|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Rebecca Ahlersmeyer, (260) 452-3151, firstname.lastname@example.org
Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne
Sends Workers into His Harvest Field
The Vicarage and Deaconess Internship Assignment Service
and Candidate Call Service 2021
FORT WAYNE, IN, April 29, 2021—
Not only did our vicars, deaconess interns, and call candidates reach this milestone in ministry training, but their loved ones got to be there to cheer them on.
What a difference a year makes.
We missed this. We missed the fellowship. We missed the flurry of activity—the last minute fixing of windswept hair, the children squealing and running around, posing for pictures until our faces are sore. We haven’t seen this much smiling in a long time. Director of Vicarage and Internship Gary Zieroth described the jubilant scene. “It was so nice to see people back again in attendance at the services this year. Unlike last year when the chapel was empty and the students received their assignments virtually, it was a joy to be together once again and celebrate the occasion.” Director of Certification and Placement Jeffrey Pulse said during the Candidate Call Service, “We are really present…sounds kind of Lutheran.”
The loved ones of students were invited to congregate in the chapel, while thousands of others from across the nation and around the world joined the livestream, some of which gathered on campus in our auditorium for a “watch party” on the big screen. The atmosphere was electric. The excitement was palpable. These were the moments so many had been waiting for.
For anyone who did not get a chance to watch the services live, it will remain available online and is an experience not to be missed. The choir was heavenly. The organ playing was inspired. The triumphant trumpets and trombones punctuated the elation. At last. Singing together. Celebrating together. It felt like coming home.
The differences between this year and last year are certainly stark. However, “all that being said,” Pulse said to this year’s call candidates, “the most important realities last year remain the same this year, and for that matter, every year. The Church still needs workers in the harvest field; congregations still need pastors to carry out Word and Sacrament ministry; your Seminary needs you to move along and make room for the next class. All good! And, because these realities do not change from year to year, I have good news for our church body, good news for the Seminary, and great news for all of you—all 33 men who are ready to be placed are receiving a call this evening.”
While the call process was not made easier by the conditions of this past year, both seminaries succeeded by working together, alongside a faithful and dedicated team. Pulse expressed his gratitude. “My thanks goes out to the district presidents and their staffs, congregations and call committees, circuit visitors and pastors, the Council of Presidents and the placement people at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Together, and I do mean ‘together,’ we have managed to make the process work under these circumstances, as well as safeguard the integrity of the call process…by the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
Zieroth spoke of our current victories and the opportunities that lie ahead. “For both seminaries there were 69 vicarage candidates available for 85 available churches, meaning 16 placements went unfilled.” While Zieroth acknowledged the challenges, he also highlighted the solutions and hope on the horizon. “This year it was difficult to inform several congregations that they won’t be receiving a vicar. These congregations and supervisors have faithfully supported our vicarage program over the years. We will need them back for next year—and hopefully the years to come—as class sizes are trending upwards. Next year we will have a dramatic increase of students at both seminaries and so many extra vicarage sites will be needed.”
What can we do to turn this year’s success into an even bigger one next year? As Zieroth says, “The first thing we always need to do is pray that the Lord of the harvest will send workers into His harvest field (Matt. 9:38). Young men and youth need especially to be encouraged to consider the Office of the Ministry. Pastors play an important role in this, but so do the family and congregation. Also, more financial support needs to become part of our Synod’s DNA. The debt load many of our students carry into seminary from undergraduate schools is much too high.”
So pray for your Seminary.
Support God’s work and the future of the Church with your gifts.
Encourage your loved ones who have a heart for serving the Lord.
Join us in thanking God for our present while turning our eyes again with joyful expectation to the future. Praise the Lord for all the ways He blessed us in the midst of a challenging season. Praise Him that we were able to stay open and welcome students for our 175th academic year. Praise Him that we are able to once more send out workers for the harvest.
Thank you for being a supportive part of our community. Your support has helped our anniversary theme ring strong and true this year. By the grace of God, you have enabled us to “Make Known His Deeds!” and send out workers to do the same in the ripe fields of the world.
For a full list of calls and placements, as well as the livestreams of both services, visit CallDay.ctsfw.edu.