The fourth annual Exploring Church Careers Event (ECCE) will take place Aug. 3-6, 2002 on the Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, campus. The four-day retreat is designed to identify, inform and encourage high school youth with respect to church work vocations. It will include Bible study, presentations by recognized leaders in youth ministry and on-site visitation opportunities with a wide variety of church career professionals.
“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 vocation,” 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 these capacities.”
A $50 registration fee is the only charge youth pay, in addition to travel costs, to attend the ECCE. All activities, meals during the event and on-campus lodging are provided at no cost to participants. Travel scholarships are available to ensure that travel costs do not prevent youth from attending, and ECCE registration is limited to 80 high school youth.
“We are very happy with the results of the three previous ECCEs,” commented Thomas. “Evaluation forms completed by the youth who attended previous ECCEs indicate that they were successful and accomplished their purpose. Many youth indicated a greater desire to serve in a church career as they contrasted their thoughts prior to attending an ECCE with those they had after the event.”
Publicity and nomination forms for ECCE 2002 will be sent Feb. 20 to all LCMS pastors, youth directors, directors of Christian education, high school principals and high school teachers. “We are not going to register anyone until March 1,” indicated Thomas. “In light of the fact that we had a waiting list for each of the three previous ECCEs, we want to be fair to all who hope to participate. Those who attended a previous ECCE will not be eligible to attend ECCE 2002 so that the largest number of youth possible attend this event over the years.”
This year’s ECCE is joined for the first time by another event, “Exploring the Pastoral Ministry” (EPM), which is offered for young men in high school. The EPM will take place Aug. 6-9 on the Seminary campus and will allow participants the opportunity to study theology with Seminary professors, worship with the Seminary community, hear pastors discuss the joys and challenges of the pastoral ministry, take part in a Servant Event and attend a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.
A $60 registration fee is the only charge for youth to attend the EPM, and all meals and lodging at the event are provided free of charge. As is the case with the ECCE, participants must be nominated to attend, and nomination forms will be sent on Feb. 20 to all LCMS pastors, youth directors, directors of Christian education, high school principals and high school teachers.
“We are excited about the chance to offer this experience for young men who are starting to feel the desire to serve our Lord in the pastoral ministry,” commented Thomas. “Many young men we encounter in recruitment travel throughout the United States have said they would really enjoy the chance to experience Seminary life for a few days, and we want to encourage them to do so.”
The ECCE is made possible by a $150,000 grant Concordia Seminary received to assist in the process of identifying, informing and encouraging high school youth toward service in church work careers. The grant is from Lilly Endowment Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind.
For more information on the ECCE or the EPM, contact the Admissions Office, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; or by e-mail at ECCE@csl.edu . Additional information and a nomination form for both events is also available on the Seminary’s Web site (www.csl.edu ).