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Call Day 2021 caps years of ministry preparation

The joy and excitement was palpable on campus Wednesday as 110 Concordia Seminary, St. Louis students were recognized during two Call Day services held in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus.

The students learned of their first calls to pastoral and diaconal ministry and second-year students learned their assignments as vicars and deaconess interns. The services also were live streamed at csl.edu/callday [1] and on YouTube [2] live.

First calls to serve as pastors, chaplains, deaconess and missionaries for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) were announced at a 7 p.m. worship service in which President Dr. Thomas J. Egger [3] preached on the theme of “One Shepherd, Jesus Christ,” based on John 10:11-18. It was Egger’s first Call Day sermon as the Seminary’s 11th president, a position he began in March.

While the mood of the two services was particularly exciting as it was the first in-person Call Day celebration in two years, capacity restrictions limited the number of attendees. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Call Day services were held online-only.

“This year we are in person but we are under some rather significant restrictions by St. Louis County in terms of wearing masks, social distancing, limited occupancy in a building and making contact with other people,” said Director of Placement Dr. Glenn Nielsen [4], who also serves as director of Vicarage and Deaconess Internships. “Next year we hope, and we pray, we will be back to a full chapel — no masks, handshaking, hugs, smiling faces. But this year we want to acknowledge some of the disappointment that is here because not all family, children and friends are able to be here as each candidate was given just one guest to invite. We thank you for understanding.”

The pastoral students receiving calls included 47 Master of Divinity students, seven Residential Alternate Route students, three Cross-cultural Ministry Center students, two Center for Hispanic Studies students and two students in the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology program. Three deaconess students, including two of whom have completed the Center for Hispanic Studies deaconess program, received calls. Two deaconess students have placements pending.

“Tonight is a night of joy and of confidence and of anticipation and of eternal significance because God has raised up one Shepherd — and the time of His humiliation and the time of His shame and suffering is finished,” Egger said. “He has done it! The remarkable saving work of Christ … is accomplished. Tonight is a night of joy because of Jesus, the one Shepherd, and He is calling you to feed His lambs. What a glorious ministry, the ministry of the Gospel of Christ.”

Also Wednesday, 39 students who will serve as vicars (pastoral interns) and five deaconess interns received their assignments at a 3 p.m. worship service. The pastoral students included two Cross-cultural Ministry Center students and four Residential Alternate Route students. LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District President Rev. Michael Lange preached a sermon titled “Embrace the Authority Adventure” from 1 Peter 2:18-25.

“Dear brothers, sisters: It’s not always going to be easy or fun to follow the example of Christ,” Lange said. “You may have your foot stepped on. You may be yanked away. You may believe that you have the right works and yet we count ourselves blessed to be servants in the household, servants who are entrusted with the responsibility of giving an example of gracious action even during cruel treatment rather than ungracious. Christ is our example in this.”

All calls and assignments will be served in LCMS congregations, organizations and districts. A complete list of assignments and placements, including an interactive map [5] and photos, can be found at csl.edu/callday [1] or at the links below:

Calls and assignments were shared on Twitter in real time during both services, and many people shared their celebratory comments and photos with the hashtags #CallDay2021, #LCMSCallDay and #CallDayWatchParty on social media.

Those who would like to refer a prospective student are encouraged to visit csl.edu/visit [10] or contact Enrollment at 800-822-9545 or admit@csl.edu [11].

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) [12]. To learn more, visit csl.edu [13].