By Cheryl Magness
A total of 201 students at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (CSL), and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. (CTSFW), received their first calls to pastoral and diaconal ministry and their assignments as vicars and deaconess interns during four services held on the two seminary campuses April 29–30 (CTSFW) and May 1 (CSL).
‘Remember, Christ has died’
CTSFW’s Vicarage and Deaconess Internship Assignment Service was held on April 29 and its Pastoral Ministry Candidate Call Service on April 30. In his sermon at the April 29 service, Iowa District West President Rev. Steven Turner told the new vicars and deaconess interns they should expect to sin and to fail, but that when they do, they can remember Christ’s sacrifice.
“When you feel inadequate, when the words you say are misunderstood, when people react in unkind ways toward you, remember Christ has died,” Turner said. “And this means the sacrifice was complete to cover all sins … your sins and mine. …
“Now I have no expectations that you will remember me tonight or even remember this sermon. … But I am positive that you will remember the content of this sermon.
“Why? Because you’ll speak [it] every time you gather together in worship; every time you confess the creeds of the Church, because Jesus … was truly dead and buried. And He has been raised and He is really alive, which is why at Easter we can say, ‘Christ is risen!'”
At the April 30 service, CTSFW President Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr. told the newly called pastors, “[God] does promise to be with you always, never to leave you or forsake you. … [F]or that be thankful as we are thankful for you and your commitment, which you have shown over these years, now preparing to go forth. It is an honor to be your colleague.”
CTSFW announced assignments for 41 vicar-elects and five deaconess intern-elects, followed by calls for 39 students in the Master of Divinity and Alternate Route programs.
In addition, by the end of the 2018–19 academic year, CTSFW (which places deaconesses on a rolling basis throughout the year) will have placed 11 deaconess candidates.
For a complete listing of CTSFW calls and assignments, or to watch videos of the services, see callday.ctsfw.edu.
‘A lot of learning to do’
CSL held both of its Call Day services on May 1 — Assignment of Vicarages and Internships at 3 p.m., and Assignment of Calls at 7 p.m.
At the 3 p.m. service, 63 vicars and three deaconess interns received their assignments. The pastoral students included one Center for Hispanic Studies student, three Cross-Cultural Ministry Center students and four Residential Alternate Route students.
Nebraska District President Rev. Richard Snow told the students, “As you go out on your internship and as you go out on your vicarage, I hope that you understand that this is not a year to show off what you know but to recognize how much you don’t know and that you have a lot of learning to do. We all tend to slide back to that sinful part of us that goes, ‘I’m the expert.’
“The very essence of a disciple is to be the one that is both teaching and learning.”
At the 7 p.m. service, 40 Master of Divinity students, one Residential Alternate Route student and eight Specific Ministry Pastor Program students were announced. One deaconess student also received a call, and two pastoral students have calls or placements pending.
Speaking to those receiving calls, CSL President Rev. Dr. Dale A. Meyer referenced writings of former LCMS Pacific Southwest District President Rev. Arnold Kuntz, telling the new pastors and deaconess, “Life narrows down and crisis comes and suddenly only one thing matters. And there in the narrow place stands Jesus.
“The sooner we all understand that, the sooner we know it is a great time to be the church and it is a great time to be getting into the ministry. As you go on, remember your seminary. We have for you, a heart.”
For a complete listing of CSL calls and assignments, or to watch videos of the services, see callday.csl.edu.
Church workers needed
As has been the case for a number of years, more churches asked for men than received them: 15 congregations did not receive a vicar and 22 will not receive a candidate.
Both LCMS seminaries offer multiple opportunities throughout the year for youth and adults to visit their campuses and learn about possible careers in church work for both men and women. To find out more, see:
Posted May 30, 2019