Ministry in Context

Photo Album

Interns Hannah Benedict, Kimberly Cassidy and Katie Slack enjoy playing with Hannah’s daughter Eve at the Northern Minnesota-North Dakota cluster meeting. 

Supervisors Sue Koesterman-Peterson and Jim Gronbeck finish lunch at the Northern Minnesota-North Dakota cluster meeting.

 

Supervisor Steve Bonesho and Interns Paul Dean, Will Starkweather and Durk Thompson visit at the West Metro cluster meeting.

 

Interns Amanda Ullrich and Kris Isder get caught up at the Southwestern

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Introducing Chris Scharen, the new Director of Contextual Learning

I'd like to introduce myself as the new Director of Contextual Learning. Ironically, God must have had me in mind for this call—my office is already in the Contextual Learning suite in the 3rd floor tower of Northwestern Hall. I've been there since 2008 when I began at Luther as Assistant Professor of Worship. I'll continue to teach worship part-time, but will shift the bulk of my time to the Contextual Learning enterprise. I'm excited to join a superb and dedicated staff hard at work in the

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Farewell to Kate

After ten years of faithful service, Kate Sterner will be leaving the staff of Luther Seminary by mid-May.  Kate has been a stalwart partner with us in the Contextual Learning department, our mainstay in dealing with applications and evaluations and all of those forms completed on-line, taking the jumbled mess passed on to her by others and converting it into the more polished “Ministry in Context” that you see, and shepherding diaconal students through their seminary program.

We

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Another Tax Tip

In response to a student question as to whether parsonage value was taxable if provided by the church, tax accountant Mark Friesen has provided this information:

Like other fringe benefits, free or discounted church-provided lodging is usually subject to income and other taxes. To determine the fair market value of the housing provided to an intern, the church may check local newspaper listings for comparable rental properties or ask a local realtor for an estimate of the property’s rental

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My Guilty Pleasure

As I write this I prepare to say good-bye to whatever vestige of mature, cultured, intellectual status I might have previously claimed, revealing myself to be a total slob. As if you didn’t already know.

Three tides converged at about the time I retired from full-time parish ministry:

  1. My wife and I took ballroom dancing lessons.
  2. I had more free time in the evening.
  3. "Dancing With The Stars” became a TV hit.

What can I tell you? I confess to being a “Dancing With The Stars”

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Spring cluster meetings

After Easter, cluster meetings begin! Here's the schedule:

Washington Cluster: April 9-10, at Rainbow Lodge, North Bend, Wash. (Julie Josund)

Twin Cities First Year Concurrents : April 10, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Luther Seminary, Northwestern Hall Room 230. (Steve McKinley)

Northern Minnesota-North Dakota Cluster: April 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Hope Lutheran Church, South Campus, Fargo, N.D. (Steve McKinley)

Twin Cities West Cluster: April 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Trinity Congregation/Augsburg College, Minneapolis,

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The grace of community

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, the Apostle is writing to a community for whom he has real affection. You’re familiar enough with Paul to realize that this love doesn’t preclude the occasional reprimand or extended harangue. Paul is not afraid to list what he calls the "works of the flesh."

It’s a pretty gnarly list—actions and attitudes, appetites and deeds that are destructive to community and to people—drunkenness and deceit, anger and anxiety. The chaos

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Intern income taxes

Pastors work in a complex financial situation. Their salary is frequently public and is approved as part of the church budget process. In addition, they have a unique standing before the IRS, both as common law employees and as self-employed for Social Security purposes. The complexities that result are often not well understood by pastors or their tax advisors, and there are specialists in the tax preparation industry who work solely with clergy.

But student interns are not yet clergy! It is important

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Don't be late for church!

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 10.

If you are one of our perfectionist interns, you will set your alarm clock for 2 a.m. when you go to bed on Saturday night, then wake up and push the proper buttons to set the clock ahead one hour.

If you are a normal productive intern, you will set the clock ahead before you go to bed on Saturday night.

If you are one of those I-do-my-best-work-at-the-last-minute (meaning I-only-work-at-the-last-minute) types, you might still be working on Sunday’s

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On keeping it simple

One of my great friends and mentors when I was a young pastor was the Rev. Elward (yes, Elward) O. “Ozzie” Hollman, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Windsor, Conn. Ozzie respected the high church liturgical tradition of the Episcopal Church, but led the liturgy in a very down-to-earth way, which was Ozzie’s style in all things. He had a great gift for keeping things simple and cutting through to the core.

Ozzie was famous at Grace for one of his Easter sermons. He stood up in

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