Another flourishing school year is in session. For many new students it began with Luther Seminary’s FirstWeek orientation. From Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, students had the chance to get to know one another, the school and faculty through a variety of experiences.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” junior M.Div. student Aaron Werner said. He, along with 165 of his new classmates, participated in the orientation week. “I’m usually the outgoing one walking around and talking to people, but when I got on campus everyone was smiling and welcoming.”
Activities offered throughout the week included keynote speakers, campus workshops and field trips. M.Div. junior Amanda Bachman especially enjoyed the house groups in which students met in small groups with faculty and staff members. “I liked hearing from faculty and why they do what they do,” she said. “I liked hearing their journey in becoming a professor.”
Werner also enjoyed getting to know the faculty. “At [my undergraduate school] faculty can be a bit standoffish. Here they are understanding and refreshingly friendly. They are here to help you along because you are going to be their partners in ministry,” Werner said.
One day was spent experiencing the heart of the city. Students attended Mixed Blood Theater–a regional arts organization devoted to cultural pluralism, individual equality and artistic excellence–worshiped at Augustana Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis, and participated in an afternoon activity of their choice.
For Bachman that activity was a trip to Como Park in St. Paul. There, she listened to a discussion about the meaning of Sabbath spirituality. Afterwards, she walked in the park’s newly completed labyrinth. “That was exactly what I needed, because FirstWeek was really busy. I needed a break!” Bachman said.
Werner’s trip inspired him to become involved. He attended the community organizing seminar at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in St. Paul. “Our workshop focused on building authentic relationships. They actually had us knocking on doors in the neighborhood, initiating one-on-one conversations about community issues,” Werner said. “It was fun and I want to get involved with the organization.”
Bachman sums up what FirstWeek was all about. In one talk she recalled hearing what it means to be at Luther Seminary, “We need to remember we are from different backgrounds and different experiences brought to this place.”