A New Firmament Above

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe crew arrived today to begin the massive task of replacing the seminary’s flat roof. In place since the building was completed in 1984, the roof has served well–but 30 years is beyond spec, and leaks have been regularly springing over the past few years.

The complete roof replacement was made possible by excess funds from a recent major gift that paid off the seminary’s accumulated debt. The donors earnestly desired the seminary to have a fresh start, well prepared for another thirty years of service to the church. Thanks be to God.

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Fore!

Keep your eye on the ball is not only good advice for a golfer teeing off, but it is also important when you have 72 golfers on the same course at the same time. Avoiding flying balls and scooting carts are just two of the annual challenges at the seminary golf tournament, held this past 2 June at the Sawmill Golf Club near St. Catharines. This remains our most popular and important fund-raising event–but there’s certainly room for more golfers next year. Save the first Monday in June on your calendar!

For those who arrived before the 1 pm shotgun start, there were warm-up games such as the putting contest, a BBQ lunch, and a chance to buy mulligans. Dr Torgerson provided supervision for the hole-in-one contest on the tenth hole, so there would be no dubious claims for the $10,000 prize (sponsored by Intact Insurance, courtesy of Jeff Scott). Honesty in score-keeping in the “best ball” format tournament was also crucial to determine proper prize distribution at the concluding awards banquet.  The winning team this year was Robert, James, and Andrew Krestick, and Scott Hannusch.

Special thanks to those who sponsored holes and donated prizes and to Linda Lantz and her helpers for organizing and running this year’s event.

tournament 5e tournament 4d tournament 3c

 

 

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Schedule & Reminder to Register: Dr John Kleinig to Speak at Seminary Retreat

John KleinigWe are glad to announce that Dr John Kleinig will be the featured speaker at the seminary’s opening  retreat for the start of the academic year 2014-2015.

We would like to invite people outside the seminary community to consider attending all or some of the retreat. The retreat–from the afternoon of Thursday 28 August till after lunch on Friday 29 August–will be held at the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, ON. Dr Kleinig’s topic, which is geared to pastoral formation, but also highly relevant to lay people, will be “The Spiritual Disciplines” (lecture titles below). The retreat includes a series of reflective prayer services, including late evening Compline in Mount Carmel’s beautiful main chapel, and gives new and returning members of the seminary community the chance to make and renew acquaintance over meals, during free time, and in such settings as walks to the Falls.

If you are interested in attending all or part of the retreat, please register online here. If you have any questions, contact Linda Lantz (concordia@brocku.ca, or 905-688-2362, x22). The registration deadline is 1 August. The full cost of the retreat is $150, though local guests may opt out of accommodation or some meals.

Retreat Schedule and Topics

Thursday, 28 August

3.00 pm            Vespers

3.45 pm            Introduction to theme, “The Spiritual Disciplines” (Dr W. Mundt)

4.00 pm            “The Practice of Receptive Piety: Paul and Luther” (Dr John Kleinig)

5.15 pm            Break

5.30 pm            Dinner

6.30 pm            Getting acquainted (Dr W. Mundt)

7.00 pm            “Joining in with Jesus: the Discipline of Receptive Prayer” (Dr John Kleinig)

8.30 pm            Compline (in main chapel)

9.15 pm            Refreshments

Friday, 29 August

8.00 am            Breakfast

8.45 am            Matins

9.15 am            “Clearing the Conscience: the Discipline of Self-Examination” (Dr John Kleinig)

10.30 am           Break/Snack/Check Out

11.00 am           “The Discipline of Vigilance in Spiritual Warfare” (Dr John Kleinig)

12 noon            Lunch

12.45 pm          Kleinig Q & A

2.00 pm            Closing Devotion

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LCC chaplain receives one of the Armed Forces’ highest commendations

Thanks to the Canadian Lutheran for this story about CLTS grad (2000) Harold Ristau.

June 25, 2014

Captain Harold Ristau, CAF Recognition Program recipient, with his spouse Elise Ristau, receives a Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation from Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Lieutenant-General Guy Thibault, accompanied by Major General David Millar, Chief Warrant Officer Pierre Marchand, and Chief Warant Officer Kevin West, at the Sergeant's mess in Ottawa on May 31, 2014

OTTAWA – On May 31, 2014 Rev. Dr. Chaplain Harold Ristau—a member of Lutheran Church–Canada—received the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) commendation, which is one of the highest recognitions in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  Dr. Ristaua was honoured along with 11 other military personnel recognized for various incidents of outstanding service. The citation was triggered by the important impact of Dr. Ristau’s book At Peace with War (Wipf & Stock) on the training system.

As part of a Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation weekend, the commendation recipients and their spouses participated in the nation’s annual “red shirt run,” a visit to the military museum, and a tour of parliament pinnacling in a standing ovation from the Prime Minister and all in attendance during Question Period in the House of Commons.

Capt. Padre Ristau (in black stole) participates in a ramp ceremony for Private (Pte) Sébastien Courvey, who was killed in action on July 16, 2009 while conducting operations in the Panjwai District of Afghanistan.

The commendation also resulted in The Waterloo Record publishing an in-depth article highlighting Dr. Ristau’s work as a pastor and chaplain. Speaking of the work of chaplains in the military, he explained: “We are there to bring light of hope to a dark world.”

Healthy patriotism and a zeal for ministry opportunities has inspired many pastors to join the CAF, resulting in a welcome increase of LCC chaplains in both the Regular and Reserve Forces over the years. LCC’s chaplains have an excellent reputation of providing faithful service to Canada’s troops. The Church prays that this eagerness to support our troops through military chaplaincy continues as there remains an overwhelming demand for chaplains, especially in the Reserve Forces (specifically in the ABC district), which normally require a minimum of one evening per week and one Saturday per month of their time.

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Seminary for All!

2014-06-07 10.10.03

Who says that religion and politics need to be boring? On Saturday, 7 June 2014, church history scholar, Dr John Stephenson, offered a spring retreat at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Bradford, Ontario, on the subject, “Life in the Early Church: Lessons for Today”.

The 35 people in attendance were transported back to the time period shortly after the New Testament was compiled, and heard about the practices, teachings, and struggles that the early persecuted Christians underwent, many of which are strikingly similar to those of our church today. Professor Stephenson brought to life the vibrant stories of church fathers such as St Polycarp and St Ignatius, revealing striking comparisons between the challenges of the early Christians and Canadians today. Dr Stephenson’s edifying and thought-provoking presentation crushed the idea that theological subject matter is abstract and exclusivist, and ought to be reserved for a pastor’s study.

Bradford - Stephenson seminarParticipants included visitors of all ages and from various local Lutheran multi-cultural churches, who conveyed an overall consensus that this activity should be repeated and expanded, as it offered lay people a taste of the high quality education and exciting courses offered at our church’s seminaries. Praise the Lord for defenders of the Faith….yesterday and today!

Story: Chaplain Harold Ristau
Photos: Rev. Min Kim

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LCC Seminaries Launch Vocational Recruitment Campaign

LCC’s two seminaries in St. Catharines and Edmonton reported to the 2014 synodical convention that they are now in a much more healthy and stable condition than three years ago. Of course, this will not continue without the regular and generous support of church members, but we give thanks to God for His goodness.

Our more pressing challenge now is to address the persistently low enrolments of the past few years. This is not simply the seminaries’ concern, but an urgent matter for the whole church. After all, our primary purpose is to provide men for the pastoral ministry in the congregations of Lutheran Church–Canada, which we cannot accomplish without a crop of good students.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2011 asks the synod’s Board of Directors to take the lead in encouraging members of LCC to consider church vocations. The two seminaries continue to work with prospective students and to visit church gatherings. But the seminaries believe it is time for a focussed campaign to encourage men to consider the pastoral ministry and members of LCC in general to study theology “for the joy of it”.

Presidents Winger and Gimbel stood together on the podium at the 2014 LCC convention to announce the launch of a new vocational recruitment campaign as another piece in the puzzle. The campaign will present a series of posters and online images of current students and graduates, focussing on the reasons why they chose to enter the ministry. It will dovetail with the new synodical website, isgodcallingme.ca.

Is the Pulpit for You?The first poster, featuring 2014 CLTS graduate Paul Preus, was distributed to convention delegates to bring back to their congregations. It is simultaneously being released on the seminaries’ social media sites. New posters and images will be distributed every few months to keep the need fresh in people’s minds.

Pastors almost unanimously attest that they decided to enter into the ministry because they were encouraged by their pastor, their parents, their youth worker, their Sunday School teacher, their friends–people close to them who saw the right gifts. We pray that this visual campaign, presenting real men in the ministry, will encourage all the members of our church to seek out and encourage men to “ponder, pray, and talk to us” about becoming a pastor.

 

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CLTS Grad Serves as LCC Convention Essayist

Rev. Kurt Reinhardt is a 1999 graduate of Concordia, St. Catharines. Thanks to the Canadian Lutheran for the story below.

Feed: Canadian Lutheran Online
Posted on: Sunday, 8 June 2014 2:00pm
Author: canluth
Subject: Convention Essayist Calls to Prayer

Kurt Reinhardt at 2014 LCC Convention

Rev. Kurt Reinhardt presents at the 2014 National Convention. (Photo: Gabor Gasztonyi).

VANCOUVER – Saturday saw Rev. Kurt Reinhardt take the stage for the first part of his keynote lecture “Come to Him Who Answers Prayer – As Dear Children Ask their Dear Father.” In it, Rev. Reinhardt noted that God’s family is meant to be a speaking family. We were created to be in conversation, with God and with each other. But in sin, humanity stepped away from the conversation. Yet God in love restarts the conversation. He reintroduced Himself to man. That reintroduction begins with the Prophets, but it finds its ultimate manifestation in His Son. And the Son came that we might believe that God is our loving Father—bringing us back into God’s Family through baptism.

As He does so, He helps us relearn to speak—to relearn how to be in conversation with Him. We learn to speak as we are spoken to—our prayers are formed by God speaking to us. Filled by our own importance, we fail to listen to God, effectively ending the conversation. We must first listen to God before we try to pray, Rev. Reinhardt explained. He wants to speak to us, but we must let Him lead the conversation.

From that foundation, we learn to speak together as God’s Family. Christian prayer is always family prayer, praying for one another that we may be one as God is one. And we pray together not because more people are somehow better able to convince God to do what we want: He heard Elijah even though he was all alone. Instead, we pray for others when they ask us because through this God is calling us into His work. God calls us to pray together so that we can pray with one voice.

Rev. Reinhardt will return Monday to continue his essay. Following the convention, video of his presentation and the text of his speech will be made available online.
———————

View article…

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CLTS Grad Elected Synodical Vice-President

Rev. Mark L. Smith is a 2009 graduate of Concordia, St. Catharines. Thanks to the Canadian Lutheran for the Story Below.

Feed: Canadian Lutheran Online
Posted on: Sunday, 8 June 2014 9:00am
Author: canluth
Subject: Convention Elects Synodical Vice Presidents

Synodical Vice-Presidents 2014

President Robert Bugbee, First Vice President Nolan Astley, Second Vice President Thomas Kruesel, and Third Vice President Mark L. Smith. (Photo: Gabor Gasztonyi)

 

VANCOUVER – On Saturday, the National Convention in Vancouver elected the synodical Vice Presidents of Lutheran Church–Canada. The elections came the same day President Robert Bugbee was acclaimed to another term.

Rev. Nolan Astley was reelected to serve as Vice President for the East District and Rev. Thomas Kruesel was reelected to serve as Vice President for the ABC District. Rev. Mark L. Smith was newly elected as Vice President for the Central District, succeeding Rev. Rudy Pastucha. Rev. Pastucha had been appointed to serve as Vice-President for the Central District in mid-2013.

Subsequent votes determined the position each of the presidents will fill during the new triennium. Rev. Astley will serve as First Vice President, Rev. Kruesel as Second Vice President, and Rev. Smith as Third Vice President.

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He Whom God Has Sent …

Today’s devotional writing in the Treasury of Daily Prayer is particularly appropriate in this week after the call service, as our graduates are preparing to be ordained and enter into their first congregations. Martin Luther is commenting on John 3:34, “For He whom God has sent utters the Word of God”:

 

John is speaking here about calling or sending, particularly about the sending of Christ. I have decided to discourse on this topic at some length. There are two ways of sending. First, God sent His messengers, the prophets and apostles, like Moses and St. Paul, directly and without the help of an intermediary. These men were called by God’s word of mouth and without human agency. Such sending was done only when God wished to inaugurate something new, as was the case when He sent Moses and the prophets. This exalted method came to an end in the New Testament with the apostles, who were the last to be called directly by God.

The other way of sending is indeed also one by God, but it is done through the instrumentality of man. It has been employed ever since God established the ministry with its preaching and its exercise of the Office of the Keys. This ministry will endure and is not to be replaced by any other. But the incumbents of this ministry do not remain; they die. This necessitates an ever-new supply of preachers, which calls for the employment of certain means. The ministry, that is, the Word of God, Baptism, and Holy Communion, came directly from Christ; but later Christ departed from this earth. Now a new way of sending was instituted, which works through man but is not of man. We were sent according to this method; according to it, we elect and send others, and we install them in their ministry to preach and to administer the Sacraments. This type of sending is also of God and commanded by God. Even though God resorts to our aid and to human agency, it is He Himself who sends laborers into His vineyard.

Therefore everyone must realize that he has to be sent. That is, he must know that he has been called; he dare not venture to sneak into the office furtively and without authorization. It must be done in the open. The sending is done through man, for example, when a city, a prince, or a congregation calls someone into office. But at the same time this person is sent by God.

- Martin Luther, Sermons on the Gospel of John, AE 22:482

 

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Celebrating Service

CLTS Call Service 2014Sometimes it is hard to remember that pastors are among the craziest people in the world. Thus observed Rev. Rolf Preus in his message to more than 200 guests in attendance, and especially to the six candidates for placement (including two of his sons), at the 2014 Call Service, held Saturday, 31 May, at Grace Lutheran Church, St. Catharines. Pastors are crazy people, he noted, because we believe in and preach about things we cannot see, and that most people may not even want to hear about. But God’s grace in Christ is real, redemptive, and absolutely the reason for ministry.

CLTS Call Service 2014: Revd Bill and Dianne Ney

Rev. Bill Ney with wife, Dianne

In addition to celebrating the service these graduates will soon begin, we also celebrated the faithful service of others. Rev. William Ney, now retired but not tired of serving, was awarded the Delta Chi medal, the seminary’s highest award. President Thomas Winger also thanked publically those members of the Board of Regents whose terms are coming to an end (Revs James Scholz and Brian Dunlop). The Nadine and Kent Schappert Award for pastoral care was presented to Paul Preus.

Special music for the day was provided by organist Michael Nieminen and the Lutheran Chamber Singers, under the direction of Claudia Nieminen, both from Kitchener.

The six CLTS candidates received the following placements:

  • Basil Christorforidis – Peace/Duchess Lutheran, Taber/Duchess, AB
  • Tyson Mastin – St. John’s Lutheran, Plato, MN
  • John Nieminen – Zion/Trinity Lutheran, Melville/Neudorf, SK
  • Andrew Preus – Trinity/St. Paul Lutheran, Guttenberg/McGregor, IA
  • Paul Preus – Zion Lutheran, Ellendale, ND
  • Jeremy Richert – St. John’s/St. Matthew’s Lutheran, Magrath/Milk River, AB

CLTS Call Service 2014Following the service was a reception in their honour, where they were presented with individual Communion sets from FaithLife Financial and a gift bag of books from Concordia Publishing House. Special thanks to the Seminary Guild for hosting the reception.

For more pictures of the event, click here.

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