“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” Summer today isn’t as easy as 1934, when George Gershwin wrote the famous song, but even today summer is a slower time. We wish you some rest and recreation after the busyness of the past year. Things here are slower but not shut down. Some June activities …
Reduced residency students in the Graduate School have had their intensive classes. Doctor of Ministry students had their week on campus. And thanks to Pastor Tom Zelt and members of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fremont, Calif., some students had an amazing intensive study class in Israel. This week — real time — Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program students are here. Also here are our General Pastor Certification students, who are SMP graduates who take additional classes, including Greek, to be certified for the general pastor roster of the Synod. Greek and Hebrew classes start this week. And also this week is Vocatio, one of our on-campus recruiting events. You’ve seen the statistics of our growing clergy shortage. Please encourage the young people in your congregation to consider church careers.
Construction is evident all over campus. Thanks to the generous support of donors, we continue to repair infrastructure, especially sewers. Two old faculty homes are being renovated. Tree stock is being thinned out. Parking lots and some driveways sealed. Design work continues on the new stained glass windows for the chapel. The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League is expanding its presence on campus. So much more to do, but much has been done.
Let’s go, Blues! Cheering them on, the water features in the Academic Quad and library plaza were turned blue. While we have students from all over the country and world, this was a morale booster for the region. Metropolitan St. Louis is in hopeful times. Between the Gateway Arch and the Seminary and Washington University, $8 billion dollars of construction is underway. The area has its challenges, but it’s flourishing in many ways. A great place to attend Seminary!
Looking ahead to renewed activity in a few months … A friend told me not to plan a parish program in August. When August comes, you’ve had the lighter months of June and July and imagine you can do more in the new program year than you really can. As you plan your pastoral program for the coming year, check out the resources of your alma mater. Summer workshops are held throughout the country. Online resources are available at concordiatheology.org. “Concordia Pages” are free, downloadable PDFs of shorter articles and essays, perfect for small groups. It’s out-of-date to think of the Seminary as only producing pastors. Faculty and staff spend a great amount of time offering resources to the church, and most of it is available free, only a click away.
The theme for the next academic year on campus will be “Grace. Mercy. Peace. Lives of Significance.” Young people in the church, formed by Baptism and set on the path of discipleship, want to live lives of significance. They want to make a difference. I offer this theme to you to invite young people to discern if God is calling them to pastoral or diaconal ministry.
“The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:30-32 ESV). You know the feeling!
His blessings upon your summertime!
Dr. Dale A. Meyer, President
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis