Story Magazine

Spring/Summer, 2013

Former Alumni-in-Residence recruiter steps into role

by John Klawiter, M.Div. '12

Pastor Leland Armbright, '05, joined the alumni council in 2006 while serving at a two-point parish near Moorhead, Minn. By 2009, Armbright was chairing the council.
In this leadership role, he encouraged many of his peers to serve as the alumni-in-residence at Luther Seminary. The alum-in-residence stays on campus for approximately one week and preaches in chapel, speaks in seminary classes, meets with faculty members, visits formally and informally with students and eats meals in the dining room. Now that he's stepped down from the chair, Armbright only needed to look in the mirror to fill the role for 2013.
Armbright, who earned a Master of Divinity at Luther Seminary, now serves Mountain View Lutheran Church, one of the largest congregations in the ELCA that is located just outside Phoenix. He is excited to bring his parish ministry perspective to this role, especially as Luther Seminary is in the midst of tumultuous change and transition.
"Lots of congregations have gone through financial pains in different ways and shapes," said Armbright. "We [as congregations] are partners [with institutions, like Luther Seminary] in the [financial realities] and it's healthy to be part of that conversation. I came to find out where the students are at with their questions, hopes and fears. Those are the questions people wrestle with every day."
"I don't mean to diminish the pain or anxiety [that the seminary is currently experiencing]," said Armbright. "But I put it in perspective with a message that hopefully reduces the anxiety. I asked the students, 'What do you wish you were learning more that the seminary is not providing?'"
In May, he'll give a presentation to the alumni council and provide feedback to the Luther Seminary cabinet about his time on campus. 
"Part of my role is to bring [my experiences from the greater church] back to [the seminary]," said Armbright. "Together, we can talk about how we're part of the larger change taking place."