A total of 25 students and 19 mentors from all over the country, and the world, attended the inaugural session of the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) held Feb. 17-19 on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. They took part in introductory sessions for both the program and the first course, “Lutheran Theology and Practice I,” taught by Dr. Charles P. Arand, professor of systematic theology.
EIIT is a collaborative effort between Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Board for Mission Services, the students and the mentors, as well as members of the ethnic communities being served and the students’ LCMS districts. It is a specialized program leading to ordination for men engaged in pastoral missionary contexts in ethnic immigrant and urban cultures. Students are preferably first-generation immigrants leading immigrant-based churches. The program consists of distance education, contextual mentoring and regular on-campus (Seminary) modules.
The first EIIT session was led by Rev. Yohannes Mengsteab, director of the program; Rev. John Palka, curriculum developer for EIIT; Dr. Andrew Bartelt, vice president for academic affairs at Concordia Seminary; Prof. David Wollenburg, director of DELTO (Distance Education Leading To Ordination) at Concordia Seminary; and Dr. Jan Case, senior pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in New Orleans, La., who led the mentors’ training.
Rev. Mengteab described the ultimate goal of the program, “Culturally, there is a need for an institute like this to help the LCMS reach out to groups who have not previously been reached.”
While on campus, both students and mentors engaged in orientation sessions to Web-based learning and educational technology such as audio-conferencing, e-mail and accessing the Concordia Seminary Web site (www.csl.edu). Also, mentors took part in training sessions to acquaint them with the support role they will offer to the students.
For more information about EIIT, contact Rev. Yohannes Mengsteab, director of the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology, at (800) 433-3954, ext. 1336, or firstname.lastname@example.org.