September marks a time of both new and renewed journeys of learning. We welcomed a group of 120 new students. Some of them will be in residence and others will be on campus for brief periods of time in our distributed learning program. We welcomed students returning from various contextual learning experiences, including internship, supervised clinical ministry and camping and youth ministry leadership programs. We also welcomed a dozen new students from Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe. We currently have more than 50 international students with us from around the globe. Most often these students come to us because of longstanding relationships with churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)—A Communion of Churches. These students deeply enrich our life together.
During these early days in September, Academic Dean Craig Koester and I are participating in the LWF Consultation on hermeneutics in Chicago. This multi-year project began in 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. Its purpose is for us to think together as a global communion of churches on the varied, faithful ways we read Scripture.
A key goal of this work is to “look forward to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, in a spirit of reformation and transformation, both of church and society, emphasizing the role of biblical interpretation for the life of the church.” Dean Koester has a key role in distilling the many insights raised and forwarding them to the 2017 general assembly. He also contributed a chapter to “Singing the Songs of the Lord in Foreign Lands,” the publication that came out of last year’s consultation.
I continue to encounter the global reach of Luther Seminary’s mission to educate leaders, including pastors, bishops, diaconal ministers and youth leaders. In June, I travelled to Medan, Indonesia, for the LWF Council meeting. During that 10-day period, I met bishops, pastors, teachers and other leaders who had a Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry or Ph.D. from Luther Seminary. They are all interested in seeing their alma mater thrive, and we discussed their passions and concerns.
It is wonderful to continually hear of Luther Seminary’s global reach and the contributions of so many of our graduates serving in varied leadership positions. Fulfilling our mission to educate leaders for Christian communities requires our best thinking and prioritization on a path toward long-term sustainability. I look forward to seeing what God holds for us in the future.