Story Magazine - Fall, 2011
Jesus used the festival to give one message to his disciples—and to us: If you are looking for joy and harvest, even in shaky times, "come to me; believe in me."
It's this message that marks the professors and teachers at Luther Seminary. Today, they are equipping a whole new generation of leaders with joy for the harvest.
On May 29, Luther Seminary celebrated its 142nd Commencement at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Degrees were awarded to 148 students, including 77 Master of Divinity and 35 Master of Arts recipients. There were 19 Doctor of Ministry graduates recognized. Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy degrees were also awarded.
As long as she can remember, the Rev. Susan Masters, '08, has interpreted through sign language. She began by interpreting for her sister, Vera, who is deaf—whether ordering French fries at McDonald's or helping her sister converse with neighbors. Later, Susan became a professional interpreter to pay bills as she worked toward a master's degree in clinical social work.
It was her knowledge of both American Sign Language and the Lutheran faith that first won her a position as an interim lay minister at Bread of Life Deaf Lutheran Church in Minneapolis from 1996 to 1997. She returned to that position again for one year in 2001.
On June 24, nearly 50 ELCA pastors gathered in the library of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. They were preparing to process into the first of two memorial services honoring the Rev. Paul Youngdahl, their colleague, mentor and friend.
"What happens in Vegas doesn't necessarily stay in Vegas, at least as far as the church is concerned," Jerry Routh, a Las Vegas resident and Luther Seminary donor, said about a unique, three-week pilot course. This missional study of the church in the west brought seven students to Las Vegas last January.
On May 5, more than 200 donors and students gathered for the Blessings event. Blessings is an annual opportunity for scholarship donors of named endowed or current scholarship funds and the students they support to gather together for dinner and a worship service.
"If we can help with this, it is like we are helping the whole church," Charles and Sharon Olson said of their gift toward a major renovation of Luther Seminary's Olson Campus Center.
By providing the lead gift for the project, the Olsons have made a commitment to strengthen community life at Luther Seminary.
"We both felt in our hearts that there was this need," they said. "It felt good to support it."
To inspire generations of scholars and leaders is the dream of any seminary professor—and a clear reality for the late Donald Juel. Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary for 17 years and a lifelong academic, Juel continues to make his mark on the church through the lives and work of his former students.
Few colleges have brought as many students to Luther Seminary as Gustavus Adolphus College. For the past 12 years, that well-trod path from Gustavus to Luther seemed to make one essential stop: Old Main office 304H.
From the classroom to the Huffington Post, a popular Internet newspaper, Luther Seminary professors are broadening their academic reach. In past months David Lose, Marbury E. Anderson Associate Professor of Biblical Preaching; Matthew Skinner, associate professor of New Testament; and Andrew Root, Carrie Olson Baalson Associate Professor of Children, Youth and Family Ministry, have published articles in the Religion and Divorce sections covering myriad topics.
The foreword to "The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry," a book written by Luther Seminary Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean Roland Martinson, along with Wes Black and John Roberto, begins with one three-word phrase: "This changes everything."
In June 2006, Paul Westermeyer, professor of church music, sat among fellow seminary worship faculty at an Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal introduction training event. During a question-and-answer session, Westermeyer asked, "Will there be a hymnal companion?"
Liturgical music for the small, rural church. Good Friday monologues. And a young-adult study that involves "Battlestar Galactica?" These church resources may not seem to have much in common. And, up until a few years ago, they would have never been available to churches in one place—or for free.
In the memories of many of his former students, Wendell Frerichs was an exceptional professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary. But, in his mind, Frerichs is better at working than retirement.
"I began in 1958, retired in 1995 and continued to teach a couple of courses until 2003," Frerichs said. "Then I went into retirement, which I have flunked. But I'm very glad for that."
If your boss called you into her office, would you be nervous? For Lynea Geinert, '11, a private word with her boss turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime: she was to be the production coordinator for a CBS News documentary about her own job.
Rev. Robert Paul Roth, '45, Luther Seminary professor emeritus of systematic theology and ethics, died March 23 at his home in Wayzata, Minn. He was 91.
Roth served at Northwestern Seminary in Minneapolis from 1961 to 1990. From 1968 to 1976, he was Northwestern Seminary's academic dean until the merger with Luther Seminary, where he continued teaching and served as the director of the graduate school.
The most common question we get: "So, what was the favorite place you visited?" Our answer: "All of them!" My husband, Kevin Bergeson, and I—like all the other brave souls who intentionally spent a year outside the United States on the Graduate Preaching Fellowship—may have a hard time naming one place. Hong Kong, Istanbul, Israel-Palestine, England, Scotland, Sweden and Norway—all in 11 months? As we crash back into the States with broken suitcases and messy passports, we have spent a year, with Bible and camera in tow, studying how the global church sees the gospel in everyday life.