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The church was part of David Rutlen's life even before he was born. His grandfather, whom Rutlen never knew, pastored a Finnish-speaking congregation. And Rutlen's father, who died in 2004, always wanted to be a pastor.
Rutlen, a physician in Little Rock, Ark., thought the best way to honor that dream was to help pastors in training. Rutlen included Luther Seminary in his will, with the intention of establishing an academic chair in his parents' names, so the education of future church leaders could continue after he was gone. He also established a lecture series on faith and creation in their names: Robert William Ruotsalainen Rutlen and Elizabeth Jane Runn Rutlen.
"The most substantial part of Luther is the faculty, so [the chair] was easy for me to do," says Rutlen. As for providing funding to create the lecture series, that's just one more way Rutlen is honoring his family. His father had a passion for justice and a profound influence on Rutlen's children, which led to their focus on environmental justice and God's creation.
"I know the lectures will remain vibrant. I believe it's important in the training of new pastors for the church," says Rutlen. "I know Luther is a leader in a number of areas, and I hope the lectureship also helps it become a leader in the area of faith and creation."
You can impact the future of the church by including Luther Seminary in your will. Learn more about finding creative ways to think about a gift for you and for the future of the church.
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Select.. September 2015
Your support ensures that future church leaders can pursue their call in ministry.