkeit und Erkenntnisgemeinschaft, editors Rainer Rausch and Tobias Jammerthal (Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2018) “‘Accompanying this Sister of Ours to the Grave.’ Late-Reformation Lutheran Funeral Sermons for Women,” in Frauen – Bücher – Höfe: Wissen und Sammeln vor 1800. Women – Books – Courts: Knowledge and Collecting before 1800, editors Volker Bauer, Elizabel Harding, Gerhild Scholz Williams and Mara R. Wade (Harrassowitz, 2018)

Professor of Exegetical Theology

“Temple, Festivals, and Scripture in the Gospel of John” in The Oxford Handbook of Johannine Studies, editors Judith M. Lieu and Martinus C. de Boer (Oxford University Press, 2018)

THE FOLLOWING FACULTY CONTRIBUTED TO THIS VOLUME God’s Two Words: Law and Gospel in the Lutheran and Reformed Traditions (Eerdmans Publishing, 2018):


Eugene E. and Nell S. Fincke Graduate Professor of Systematic Theology

The Gospel in the Lutheran Tradition

DR. ERIK HERRMANN Associate Professor of Historical Theology

A Lutheran Response to the Reformed Tradition


Seminarian receives prestigious FASPE fellowship Fourth-year seminarian Jess Biermann was recently selected for the 2019 Seminary Program of the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE).

Jess Biermann

fellows across five programs who were chosen through a competitive process. Biermann graduated in May with a Master of Divinity and has begun pursuing a Master of Sacred Theology from the Seminary. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a concentration in applied ethics from Taylor University in Upland, Ind.

Biermann was selected from about 200 applicants from across the world to receive one of 14 available fellowships. The fellows will participate in a two-week program set in Germany and Poland, including a visit to the site of the infamous Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp. Biermann joins a diverse group of 70 FASPE

Biermann is the third Concordia Seminary student to be chosen for the fellowship program.

Seminary receives communications awards 1


ACP BEST IN CLASS: AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE Seminary Publication Concordia Seminary magazine

Public Relations or Marketing Campaign Library Grand Opening 2018

Social Media, Event Promotion, Marketing Campaign or Brand Awareness Library Grand Opening 2018





Concordia Journal

SPECIFIC CATEGORIES CONTEST Online Media Concordia Journal

Social Media, Event Promotion, Marketing Campaign or Brand Awareness Theological Symposium 2018


Podcast - Word and Work: An Intersection

Integrated Communications

2018–19 academic year theme: Here am I! Send me



Concordia Seminary received 10 awards from the Associated Church Press (ACP) and the Evangelical Press Association (EPA) during the organizations’ spring conventions and awards ceremonies.



EPA HIGHER GOALS CONTEST Two-Page Spread Design Concordia Seminary magazine, The journey to Seminary life


Raj honored at retirement celebration Dr. Victor Raj retired from the faculty at the close of the 2018–19 academic year after 24 years of service. As the Buehner–Duesenberg Professor of Missions, Raj served as a professor of Exegetical Theology and assistant director of the Seminary’s Institute for Mission Studies.

Dr. Victor Raj. Photo: Courtney Koll

Raj was recognized in chapel May 15 and then honored by fellow faculty members, staff, students and family members at a reception immediately following in Koburg Hall. A graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis with both a Doctor of Theology and Master of Sacred Theology, Raj also holds a master’s degree from Gurukul Lutheran Theological College in Chennai (formerly Madras) and a bachelor’s degree from Kerala University in Trivandrum, both in India. In addition to his Seminary work, Raj has served as a member of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Commission on Organizations; guest professor at Lutheran Theological Seminary and Training Center in Baguio City, Philippines; and guest lecturer at Gurukul Lutheran Theological College. Since 1995, Raj has served as editor of Lutheran Mission Matters (formerly Missio Apostolica), the journal of the Lutheran Society for Missiology. Before joining the Seminary, Raj served as a parish pastor in India and held positions in the India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC), including as director of the IELC’s Renewal Program. He is a former president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Nagercoil, India, and represented India on the International Lutheran Council. He previously served on the faculty of Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, as professor and theology department chairman.

“Dr. Victor Raj has served our Seminary and church body in a very distinctive and influential way,” said Dr. David Peter, dean of faculty and professor of Practical Theology. “Exegetical accuracy, theological faithfulness, intercultural insight and missional zeal intersect in his teaching and practice. He has brought to Concordia Seminary’s faculty and students a perspective from the global East and South that is vital to mission in the 21st century. His warm and winsome personality and Christlike character have endeared him to us all.”

SEPT. 20 | 6:30 P.M.

SEPT. 21 | 6:30 P.M.

The Liberty Center Sedalia, MO

Good Shepherd Lutheran School Pekin, IL

For more information, please visit: CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 29




2019 Theological Symposium $160 REGISTRATION FEE CSL.EDU/SYMPOSIUM



5 Fall Lay Bible Institute














Rev. Warren Lattimore, president of the LCMS Black Clergy Caucus and pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, New Orleans, La., gives the homily during the Celebratory Service with Holy Communion April 25. Photo: Jill Gray

Dr. Abjar Bahkou, associate professor of Practical Theology, delivers the keynote address. Photo: Jill Gray

Kaye Wolff, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League’s vice president of special focus ministries, gives a presentation during the Festival of Nations. Photo: Jill Gray

Nokukhanya “Noks” Shabalala, Seminary student, leads a sectional entitled “Ubuntu: Honor and Place at the Table.” Photo: Jill Gray

More than 250 pastors, deaconesses, lay leaders, faculty and students attended the 2019 Multiethnic Symposium April 25–26. With the theme “Shame and Honor: Gospel Proclamation in the Majority World,” presentations and breakout sessions sought to foster understanding of an honor-shame culture, as well as raise awareness that people whom the church is trying to reach with the Gospel come from an honor-shame culture, including here in North America.

America that is rapidly increasing in cultural and ethnic diversity,” said Rev. Kou Seying, symposium planning committee chairman.

“This is a time to celebrate, affirm and validate each other’s ministry as we, the church, together embrace the 21st-century

Dr. Abjar Bahkou, associate professor of Practical Theology, delivered the keynote address. Rev. Warren Lattimore, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Orleans, La., and president of the LCMS Black Clergy Caucus, preached at the Celebratory Service with Holy Communion. In addition to multiple break-out sessions, attendees were treated to a Festival of Nations and morning services that included the joyous sounds of a Sudanese choir.


gift set heart





Rev. Ben Griffin, left, prays during a service at Woodbury Lutheran Church. Photo: Courtesy Rev. Ben Griffin

“He loves life and the One who created it.” That’s the last line on Rev. Ben Griffin’s online bio and one that succinctly describes the passion of Griffin, a 2003 Concordia Seminary graduate who now serves as executive director of Lutheran Inter-City Network Coalition (LINC) Twin Cities in Saint Paul, Minn. LINC is a Houston-based, faith-driven nonprofit organization with locations in five cities across the United States, including Saint Paul. LINC Twin Cities trains leaders, starts new ministries aimed at unreached and marginalized people, and brings the region together in prayer. The organization is a Recognized Service Organization of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Griffin says he is first and foremost a Jesus follower. “LINC is certainly a fit for my gift set and my heart,” says Griffin, a married father of three teenagers. “Each one of my calls has grown into a new one and blessed me with new opportunities.” A native of West Bend, Wis., Griffin began his pastoral ministry career as the outreach/missions pastor at Woodbury Lutheran 32


Church in Saint Paul, where he was first called from the Seminary in 2003. It was while serving at Woodbury that he saw a need to reach more people in the community with the Gospel. That knowledge guided his efforts in 2007 to plant a new church, theAlley Church in nearby Cottage Grove. Under his leadership, that ministry, in turn, has since planted two new daughter churches.



His track record of successfully planting churches was the backdrop for Griffin being named as the LINC Twin Cities executive director in 2017. He wasn’t looking for a new role, but a friend recommended him. While sorry to lose him as their pastor, his church members recognized his calling as a match for LINC. His passion for community involvement and planting new churches made for a natural transition from the church to LINC. “Leadership development and pastoral training are at the core of LINC,” Griffin says. “We focus on raising up leaders who can reach people in their communities with the Gospel, develop new ministries and plant new churches.”

and hopes to expand the Oromo ministry to other area churches. “LINC Twin Cities is an integral part of the city,” says Carl Johnson, one of Griffin’s mentees who hopes to become an ordained pastor some day. “They have helped many of us in two ways: empowered us to be leaders in the city and partnered with us to make disciples among the marginalized.” A key component of reaching marginalized people, Griffin says, is identifying and addressing the issues and challenges they face. One common problem they face is food deserts. With LINC’s support, Johnson has spearheaded a dinner and prayer program in the community and created a small, low-cost grocery store

He notes that planting churches requires patience because many new leaders emerge from within their communities. These leaders, while already passionate about the Gospel, require formal training to enable them to properly shepherd those in their midst. Through its Bible Institute, LINC provides foundational biblical training from experienced practitioners, as well as prerequisite classes needed for seminary training. With Griffin’s guidance and assistance, several men have transitioned to various pastoral formation tracks available through the Seminary, including the Ethnic Immigrant Institute Rev. Ben Griffin, bottom row third from left, spends some time with a LINC-connected group from of Theology (EIIT), Center for Minnesota while they were at the Best Practices for Ministry conference in Phoenix earlier this year. Hispanic Studies (CHS), Photo: Courtesy Rev. Ben Griffin Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program and the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Program. stocked with the fresh, healthy and affordable food that can be hard to find in some urban areas. “These programs provide future pastors and deaconesses theologically grounded and confessionally sound training Additionally, collaborating with several churches, LINC plans that enables them to lead all of God’s children with a strong to open a restoration house in the Twin Cities for victims of Gospel-centered message,” says Dr. John Loum, director of the sex trafficking. Specifically designed to train leaders and their teams to connect with unreached and under-resourced EIIT Program. communities, the Twin Cities Metro School of Church Esperanza, a summer camp at New Creation Lutheran Church in Planting represents another important LINC program that Shakopee, Minn., for example, benefits from LINC’s involvement. Griffin has nurtured. With LINC supporting training for vicar Jorge Gomez, not only “LINC is a wonderful place to be,” Griffin says. “Our work provides does the church now offer a Spanish-speaking ministry, but it a 30,000-foot view in our community of what God is doing also plans to expand its offerings as it reaches out among other across a diversity of people. It is truly a joy bringing together ethnic groups in the area. people and seeing the growing, green edge of God’s church.” Another key member of LINC’s team, Rev. Demelash Yoseph, is a missionary-at-large to the Ethiopian Oromo community in the Lisa Mills is a St. Louis-based freelance writer. Twin Cities. He conducts services at Emmaus Lutheran Church CONCORDIA SEMINARY, ST. LOUIS 33





About 50 years ago, Ron Kabitzke was ready to settle down and hoped to meet a young woman who shared his faith and values. Enter his mother, who met Kathleen and immediately thought Ron and Kathleen might make a good match. She arranged an introduction to find out for sure. In this case, it turned out mother really was right! Ron and Kathleen of Newburg, Wis., recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary. The couple are members of Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church in West Bend, Wis., which frequently helps support pastoral and deaconess students at the Seminary. The Kabitzkes, both now retired, travel frequently to Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) gatherings and conventions and often attend worship services when they’re out of town. During their life journey together, the couple has remained committed to family and faith. “Even when we were just getting started and our kids were young, we saved and went without certain things so we could support the church in whatever way we could,” Ron says. “Through the years, our priorities have remained consistent — family, education and church.” Although interested in attending the Seminary as a young man, Ron pursued a different path. Even so, he committed himself to helping others who were pursuing ministry careers. “I thought if I’m not going into the ministry, I want to help those who are, those who have the calling,” he says. That commitment continues today. While the couple supports the church in many ways, Ron and Kathleen have focused their efforts on students, and Concordia Seminary has been blessed by their gifts and support.

Ron and Kathleen Kabitzke enjoy the vista from Kilauea Crater in Hawaii. Photo: Courtesy the Kabitzkes



The couple has supported international students in need and enjoyed fellowship with others from all around the world. They want to help ensure the LCMS continues to enhance its global presence.



“We’ve been so impressed by these students from abroad who want to spread the Gospel and decided to help them,” Ron says. “We are blessed and want to pay it forward to the Lord.” As part of their estate planning process, the Kabitzkes recently established a scholarship endowment at the Seminary that is earmarked specifically to help offset tuition costs for international students. While some of these students will return to their home countries to spread the Gospel, others may be called to serve those within one of the many growing ethnic communities in the United States.


Thanks to the generosity of donors, the Seminary is funding operations — including generous amounts of student aid — through current giving and endowment income, with the intent to grow total endowment to $200 million by 2025. The vast majority of the Seminary’s endowments have been established to honor esteemed pastors, faculty or family members. Their earnings have been earmarked to provide student financial aid or support Seminary operations. “Some donors ask whether their gift really makes a difference. The truth is that all gifts — each gift — regardless of the size truly make an impact,” says Vicki Biggs, senior vice president of Seminary Advancement and chief communications officer. “Endowment gifts such as the one the Kabitzkes have provided benefit students for generations to come. Such gifts also support operations, and in so doing, keep the Seminary strong in its mission. We are deeply grateful to the Kabitzkes and all of the Seminary’s many donors, whose gifts — whether large or small — make an impact every day for the sake of the Gospel.”

Remembering the Future and Lighting the Way! You can become a Legacy Society member when you notify the Seminary that you have included the institution in your will or have made other provisions for the Seminary to receive a gift from your estate when you have gone to your eternal home. Please contact us today for testamentary language for including the Seminary in your will or trust.  800-822-5287 

To learn more about establishing a new endowment or contributing to an existing one, contact Seminary Advancement at 800-822-5287 or, or visit Lisa Mills is a St. Louis-based freelance writer.


Non-Profit Org.



ST. LOUIS, MO Permit No. 1058

801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105

30th Annual Theological Symposium

HIGHLIGHTS PLENARIES Dr. David Schmitt Dr. Charles Arand Dr. Timothy Saleska Dr. Bruce Hartung

REFLECTION OPPORTUNITIES Art Reflections 17th/18th Century Devotions Creation Walk Recreation


Sept. 17–18, 2019

REGISTER QUESTIONS? or 314-505-7286

The 2019 Theological Symposium will explore the topic of devotion in all its complexity, (re)forming our devotional lives into lives of devotion. Attendees will walk away refreshed and equipped to encounter the challenges of our contemporary culture with the depths of God’s Word and the breadth of His work.

coming soon!

Learn more about our new app after you register.