Story Magazine - Second Quarter, 2006

Estate Gift Creates Endowed Faculty Chair

by Shelley Cunningham,'98

Her parents, The Rev. Dr. Olin S. and Amanda Fjelstad Reigstad, served Bethlehem Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis for 25 years. Their lives were a model of Christian witness and faithfulness.

Dr. Ruth Reigstad, who spent her career serving in the military and then as a physical therapist, wanted to recognize their ministry. Upon her death in November 2005, she left virtually her entire estate to Luther Seminary to endow a faculty chair in their name. The Olin S. and Amanda Fjelstad Reigstad Chair in Theology was announced at Commencement in May.

Dr. Marc Kolden, '66, has been named the chair's first recipient. Kolden has taught systematic theology at Luther Seminary for 30 years. He also served as dean of academic affairs from 1996 to 2003.

"The endowment of a chair in theology honors the Reigstads' faithful Christian service to the church," Kathleen Hansen, vice president for seminary relations, said. "It was, in Ruth Reigstad's own words, her wish 'to help future pastors and church leaders as they struggle with their own profound questions, learn to seek for truth continually, and to accept their longings for the eternal, which can never be completely understood.'"

Reigstad asked that faculty members named to this chair be exemplary teachers who inspire an openness in their students to wrestling with questions of faith.

Kolden's primary teaching areas are the person and work of Christ and the doctrine of the church. He has also done research and writing on the doctrine of Christian vocation (the Christian's calling in the world), an interest that began when he was a pastor and thinking with congregational members about ways that God might be working in their lives.