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Concordia Seminary begins 184th academic year

New students welcomed across 13 programs

The 184th academic year for Concordia Seminary, St. Louis began Friday, Aug. 26,  with the Opening Service in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus.

During the Opening Service, Seminary President Thomas J. Egger preached on the 2022-23 academic theme “Sharing the Gospel—Sharing our Lives” based on 1 Thess. 2:8.

“May the coming year be a year lived in the Christian vocation of love and self-giving,” Egger said in his sermon. “Let us be like those early Christians in Acts chapter 2. The believers were together and had all things in common. Day by day, they attended temple together and broke bread together in their homes, receiving their food with glad and generous hearts and praising God. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship … and to prayers. Like them, like Paul and the Thessalonians, let us come together regularly and often and let not the devil hinder us. Let us share the Gospel with one another. Let us share our lives with one another.”

During the service, the Seminary’s new Provost and Professor of Exegetical Theology Dr. Ronald Mudge was installed. In addition, three current professors were installed into new positions: Dr. David Adams as the first W.G. Ray and Louis J. Rechtzigel Professor of Biblical Studies; Dr. Joel Elowsky as the first Frank and Valerie Fuerst Professor of Historical Theology; and Dr. Timothy Saleska as the Gustav and Sophie Butterbach Professor of Exegetical Theology. One visiting professor, Dr. Vilson Scholz of São Leopoldo, Brazil, also was recognized. Three new staff members also were installed: DCE Caitlin Dinger as the administrative assistant for distance programs, Rev. Jesse Kueker as an admissions officer and Rev. Thomas Schlund as an admissions officer. In all, 15 new staff were recognized, and 10 faculty and staff were recognized for new positions.

Also, 44 distance students who received their vicarage and internship assignments were recognized. The Seminary anticipates welcoming 125 new students for the fall term across its Ministerial Formation and Advanced Studies programs.

Concordia Seminary’s residential and distance Ministerial Formation programs include: Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Residential Alternate Route (RAR), Deaconess Studies, Online Deaconess Studies (ODS), Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT), Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP), Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS), General Pastor Certification (GPC) and Cross-cultural Ministry Center (CMC).

The Seminary’s Advanced Studies department includes the following programs: Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Ministry and Master of Sacred Theology.

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

  • Graham Barber, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Largo, Fla., LCMS Florida-Georgia District
  • Delbert Beideck, Grace Korean Lutheran Church, Colleyville, Texas, LCMS Texas District
  • Eugene Bostwick, Peace Lutheran Church, King George, Va., LCMS Southeastern District
  • Zachary Bultemeier, Trinity Lutheran Church, Henrico, Va., LCMS Southeastern District
  • Benjamin Davis, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, Angel Fire, N.M., and Sangre de Cristo Lutheran Church, Taos, N.M., LCMS Rocky Mountain District
  • Brady Gurganious, Zion Lutheran Church, New Palestine, Ind., LCMS Indiana District
  • Jordan Jacobsen, Faith Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, S.D., LCMS South Dakota District
  • Michael “Paul” Kasaty, Christ Lutheran Church, Lincoln, Neb., LCMS Nebraska District
  • Francis Kelske, NewChurch Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas, LCMS Texas District
  • Scott Krawec, Hope Lutheran Church, Bonita Springs, Fla., LCMS Florida-Georgia District
  • Tommy Lee, Messiah Lutheran Church, Prattville, Ala., LCMS Southern District
  • Walter Little, Ascension Lutheran Church, Kansas City, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Timothy Onnen, Christ Lutheran Church, Montrose, Colo., LCMS Rocky Mountain District
  • Thomas Penrod, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, S.D., LCMS South Dakota District
  • Jacob Phillips, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Southaven, Miss., LCMS Southern District
  • Joel Ripke, Peace Lutheran Church, Columbus, Neb., LCMS Nebraska District
  • Eric Ronsick, Trinity Lutheran Church–Egypt Mills, Cape Girardeau, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Alessandro Rubino, The Life Lutheran Church, Old Westbury, N.Y., LCMS Atlantic District
  • Jeremy Seger, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Evansville, Ind., LCMS Indiana District
  • Kenneth Sherman, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Lakeland, Fla., LCMS Florida-Georgia District
  • Frederick Sylvester, Bethel Lutheran Church, New Orleans, La., LCMS Southern District
  • Steven Tomac, Faith Lutheran Church, Yerington, Nev., LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District
  • Bryan Varblow, Cross and Resurrection Lutheran Church, Ypsilanti, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Jason Yunker, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Evansville, Ind., LCMS Indiana District

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

  • Niclau Alcena, Bethlehem Haitian Lutheran Church, Immokalee, Fla., LCMS Florida-Georgia District
  • Niguse Alemayo, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, West Des Moines, Iowa, LCMS Iowa District West
  • Desalegn Gamme, Trinity Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn., LCMS Minnesota South District
  • Johniel Sam Dasiah John Edward Jeyaseelan, Our Savior Lutheran Church, South Windsor, Conn., LCMS New England District
  • Tou Pao Lee, St. Paul Lutheran Church – Hmong Outreach, Merced, Calif., LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District
  • Molalign Sombo, Christ Lutheran Church, Platte Woods, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Naresh Talathoti, House of Prayer at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, LCMS Texas District

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

  • Peggy Gott, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Olathe, Kan., LCMS Kansas District
  • Nola Gray, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Olathe, Kan., LCMS Kansas District

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

  • Marvin Barrantes, San Pablo Apóstol Lutheran Church, Miami, Fla., LCMS Florida-Georgia District

The following Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS) student was assigned as a deaconess intern:

  • Lidia Somoza, San Pablo Apóstol Lutheran Church, Miami, Fla., LCMS Florida-Georgia District

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

  • Eric Hawley, Trinity Lutheran Church—Galewood, Chicago, Ill., LCMS Northern Illinois District
  • Johnathan Raoelison Andriambololona, The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Los Angeles, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • Micah Raebel, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Orange, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District

The following Online Deaconess Studies (ODS) Program students were assigned as deaconess interns:

  • Kimberly Bradford, Faith Lutheran Church, Saint Robert, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Jessica Dennis, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Columbus, S.C., LCMS Southeastern District
  • Amy Genszler, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Oregon, Ohio, LCMS Ohio District
  • Terry Priestley, St. John Lutheran Church and School, Rochester, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Sally Roth, Fellowship of Faith Lutheran Church, McHenry, Ill., LCMS Northern Illinois District
  • Karen Swift, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, San Diego, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District

The Seminary recognizes and celebrates calls throughout the year for students enrolled in programs such as SMP, EIIT, CHS, ODS 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 26, 2023.

“May God uphold and preserve us in the coming year and deal mercifully with us for the sake of His Son,” Egger said before officially opening the new academic year. “May God enliven us by His Spirit that we joyfully share His Gospel and share our very lives and selves, calling on His help and kindness.”

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