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Seminary welcomes new students, begins 181st academic year

Five professors installed; 41 students receive vicarages, internships

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis began its 181st academic year Friday with Opening Service in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus.

During the Opening Service, Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer welcomed new and returning students. He preached and introduced the 2019-20 academic theme “Grace. Mercy. Peace. Lives of Significance.”

“When you come across the myriad people in your life who do not know the grace and mercy of God and therefore do not understand that their lives are significant personally with His grace and His peace — then you go to them, not as an object to theologize, but as an extension of the love of Jesus for the people for whom He died,” Meyer said in his sermon on John 9:1-5. “Never meet a stranger. Because everyone that you meet is someone for whom Jesus died.”

During the service, five professors were installed in new positions: Dr. Benjamin Haupt as associate provost; Dr. Glenn Nielsen as director of placement, a position he has held since 2017; Dr. David Peter as dean of faculty; Dr. Mark Rockenbach as director of the Doctor of Ministry Program; and Dr. William Schumacher as the Buehner-Duesenberg Professor of Missions. Also, 41 distance education students were recognized and received their assignments of vicarages and internships.

The Seminary has an anticipated fall enrollment of 616 students, including 103 new students in residential and distance ministerial formation programs: 44 residential Master of Divinity students; five Residential Alternate Route students; seven residential deaconess students; nine Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) students; 25 Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program students; five Center for Hispanic Studies students; and eight General Pastor Certification (GPC) Program students.

Concordia Seminary’s Advanced Studies department also welcomed 27 new students: five Master of Arts students; nine Doctor of Philosophy students; five Doctor of Ministry students; and eight Master of Sacred Theology students.

The following Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) students were assigned as vicars:

Shaun Adams, Beautiful Savior Church, Spokane, Wash., LCMS Northwest District
Ray Anderson, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Aberdeen, S.D., LCMS South Dakota District
Benjamin Bosch, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Grand Haven, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
Mark Bray, Our Savior Lutheran Church, McKinney, Texas, LCMS Texas District
Eric Brinkert, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Tillamook, Ore., LCMS Northwest District
Brian Crocitto, The Life Lutheran Church, Old Westbury, N.Y., LCMS Atlantic District
John Durkin, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Springfield, Va., LCMS Southeastern District
Ryan Fields, Living Faith Lutheran Church, Cumming, Ga., LCMS Florida-Georgia District
Daniel Giardino, The Life Lutheran Church, Old Westbury, N.Y., LCMS Atlantic District
Adam Gray, King of Glory Lutheran Church, Providence Forge, Va., LCMS Southeastern District
George Holleway, Emmaus Road Katy, Katy, Texas, LCMS Texas District
Gary Johnson, Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, La Grange, Texas, LCMS Texas District
David Keddington, Anchorage Lutheran Church, Anchorage, Alaska, LCMS Northwest District
Henry Pahlkotter, Peace Lutheran Church, Saginaw, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
Roger Penny, Messiah Lutheran Church, Charlotte, N.C., LCMS Southeastern District
William Roberts, Faith Lutheran Church, Sebring, Fla., LCMS Florida-Georgia District
Christopher A. Ryan, St. Mark Lutheran Church, Chesterland, Ohio, LCMS Ohio District
Christopher M. Ryan, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Buffalo, Minn., LCMS Minnesota South District
David Schmitt, Trinity Lutheran Church, Park Hills, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
Jeffery Schoettlin, Lincoln Lutheran Middle/High School, Lincoln, Neb., LCMS Nebraska District
Carl Seim, Lord of Glory Lutheran Church, Elk River, Minn., LCMS Minnesota North District
Marvin St. Pierre, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Bakersfield, Calif., LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District
Joseph Wallace, St. John Lutheran Church, Newhall, Iowa, LCMS Iowa District East
Rex Watt, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Bellingham, Wash., LCMS Northwest District
Jessy Wilson, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Delmar, N.Y., LCMS Atlantic District
Steve Zandstra, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Cheyenne Wells, Colo., LCMS Rocky Mountain District

The following Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) students were assigned as vicars:

Matthew Cephus, Royal Family Fellowship, New Hope, Minn., LCMS Minnesota South District
Moses Dangba, Living World Lutheran Church, Lansing, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
Guyo Galgalo, Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church, Phoenix, Ariz., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
Lewi Jermiya, Christian Friends of New Americans, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
Isaac Lujang, Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Fort Worth, Texas, LCMS Texas District
John Vawar, Peace Lutheran Church, Hurst, Texas, LCMS Texas District
Borbor Zolue, Christ Assembly Lutheran Church, Newark, N.J., LCMS New Jersey District

Additionally, Rebecca Jungklaus was assigned as an EIIT deaconess intern at Lutheran Deaf Outreach at St. John Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas, in the LCMS Texas District.

The following Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS) students were assigned as vicars:

Sergio Campos, Amigos en Christo, Immokalee, Fla., LCMS Florida Georgia District
Ruberto Ek Yah, Ascension Lutheran Church, Portland, Ore., LCMS Northwest District
Jorge Gómez, New Creation Lutheran Church, Prior Lake, Minn., LCMS Minnesota South District
Jaime González, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Rockwall, Texas, LCMS Texas District

The following CHS students were assigned as deaconess interns:

Fabiana Dos Santos, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Rockwall, Texas, LCMS Texas District
Karina Mazariegos, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church/Iglesia Vida y FE, Elgin, Ill., LCMS Northern Illinois District
María Barrón Valadéz, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Rockwall, Texas, LCMS Texas District

The Seminary recognizes and celebrates calls throughout the year for students enrolled in programs such as SMP, EIIT and CHS; however, the majority of students receive their first calls to ministry at the annual Call Day celebration. Call Day is set for April 28, 2020.

The new academic year festivities also will include the third annual Opening Weekend Hymn Festival at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, in the chapel. The event kicks off the annual Concordia Seminary Concert Series and will feature guest artist Dr. Jeffrey Blersch of Concordia University, Nebraska, Seward, and an ensemble choir. Learn more at

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