The invitation was “rain or shine,” and despite a day-long deluge, the show went on! Some 700 guests came to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Friday, Oct. 10, to celebrate its milestone 175th anniversary.
The full-day event opened with a celebratory chapel service, followed by a library art exhibit and rare book display, a free book fair, opportunities to hear from select faculty members, and family-friendly activities that lasted into the evening.
“It was a great time,” said Dr. Dale A. Meyer, president of Concordia Seminary. “Thanks to all who came to join the celebration, and to all who continue to remember this mission in their prayers. This Seminary belongs to the Savior and we are eager for the future.”
Special anniversary lectures were among the highlights of the day. They included:
- “The Lutheran Confessions for the Next Generation” – presented by Dr. Charles Arand, professor of Systematic Theology, the Waldemar A. and June Schuette Endowed Chair in Systematic Theology, director of the Center for the Care of Creation, and dean of Theological Research and Publications. Arand discussed how the Lutheran Confessions are still important today as a lens through which to sharpen our reading of Scripture.
- “The Centrality of the Scriptures for the Next Generation” – presented by Dr. Jeffrey Kloha, professor of Exegetical Theology and provost. Kloha’s lecture addressed challenges that the culture brings to the Church as it seeks to live faithful to the Scriptures. He outlined several approaches to biblical interpretation that allow the Church to move beyond the uncertainties of a post-modern context.
- “The Next Generation of Lutheranism and the International Context” – presented by Dr. Leopoldo Sanchez, associate professor of Systematic Theology, the Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Endowed Chair for Hispanic Ministries, and director of the Center for Hispanic Studies. He discussed how Christianity is a growing force in the Global South, and that as these new Christians move northward they have the potential to challenge the post-Christian society that many predict is coming to the United States.
- “Days of Future Past, Listening to the First Generations of the Church” – presented by Dr. Joel Elowsky, associate professor of Historical Theology and director of the Center for the Study of Early Christian Texts. Elowsky provided some historical context for the challenges the Church faces today, highlighting the fact that there is much we can learn from the past as together we face the future with hope grounded in the One who is Lord of His Church throughout all generations.
- “The True Light Shines: Concordia Seminary 1839-2014” – presented by Dr. Gerhard Bode, associate professor of Historical Theology, dean of Advanced Studies, and Seminary archivist, and Dr. Erik Herrmann, associate professor of Historical Theology, director of Theological Resources and REF500 planning, and director of the Center for Reformation Research. This presentation offered an abbreviated history of the Seminary, including an introduction to the founders of the Seminary; establishment of the first location in Perry County, Missouri; the Seminary’s move to St. Louis; and student life through the years.
“On this 175th anniversary of Concordia Seminary we celebrate what God has done here,” said Bode. “We give Him thanks for what He has accomplished in this place and through His people.”
Following the lectures, attendees browsed expo booths, and families enjoyed activities such as pumpkin carving and caramel apple making. Joe Pollach and the St. Louis Express band played through the evening as faculty, students, families, and guests enjoyed a meal and fellowship.
Throughout the day, a theme of thankfulness was evident. “By the grace of God, Concordia Seminary has been a tool in God’s hands to bring many millions of people into His kingdom of grace,” said Rev. Ralph Blomenberg, chairman of the Seminary’s Board of Regents. “This anniversary gives me reason to be especially grateful for the generations of faculty members, presidents, staff, and board who have kept their eye on the cross of Christ and have willingly given of themselves to bring Christ to each generation.”
Students were thrilled to be a part of the milestone event as well. “It is humbling to be a student here during the 175th anniversary celebration because you are reminded of the great history of the institution,” said Tom Schlund, a fourth-year Master of Divinity student at the Seminary. “The graduates of this institution have been used by God to bring His life-giving Word to people all over the globe so that they too can be saved. It is neat to think that we are now part of that history and are being formed here to be sent out to do the same thing.”
A schedule of events can be found at www.csl.edu/175. For more information contact Tiffany Leong at 314-505-7377 or email@example.com.
Photos of the event are available online by clicking here.