Graduates from Over the Years Gather for Food, Fellowship, and Fun
Due to the inability to meet in recent years, this past week, May 18–20, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW) hosted a special All Alumni Reunion, inviting all previous classes to CTSW to retreat, relax, and reconnect.
The Director of Alumni and Church Relations, Rev. Dr. Timothy Puls, was very happy with the CTSFW Golf Outing and all of the other reunion activities. “It was joyful to witness old classmates greet and embrace one another for an alumni reunion. Unlike the last three years, there were not many opportunities for colleagues to catch up and relax. Being able to expand the Alumni Reunion to all graduates allowed many to be encouraged and some from the class of 2020 to be vested at graduation as well.”
Starting Wednesday, alumni and local supporters participated in the CTSFW Golf Outing and Alumni Picnic. Though it looked like rain would complicate the Golf Outing, participants enthusiastically persevered, and a good time was had by all.
Friends and alumni shared positive reports. Rev. Steve Wagner (‘09) of Illinois said, “The golf outing and reception were a true joy. Wonderful fellowship coupled with great memories of days as a student!” Attendee Dwight Nash said, “The whole outing ran like clockwork, extremely well executed.”
Former Indiana District President Rev. Dan May reached out to event organizer Tim Puls with his positive experience. “Even with the rain, it was fun to play a great course with such good company! The event was well organized and even included the senior flight! The picnic was a great time to relax and chat about the day as we caught up on people’s lives!” Former CTSFW President Dean Wenthe noted how the enjoyment more than made up for less than ideal weather. “Impressive was the heroism of everyone playing golf in a steady rain. What fun!”
Finally, the Rev. Dan Sheafer was quick to express how much the fellowship meant. “Playing in the CTSFW 2022 Golf Outing was a fun and enjoyable way to stay connected to the people and place that made my Seminary education possible! Glad to be a part of it this year!”
A picnic of burgers and brats, sponsored by Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), followed at the Alumni Picnic where attendees heard Don Fischer, brother of alumnus Rev. David Fischer (‘74), address the group. Don will begin his 50th year as the voice of Indiana University football and basketball this fall.
On Thursday afternoon there was Gemütlichkeit (a well-loved student tradition) with an Alumni Reception. The number of alumni grew larger on Thursday with varying graduating classes gathering for fun and fellowship. The Upper Plaza by Kramer Chapel was filled with delicious snacks and refreshing libations as alumni laughed about shared experiences with classes and professors. Many noted how funny and endearing it was that, despite how much things seem to have changed, the best things remain the same.
The Alumni Banquet, graciously sponsored by the LCEF, also provided for lively conversation over a delicious meal. The Rev. Jonah Domenichelli spoke on behalf of the class of 2020, back on campus to have the graduation that was denied them by the circumstances surrounding their graduation date. The banquet was also an opportunity for CTSFW to reveal its recent collaboration with Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in the form of a joint promotional video that will be shown at upcoming district conventions.
The evening concluded with an intimate Hymn Sing in Kramer Chapel. There is no feeling quite like singing and hearing well-loved hymns resound in that beautiful setting with brothers and sisters in Christ. It was very meaningful to all who attended.
The last official event of the reunion was the President’s Luncheon between the Baccalaureate service and the Organ Recital. This was the final opportunity for fellowship between long-time friends and colleagues in ministry. President Lawrence Rast Jr. spoke fondly of his days as a student and the number of great servants of Christ he’s known over the years. It was a special treat to have Rev. Dr. Tim Puls’ father, the Rev. Arthur (class of 1962), and his wife, Beth travel from San Diego, California to be here for his 60th Anniversary. Arthur prefaced the opening prayer by remembering classmates who died and have gone before us and then blessed the meal. The microphone was passed around, and plenty of warm feelings, laughter, and good memories filled the room. The Rev. Dr. Daniel May offered a closing prayer.
The reunion concluded on graduation day. Alumni had the chance to enjoy the Baccalaureate service where the Rev. Joel Basely, the father of graduating Seminarian John Basely, preached. After a lovely Organ Recital by Kantor Kevin Hildebrand, the Commencement Ceremony took place.
During the event, the Alumnus of the Year award for faithful service was given to the Rev. Lawrence A. Lieder, and his son, Mr. Matthew Lieder received the award on his behalf.
It was a wonderful event and experience! We thank God for all our wonderful alumni and how they have blessed our church.
Soli Deo Gloria