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Lutheran Guild of Urban Renewers Proposed

The Concordia Seminary Institute on Lay Vocation at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, has proposed the formation of a Lutheran Guild of Urban Renewers. “People are moving back into St. Louis and other cities; old neighborhoods are being restored,” commented Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto, the Institute’s founding director, on KFUO’s “Issues etc.” program. “In this situation, it is vital to create healthy, safe and well-functioning communities.”

The proposed Guild would be made up of experts from a wide variety of professions and trades concerned with urban renewal. It would include St. Louis-based architects, engineers, transit and law enforcement specialists, realtors, merchants, lawyers, accountants, local politicians and city planners.

Working closely with churches and the Concordia Seminary resident field education program, the Guild would design a blueprint for the development of a model neighborhood, which would feature grocery stores and other services reducing the need of residents to drive to stores in outlying areas.

The Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis has provided seed money for the initial phase of setting up this Guild, whose members would offer their time and talent to serve the community at-large, not just Lutherans and other Christians. The idea for the creation of such a body is rooted in the Lutheran doctrine of vocation. According to this doctrine, all Christians have a calling from God to work in their secular professions to the best of their ability. If they do this out of love for their neighbors, they render the highest possible service to God. In this way, Christians act as members of the priesthood of all believers.

It is the goal of the Institute on Lay Vocation to remind Lutherans of this doctrine, which redirects the Christian’s focus away from the “Me” to the “You.”

For more information on the Lutheran Guild of Urban Renewers, read Dr. Siemon-Netto’s column “Called to Renew the City” on his blog site at www.concordia.typepad.com.