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Concordia Seminary Newsroom and Press Releases

Seminary begins 182nd academic year

New students welcomed; new staff, professors installed

With the theme “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” Concordia Seminary, St. Louis began its 182nd year with an Opening Service this morning in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus. Due to social distancing measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic, in-person attendance was limited, but the service was available for all to watch via livestream at csl.edu/live.

During the service, Seminary Interim President Dr. Daniel Preus welcomed new students, preached and introduced the 2020-21 academic theme, which is based on Heb. 13:8.

“The faith that lives in you and me is the same faith that lived in Abraham and Moses and it is the same faith that will live in our grandchildren and our great grandchildren and in the hearts of every believer that will follow us until the day Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead – because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” said Preus.

New faculty and staff were recognized during the service, as well as new positions for existing faculty and staff. Two professors were installed in new positions: Dr. Philip Penhallegon as professor of Exegetical Theology and Dr. Thomas Egger as the Gustav and Sophie Butterbach Professor of Exegetical Theology. The service also included the installations of Preus as interim president and Rev. Micah Glenn as director of Recruitment, and the ordination of Dr. James Marriott, the Kreft Chair for Music Arts.

The Seminary anticipates a fall enrollment of 623 students, including 105 new students in residential and distance ministerial formation programs: 65 residential Master of Divinity (M.Div.) students, five Residential Alternate Route (RAR) students, four Deaconess Studies students, nine Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) students, 20 Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program students, one Center for Hispanic Studies student, one General Pastor Certification (GPC) Program student and four Cross-cultural Ministry Center (CMC) students.

Enrollment in the M.Div. program saw a 48% increase this year — from 44 students last year to an anticipated 65 students this year.

The Advanced Studies department welcomed 32 new students: 12 Master of Arts students (including four Deaconess Studies students), 10 Doctor of Philosophy students, three Doctor of Ministry students and seven Master of Sacred Theology students.

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

  • Brandon Boos, Faith Lutheran Church, Oakville, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Robert Bowyer Epic Church, Shelby Township, Mich., LCMS English District
  • James Bretthauer, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Medina, Ohio, LCMS English District
  • Jeffrey Campbell, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Old Bridge, N.J., LCMS New Jersey District
  • John Cotner, Faith Lutheran Church, Georgetown, Texas, LCMS Texas District
  • Isaac Davis, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School, Pacific Beach, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • Sean Deming, LCMS Atlantic District
  • Payton DeVencenty, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, Colo., LCMS Rocky Mountain District
  • Keith Dwyer, Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church, Brighton, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Adam Ellison, Faith Lutheran Church, Oklahoma City, Okla., LCMS Oklahoma District
  • Ryan Golden, Saving Grace Lutheran Church, Queen Creek, Ariz., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • James Greenwalt, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Birmingham, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Timothy Koehler, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Cape Girardeau, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Randall Longacre, 1C/The Sanctuary, Columbus, Neb., LCMS Nebraska District
  • Faustino Munoz, Faith Lutheran Church, Oakville, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Michael Parrish, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • Brian Ryherd, Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Joel Schuldheisz, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Tacoma, Wash., LCMS Northwest District
  • Jared Tanz, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Cape Girardeau, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Jeffrey Tuft, Calvary Lutheran Church, Oroville, Calif., LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District

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

  • Leon Budibuende, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Zelalem Futassa, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Dallas, Texas, LCMS Texas District
  • John (Tika) Gurung, Ascension Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Ratna Mangar, St. Johns Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Sammy Roberts, Peace Lutheran Church, Hurst, Texas, LCMS Texas District
  • Nabin Samal, St. Johns Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District

The following EIIT students were assigned as deaconess interns:

  • Kan Hsu, Immanuel Lutheran Church Light of Christ Chinese Mission, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Helen (Yonghe) Qiu, Immanuel Lutheran Church Light of Christ Chinese Mission, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Kia Thao, Hmong Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn., LCMS Minnesota South District

The following Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS) student was assigned as vicar:

  • Oscar Gamez, Water of Life Lutheran Church, Forney, Texas, LCMS Texas District

The following Cross-cultural Ministry Center (CMC) students were assigned as vicars:

  • Corey Chang, Hope Lutheran Church, Daly City, Calif., LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District
  • UmaShankar “Uma” Kanagasabai, Salem Lutheran Church, Tomball, Texas, LCMS Texas District
  • Daniel Thao, Hmong Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn., LCMS Minnesota South District
  • Nathan Toenjes, Church of All Nations, Hong Kong, LCMS Northwest District

The Seminary recognizes and celebrates calls throughout the year for students enrolled in programs such as SMP, EIIT, CHS and CMC; however, the majority of students receive their first calls to ministry at the annual Call Day celebration. Call Day is set for April 28, 2021.

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.

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