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124 new students welcomed at Opening Service

2016-17 academic year begins

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis began its 178th academic year today with a worship service in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus. Dr. Dale A. Meyer, president of Concordia Seminary, served as preacher and officially opened the new school year with the theme, “By Grace Alone, Grace in His Son.”

“Grace means we have nothing of our own that gives us standing before God,” Meyer said in his sermon. “Grace means ‘nothing in my hand I bring; simply to the Thy cross I cling.’ Being totally dependent upon grace alone means that we are to be obedient, obedient to His will and obedient to His words.”

This year, the Seminary has a total enrollment of 570 students, including 95 new students in residential and distance programs: 50 residential Master of Divinity students; three alternate route students; three deaconess students; nine Ethnic Institute of Theology students; 21 Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program students; and nine Center for Hispanic Studies students.

Concordia Seminary’s Graduate School also welcomed 29 new students: nine Master of Arts students; 13 Doctor of Philosophy students; three Doctor of Ministry students; and four Master of Sacred Theology students.

The new SMP students also received vicarage assignments during the Opening Service:

  • Stanley Allen Jr., Redeemer Lutheran Church, Stuart, Fla.
  • Andrew Apple, First Lutheran Church and School, Clearwater, Fla.
  • Terry Baughman, St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Waterford, Mich.
  • Ricky Black, Trinity Lutheran Church and School,   Amarillo, Texas
  • Joseph Bluege, Salem Lutheran Church, Tomball, Texas
  • Mark Boriack, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Springfield, Va.
  • James Cleland, SoulThirst Lutheran Church, The Colony, Texas
  • Gene Dassow, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, Roscoe, Ill.
  • Gary Dittmar, St. John Lutheran Church,   South Euclid, Ohio
  • Anthony Forgione, Our Saviour, Rego Park, N.Y.
  • Christopher Futch, Our Savior Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • James Hahn, Cross & Resurrection Lutheran Church, Ypsilanti, Mich.
  • Jason Hamre, SoulThirst Lutheran Church, The Colony, Texas
  • George Holleway, Salem Lutheran Church, Tomball, Texas
  • Steven Holtman, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Springfield, Va.
  • (Thomas) Nathan Huse, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Tempe, Ariz.
  • DeVon Lark, Word of Life Lutheran Church, Lincoln, Neb.
  • John Mathis, Christ Lutheran Church, Little Rock, Ark.
  • Victor Minetola, Carmel Lutheran Church, Carmel, Ind.
  • Jeffrey Salomon , Trinity Lutheran Church, Fairfield, Texas
  • Justin Wixon, Ascension Lutheran Church, Tucson, Ariz.

One new faculty member was installed during the service: Dr. Peter Nafzger, assistant professor of practical theology (homiletics) and former pastor of New Life Church—Lutheran in Hugo, Minn.

Dr. Joel Biermann, a faculty member since 2002, was installed as the Waldemar A. and June Schuette Professor of Systematic Theology. The Schuettes established the endowed professorship to “carry the message throughout eternity that, according to the First Commandment of our Lord and Savior, ‘Thou shalt have no other Gods before me,’ and stressing according to Matthew 4:10, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord your God and Him only shall thou serve.’”

Dr. Mark Seifrid, professor of exegetical theology, also was ordained in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) at the Opening Service. He has been on the Concordia Seminary, St. Louis faculty since 2015, after having undergone the LCMS colloquy process.

Other staff members recognized for new positions included Dr. Wallace Becker as director of placement and Rev. Jason Broge as director of curriculum design and development.

For more information, view the Opening Service worship folder here.

Classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 6.

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