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SMP calls recognized

Thirteen students in the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis were recognized with their call assignments in chapel Friday, Jan. 12.

The students, who began the SMP Program in fall 2015, were on campus for the week preceding for their winter residential intensive courses.

SMP students receiving calls include:

Michael Dube, Light of the Valley, Elk Grove, Calif., LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District
Andrew Eddins,
Fountain of Life Community Church, La Mirada, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
Christopher Grant,
Trinity Lutheran Church, Walden, N.Y., LCMS Atlantic District
Matthew Hass,
LCMS New Jersey District, Mountainside, N.J.
Seth Hoeppner,
Faith Lutheran Church, Watertown, Wis., LCMS English District
Frank Johnson,
Redeemer Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, Colo., LCMS Rocky Mountain District
Austin Kraft,
Grace Fellowship Christian Church, Gypsum, Colo., LCMS Rocky Mountain District
Ernest (Alan) Mercer,
Peace Lutheran Church, Galloway, N.J., LCMS SELC District
Troy Miklos,
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Fort Worth, Texas, LCMS Texas District
Jason Pankau,
Trinity Lutheran Church, Roselle, Ill., LCMS Northern Illinois District
Michael Popp,
Grace Lutheran Church, Jacksonville, Fla., LCMS Florida-Georgia District
Aaron Staub,
Concordia Lutheran Schools, Omaha, Neb., LCMS Nebraska District
Robert Wilson,
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Monroe, N.Y., LCMS Atlantic District

“We rejoice with these candidates, their families and the specific ministries in which they serve across the country!” said Dr. W. Mart Thompson, director of the Seminary’s SMP Program. “We celebrate their participation in Concordia Seminary’s training program for ‘Specific Ministry Pastors’ (SMPs) as we recognize their calls to be ordained into the Holy Ministry.”

During the service, Rev. Joel Fridgen of Concordia Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, Md., was named as an honorary alumnus of the SMP Program. Fridgen completed 14 of the program’s 16 courses with a near perfect grade-point average, but was unable to finish the program because of a debilitating illness.

“Throughout the ministerial formation and certification process at Concordia Seminary with his professors, mentor, district president and fellow students, Rev. Fridgen has shown himself as one approved for Holy Ministry,” according to a letter from Thompson and Dr. Timothy Saleska, dean of Ministerial Formation.

The SMP Program of Concordia Seminary is a four-year distance-education program in which men receive academic training in the setting in which they will continue to serve following ordination. The program is designed to meet the needs of the church for pastors in mission and ministry opportunities where a pastor with a seminary degree may not be available. Local pastor-mentors work with SMP students to provide day-to-day guidance, encouragement and prayer.

The Seminary recognizes and celebrates calls throughout the year for students enrolled in programs such as the SMP Program. The Seminary’s annual spring Call Day is held in April when the majority of students receive their first calls to ministry, and assignments to vicarages and deaconess internships. Call Day is set for April 24, 2018.

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