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| FALL 2012

The First Generation of Women Graduates PAGE 4

Gifts of Grain PAGE 8

Wartburg Seminary and the Global Church PAGE 10

LifeTogether | Fall 2012


From the President Community and Place

For generations, the people who are Wartburg Theological Seminary have been intentional about learning and living as a community of faculty, staff, and students embodied on a campus in Dubuque. That continues, and we explore new realities in that commitment to embodied community. For decades, at any given time, some 25% of WTS students were away for internship but still linked to the campus. With new programs, the non-resident percentage has been growing and is now almost 50%. Here’s the picture this fall, out of 165 students:

As has been true for a century, the geographic foundation of the WTS community is the marvelous “castle” and the beautiful campus in Dubuque, but the places of this community are also many.

• As is typical, 25 students are on internship. • In a relatively new development, 17 students are in the Master of Divinity Distributed Learning program that combines on-campus and on-line learning, preparing for ordination. • 8 students are in the MA and MA Diaconal Ministry Distributed Learning programs, preparing for consecrated, commissioned and other ministries. • Some 20 students are engaged in the Dubuquebased Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) certificate program, preparing for ordination. • In addition, 9 TEEM students are preparing for ordination through our Austin-based Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest (LSPS). • And, each summer, 20-30 students are away for Clinical Pastoral Education. The Dubuque campus is home base and anchor for the Wartburg Seminary community, and our language reflects that. WTS faculty, staff, alumni, and others often use geographic images—“You’ll


Fall 2012, Vol. 17 No.2

EDITOR: Janelle Koepke, Director for Mission Support and Communication

Wartburg Theological Seminary 333 Wartburg Place PO Box 5004 Dubuque, IA 52004-5004 Phone: 563-589-0200 FAX: 563-589-0229

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PRESIDENT: The Rev. Stanley N. Olson, PhD

MANAGING EDITOR: Jill Kruse, Communication Specialist

DESIGN: Amy Speed, Indigo Design Company

PHOTOGRAPHY: The Rev. Shane Koepke (WTS ‘07)

Life Together is a publication of Wartburg Theological Seminary for our alumni and friends. Permission is granted for additional use in congregations. Founded in 1854 and located in Dubuque, Iowa since 1889, Wartburg Theological Seminary is one of eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

find community here.” “This is a place where worship-centered community undergirds learning.” “This is a great campus for living and learning.” That’s all true, and yet it’s not the whole truth about Wartburg Seminary. The list above illustrates the truth that the WTS community is people—faculty, staff and students in many places. For the good of the church and of WTS, we are thinking, talking, and planning with these larger realities in mind. The WTS Distributed Learning (DL) and TEEM programs have been intentionally designed for community, making good use of the campus base. DL and TEEM students learn on-line, and they are often on campus for intensive weeks and weekends. MDiv DL students will spend their final year on campus. Experience is showing us that for these non-resident WTS people also, the on-campus time grounds the reality of community, a community that is also nurtured online. As one way to reflect this reality, beginning this year, all students, including TEEM, DL, and LSPS are listed and pictured in the WTS directory. Conversely, WTS is finding new ways to engage the other communities where students do live and worship. There are mentoring programs to encourage reflection with the local pastor and community connections in that congregation. For DL students there are on-line forums to build community among those in the programs. LSPS has this commitment in Austin. As has been true for a century, the geographic foundation of the WTS community is the marvelous “castle” and the beautiful campus in Dubuque, but the places of this community are also many. I’m told that Dubuque is home to the

MISSION STATEMENT Wartburg Theological Seminary serves Christ’s church through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by being a worship-centered community of critical theological reflection where learning leads to mission and mission informs learning. The community embodies God’s mission by stewarding resources for engaging, equipping, and sending collaborative leaders who interpret, proclaim and live the gospel of Jesus Christ for a world created for communion with God and in need of personal and social healing.

contents | motherhouses of five orders of Roman Catholic sisters. Perhaps we can think of this campus as a parent-house for all of us who value worshipcentered community for life and learning, whether or not we ever live long-term in Dubuque. Wartburg Seminary is always people, gathered and sent for the sake of God’s mission.

FALL 2012

2 President’s Message 4 First Generation of Women Graduates 6 Prisoners Are People Too 8 Supporting WTS with a Gift of Grain 9

Helping Youth Catch Faith

10 WTS and the Global Church 11 Dr. Dan Olson Retires

In this issue of Life Together you will find appreciative lists representing the many people who honor Wartburg Theological Seminary with financial support. Thank you, to all who give so generously! Please join me in thanking God for all who make possible the fruitful work of this farflung, worship-centered community of learning!

13 Faculty and Staff Updates 14 Alum Notes

on the cover MA Diaconal First Year Student Shannon Johnson studies outside on a

Stanley N. Olson

beautiful fall day.


fall campus snapshots |

Fall Tower by Laurel Duncan, MDiv Junior; Ropes Course by Mary Wiggins, MDiv Middler; Children Grape Stomping by Karen Murphy, Student Spouse; Luther Through Glass by Karen Ressel, MDiv Middler

LifeTogether | Fall 2012


Wartburg Past and Present:

The First Generation of Women Graduates BY TAMI GROTH MA Diaconal Ministry Student

“ Am I singing in such a way that all the voices can be heard?” is a question that Rev. Andrea DeGrootNesdahl (WTS ’77) first asked herself while a Wartburg seminary student, and a question that she continues to ask herself today.

REV. PHYLLIS ANDERSON (WTS ’77) Current Position: President, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary Previous Roles: Associate Dean of the School of Theology and Ministry, Seattle University, 2001–2004; Director of the Institute for Ecumenical Theological Studies, 1998–2004; Director for Theological Education of the Division for Ministry, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 1988–1998

“Nobody knew exactly what kind of support women needed, but Wartburg really was a healthy environment for figuring that out.” REV. PHYLLIS ANDERSON

L ifeTogether || Fall Fall2012 2012 44 LifeTogether

Because of the dominating male voices when DeGroot-Nesdahl was attending Wartburg, she learned to hold musical notes longer while singing in chapel so that a female voice could be heard as well. After being elected the second woman Bishop of the ELCA, when she walked into the Conference of Bishops as one of only two women, she wondered again if her voice would be heard. Today, DeGroot-Nesdahl continues to use that metaphor and listen for voices that may not be included at the table. Wartburg Theological Seminary has a strong history of preparing leaders for the church. For many years that history did not include women. After the ALC voted that women be eligible for call and ordination in 1970, women came to study at Wartburg Seminary. The first woman, Carol Olson, graduated from Wartburg Seminary in 1975. Many more women followed. At first the number of women was small but by the fall of 1982, 50 women had received a degree from Wartburg and 50 were then currently students. Today the ratio of male students to female students is nearly even. The recent election of Wartburg Seminary graduate, Rev. Shelley Wickstrom (WTS ‘86), as Bishop of the Alaska Synod, gives the Wartburg community opportunity to pause, reflect and celebrate the varied leadership roles of these first women graduates. Many of the first women graduates have paved the way for future generations and held positions of leadership within the ELCA while doing so. Both the first and second women elected as bishops in the ELCA were Wartburg graduates. Rev. April Ulring Larson (WTS ’78) was elected in 1992 in the La Crosse Area Synod and Rev. Andrea DeGroot- Nesdahl (WTS ’77) was elected in 1995 in the South Dakota Synod. Since women have been ordained they have served as leaders of churchwide organizations and units, synods, large and small congregations, and Rev. Shelley Wickstrom was installed as Bishop of the Alaska Synod at Central Lutheran Church in Anchorage on Saturday, September 1, 2012.

other ministries throughout the church. In higher education, Rev. Phyllis Anderson (WTS ‘77) serves as President of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. She is the first woman to serve as president of a seminary of the ELCA. Ulring Larson said, “It is such credit that the first two ELCA woman bishops, first woman to be president of one of our ELCA seminaries, and the first woman to head ELCA Global Mission (Dr. Bonnie Hagedorn Jensen, WTS ‘80) were all Wartburg Seminary graduates. Wartburg had and continues to have a strong sense of justice and of leading the way.” Many women experienced challenges throughout their seminary experience. The very first women had no women mentors and only male faculty and while the faculty members were supportive of the ordination of women, many hadn’t yet discovered how to fully engage the presence of women in the classroom. “There were just so few of us [women], so any observation, any comment that we presented was quickly generalized to the whole. I wasn’t used to having to answer for my whole gender,” said DeGroot-Nesdahl.

Leading worship was also a new opportunity for the first women. Ulring Larson shared, “The first time I heard a woman preach was when I heard the sound of my own voice.”

REV. ANDREA DEGROOTNESDAHL (WTS ’77) Current Position: Synod Minister, Southwestern Minnesota Synod Previous Roles: Coordinator for the ELCA Malaria Campaign Bishop of the South Dakota Synod, 1995-2007 (Second woman elected Bishop of an ELCA synod)

Wartburg Seminary prepared the women for leadership but many waited more than a year for a first call after graduating because the church wasn’t ready for them. Anderson described the difficulty of learning how to speak for her gender while also being highly visible. “There was the challenge of being the first woman to do this or that and of people wanting you and never knowing if it was because you had something to offer or because they needed a woman,” said Anderson. Bishop Wickstrom, one of the first 100 women at Wartburg Theological Seminary, recalls the importance of Wartburg and the women who preceded her both in her pastoral formation but also in her early years in ministry. Dr. Norma Cook Everist came to Wartburg to teach in 1979 and was the only female professor at an ALC seminary at the time. Everist was also the first, and in many cases the only, role model for many of the women studying or serving in ministry. “For me the way that Norma served as the only woman was helpful to me when I was the only clergy woman in Alaska for five years. I was the token woman in many situations,” said Wickstrom. Dr. Norma Cook Everist shared thoughts about what made Wartburg unique at a time when women were just being welcomed at seminaries. “From the very beginning community was important. Wartburg prepared women and men to know the issues and be collaborative partners in ministry together. It isn’t and never has been about being in competition with one another but working together for the good of all,” said Everist. Wickstrom came to Wartburg as a student in the fall of 1982 and appreciated that collaboration. “I really cherish the relationships I had with all students; we were allowed to be really honest with struggles and joys and that was very valuable” said Wickstrom. When sharing how Wartburg prepared her for ministry Anderson talked about the community that continues to define Wartburg, “I felt respected and surrounded by a company of people in all their uniqueness and strangeness who were respected too. Nobody knew exactly what kind of support women needed, but Wartburg really was a healthy environment for figuring that out. I think as a woman at Wartburg in the late 70s I felt I was treated as new and strange, but kind of a gift, and I didn’t have to fight for my place and I think that has contributed to a whole generation of leaders from Wartburg. Wartburg also prepared me for leadership and ministry by grounding me in the primary identity of being a pastor.” DeGroot-Nesdahl believes that the formative community at Wartburg impacted the opportunities she was privileged to have in her ministry and life. While she did learn to sing loudly during her time at Wartburg, it is the lesson and awareness of remembering to hear all of the voices at the table that she continues to reflect upon. DeGroot-Nesdahl said, “I never forget that analogy. Am I singing in such a way that all the voices can be heard?”

REV. APRIL ULRING LARSON (WTS ’78) Current Position: Senior Pastor at First Lutheran Church in Duluth, MN Previous Roles: Bishop La Crosse Area Synod, 19922008 (First woman elected Bishop of an ELCA synod) Assistant to the Bishop Southeastern Minnesota Synod, 1989-1992

REV SHELLEY WICKSTROM (WTS ’86) Current Position: Bishop of the Alaska Synod Previous Roles: Region 1 Coordinator for Missional Leadership, 2007-2012 Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Bozeman, MT 1999-2007 LifeTogether | Fall 2012


Prisoners Are People Too

It’s not exactly the case that ELCA Lutherans don’t care whether incarcerated prisoners are visited and cared for. Most of us just hope the “experts” (the prison chaplains) will take care of that for us.

John Everts Lytton, Iowa

At least one Lutheran layperson is demonstrating that ministry to the imprisoned need not — and, perhaps, ought not — be left to specialists. Seventythree-year-old John Everts has set a pattern for his fellow church members to admire — and to emulate. This modest, thoughtful Lutheran farmer from tiny Lytton, Iowa (population 320) has been working effectively in prison ministry for decades.


Everts attended a Lay Academy at Wartburg in the mid-1960s. Four faculty members made an impression on him — William Weiblen, Durwood Buchheim, Wayne Stumme and William Streng.

Streng got the message. And so did Everts. He went home from Dubuque with a conviction that Christian faith needs to take legs and go somewhere. Before long he got an opportunity to apply faith to daily living. Something else happened after he returned home. Everts became involved in a weekend study/ discussion/prayer immersion retreat called “Brothers in Blue.” Here’s how he describes it: “There are 15-20 clergy and lay people who go into a prison gymnasium. They put on a threeday retreat. The weekend is built around 15 talks given about basic Christianity. The goal is to get 20-35 inmates to take part. Worship, prayer, Holy Communion and free time give the participants opportunity to ask questions and experience Christian fellowship. It is amazing to see the changed attitudes of so many men attending these weekends.”

ABOVE John Everts, back row, fifth from left, stands behind his wife, Marge. She’s seated in the middle row, third from left. The photo was taken at the Rockwell City prison at a banquet for volunteers. The men wearing orange are inmates, members of The Damascus Road Congregation.

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Everts attended a Lay Academy at Wartburg in the mid-1960s. Four faculty members made an impression on him — William Weiblen, Durwood Buchheim, Wayne Stumme and William Streng.

There are two prisons near Everts’ home — one in Rockwell City, Iowa, the other in Fort Dodge. The Fort Dodge facility got a new building but provided no funding for prison chaplaincy. Lutherans in several nearby congregations decided to fill the gap. A Lutheran pastor was called to serve prisoners at both facilities. They called the new two-point parish “The Church of the Damascus Road, The Inmates’ Congregation.” Area congregations raised funds for the salary.

“I never went to college,” Everts explains. “It wasn’t easy understanding some of what they shared there. Dr. Streng had asked us to read his book, In Search of Ultimates, before we arrived. When I got there I told him, ‘I tried to read your book. I got to page 20 and quit. With all due respect, you need to make it simpler.’”

That addressed the need for pastoral care inside the walls. But what happens when the prisoners are released? Says Everts, “We became aware that released prisoners couldn’t re-integrate into society. Many ended up back in prison. So we organized ‘after care,’ which consists of mentoring groups for those already out of prison.”

The beginnings of John Everts’ daily life ministry evolution can credibly be traced to a visit to Wartburg Theological Seminary.

“ We became aware that released prisoners couldn’t re-integrate into society. Many ended up back in prison. So we organized ‘after care,’ which consists of mentoring groups for those already out of prison. ” JOHN EVERTS

Several congregations in the neighborhoods near the two prisons agreed to develop mentoring teams, usually consisting of 5-7 volunteers each. Everts’ congregation was among the first to get involved. Welcoming an ex-convict into a tight-knit German Lutheran town in western Iowa can be a challenge. Everts was equal to it. “We have a commercial plant in Lytton that grinds up animal bones and makes a product that’s shipped all over the world. We were able to convince the owner to employ some of the released prisoners.” But getting an ex-convict a job is only the beginning. “They have no driver’s license and no automobile. They need an address. We work with parole officers to get the ID information that’s required.” They also needed a place to live, and furniture. And, Everts was convinced, they needed a place to worship. He turned to his own faith community, Immanuel-St. John Lutheran. “My congregation took some time warming to our mentoring ministry,” he admits. “I worship with the ex-prisoners. When I told the members of my congregation we were bringing in an ex-offender, there were not all smiles in the pews.” But the German Lutherans of Lytton, Iowa, learned to welcome the stranger. And, when Everts appealed for furniture for the newcomer’s apartment, they stepped up. “I remember one Sunday, as the organist was beginning the postlude, I interrupted it. I got up and announced that we needed a queen-sized bed.”

prisoners not involved in such a group, 80% end up back in prison. Everts could have retired years ago, but he’s not ready for that. He still grows crops, and he isn’t quitting on the ex-prisoner mentoring program anytime soon. He regularly spreads the word about Church of the Damascus Road and the mentoring program. He speaks in any congregation that invites him to come, along with service clubs and other organizations whose members are interested. “Right from the start, I could see this was a different sort of ministry,” he says. “It’s what God wants us to do.” Had it not been for participation in a Lay Academy at Wartburg Seminary, it’s a ministry that may well never have found one of its most steadfast champions. Sherer is editor emeritus of Metro Lutheran Newspaper, a Twin Cities monthly independent pan-Lutheran publication. A 1967 graduate of Wartburg Theological Seminary, he is retired and living in Waverly, Iowa.

Re-entry After Care Ministry If you are still inside prison: Have you accepted full responsibility for the bad choices you made in the past and the hurt you have caused? Are you committed to a lifetime of recovery from any addictions? Have you set reasonable and realistic goals for the future? Are you already working to achieve those goals? Do you realize that you still need some help adjusting to life in the free world?

The postlude resumed. Before he got out of the church building that Sunday morning, someone had approached him with an offer of an entire bedroom set.

Do you have an outdate between six and 24 months from now?

Everts usually convinces the newcomers to attend small group gatherings at Immanuel-St. John. “When these guys come to adult Bible class, things can get really exciting,” he says.

Do you wish to stop crime and cut prison costs?

What difference does the mentoring program really make? Everts estimates that among those ex-

If you are in the community:

LifeLong Learning events offered and hosted by Wartburg Theological Seminary: January 2013 Jan 9-16 Youth & Family Ministry Certification School at Lutherhill Bible Camp Jan 24 Tri-State Forum Dr. Karoline Lewis

February 2013 Feb 8 Financial Workshop for Clergy

March 2013 Mar 3-5 Rural Ministry Conference Mar 9-11 Conference on Ministry Mar 22 Financial Workshop for Clergy

April 2013 Apr 18 Tri-State Forum Dr. Craig Satterlee TBD Three Year Reunion

May 2013 May 22-23 Women of the ELCA Bible Study

June 2013 June 17-27 Luther Academy of the Rockies Meeker Park Lodge, Allenspark, CO

Is there enough love in your life to include one more person?

Can you dare to welcome a stranger with mercy and kindness?

For complete lecture descriptions and registration visit our website and choose the LIfeLong Learning Tab.

Do you have the resources of time and energy to invest in a new relationship?

Would you like a healthier community?

We can do this together!

LifeTogether | Fall 2012


We, as farmers, have been given bounty beyond what might have been expected. A portion of this bounty is given so that the work of “forming valued leaders” might be continued long into the future. PHIL AND SHARRON KNOX BREWSTER, KS

Farmers Phil and Sharron Knox of Brewster, Kansas chose to support Wartburg Seminary through a gift of grain. They have advice for other farmers who might be in a position to do the same: “Wartburg Seminary has proven its ability to produce the highest quality of pastoral leadership for our local churches. The need to educate the next generation of leaders for our church continues, but both the seminary and individual students face financial pressures. We, as farmers, have been given bounty beyond what might have been expected. A portion of this bounty is given so that the work of ‘forming valued

leaders’ might be continued long into the future. God gives generously to his people and we are ensuring that his work will go forward beyond this current time. In this country, charitable giving is encouraged and the payment of tax is not required on the portion of income given away. However, the itemized deduction process sometimes cannot be utilized by farmers. By the direct gift of grain, the income receipt is avoided and all tax upon the farmer is negated. We strongly encourage the gift of grain directly to Wartburg Seminary.” For more information about providing for the future of Wartburg Seminary through the gift of grain, please contact: Len Hoffmann, Vice President for Mission Support, at 563-589-0322 or

Gifts to the Wartburg Seminary Fund help to support the daily life of Wartburg Theological Seminary including support for student scholarships, classroom resources, technology and excellent faculty.

Please support the annual fund by making a gift today using the enclosed envelope or online at

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Your gift… Forms leaders to be sent out into the world… To preach the Gospel of Christ to a world in need… To build communities of God’s faithful people… To compassionately share God’s love…

All because of your gift.

Associate in Ministry Helping Youth “Catch” Faith The website for Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pasadena, Texas summarizes the philosophy behind the congregation’s approach to youth ministry when it says, “We strongly believe that faith is caught rather than taught and that mentoring and providing an atmosphere of love and grace is our key work.” Ben Remmert, Associate in Ministry at Peace Lutheran, is one of those working hard to ensure the youth at his congregation “catch” the faith. Ben Remmert is a graduate of Wartburg Theological Seminary; he received an M.A. in 2010 with a concentration in Youth, Mission and Culture. Today, at Peace Lutheran, Remmert serves as the Director of Youth and Family Ministry and works with the education program where he directs the Sunday School classes of children, youth, and adults and is responsible for teaching and implementing Confirmation ministry. Previously, Remmert served as Youth Minister at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Dubuque, Iowa. He also served 14 summers in Day Camp Ministry at Kinsmen Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas and as Youth and Family Intern with TX LA Gulf Coast Synod and Kinsmen Lutheran Church.

Remmert believes Wartburg prepared him well for ministry and gave him experience that would later prove to be invaluable. “While at Wartburg,” Remmert reflects, “I worked closely with peers in ministry and worked with professors that guided me in my education in youth and family ministry. I was able to get field work experience while attending school by serving in the Youth Room, serving at the local YMCA, and working with a local congregation.” The experience gained at Wartburg is being put to good use in Pasadena as Remmert directs a youth and family ministry that is thriving and growing in both size and impact. The Senior High ministry and Sunday School ministry at Peace Lutheran have increased in size by 50% in the past year. The youth and family “Noisy Offering” (loose change collection) has already raised over $800 in three months for local community organizations and the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Remmert highlights another example of youth engagement in his congregation, “Last summer we trained the camp staff for our Senior High Camp Hope Day. We had a group of 13 youth. After the training event, we grew together as a community and since the Day Camp, our Senior High youth department has developed a strong bond and renewed sense of call to proclaiming the gospel to the community.”

Ben Remmert (WTS ’10) and youth at Camp Hope Day.

ABOVE Ben Remmert (WTS ’10) and a group from his congregation at the Gulf Coast Recovery Event, helping with clean up after Hurricane Isaac.

“ We strongly believe that faith is caught rather than taught and that mentoring and providing an atmosphere of love and grace is our key work.” PEACE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH

True to Peace Lutheran’s belief that “faith is caught, not taught,” for the youth in Remmert’s congregation, faith seems to be something that is catching on. LifeTogether | Fall 2012


Wartburg Seminary and the Global Church

Romania Algeria Namibia U.S./Mexico Borderlands Madagascar Germany Papua New Guinea Iceland Norway Golan Heights, Syria Uganda Columbia

The flags lining the refectory of Wartburg Theological Seminary represent the many countries from which students have come to study at Wartburg. Wartburg’s Papua New Guinea Museum shares the story of a long history of sending graduates as missionaries. And, more than 20 years ago Wartburg played a very significant role in the fight for Namibia’s Independence. The international emphasis and presence at Wartburg Seminary spans decades and is central not only to the culture of Wartburg but also in the formation of leaders who will serve the church. Master of Divinity Intern, Matt Barnhouse said, “Wartburg has significantly contributed to my understanding that the church is bigger than one denomination, bigger than one congregation, and even bigger than one country. I know that this has shaped the way I will one day lead a congregation.” The Center for Global Theologies has contributed to this understanding for Barnhouse and many other students. Barnhouse served as a student assistant last year with the Center’s Director, Dr. Winston Persaud (WTS ‘77). The mission of the Center for Global Theologies is to focus the commitments of Wartburg Theological Seminary to the global mission of the church, and to infuse those commitments into the programs and policies of the institution. Barnhouse admits that his global perspective was limited prior to coming to seminary. Last year as a student assistant for the Center for Global Theologies he had the opportunity to interact with

“ Wartburg has significantly contributed to my understanding that the church is bigger than one denomination, bigger than one congregation, and even bigger than one country. I know that this has shaped the way I will one day lead a congregation.”

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Matt Barnhouse, Master of Divinity Intern serving in Cheyenne, Wyoming for the 2012-2013 academic year.

or encounter people from 15 different countries. Barnhouse said, “Not only did I get to meet them but also network and gain an understanding about what church looks like in Madagascar or Iceland, places I never thought in a million years I would go or meet people from.” Barnhouse continued his expression of gratitude for the Center for Global Theologies when he said, “Growing up here in the United States you kind of have the idea that we are the center of everything. Interacting with people from all over the world and hearing their perspectives has really shaped my ideas and understanding about the global church.” As an additional bonus the entire Barnhouse family, wife Heather and four children, have expanded their world view. Matt said, “When I was called to explore seminary we visited Wartburg and knew that it was the right place for our family. The residential community is what attracted us. Because of that our whole family has broadened our thinking about the world. Our next door neighbors last year were from Norway and they became like family. It’s priceless as a parent to have your kids see that the world is a much bigger place.” The Center’s mission is to connect people to various aspects of the global church. This happens in a variety of ways and sometimes unexpected ones too. Barnhouse shared, “We had an Islamic scholar here this spring and after his presentation he asked if there was a space to pray. There were four or five in the group and in the grass out on the quad, by our statue of Martin Luther, they knelt facing Mecca. That’s what the CGT mission is all about. When students are exposed to things like this it can change you and open your understanding of what it means to be church.”

Dr. Dan Olson Retires

From the year he began teaching at Wartburg Seminary in 1981, Dr. Dan Olson’s classes were a favorite among students.

Celebrating 31 Years of Service to Wartburg! “ It’s inconceivable to me that there would have been a place where I could have spent my working years that would have given me the excitement and joy of the challenge and encouragement that I found at Wartburg, so I just want to say ‘Thanks.’” DR. DAN OLSON Dr. Dan Olson at Commencement 2012.

“He was a great adviser, teacher, and example of gospel preaching to me,” reflects Rev. Martin Lohrmann (WTS 2004), when describing his former Wartburg Seminary professor, Dr. Dan Olson. “What I learned most from Dr. Olson,” adds Rev. Lohrmann, “was how a good knowledge of the Bible can serve all aspects of ministry: preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and hands-on work in the world. He sprinkled the scriptures into his conversations, his lectures, and his sermons, so that I got a sense from him how God’s word can take hold of us and give us new eyes for seeing.” Rev. Lohrmann is not alone in his sentiment. The recent retirement of longtime faculty member Dr. Dan Olson has given the Wartburg Seminary community an opportunity to celebrate his 31 years of service and provided his former students the chance to consider the many ways in which Dr. Olson personally impacted them and their ministry. Dr. Craig Nessan, Wartburg’s Academic Dean, says of that impact, “Through his ministry of teaching, preaching, and pastoral care, Professor Dan Olson served as mentor and guide to students for nearly two generations. Those who have been influenced by his insight and passion will be forever in his debt.” One of the many former students feeling that indebtedness and the lasting effect of Dr. Olson in their ministry is Rev. Rebecca Ninke (WTS ’98). She shares, “Though all my classes at Wartburg were valuable, it has been the insight learned

from Dr. Olson’s lectures that has served me best in moments in parish ministry I could not have predicted. Without his straightforward, grounded teaching of the love of Christ in action, I know I would have navigated those challenging times with less sensitivity. His wisdom was a vital lens through which I saw those to whom I was called to minister.” While Dr. Dan Olson gave much to Warburg and its students, it seems he in turn received much back from the community as well. As the Wartburg campus came together in the Refectory on the morning of September 11, 2012 to honor him and recognize his years of service as a faculty member, Dr. Olson said to the gathered assembly: “It’s inconceivable to me that there would have been a place where I could have spent my working years that would have given me the excitement and joy of the challenge and encouragement that I found at Wartburg, so I just want to say ‘Thanks.’” Showing just how much Dr. Olson’s appreciation is reciprocated, Rev. Ninke summarizes the feelings of 31 years worth of students in her message to Dr. Olson on his retirement: “Thank you for your gift to the church through your years at Wartburg Seminary. All of your students are in your debt. I give thanks to God for you.” At the fall meeting of the Wartburg Seminary Board of Directors, the Board bestowed upon Dr. Olson the title “Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Care.”

Dr. Dan Olson, 1981

“I use the things I learned about grief and loss in his classes all the time as a Pastor. His teaching and wisdom were invaluable!” “I learned things from his Pastoral Care class I’ll never forget.” “The divine authority of Scripture is not its ability to spew timeless truths, but in its ability to hit a moving target” ~ Dr. Dan Olson “He was both a professor and a pastor, never losing touch with life in the parish and real life examples of loss, grief, resurrection.” “Be present, even when everything inside you says to run.” ~ Dr. Dan Olson “When I heard Professor Olson proclaim the importance of identity and the confidence we recieve to carry out God’s mission through our identity in Christ, I liquidated, loaded up the moving truck and went from Salt Lake City to Wartburg Seminary.” LifeTogether LifeTogether || Fall Fall 2012 2012 11


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32nd Annual Rural Ministry Conference March 3 - 5, 2013, Dubuque, Iowa Keynote speaker, Dr. Norman Wirzba, will present “The Spirituality of Eating.” Dr. Wirzba will look at why eating is a spiritual, along with a physiological, agricultural, and economic act. He will present theological sources for practices of eating that witness to the kingdom of God. Dr. Wirzba will also help us think more deeply about food as the expression of God’s love.

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Connect with WTS via Podcasts Go to www.wartburgseminary.

Faculty & Staff Updates Rev. Dr. Samuel Giere, Associate Professor of Homiletics and Biblical Interpretation, will have contributions in two books coming out this fall: a chapter on the film Babette’s Feast in 50 Key Films: Bible and Cinema (London: Routledge), edited by Adele Reinhartz, and the contribution on Hellen Spurrell, the first woman to translate the Old Testament from Hebrew into English, in the Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic), edited by Marion Taylor. Rev. Dr. Craig Nessan, Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology, presented in September at the Eastern North Dakota Synod and again at the South Dakota Synod of the ELCA on the topic “Shalom Church: The Body of Christ as Ministering Community.” He presented at a Southeastern Iowa Cluster Meeting at Bellevue, Iowa on November 4 on the topic “Transforming Leadership.” Dr. Nessan also authored the book, The Vitality of Liberation Theology, published in the series, Missional Church, Public Church, World Christianity, by Wipf & Stock, 2012. Rev. Dr. Len Hoffmann, Vice President for Mission Support, visited recently with donors and alums in Arkansas, Michigan, Texas, and California. He also held a WTS Sunday at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Arcadia, CA.

Rev. Dr. Gwen Sayler, Professor of Bible and Director of Lifelong Learning, was installed as the William A. and John E. Wagner Professor of Biblical Theology on September 26, 2012. Immediately following the rite of installation in Loehe Chapel, Dr. Sayler gave the presentation, “The Bible’s Living Conversation: Why We Need the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.” On October 28, 2012, Rev. Dr. Ann Fritschel, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Director of the Center for Theology and Land, was installed as the Frank L. and Joyce S. Benz Professor in Scripture. Following her installation, Dr. Fritschel presented, “God’s Other People: The Cushites, Philistines and Arameans in the Amos Tradition.” Rev. Dr. Winston Persaud will be installed as the Kent S. Knutson and UELC Professor in Theology and Mission later this academic year.

Online Learning SPRING 2013 Did you know that Wartburg offers a variety of online courses as part of the Distributed Learning Program, as well as the TEEM and Certificate Program? Online courses are also open to others who may not be enrolled in a degree or certificate program but have an interest in theological education or are seeking continuing education. To learn more about these courses visit www. and go to Programs and Courses. Online Masters Degree Courses: Hebrew Bible II Dr. Ann Fritschel and Dr. Gwen Sayler Late Medieval and Reformation History Dr. Elizabeth Leeper Systematic Theology Dr. Duane Priebe Ethics in Lutheran Perspective Dr. Craig Nessan

Online TEEM/Certificate Program Courses: Ethics in Lutheran Perspective Dr. Craig Nessan Engaging the Gospels- Perspectives on Following Jesus Dr. James Bailey Best Practices in Rural Ministry Dr. Paul Baglyos

LSPS TEEM 2013 January Term Old Testament I Dr. Steed Davison, PLTS Spring Pastoral Arts I Dr. Paul Baglyos, ELCA

LifeTogether | Fall 2012


Alum Notes

Wartburg Theological Seminary Submit your updates to be included in Alum Notes. You may mail notes for inclusion to the Mission Support Office Attn: Alum Notes or through the website on the Alumni and Friends tab.

’33 Mrs. Helen Streng, wife of alum and former Wartburg faculty member, Rev. William D. Streng, died May 4, 2012 at the age of 102 in Edina, MN.

’40 Rev. Arthur H. Nickel died July 11, 2012. He served congregations in North Dakota and Minnesota. After retiring 39 years later he continued to serve as a visitation pastor for parishes in Colorado and Minnesota.


Alumni Reunion News

Save the Date! Re-formation and Renewal October 27-29, 2013

All alumni are encouraged to attend, and the following class years will celebrate class reunions: 2008, 2003, 1998, 1993 1988 – 25 Year Reunion 1983, 1978 1973 – 40 Year Reunion 1968 1963 – 50 Year Reunion 1958, 1953, 1948 Note: The 40 and 50 year reunions will also be celebrated at this event. 14 LifeTogether | Fall 2012

Rev. David Herman died February 15, 2011. He served parishes in Cleveland, OH; Houston, TX; San Diego, CA; and Midland, TX. He assisted at other churches in Texas until 2005. He served as chairman on the Commission of Mexican Missions of the American Lutheran Church from 1945 to 1978. He was the chairman of the National Lutheran Council Pastors’ Conference as well as on various committees of the ALC Texas District. He taught various pastor’s groups in areas of Survey of Mental Illness, Congregational Structure and Organization, Values of the Christian Kindergarten, Stewardship, Adult Christian Education, and Evangelism. He also served on the Board of Lutheran Social Services, Committee for Church Research and Survey in the city of Houston. He authored the first urban study book: The City of Houston and Its Churches in 1954. Rev. Erwin Knitt died May 19, 2012. He served Holy Redeemer, Bellflower, CA. He also served parishes in Los Angeles and Tulare, CA; San Marcos, Clifton, Freeport and Damon, TX. He served in prision ministry in Huntsville, TX. Time in the United States Army included chaplaincy assignments in Fort Lewis, WA; Saalfelden, Austria; Mannheim, Germany; and Fort Hood, TX.

’44 Rev. Karl Landgrebe died April 29, 2012. He served St. Peter, Garnavillo, IA; Peace, Clayton, IA; Bethel, Bartonville, IL; Trinity, Oak Lawn, IL; Emanuel, Evansville,

IN; St. John, Waseca, MN. Other services included, chair for transportation – International Luther League Convention-Purdue; Board of Evansville Council of churches; chair of Evansville Ministerium; chair of Radio/ Television Committee and host of the weekly religious TV programs; Vice President of the Illinois District-American Lutheran Church; weekly radio pastor of the Voice of St. John’s; Named chair of Albert Lea Conference – ALC; President of Waseca Ministerial Association; Development Council at Wartburg Seminary; chair Southwest ConferenceIllinois District, ALC; Assisting Chaplain, Christ Hospital, Oak Lawn, IL; after retiring in 1985 he continued part time ministry.

’46 Rev. Fred Mueller died April 13, 2012 in Willmar, MN. He served congregations in Max, ND; Madison, SD; Clara City, Willmar and Mapleton, MN. During his pastoral career, he held numerous elected offices on the conference, district and synod levels including Secretary and Vice President of the Dakota District, Vice President of the Minnesota District, Treasurer of the SW Minnesota Synod and Administrative Assistant in the SW Minnesota Synod.

’50 Rev. Roland Hanselmann died June 18, 2012. He served Hope, Burr, NE; Ruskin Heights, Kansas City, MO; Southwood, Lincoln, NE; Martin Luther Home Society, Beatrice, NE as Vice President for Society Advancement.

’52 Rev. Norlan L. Hanson died March 9, 2012. He served for 50 years in Owatonna, MN; Denver, CO; Simi Valley, CA; San Diego, CA. Rev. Paul C. Johnsen died April 21, 2012. He served in WWII Europe; Missionary to Japan; Assistant Professor of Religion, Dana College; Christ, Orange, CA; taught at California Lutheran Bible School, Los Angeles, CA; Grace, Huntington Beach, CA.

Rev. Gerald Koehler died September 18, 2012. He served as a full-time pastor for 37 years in Lane, Highmore, Selby, Arlington, Colton and Sisseton all in South Dakota. After retirement he served as interim pastor and did supply preaching for 13 years. He supervised seven interns and served on the following synod and state committees, several as chairman: Parish Education, Board of Lutheran Social Services, and Support of Ministries. Rev. Darrell Schultz died July 19, 2012. He served Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, San Francisco, CA. Darrell served parishes in San Francisco, South Gate and King City, CA, and the Scranton, ND and Golden Valley/Dodge, ND American Lutheran and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America parishes. Rev. Aruthr W. Sorensen died July 3, 2012. He served five churches, first in rural Iowa, then Salt Lake City. He began a new mission congregation in Novato, CA called All Saints, where he served for almost 20 years. He then served Ascension, Thousand Oaks, CA and Coastside, Half Moon Bay, CA.

’58 Rev. Dennis A. Falk died May 22, 2012. He served as a missionary in New Guinea from 1958-1963 and St. John, Bridgewater, MI.

’60 Rev. Lowell D. Hohensee died May 12, 2012. He served St. Paul, Yorktown, TX; Salem, Spragueville; Ascension, Goose Lake; Grace, Primghar; St. John’s, Greene; Our Saviors and Faith, Calamus; all in Iowa; New Hope, Hixton, WI.

’61 Rev. Roger Hoppenworth died July 11, 2012. He served St. John’s, Olin; St. Paul and Lake Churches in Renwick; Elvira Zion, Clinton and Rock Creek, Osage, all in Iowa. Mrs. Janet Remmers, spouse of Rev. LeRoy Remmers died October 21, 2011.

’64 Rev. Frederick H Hagen died June 21, 2012. He served East Norway Lake and First Norway Lake, New London, MN; Grace, Elmore, OH; St. Mark’s, Graytown, OH; Bethlehem, Myrtle, MN and Deer Creek Valley, MN.



Rev. Arthur H. Schmitt died April 20, 2012. He served St. John, Halliday, ND; St. John, Dodge, ND; St. Paul, Java, SD; Firth, Volga, SD; Zion, Eureka, SD; Our Savior, Highmore, SD; Ebenezer, Corsica, SD; St. Paul, Stickney, ND; United, Hampton, NE.

Mrs. Phyllis Borleske, wife of Phil Borleske, died February 22, 2012.

’57 Rev. Henry Stolz died May 9, 2012. He served Bethany, Minden, NE; Zion, Aberdeen, SD; administrator-chaplain at American Lutheran Homes, Menomonie and Mondovi, WI; administrator-chaplain at Good Shepherd Lutheran Home, Blair, NE; Winnebago, Lake Mills, IA. He was active in Rotary, worked with “Chemical Dependency” individuals for 11 years. Rev. Hillard J. Weiss died January 3, 2012. He served Calvary, Santa Ana, CA for over 50 years.

Mr. Carl Jech has published his latest book Spiritual Nonbeliever: Religion As Creative Art Form. The Book contains acknowledgment of Wartburg Seminary and professors, particularly of Bill Weiblen.

’68 Rev. Duane Kamrath, wrote a book, on the topic of war and peace, Wisdom About War and Nonviolence: Helping Lutheran Youth Make a Prayerful and Conscientious Choice.

’70 Rev. James Jensen retired from Director of Pastoral Care at All Saints, Worthington, OH. Rev. William Mantei died June 19, 2012. He served Centennial, Englewood, CO

for 35 years and previously led congregations in Wymore and Omaha, NE.

’75 Rev. Dr. Mark Pries was awarded the Warburg College Alumni Citation in October 2011 in recognition of his spirited service to church and community. He has spent 36 years in service to the ELCA. Most recently, he served Peace, Pella, IA for 20 years before accepting his current call at Zion, Iowa City, IA. Early in his career, he served with his internship mentor and fellow Wartburg alumnus, Rev. John Beem at Holy Trinity, Dubuque, IA. Mark initiated the Dubuque Jail Chaplaincy Program and served on the Dubuque Human Rights Commission. Rev. Vernon Jahnke died July 13, 2012. He served St. Paul’s, DeWitt, NE; First, St. James, NE; Our Savior and Church of the Brethren both in LaVerne, CA.

’81 Rev. Betty L Thompson died February 28, 2012. She served Nazareth, Camridge, IA and as chaplain at Mitchellville Women’s Prison, IA.

Rosalie, NE and Christ the King, St. Peters, MO. She was a former Board Member at Wartburg from 1996-1999, she was also student body president 1990-1991.

’07 Rev. Britt Vickstrom accepted a call at St. James, Bettendorf, IA. She previously served at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Plattsburg, NY.

’09 Rev. Craig Brown was honored by the Corridor Business Journal as one of the outstanding leaders under the age of 40 in the Iowa CityCedar Rapids (Iowa) Corridor in its Oct. 22 issue and at an Oct. 23 awards dinner. Rev. Ann Klavano was ordained June 23, 2012. She has accepted a call through the Global Mission unit of the ELCA serving as a seminary teacher and librarian at Senior Flierl Seminary in Logaweng, Papua New Guinea. Rev. Stephanie Wherry was ordained and installed as pastor at Seeds of Faith, Lisbon, IA, on March 25, 2012.

Rev. Thomas Jones has retired. He previously served Immanuel, Independence, IA.



Rev. Dr. James Nieman was installed as President of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago on October 28, 2012.

’86 Rev. Shelley Wickstrom was elected and installed as Bishop of the Alaska Synod. Rev. Wickstrom was formerly the Ministry Leadership Coordinator for Region 1 of the ELCA. Prior to that she served a parish in Montana and one in Alaska.

’88 Rev. Harold Eppley’s eighth book and first novel, Ash Wednesday, was published by Oconee Spirit Press in February 2012. It takes a comedic and occasionally irreverent look at small town life and the decline of mainline religion in contemporary America.

’91 Rev. Norma J. Vander Meer died August 8, 2012. She served First LC of Jordon, Sterling, IL; Faith, South Beloit, IL; Fellowship, Tulsa, OK; Bethany, Lyons, NE; Immanuel,

Rev. Jo Kinnard was ordained on July 2, 2012. She has accepted a call to Holy Redeemer, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Rev. Charles Underwood was ordained on August 5, 2012 He has accepted a call to Elizabeth, Caldwell, TX.

Rev. Jenna Couch was ordained July 14, 2012. She has accepted a call to Zion Evangelical, La Porte City, IA.

Rev. Marilyn Miller was ordained on June 10, 2012. She has accepted a call to Reformation, Milwaukee, WI.

Rev. Marsha Vollkommer was ordained on September 22, 2012. She has accepted a call to Grace Episcopal, Galena, IL.

Rev. Christopher Deines was ordained on June 23, 2012. He has accepted a call to St. Matthew’s, Butler, MO.

Rev. Roberta Pierce was ordained on July 15, 2012. She has accepted a call to Zion, Fairview, MT.

Rev. Mark Doidge was ordained on August 26, 2012. He has accepted a call to Holy Communion, Racine, WI.

Rev. Dr. Mamy Ranaivoson was ordained on July 14, 2012. He has accepted a call to Trinity, Topeka, KS.

Rev. Cindy Warmbier-Meyer was ordained on June 21, 2012. She has accepted a call to be Assoc. Pastor at Calvary, Green Bay, WI. As an outreach of Calvary, she will also serve as Lead Pastor at Christ Community, Bellevue, WI.

Rev. Bradley Dokken was ordained on August 4, 2012. He has accepted a call to St. Johns, Marion, WI.

Rev. Marilyn Robinson was ordained on September 23, 2012. She has accepted a call to Ascension, Tulsa, OK.

Rev. Dana Helsing was ordained August 18, 2012. He has accepted a call to Christ the King, Goldendale, WA.

Rev. Scott Roser was ordained on June 17, 2012. He has accepted a call to Emmanuel, Strawberry Point, IA.

Rev. Dennis Hill was ordained on June 16, 2012. He has accepted a call to Lord of Love, Galena, IL.

Rev. Paul Schick was ordained on August 26, 2012. He has accepted a call to Trinity, Bismarck, ND.

Rev. Andrew Kayes was ordained on October 28, 2012. He has accepted a call to Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oregon, IL.

Rev. Garrett Siemsen was ordained on August 26, 2012. He has accepted a call to La Casa de Cristo, Scottsdale, AZ.

Rev. Steve Winsor was ordained on June 13, 2012. He has accepted a call to St Paul, Hampton, IA. STUDENT NOTES Jennifer Dahle, submitted the winning homily for the National Workshop on Christian Unity student contest, sponsored by the Lutheran Ecumenical Representatives Network. Jenni was invited to attend the National Workshop on Christian Unity in Oklahoma City and delivered her homily at one of the worship services.

’11 Rev. Kary Jonas was ordained on March 11, 2012. She has accepted a call to Chimney Rock and Grace in the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin.


Rev. Robert Corum was ordained on August 11, 2012. He has accepted a call to Faith, Seward, NE.

Commencement 2012

Rev. Matthew Agee was ordained on June 23, 2012. He has accepted a call to Church of Our Savior, Fond du Lac, WI. Rev. Rita Augsburger was ordained on June 16, 2012. She has accepted a call to Zion, Buffalo Lake, MN. Rev. Cole Bentley was ordained on July 29, 2012. He has accepted a call to United as One Lutheran Parish; Powers Lake, ND. Rev. Jeffery Bergeron was ordained on June 10, 2012. He has accepted a call to Martin Luther Evangelical, Victoria, TX. Rev. Andrew Berry was ordained on June 17, 2012. He has accepted a call to Littlefork, Littlefork, MN. Rev. Marcus Bigott was ordained on June 3, 2012. He has accepted a call to Hutto, Hutto, TX. Rev. Jennie Collins was ordained on June 10, 2012. She has accepted a call to Saint Andrew, Wausau, WI. Rev. Nicholas Collins was ordained on June 29, 2012. He has accepted a call to Hope, Sioux Falls, SD.

Wartburg Seminary honored forty- six degree and certificate candidates at commencement exercises on May 13, 2012. President Stanley N. Olson said of the students who were honored, “These men and women are gracious, gifted, and well prepared to serve Christ’s church. Wartburg Seminary is grateful to have had a role in their formation. I’ve enjoyed getting to know these fine people. It will be a joy to hear their stories of ministry in coming years.” In addition, Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees were awarded to May Burt Persaud and Bishop Dr. Thomas Lip Tet Tsen. The Living Loehe Award was awarded to Dorothy Bowen and Pastor Harold E. Oelschlager.

LifeTogether | Fall 2012


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Upcoming Events: ADVENT AT THE CASTLE December 9th, 2012 TRI-STATE FORUM January 24, 2013 “Preaching Lent in Year C” Dr. Karoline Lewis 32nd ANNUAL RURAL MINISTRY CONFERENCE March 3 - 5, 2013 “Food & Faith” For more information on these events, visit

God’s Mission


Do you know someone who is considering a call to ministry? Encourage them to: 1. Attend Conference on Ministry March 9 - 11, 2013 2. Take our 6-week on-line course Exploring Seminary July 8 - August 16, 2013 3. Consider our Distributed Learning Programs 4. Arrange a Visit to our campus Fill out a Refer a Student Form if you’d like to refer a student to us! Look for the link on the WTS homepage. 16 LifeTogether

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Life Together Magazine