On Aug. 17, during chapel at the LCMS International Center in St. Louis, Deaconess Dr. Ruth McDonnell was installed as the new director of Colloquy for the Concordia University Education Network (CUEnet). She will also serve as CUEnet’s Colloquy mentor. About two months after her installation, McDonnell says she is enjoying learning all the aspects of her position and getting to know her new co-workers.
“I absolutely love what I am doing,” McDonnell said. “I am so excited to be a part of such a wonderful team — all with unique, God-given gifts that make CUEnet what it is.”
CUEnet was established more than two decades ago as a cooperative effort of the institutions of the Concordia University System (CUS). It provides online theological training for school teachers who did not get their degree at a CUS institution, allowing them to apply for inclusion on the Synod’s roster of commissioned workers.
As CUEnet’s director of Colloquy, McDonnell oversees the colloquy process for those in the program. As Colloquy mentor, she reviews students’ written work to confirm their understanding of the material and recommend further review or study if necessary. Following the completion of the CUEnet program, the colloquy candidate becomes the responsibility of one of the CUS institutions, which conducts the colloquy interview, certifies the student and places him or her into ministry.
McDonnell said her greatest joy in her new position is the students.
“From the young lady with two small children who has been working on her coursework while her husband has been deployed overseas … to the principal who has been struggling to find the time to study” while dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, “our students are amazing,” McDonnell said. “They are committed to learning about Lutheran doctrine for the sake of teaching the faith to their students.” McDonnell added that over 95% of CUEnet’s colloquy students pass their interview on the first attempt.
McDonnell has a bachelor’s degree in music education from James Madison University in Harrisburg, Va.; a Master of Arts in exegetical theology with deaconess certification from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (CSL); and a Doctor of Philosophy from CSL. She has previously served as a Lutheran high school music teacher, a parish music director, a parish deaconess, a mission coordinator for the LCMS Missouri District and CSL assistant director for Graduate Studies. She was an early student in the CUEnet program, receiving her Lutheran Teacher’s Diploma in 2003.
McDonnell is a member of Salem Lutheran Church in Affton, Mo., a Comfort Dog volunteer with Lutheran Church Charities, and a member of the Gateway Ringers, an advanced community handbell ensemble in St. Louis. She and her husband, Peter, have two adult sons.
Posted Oct. 22, 2021