I am writing in response to the April online letter, “Helping Church Workers.”
I agree that the cost of seminary training and the debt accrued from four years of schooling is a hardship for many new pastors entering the ministry. Many of the students at the seminary are coming straight out of an undergraduate program that has most likely already added a large amount of debt to their name, and the added stress of further debt from seminary expenses is hard to undertake. However, I don’t think encouraging the men at the seminary to stay unmarried throughout their schooling is really a good solution to the problem. Being a seminary wife myself, I have received many gains while being a part of the seminary community with my husband. I have grown in my faith and knowledge of what it means to be a Lutheran and how to communicate that to others. Not only has my husband grown in his faith and understanding of the ministry, but I have grown along with him.
There are many transitions and life changes involved with becoming a pastor’s wife, and I feel that spending time at the seminary and participating in the vicarage program with my husband have given me great insight about how to deal with issues in the church and how to communicate better with people. I have also grown in my understanding of the Lutheran faith and how it affects my life.
If not for the experiences and knowledge I gained at the seminary, I feel that I would not be as prepared to enter the ministry field with my husband as I am today, and I would not have had the great opportunity to reassess my faith, life, and practices. I feel now I have a firm foundation that I can build upon and am equipped to help my husband as he transitions from school into the mission field. I think it is good for a seminarian to be able to share his experiences with a spouse even if finances are a greater burden. I hope that someday the Synod will find a way to decrease the overall costs of the seminary and schooling, but I also want to continue to see seminary families growing and thriving.
Name and address withheld by request
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