Exploring Church Careers Event (ECCE) 2000 will take place Aug. 5-8 on the Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, campus. This four-day retreat is designed to identify, inform and encourage high school youth with respect to a church work career. The retreat will feature Bible study, worship and off-campus visits to many ministry sites in the greater St. Louis area, allowing participants the opportunity to hear presentations by individuals serving in church work careers.
“We want youth who attend the ECCE to see the many ways God can use the gifts He has given them to serve Him in a church work career,” said Rev. Glen Thomas, Vice President for Seminary Relations at Concordia Seminary. “We also want youth to hear of the inherent joys and challenges they will face as they serve in a church work career.”
The retreat has a limit of 120 youth, and the registration cost is $40. Meals and lodging will be provided at no cost for ECCE participants, and travel grants are available to assist youth who are coming from distances which might be prohibitive.
Participants must be high school students (9th-12th grade in the 2000-2001 academic year) and must be nominated to attend. Nomination forms will be mailed on March 1 to Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) pastors, teachers and directors of Christian education. Nomination forms also may be printed from the Concordia Seminary web site (www.csl.edu) after March 1.
Once a nomination form is received by the ECCE staff, a registration form will be mailed to the young person who has been nominated. Registration is effective when the completed registration form and $40 registration fee are received in the ECCE office. A waiting list will be established after the limit of 120 new registrants is met. In order to allow the maximum number of youth to benefit from the annual ECCE, youth who attended the 1999 ECCE may register for the 2000 ECCE, but will automatically be placed on the waiting list and will be eligible to participate only if 120 new high school youth do not register.
Concordia Seminary has been working with Rev. Terry Dittmer, associate director of the LCMS Department of Youth Ministry in designing the overall effort. Admission counselors from the Concordia University System schools and Valparaiso University also will be invited to participate. “Last year, we were delighted to have representatives from nine Concordia University System schools and Valparaiso University participating in the ECCE,” commented Thomas. “Their participation not only informed youth of the preparation needed to serve in these careers, but these representatives served as small group leaders for Bible study sessions and formed meaningful relationships with participants.”
Last year’s ECCE was the first to be held, and the response was enthusiastic. “Approximately 350 nominations and more than 125 registrations were received,” indicated Thomas. “I want to thank the pastors, parents and others in the church who nominated youth to attend this event last year. We were overwhelmed with the response and are planning for a similar response this year.”
ECCE is made possible by a $150,000 grant Concordia Seminary received from Lilly Endowment Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind. “This grant will allow us to address the need for more young people to prepare to serve as pastors, teachers, directors of Christian education and other church career positions,” said Thomas. “Everyone who has watched the shortages in these vocations increase over recent years is alarmed. We plan to hold an ECCE for at least the next two years to assist our church in addressing this alarming trend.”
Additional information is available by contacting ECCE, Admissions Office, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; or by e-mail (ECCEvent@aol.com); or by calling 314-505-7722. The Concordia Seminary web site (www.csl.edu) also contains information on the ECCE.