The Seminary Guild’s 80th Donation Day

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CTSFW)—In a booklet for the 35th year of the Concordia Seminary Guild, 1974-1975, there is a note that reads:

“Concordia Seminary Guild was organized in February 1939 for the purpose of promoting the annual Donation Day and to further any other projects to materially aid the Seminary that the Synod could not provide.”

Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month from October to May, excluding January, in Selcke Lounge.

The meetings are now held the second Tuesday of each month from September to April (still excluding January), but in Luther Hall at the Fort Wayne campus where the ladies begin with a devotion and a keynote presentation from a staff or faculty member before getting down to business. This month’s business is the same one for which they were formed: Donation Day.

This year’s Donation Day is coming up on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, the 80th year of the Seminary Guild’s existence. Donation Day precedes the formation of the Seminary Guild by many years, but is directly responsible for it. As food and board costs rose for seminarians in the 1930s, the 1938 Donations Day Committee chairman, Mrs. Baepler, floated the idea of forming a new society to meet these needs. They held the first meeting of the Seminary Guild less than four months later, on February 1, 1939. Seventy-five women attended.

In the Guild’s 10th anniversary year, the Donations Day Committee reported record-breaking donations: 5,000 quarts of home-canned goods; 221 dozen eggs; 97 chickens; 57 pounds of lard; 50 pumpkins and squash; 106 bushels of potatoes; and cash donations totaling $1,500.

By the Guild’s 25th year of existence, the stereotypical seminarian had changed from young, single men (not allowed to date nor become engaged until after graduation) to second-career students, many married with children. Plans for a Student Adoption Program began. The Seminary Guild opened the first food and clothing banks for the students.

Their efforts thrived: last year, the CTSFW Food & Clothing Co-op fed 435 students and their family members, boasting even greater numbers of donations given over the 2018-2019 academic year through their generous supporters: 36,296 pounds of fresh produce; 626 pounds of hamburger (plus two and a half butchered cows, yielding an additional 2,159 pounds); 12,398 pounds of pork; 4,000 pounds of Brakebush Brothers Chicken; 6,000 pounds of food from the local food pantry; 500 dozen local farm eggs; 2,741 gallons and 878 pints of milk; and $12,225.06 spent at local grocery stores.

Through the support of local and national donors, many of them backed, encouraged, and promoted by our LWML sisters, the Seminary Guild and the entire wider community of the Church continues to feed, clothe, and care for her students.

All are welcome to join us in this endeavor. To learn more about the items that are in particular need at this time, to view the schedule for Donation Day on October 8, or to register for the annual gathering, CLICK HERE. You can also register by emailing SemGuild@ctsfw.edu and paying the $15 fee (which includes lunch) when you come to campus for the day. RSVPs are due in two weeks, on September 27.

If distance prevents your presence, join us in prayer, in support, or as an associate member of the Guild. You can learn more about their work at www.ctsfw.edu/SemGuild.  


The historical information referenced in this article was discovered in the archives of the Seminary Guild, from the article “Through the Years…Guild helps students through thick and thin” by Dorothy Klug. You can read the original article by clicking on the title. Written in 1992 and republished for use in a fundraising project in 1995, a year before the Seminary’s 150th anniversary, today’s article is written a year before the Seminary’s 175th anniversary. “We strive,” wrote Seminary Guild member Bonnie Hazen in September 1995, “to assist the seminary with the training of men for the holy ministry.”

May we strive to do the same. Thanks be to God.