Monday, September 25, 2006

Me, a leader in the church?

It’s September, the beginning of the harvest season, time to make a fresh start, a time for remembering all that has been and dreaming of the future. During this beautiful month, we are so glad that you are considering God’s call to the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

“Me, a leader in the church?” My call from God to be a pastor came very gradually, step by step, day by day, throughout the seminary process. In the beginning, I didn’t know if I was called to be a pastor—all I knew for sure was that I was called to come to LSTC. This was the community where I wanted to continue to develop my spiritual and intellectual life. This was the place where I was challenged through classes, through real-life challenges in a real community, through practicing ministry. This is the place where my understanding of the Lutheran faith, the faith in which I was raised, was deepened and clarified. This is the place where I took advantage of the ACTS consortium of seminaries and took a wide range of classes in various areas of interest. I learned from faiths and perspectives that are not my own. I developed friendships to last a lifetime and had difficult experiences that prepared me well for the challenges of ministry. I loved daily worship, singing in the choirs, the global community gathered here, the Hyde Park neighborhood and the city of Chicago.

This is why I am so thrilled to be back at LSTC, as the new Director of Vocation and Recruitment, because it’s a joy for me to share the good news of this community of learning and leadership with you. After five years as a pastor in both congregational and campus ministry settings in Wisconsin, my family has moved back to the city of Chicago and I have accepted this new call to welcome people to LSTC.

Our LSTC Admissions Office, my colleague Dorothy Dominiak (Director of Admissions and Financial Aid) and myself would love to have you come and visit LSTC. Get an idea of its professors and students, classes and worship, surrounding neighborhood and broader city setting. We want you to come and have a few days to ponder God’s call for your future, to discern whether this is the place God is beckoning you. We’ve designed a weekend for you to come together with others asking these same questions: “Is God calling me? Is God calling me here?”

Seminary Sampler is a long weekend, Saturday through Monday, October 28-30, 2006 in which you’ll have time to have conversations, hear stories of God’s call, think about your life path and how you’ve been brought to this place. You’ll hear the nuts and bolts of admissions and financial aid processes. You’ll get to interact with LSTC administrators and students, share a meal in their homes, visit their congregations, tour the seminary, housing and Hyde Park. If you’re able to stay for Monday, you’ll visit classes, attend daily worship and be treated to lunch with the faculty. Of course, you’re welcome to visit LSTC anytime, but this is a weekend created especially for you.

We hope to see you there!

May God bless and guide you,
Pastor Joy

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