Story Magazine - Winter, 2010
Peace for sufferers. Comfort for the troubled. Love for those alone. Family, world, church. All these prayers and more are penciled on Luther Seminary's World Canvas Project—and painted over.
View the World Canvas Project video.
"As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, we confess that the Holy Spirit is calling and sending the church of Jesus Christ into apostolic mission for the sake of God's world." So begins Luther Seminary's strategic plan. The heart of this strategic plan is Luther Seminary's mission statement--first formulated in 1995--that emphasizes the education of leaders for Christian ministry.
How are we to be church in these times? Luther Seminary's Children, Youth and Family Ministry degree programs are exploring that question.
Two congregations agreeing to an experiment are sharply different: a 2,000-member parish in St. Louis Park, Minn., and, six miles distant, a 200-member inner-city church in north Minneapolis.
While some Luther Seminary alumni/ae follow a fairly traditional path, others embrace unique ministries. The profiles below look at three alumni-led Twin Cities churches and explore how each best serves the needs of those who attend.
Lutherans can find God in a multitude of places. For Tyler Beane, a first-year M.A. student in systematic theology at Luther Seminary, God works through film.
"Nature's chief tool for sustainability is diversity," said Jeff Hawkins, '80. Hawkins is executive director of Hope CSA, a working and teaching ministry for pastors that is located on Hawkins' 99-acre farm in North Manchester, Ind. "Just as sustainable farming requires producing a variety of crops, having only one way of being church is more fragile and less sustainable," said Hawkins, a former pastor. "The farm teaches students an organic way of life through direct experience."
"If anyone ever says, 'Oh, where's the church going?' ... the only thing I can think of is, 'Where the church is going is great places,'" says Kevin Massey, '93, director of the ELCA's Domestic Disaster Response. Young volunteers and church members who assist in disaster situations around the country "really show an energy and a commitment to mission and ministry that is really uplifting and meaningful to me," he says.
For many young adults, finding faith comes through embracing the unknown. Likewise, for Karis Thompson, laying the groundwork for a new faith community of young adults in the Fargo-Moorhead area has meant
embracing unknowns about what that community will become.