Lutheran Pastor’s Desk Diary 2017

2017 Lutheran Pastor Desk DiaryWe recently announced that the seminary would not produce a Lutheran Pastor’s Desk Diary for 2017, since the American publishers had ceased production of the “mother” product.

We are pleased to discover and forward the news that Rev. Alex Klages of Morden/Winkler, Manitoba, has stepped in to fill the gap. “I built it for my own use upon hearing of the discontinuation of the seminary’s planner because I am very much a creature of habit, and thought it might be of use to others”, he recently wrote.

Rev. Klages’s diary lists the readings for the 1-year and 3-year lectionaries from Lutheran Service Book, commonly used in congregations of Lutheran Church–Canada and the LCMS. Note that it does not contain readings from the lectionaries used in the ELCIC/ELCA or WELS. Pastors from those church bodies may still find the diary useful, though, as it still provides space for service planning and appointments.

You may order the diary at:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/alex-klages/2017-lutheran-pastor-desk-diary/paperback/product-22850501.html

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Sermon for St Matthew, Evangelist

matthewThe following sermon was preached by Rev. Esko Murto in the seminary’s Martin Luther Chapel for a divine service on the occasion of the Festival of St Matthew, Evangelist, Wednesday, 21 September 2016. The text was Matthew 9: 9-13. 

“Child,’ said the Lion, ‘I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”

Thus answered Aslan, the Christ-figure in the Narnia-stories from C.S. Lewis when one of the protagonists wanted to pry into his divine knowledge and ask about others. “No one is told any story but their own.”

This sentence struck me already as a child when I followed the adventures of Shasta and Aravis, and it resurfaced now as I read the Gospel lesson for this day of St Matthew. For sometimes I am struck not only by what is said in the Scripture, but also what is left unsaid. The calling of Matthew the tax collector is only briefly told, and almost nothing is explained. What was Matthew’s background? Why had he chosen a rather despicable profession of a tax collector? Was he happy? Was he sad? Did he have a guilty conscience? And what went through his head when he heard the words of Christ: “Follow me.” What made him decide to follow Jesus? What did he hope to find with Christ?

Scripture is silent, which is even more surprising if we think that the Matthew who is now called is also the evangelist who later writes these words. He of all people should be able to give answers, but he does not do so.

No one is told any story but their own. This seems to be a prevailing theme throughout the many encounters the gospels tell us. Scripture focuses on what was said and what happened then, but very rarely if ever do we get even as much as a faint glimpse into the inner thoughts and experiences of people called by Christ. The question, “What did it feel like?”, so often asked today in interviews and ‘human interest articles’, is left out.

Why? I offer you three possible reasons.

Firstly, what happens in the soul of a man when God’s Holy Spirit enters, bringing light into the darkness, is a mysterious, even delicate event. These are great and wonderful things, but also very personal and intimate, not meant to be shared simply to satisfy the curiosity of others or. Martin Luther, known for his robust language but also capable of beautiful expressions, spoke of God’s law as a maid who leads the bride to her groom, but once the two, Christ and the believer, enter the wedding chamber of the gospel to spend their night together, the maid must remain outside. It is not for the eyes of the others. And here we really encounter the limits of our language – should one try to explain the miracle of personal conversion, it seems almost unavoidable that every expression would just make it more banal and mundane.

Secondly, the silence in these matters might be guarding us, the readers, against the error of imitation. How often it has happened, that when joyful conversion stories are shared in detail with others, especially those young in faith, the joy is mixed with the feeling of uncertainty or even insufficiency. Why didn’t it go like that with me? Why didn’t I feel that way, why didn’t I go through that phase, why didn’t God address me and my soul in that manner? Is there something wrong with me, is my conversion lacking? Such is our nature that we compare and imitate, and through comparing and imitating either feel proud or insufficient. So the Scriptures might be silent just for this reason – to keep us from doing what we so naturally would do when confronted with detailed descriptions of other people’s religious experiences.

Thirdly, and I would say this probably is the main reason, Matthew the evangelist wants to direct the attention of his readers to the thing that matters: Christ’s all-powerful word. The calling of Matthew is preceded by the healing of the paralytic, and very similar ways of speaking are used. With the paralysed man, Christ said: “Rise, pick up your bed and go home. And he rose and went home.” Now he says: “Follow me. And he rose and followed him.”

The focus point in the gospel is not Matthew. It is the powerful call of Jesus Christ. The healing of the paralytic is paired with the calling of Matthew to show how Christ’s word raises both men up from their sickness. For the first man, it was very visible and bodily sickness, for the second, a sickness of spirit, the paralysis of Matthew’s heart and mind and soul. Through his word, Jesus reaches out, not touching lame legs or blind eyes this time, but grabbing the tax collector dead in his sins and giving him new life.

The brevity of this story puts the focus on Jesus and his call. It is not what happens in Matthew’s hear that really matters; it is what happened in Christ’s heart that saved him.

Calling of Matthew led immediately to a meal together with Jesus. Again, not much is told of the people who came, the focus is solely on Jesus. All we really know of them is that on this meal the Holy one of God ate and drank with ‘many tax collectors and sinners’. This is the kind of people he came to call – not the righteous (or those who imagine themselves to be so) but sinners. With Jesus, they, the moral rabble, are taken into the mysterious, glorious tradition of God eating with humans. The promise of the seed that would come to be a blessing to all nations was given to Abraham over a meal. It was a sacred meal that God instituted as a sign of his people’s freedom from the slavery of Egypt. On Sinai the elders of Israel celebrated the covenant by eating and drinking on the mountaintop as they saw God. And the feast on the Holy Mountain of Zion is the image Isaiah uses to describe the ultimate salvation of mankind. Throughout the history of God’s people, their Saviour has sat down to eat with them, and here he is, in the man Jesus, eating and drinking with sinners.

If only Jesus would call me and you in likewise manner! If only he would come and ask us to similarly dine with him!

But he has. And he does.

Even today through his word he says again, his words always fresh and new: I have come to call sinners. He says to you: Follow me! He sits down to eat and drink with you, saying: Eat! This is my body, given for you. Drink! This is my blood, shed for the forgiveness of your sins. Those who have no sin, don’t need to bother. But all those who are sinners, sick and dying, paralysed in their hearts and spirits, come! Let me feed you, forgive you, heal you he says. No one is told any story but their own. But with Christ, his story becomes our story. We become part of the story of his people. And so we too are taken into the same table with Abraham, Isaiah and the elders of Israel, the disciples and Matthew as we eat and drink the meal of salvation, forgiveness and healing.

 

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Volume 28 of Lutheran Theological Review Released

Lutheran Theological Review is an annual journal published by the two seminary faculties of Lutheran Church–Canada. It provides a forum for our professors and pastors to publish their research, and for the seminaries to provide resources and to stimulate the minds of our pastorate and laity. Free copies are sent to every pastor in LCC, and paid subscriptions are available.

In public service to the church we also provide the full text in pdf format on our website. Click here to download volume 28, the latest issue. This volume, guest edited by Dr John Stephenson, contains sermons and essays from the 14 September 2015 conference, “Pastoral Perspectives on Paul”. The conference recognised the release of Dr Thomas Winger’s Concordia Commentary on Ephesians. In addition, there are essays by LCC’s Communications Manager, Mathew Block, and President James Gimbel of Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton.

Contents

Pastoral Perspectives on Paul

Sermon: “You, then, my son” (I Cor. 1:18-24)
Roger E. Winger

Toward a Pauline Shaping of Pastoral Formation
Warren G. Hamp

Pastors and People Pelted by the Prince of the Power of the Air
Esko T. Murto

To Hear and Learn Jesus: Growing a Seminary from New Testament Seeds
Thomas M. Winger

Sermon: “Jars of Clay” (II Cor. 4:1-2)
Kurt E. Reinhardt

Reviews

Winger’s Ephesians: Views from Three Corners of Christendom
Jonathan F. Grothe, John Hunwicke, Stephen Westerholm

Articles

Authority in the Church: Lutheran Reflections on Vatican II
Mathew Block

A Theological Christian Perspective on Physician-Assisted Death
James R. Gimbel

Sermons

East District Church Workers’ Conference Devotions
David P. Saar

 

 

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Candidate Kurt Schultz Placed, To Be Ordained

TMW110325-11 (Schultz)CLTS student Kurt Schultz was certified for the holy ministry at the seminary’s Call Service on Saturday, 28 May 2016. At the time, his placement into a congregation was pending.

We are pleased, by the grace of God, to announce that Kurt has been commended to the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and has been placed to First Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 470 North Main St, Wellsville, NY.

Kurt will be ordained on Saturday, 10 September 2016, 11:30am. A luncheon will follow. Please help to ensure enough food ‎is prepared by letting Kurt Schultz (kurt.schultz2@gmail.com) know if you plan to attend and stay for the luncheon.

The seminary community joins Christ’s whole church in praying the blessing of His Spirit upon Kurt in his new vocation.

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Lutheran Pastor’s Desk Diary

00_COVER_2009We are sorry to announce that 2016 was the last year of publication for the Pastor’s Desk Diary. Thrivent Financial in the US have provided us with files to edit for the Canadian context over the past decade or so. But recently they announced to us that they are discontinuing the diary. We do not have the resources to produce it on our own.

We will, however, continue to provide the poster-sized liturgical calendar to all LCC congregations. This is valued by pastors, altar guilds, and musicians as a handy way to plan out the seasons.

If you are looking for a replacement for the desk diary that covers the LSB lectionary, you may wish to consider an electronic alternative. The iCal produced annually by CPH and provided for free can be viewed online or subscribed via a calendar programme or app on a smartphone: http://www.cph.org/t-resources-diary.aspx.

For other Lutherans using the Revised Common Lectionary, see http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/.

For the WELS lectionary see http://welstechwiki.gapps.wels.net/planning-policy/lectionary-gcal.

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Spring 2016 Newsletter

CLTSSpringNewsletter2016(cover)The seminary’s latest newsletter has been printed and is on its way to all congregations in Lutheran Church–Canada. But you don’t have to wait. Read it now here. There are stories about our graduates, students, and faculty.

Thanks to all of you for your ongoing support. If you wish to donate to the important work of preparing pastors for Christ’s mission through Canada Helps, click here.

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Golfers Celebrate 25th Year of Seminary Tournament

On a beautiful, but windy spring Monday, 6 June 2016, eighty-eight golfers descended on the Sawmill Golf Course in Fenwick, Ontario, for the seminary’s annual golf tournament. There was the usual enjoyment of a best-ball game, a BBQ lunch, and a buffet supper.

Prize winners

Prize winners

Prizes went to the winner of a putting contest, the longest drive, and closest to the pin. Alas, no one claimed the $10,000 hole-in-one prize on offer from Intact Insurance!

But what made it an extra special day was the celebration of the tournament’s 25th anniversary. Glenn Stresman, who as the seminary’s Development Officer founded the competition in 1992, was on hand with an anniversary team of original golfers.

Original participants from 1992

Original participants from 1992

Many thanks go out to FaithLife Financial and the RaeLipskie Partnership for sponsoring the meal, to our numerous hole sponsors, and especially to the Julie family for being such generous and hospitable hosts.

More photos are available here.

 

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Seminary Call Service 2016

 

CLTS Call Service 2016

Warm hearts were met with equally warm weather when mercury rose to over 35 degrees Celsius in St. Catharines on the day of the Call Service. Gathering students, their friends and family members, faculty and staff, and friends of the seminary, the service held in Grace Lutheran Church saw approximately 100 attendees joining together in praise and prayer over the Church and her future ministers. The liturgy of the vespers service was led by Rev. Esko Murto of the seminary faculty, with Rev. Alan Bauch (CLTS alumnus 2005) preaching.

In the presence of the synodical representatives Rev. Paul Zabel (East District President, LCC) and Rev. Alan Bauch (Eastern District, LCMS), the president of the seminary, Dr Thomas Winger, certified two graduating students: Milton Lam and Kurt Schultz. Mr Lam has received a call to serve Christ Lutheran Church in Timmins, Ontario. Mr Schultz will wait to be placed hopefully later in the summer. Seminarian Kirk Radford was assigned to serve as vicar at Family of God Lutheran Church, Detroit, Michigan. Dr Winger also announced that the colloquy student Jung Hun “Justin” Park (LCMS, English District, Toronto) has completed the work set by the colloquy board, and will hopefully receive a call in June.

CLTS Call Service 2016: Delta Chi Award, Stephen Klinck

Dr Winger and Mr Stephen Klinck, the recipient of Delta Chi

As part of the festivities, awards of recognition were given out. The highest award issued by the Seminary, the Delta Chi award was presented to Mr Stephen Klinck, noting especially his sustained work in Lutheran Hour Ministries. With the Delta Chi Medal, Concordia Theological Seminary wants to honour individuals for the work done in the service of the whole Church.

Dr David Goicoecchea

Dr David Goicoechea

Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary was also happy to present the Friend of the Seminary award to professor emeritus of Brock University, Dr David Goicoechea. With this award, CLTS recognizes Dr Goicoechea’s instrumental role in building connections between the seminary and the philosophy department of the university.

 

 

CLTS Call Service 2016: Schappert Award, Kirk Radford

Kent Schappert, Renate and Kirk Radford, Rev. Torgerson

The Nadine and Kent Schappert Family Fund Award for Pastoral Care, given annually to a seminarian especially distinguished in practical theology and pastoral mindset was given this year to seminarian Kirk Radford.

 

 

CLTS Call Service 2016

From the left: Dr Winger, Jung Hun Park, Dr Stephenson, Rev. Murto, Kurt Schultz, Milton Lam, Rev. Alan Bauch, Kirk Radford, Rev. Wilhelm Torgerson, Rev. Duane Peters, Dr William Mundt

Photos can be downloaded from the seminary’s gallery here.

 

 

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Historic Translation and Essay Published by Faculty

Wittenberg Reformation Cover2 (pub)Our seminary is pleased to announce the publication of the first English translation of a significant 16th-century Lutheran document.

The Wittenberg Reformation (1545) was written by Philipp Melanchthon at the behest of Elector John Frederick, in response to a request from Emperor Charles V that each estate should give an account of reformation in their territory. It was signed by Martin Luther and the other major Reformation leaders in Wittenberg, and serves as a commentary on the Augsburg Confession, explaining how it was to be put into practice. It appears here for the first time in English translation, by Dr John R. Stephenson.

The translation is accompanied by “The Household of God: Observations on ‘Church’ in the New Testament and the City of Ephesus”, by Dr Thomas M. Winger. This exegetical essay was presented to the LCC East District Pastors’ Conference in April 2016.

Both writings are offered as a modest contribution to the 500th anniversary festivities of the Lutheran Reformation. They are also timely as Lutheran Church–Canada enters into a re-structuring process to be completed in the Reformation anniversary year. While God has not ordained a particular church structure, the Holy Scriptures and our Lutheran heritage have much to teach us as we put theology into practice.

The slim volume is available in the seminary bookstore for local customers ($11.95), and can be ordered online by print-on-demand publishing ($9.95+shipping):

http://www.lulu.com/shop/john-r-stephenson-and-thomas-m-winger/the-wittenberg-reformation-1545/paperback/product-22711931.html

Reformation Logo-E-500 (1800px)

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Pastoral, Vicarage, and Diaconal Placements 2016

At the sacred convocation of Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton (26 May), and the Call Service of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines (28 May), the following placements were announced. More news and photos will follow later.

Pastoral Candidate Placements

Keith Hoveland (CLS)…………………. Zion Lutheran Church, Golden Spike, Alberta

Milton Lam (CLTS)………………………. Christ Lutheran Church, Timmins, Ontario

Kurt Schultz (CLTS)…………………….. Placement pending

Vicarage Placements

Scott Brayall (CLS)………………………. Redeemer Lutheran Church, Didsbury, Alberta

Kai Buck (CLS)……………………………… Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Dryden, Ontario

Andrew MacDonald (CLS)…………. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Winkler, Manitoba

Kirk Radford (CLTS)…………………… Family of God Lutheran Church, Detroit, Michigan

Will Rose (CLS)…………………………….. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Valleyview, Alberta

Diaconal Placements

Kaitlin Schmitz (CUCA)………………. Faith Lutheran Church, Grand Prairie, Alberta

Other

Rev. Oleksiy Navrotskyy, a missionary for Lutheran Church–Canada in Ukraine, completed his MDiv at CLS and will be returning to the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Ukraine.

Rev. Jung Hun (Justin) Park of Toronto, Ontario, completed a year of residential studies at CLTS for the colloquy programme of the LCMS (English District) and will be commended for a call in June.

CLS = Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton, Alberta

CLTS = Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, Ontario

CUCA = Concordia University College of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta (now Concordia University Edmonton)

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