Administration officials to speak at deaconess event

Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, will inaugurate its new graduate-level deaconess program Jan. 19 with special events on campus featuring officials of President George W. Bush’s administration.

Jim Towey, deputy assistant to Bush and director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, is scheduled to deliver the keynote address on “the intersection of public and private in the care of the needy,” says a seminary news release.  Tim Goeglein, a Missouri Synod Lutheran who is special assistant to Bush and director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, is scheduled to respond to Towey.

A panel discussion will focus on government’s partnership with the church’s human-care efforts, featuring representatives of the Synod, state and local government, and Fort Wayne-area religious-service organizations. Concluding the day’s event’s are a 3:30 p.m. “service of inauguration” in the seminary chapel, followed by a reception and banquet.

Rev. Matthew Harrison, executive director of LCMS World Relief/Human Care Ministries (co-sponsor of the days’s event, along with the seminary) is scheduled to be the banquet speaker.

The day’s program, which starts with a 7:30 a.m. matins service, is open to the public.  Attendance at the banquet is limited to 250, by ticket only.  To request banquet tickets, write Community Services, Concordia Theological Seminary, 6600 N. Clinton St., Fort Wayne, IN 46825-4996.

The Fort Wayne graduate deaconess program, with nine women currently enrolled, actually began in September.

Last year, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, put a similar program in place. It now has 12 students.

“We have a rich tradition of diaconate ministry dating back to Wilhelm Loehe, one of founding fathers of this seminary,” said Dr. Arthur A. Just Jr., director of the Fort Wayne deaconess program. “This is an excellent outlet for women to use their gifts of caring and demonstrate the mercy and compassion of Christ,” he said.

Just said that the new program was designed to fit into the “regular academic requirements” of the seminary’s master of arts degree in religion.  He added that those in the program will complete a field-work requirement and an internship.

Focused on theological studies and human care, the Fort Wayne deaconess program requires 72 hours of course work — 48 in required courses and 24 in electives.

Just said that the seminary is “working on an agreement” for deaconess students to complete some of their elective courses in the Social Work Department of St. Francis University, also located in Fort Wayne.  He said that the requirements for electives would be waived for women with 30 or more hours of credit in social work or a bachelors-level nursing degree.

For more information or for an application for the seminary’s graduate-level deaconess program, contact Just at (260) 452-2138; .

December 2003

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