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Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program students celebrate calls

23 pastors to serve nationwide

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 9, 2015—Twenty-three students in the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis celebrated their certification and readiness to receive divine calls into pastoral ministry during a special chapel service today.

The Fall 2013 Cohort of the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis celebrating their certifications Friday, Oct. 9, include from bottom left: Martin Albrecht, Richard Williams, Tim Wendelin, Gregg McCaslin, Phillip Chaffee, Daniel Petrak, Michael Curtis, Assistant Director of the SMP Program Dr. Wallace Becker and Dean of Ministerial Formation Dr. Timothy Saleska. Second row from left: Doyle Boykin, David Gieseking, Steven Gillmore, R.J. Grunewald, Thomas Cusanelli, Craig Furry, Sean Chapman, David Thompson, SMP Program Director Dr. Andrew H. Bartelt and Director of Placement Rev. Wayne Knolhoff. Back row from left: Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, Jon Richter, John Kral, Steven Struecker, Timothy McNutt, Matthew Starner, Bill Clark and Jim Haynes. (Not pictured: Paul Albers)
The Fall 2013 Cohort of the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis celebrating their certifications Friday, Oct. 9, include from bottom left: Martin Albrecht, Richard Williams, Tim Wendelin, Gregg McCaslin, Phillip Chaffee, Daniel Petrak, Michael Curtis, Assistant Director of the SMP Program Dr. Wallace Becker and Dean of Ministerial Formation Dr. Timothy Saleska. Second row from left: Doyle Boykin, David Gieseking, Steven Gillmore, R.J. Grunewald, Thomas Cusanelli, Craig Furry, Sean Chapman, David Thompson, SMP Program Director Dr. Andrew H. Bartelt and Director of Placement Rev. Wayne Knolhoff. Back row from left: Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, Jon Richter, John Kral, Steven Struecker, Timothy McNutt, Matthew Starner, Bill Clark and Jim Haynes. (Not pictured: Paul Albers)

The students will serve as pastors of congregations and ministries of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) across the United States.

The students were:

Paul Albers · LCMS Rocky Mountain District, Aurora, Colo.
Martin Albrecht · Faith Lutheran Church, Topeka, Kan.
Doyle Boykin · Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Cedar Crest, N.M.
Phillip Chaffee · Family of Christ Lutheran Church, Comstock Park, Mich.
Sean Chapman · Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, Omaha, Neb.
Bill Clark · Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Urbandale, Iowa
Michael Curtis · Trinity Lutheran Church, Lisle, Ill.
Thomas Cusanelli · St. Luke Lutheran Church, Dix Hills, N.Y.
Craig Furry · Our Savior Lutheran Church, Albuquerque, N.M.
David Gieseking · Living Water Lutheran Church, Mexico Beach, Fla.
Steven Gillmore · First Lutheran Church, Neosho, Mo.
R.J. Grunewald · Faith Lutheran Church, Troy, Mich.
Jim Haynes · Christ Lutheran Church, Lincoln, Neb.
John Kral · Shepherd’s Gate, Shelby Township, Mich.
Gregg McCaslin · Concordia Lutheran Church, Lakewood, Colo.
Timothy McNutt · St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Mechanicsville, Md.
Daniel Petrak · Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Urbandale, Iowa
Jon Richter · Greenwood Lutheran Church, Greenwood, S.C.
Matthew Starner · Journey of Faith, Byron Center, Mich.
Steven Struecker · Immanuel Lutheran Church/Zion, Livermore/Lu Verne, Iowa
David Thompson · Our Savior Lutheran Church, McKinney, Texas
Tim Wendelin · Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lakewood, Colo.
Richard Williams · Zion Lutheran Church, Ashland, Wis.

Dr. Joel P. Okamoto, chairman of the Seminary’s systematic theology department, delivered the sermon during the service. He also served as the instructor for the residential seminar on the “Lutheran Confession of the Faith” that brought the students to campus for the week, which culminated in the Friday celebration.

The SMP program of Concordia Seminary is a four-year distance-learning program in which men receive theological education in the setting in which they will continue to serve following ordination. Local pastor-mentors work with SMP students to provide day-to-day guidance, encouragement and prayer.

“We rejoice with these candidates, their congregations and their families in reaching this milestone within the SMP program as they now begin to serve as ‘called and (soon-to-be) ordained servants of the Word,’” said Dr. Andrew H. Bartelt, the Gustav and Sophie Butterbach Professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the SMP program. “The great strength of this program is demonstrated in the humble service of these men, raised up within their local context and formed within the Seminary community, not only in now formally being called through the good order of our church, but also in continuing their education in the final two years of this program and beyond.”

About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit www.csl.edu.