One hundred and thirteen students received calls and assignments to serve as pastors, deaconesses, vicars and interns to 27 states Tuesday during one of the most unique Call Day celebrations in Concordia Seminary, St. Louis’ 181-year history. Call Day 2020 was held as an online-only event for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
First ministry calls were announced at a single worship service shared at csl.edu/callday and on YouTube. The pastoral students included 52 Master of Divinity students, four Residential Alternate Route students, one Center for Hispanic Studies student, three Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology students, two Specific Ministry Pastor Program students and one Cross-cultural Ministry Center student. One deaconess student and five pastoral ministry students have calls or placements pending.
During the service, 48 students who will serve as vicars (pastoral interns) and one deaconess intern also received their assignments.
All calls and assignments will be served in Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregations or districts.
“In the 181 years of Concordia Seminary, there has never been a class like yours. Years from now, you’ll tell your children and grandchildren, ‘We were the coronavirus class. Call Day was virtual!’ But then you’ll add, ‘We were the very first class to be sent out from the window of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. His image has been an indelible mark on our ministries,’” said Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, referring to the new stained glass chancel window in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus on campus that depicts the Resurrection. “You are being sent to flesh-and-blood people, with hurts and hopes, with joys and sorrows. And you’re being sent by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus to draw alongside them in their walk toward home and their walk toward life.”
The service began with video footage of the campus and the carillon playing followed by a virtual choir of students, staff, faculty and others singing the opening hymn, “Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.” Those watching the service were encouraged to sing the stanzas appearing on the screen.
Meyer, who will retire June 30 after 15 years as president, preached a sermon on Luke 24, “And By His Footsteps Led, My Path I Safely Tread.”
“On behalf of Concordia Seminary — the faculty, the staff, the alumni and the Board of Regents — we commend you for your years of study and we are inspired by the zeal and passion [you have] to go into your ministries. … We pray for you many years, many decades in His wonderful service,” said Meyer, who also quoted from his little red book, Remember, a confirmation gift to him in 1961.
During the service, Director of Placement Dr. Glenn Nielsen shared special sentiments about each student receiving a call from a faculty or staff member as photos of the students appeared on screen. The service also included special greetings from LCMS President Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and LCMS Council of Presidents Chairman Dr. David P.E. Maier. The service ended with the sending hymn, “Te Deum: We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God.”
Students, families, friends and congregation members were encouraged to share photos and videos of their in-home celebrations and watch parties on social media by using the hashtag #CallDay2020. Hundreds of people participated in the live chat of the service on YouTube.
A complete list of assignments and placements, including an interactive map and photos, can be found at csl.edu/callday or at the links below:
- Assignment of calls in alphabetical order
- Assignment of calls by district
- Vicarage and deaconess internship assignments in alphabetical order
- Vicarage and deaconess internship assignments by district
While rejoicing about the number of those receiving calls and assignments, Meyer added that the numbers are not enough to meet the growing ministry vacancies and mission needs throughout the church. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest,” he said. “And as you pray, promote. Encourage young people to consider church work. Today is my 16th and last Call Day as president. Looking back, I can’t think of a more wonderful career for a young person to choose than ministry. It’s a great time to be the church!”
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 csl.edu.