By Stacey Egger
On two joy-filled days in late April, the seminaries of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) held their pastoral and diaconal call services and their vicarage and deaconess internship assignment services on their respective campuses. Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (CSL), and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW), livestreamed the April 26 and 27 services as members of LCMS congregations across the country eagerly watched:
- 86 men receive pastoral calls (47 at CSL and 39 at CTSFW);
- 3 women receive diaconal calls (all at CSL);
- 105 men receive vicarage placements (59 at CSL and 46 at CTSFW); and
- 9 women receive deaconess placements (4 at CSL and 5 at CTSFW).
Preaching for the pastoral call service at CSL, the Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan, president of the LCMS Missouri District, said, “Tonight and tomorrow, people from Missouri to Michigan … from Oregon to Ohio, are watching these services. … They have prayed that God would send them … one who will show them Jesus.”
Each of the 35 LCMS districts received at least one candidate.
‘To nourish them with the Word of God’
CSL held both of its Call Day services April 26 in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus: a Service of the Word with the Assignment of Vicarages and Deaconess Internships at 3 p.m. and a Service of Vespers with the Assignment of Calls at 7 p.m.
Preaching for the 3 p.m. service, the Rev. Dr. Lucas Woodford, president of the LCMS Minnesota South District, addressed the vicarage and deaconess interns.
“You know the pressures of a culture filled with ungodly passions of the world,” Woodford said. “But now you are leaving the comparative safety of the seminary community to go out and serve those who daily live it on the front lines of the battle. … Your task is to nourish them with the Word of God.”
April 26 was also the 175th anniversary of the founding of the LCMS. Speaking at the evening service, LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said, “The extent of this Missouri Synod is really quite something. … It’s a great ministerium, a brotherhood, and it’s 175 years old today.
“What a memorable moment: You receive your calls into the ministry the very day the Synod was born in Chicago … all those years ago. Who could have dreamed of the blessings that are ours? They are amazing.”
Harrison discussed the joys and challenges of ministry, adding that “in serving … under the cross, you will become exactly the pastor [or] the deaconess that you are meant to be. And [the Lord] will cause it to happen.”
For a complete list of CSL calls and assignments, or to watch videos of the services, visit csl.edu/callday.
‘Jesus sends help’
CTSFW held its Evening Prayer with Distribution of Vicarage and Deaconess Internship Assignments at 7 p.m. April 26 and its Office of Vespers with the Distribution of Calls into the Holy Ministry at 7 p.m. April 27, both in CTSFW’s Kramer Chapel.
The Rev. Dr. Donald Fondow, president of the LCMS Minnesota North District, preached at the pastoral call service. “The Lord knows our weakness,” Fondow said. “He knows that His discipleship brings persecution and many perils and dangers with it.”
Turning to the pastoral candidates, Fondow continued: “Jesus sends help. … The Spirit is there to speak for us, to speak to us, to give wisdom and strength. … The Spirit who called you to faith in Christ now calls you to carry this life-giving message into the world.”
The Rev. Wilfred Karsten, pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Moline, Ill., preached at the vicarage and internship placement service. “That ‘you can do anything’ attitude doesn’t work,” he said, “because Jesus is not our cheerleader or coach … He’s our Savior. And He doesn’t stand on the sidelines. He’s with you every day. He doesn’t say, ‘You can do it. I believe in you.’ He says, ‘You can’t do it. Believe in me.’”
“Tonight,” Karsten concluded, “the church rejoices as it sends you out into the midst of God’s people to serve Him, to bear fruit, to be His chosen ones and to proclaim His saving name. Amen.”
For a complete list of CTSFW calls and assignments, or to watch videos of the services, visit callday.ctsfw.edu.
Posted May 19, 2022