I write this letter the day after our Trumbull Area Lutheran Coalition meeting. Last night, Rev. Todd Mills from Trinity Lutheran Seminary presented the state of the seminary. I reminded all 12 congregations several times that Pr. Todd would be present and that he had a request of all our congregations to help revive the mission of the Seminary and how we could make a difference if we worked together. RESULT: 7 of our 12 congregations were represented. MY INTERPRETATION: I am very poor at communicating, but I am not giving up.
At our last Living Lord Mission Endowment Fund meeting, we considered sending funds to Trinity Lutheran Seminary to help lower the cost for seminary candidates. It was agreed that we needed to make a plea to all churches to get full participation in order to make a real difference. By the way, the idea of doing things together is one of the stewardship principals that Paul addresses with the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:12-13 and 2 Corinthians 9:1-8). Working together brings hope where there was fear. It also brings joy and builds a strong community where we were once divided and thought we were “in it by ourselves”.
Yes, last night I hoped that we would all be there together, make a commitment to share a plan to turn our situation around, and be able to get started more quickly. OK, I am NOT going to slow down, but do pray for patience for me. ☺
Now, what did we hear from Pr. Todd? Here are a few of the facts and ideas that we discussed: Thirty years ago, when a seminary candidate attended Trinity Lutheran Seminary, our churches were all sending benevolence funds to our synods. Those funds supported our candidates and significantly reduced the tuition loan on our students. For some, tuition was completely paid for. Now our churches have reduced their benevolence and many churches give zero. Therefore, the tuition for our students is now $16,000.00 per year for the first two years and $8,000.00 per year for the last two years. (During the last two years, our candidates are on internship, but still do “online classes”, plus short concentrated courses at Trinity.) So, for young candidates with undergraduate debt and for second career candidates who must quit their jobs and pay $48,000 to start a new career, well, you can see the dilemma.
Luther Seminary in Chicago has raised up their funding program to where they can now provide instruction – tuition free. This has opened the door for more candidates to attend. So we know that funding makes a difference.
So what can we do? If every congregation would budget and provide funding to our seminaries again, we could retain more candidates. But that’s not all. We must also raise up candidates. We need to be intentional about recognizing and encouraging folks to go to seminary. And above all, we need to pray for our seminary candidates, our seminary staff, the congregations who host our interns, and for all our congregations to rise up together. We are the Body of Christ and we need every member to participate or we will proceed as if we have had a hand or foot amputated.
Even though the Macedonians in Paul’s time struggled with adversity, they were encouraged by what the Corinthians had promised to do. So they rose up and participated even beyond what Paul expected. Their hope was contagious. So contagious that the people of Achaia made a commitment and provided what was needed a year before the rest even got started. Yes, it would be nice to wait until we saw everyone else follow through, but maybe they need to see us step up and show them the hope we have.
Finance Chairperson Vacancy…If you would be interested in or willing to fill the Finance Chairperson vacancy, please contact Pastor Bill and he can discuss the position with you.
Church Information…Please remember that you can obtain church information from the monthly Lamplighter Newsletter, the Constant Contact emails you receive, on the church website (www.lllc.org), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Living-Lord-Lutheran-Church-493806727349110/), and postings on the church bulletin board. Church Council Meeting minutes are posted on the bulletin board and sent out via Constant Contact. We would like to see a better “open rate” when we send information to you via Constant Contact so that we know you are being informed of the activities that are occurring at the church. If you have any other suggestions on how best to reach out to our parishioners, please see a Council member.
Strawberry Social…St. Paul is having their annual Strawberry Social on Sunday, June 24, from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Menu: Sloppy Joes, Hot Dogs, Potato & Macaroni Salads, Baked Beans, Ice Cream, Cake, Strawberries, Hot & Cold Beverages. Come and bring a friend!