On Sunday, Sept. 7, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, conferred theological diplomas and diplomas of vocation to the first 11 students to complete its Distance Education Leading To Ordination (DELTO) program. The 11 students received their diplomas during the opening service for the Seminary’s 165th academic year. They were handed their diplomas by Prof. David Wollenburg, associate professor of practical theology and director of the DELTO program at Concordia Seminary. The students and their calls to service in the pastoral ministry are:
Thomas Beverson: Zion Lutheran Church, Rapid City, SD (South Dakota District)
Charles Bettin: Faith Lutheran Church, Early, IA (Iowa West District)
Edwin Borchardt: Trinity Lutheran Church, Millerville Township, MN (Minnesota North District)
Thomas Gundermann: Missionary of the Minnesota South District, Burnsville, MN (Minnesota South District)
Faiv Neng Her: Hope Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, WI (South Wisconsin District)
Greg Laska: St. John Lutheran Church, Random Lake, WI (South Wisconsin District)
Kue Ly: Missionary to Hmong Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Green Bay, WI (North Wisconsin District)
Merlene Ostebee: Peace Lutheran Church, Harlan, IA (Iowa West District)
Donald Stauty: Redeemer Lutheran Church, Aurora, MN (Minnesota North District)
Delton Stohs: Immanuel and Trinity Lutheran Churches, Callaway and Ogema, MN (Minnesota North District)
Chang Vang: Hmong Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN (Minnesota South District)
The 11 students entered the DELTO program in May 1998, and completed a prescribed program of study. The students remained in their ministry sites during their course work and were guided by Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod pastors who served as mentors for them. Assignments were sent to the Concordia Seminary professors who instructed them.
Over the past two years, the original DELTO program has been revised. A Synodical Oversight Committee convened by the LCMS Board for Higher Education modified the original program to accommodate more effectively men “in or entering a Word and Sacrament ministry where no pastor is available and where his (the student’s) presence and ministry are expected both during and after the completion of the program.”
According to the revised DELTO program provisions, admitted DELTO students complete their first 10 courses at the district level. The courses include Old Testament, New Testament, Christian Doctrine, Interpreting the Bible in Translation, Basic Preaching, Lutheran Worship, Fundamental Pastoral Care, Teaching the Faith, Mission Outreach and Early Church History. Beginning with the eleventh course, a DELTO student is considered a vicar, and the remainder of his courses are offered directly by Concordia Seminary in a distance learning format. This second sequence of courses takes a minimum of three and one-half years to complete.
For more information about DELTO, call (314) 505-7764, visit the Seminary’s Web site at www.csl.edu/DELTO.htm, or write: DELTO Program, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105.