The Ascension of Our Lord

Prayer of the Church (from this morning’s chapel service)

In our prayers we remember Deaconess Shaina Wurdeman (who works here at CTSFW as Deaconess Admission Counselor) as she mourns the death of her grandmother.

We also remember the family of the Rev. Dr. Dean Bell, a member of our Board of Regents, as they, and we, mourn his death. (Dr. Bell received an honorary doctorate at our graduation exercises a few short weeks ago; his daughter accepted the honor on his behalf, as he was unable to attend.)

We remember our international students in Nigeria and Ethiopia who are seeking visas to study here and Ellen Hoerlle, daughter of Renato, who celebrates her birthday in Brazil today.

We pray too for all those affected by the storms and flooding, especially in the state of Oklahoma. (Yesterday, the news showed that every county in the state was under a state of emergency.)

Confident of our Lord’s return, let us approach our Father’s throne of mercy on behalf of the Church and of all people.

Gracious Lord God, amid shouts of joy we celebrate Your Son’s ascension into heaven where He is now seated in majesty at Your right hand. Grant Your Church steadfastness in these gray and latter days that she may hold to the truth and boldly confess the saving name of Jesus.

Even as Your beloved Son intercedes on behalf of His Church, so has He commanded us, His kingdom of priests, to pray for others. Hear us, O Lord, as we implore You to show mercy to those in need:
• to the sick, the lonely, and the depressed, grant relief;
• to the dying and those who mourn, especially Shaina and her family, and to the family of Dean, bring comfort;
• to the hungry and homeless and unemployed, send Your aid;
• to all those adversely affected by the damaging floods and tornadoes, grant protection and hope;
• to all women who bear children, give protection,
• to husbands and wives and their families, grant steadfastness of purpose,
• and to single parents who raise their children alone grant strength.

Almighty Father, in mercy You continue to grant us daily bread, supplying us with what we need before we even ask. Teach us to acknowledge You as the good Giver of all that we have and to give thanks for all Your benefits:
• for healthy bodies and for restoration to health following illness, we praise Your name.
• for safety during childbirth and for the mercy You show to our children as they grow, and for the birthday of Ellen, we bless You.
• for gainful employment and joy in serving our neighbor, we give You thanks.
• for a free nation where we live under the protection of the law, we thank You for Your mercy.
• for the opportunity of international students to study here and to grow in their confession of the faith, we give you thanks.

Teach us ever to be content, whether we have plenty or are in need, so that we may learn to trust that You will sustain us in all things.

O Lord, heavenly Father, we here remember the sufferings and death of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, for our salvation. Praising His victorious resurrection from the dead, we draw strength from His ascension before You, where He ever stands for us as our own high priest. Gather us together, we pray, from the ends of the earth to celebrate with all the faithful the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, which has no end. Graciously receive our prayers, deliver and preserve us. To You alone, O Father, be all glory, honor, and worship, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

2019 Alumni Reunion

During graduation last week, we held our annual Alumni Reunion, celebrating a 5th graduation anniversary all the way up to 65 years in the ministry. Many of these men hail from the Springfield years, though there were at least two old friends from Springfield to greet them here on the Fort Wayne campus: the Martin Luther statue and the Springfield Bell, which our graduates so gleefully rung only last week. Dr. Rast addressed our alumni at the Baccalaureate service that Friday:

“Present with us we have pastors who graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary, then in Springfield, as well as those who have graduated from the campus here in Fort Wayne, going back as far as 1954. What a remarkable testimony to God’s grace and mercy in giving us servants who have served as pastors in the faith for such years. And also for those whose term of service has been shorter…let us recognize them for their excellent service over these many years.”

[The congregation acknowledged and thanked these men with applause.]

“I have been the student of some of them,” Dr. Rast went on, “I have been the professor of some of them, but they are all my pastoral colleagues. Thank you and God bless you, brothers.”

A photo album of the Alumni Reunion has been uploaded to the CTSFW FB page (, which includes class pictures of all those who were on campus with us, as well as the golf outing that took place earlier in the week.

Commemoration: Job, Patriarch

“Job and His Friends” by Ilya Repin, 1869.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Job 1

“Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!

Job 19:23-27

And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

“Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
as in the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone upon my head,
and by his light I walked through darkness,
as I was in my prime,
when the friendship of God was upon my tent,
when the Almighty was yet with me,
when my children were all around me,
when my steps were washed with butter,
and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!…

“And now my soul is poured out within me;
days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones,
and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
With great force my garment is disfigured;
it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.
God has cast me into the mire,
and I have become like dust and ashes.”

Job 29:1-6; 30:16-19

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?…

“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

Job 38:1-7; 40:2

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job 42:1-6

And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.

And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days.

Job 42:10-17

Convocation: Rural Service

Today’s convocation was slightly different than usual, as the Pastoral Ministry and Missions Department invited two local pastors from the Decatur Circuit to give an overview and ultimately advice to seminarians who are anticipating (some of them very soon) serving in a rural context. Rev. Daniel Dahling (pictured in the back) has been at Zion Friedheim Lutheran Church for 32 years while Rev. Leonard Tanksley (pictured in front, speaking) graduated from CTSFW only last May and is approaching his first ordination anniversary at St. Peter Lutheran.

With three decades of experience under his belt, Rev. Dahling started. First, he suggested, embrace your church’s customs. The roots of many of his own church’s traditions are older than Synod, as Zion Friedheim was charted in 1838. When people ask when they joined the Synod, the answering joke is always, “Synod joined us.”

As such, the customs are old and respected—you don’t know where they came from or how long they’ve been in place. So choose your battles. “What hill are you willing to die on?” Rev. Dahling asked. His advice: keep your theological integrity intact, but don’t die trying to take the flag out of the chancel.

He also recommended two books, “Open Secrets” and “Hollowing Out the Middle,” which noted that there are three kinds of people in a rural setting: those that leave, those that leave and then boomerang back again, and those that stay. “The people that stay, stay for a reason. Put them to work.”

And don’t panic because of the shrinking demographics: serve. “People tend to panic,” he said. “Instead, identify a few areas where you can serve, and serve well.” If your congregation tries a thousand things in a year, they will all fail. Better to focus on two things they do well. For example, the Zion Friedheim congregation supplies blankets to three area hospitals for families who lose their babies (about 200 families per year), and serve some 80,000 meals. “Now, does that get butts in the seats? Absolutely not,” Rev. Dahling was quick to note. “But that’s not the point. We reach out to those in need.” He then quoted Matthew 9:36, “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

“No matter where you are,” Rev. Dahling told our future pastors, “it’s Word and Sacrament ministry. It’s the context that makes it unique.”

Rev. Tanksley then spoke on his experiences as a pastor both new to the ministry and to a rural setting. First: “You never know what the day will bring. Yesterday I changed a car battery.

“There’s a lot that seminary didn’t teach me,” he added—things like changing batteries, riding in a combine, farming terminology, and the like. “But you learn it over time,” he added. “I’ve picked up a lot on the fly. And Wikipedia is helpful.”

He’s also found that the church is the focus of the community. By extension, his members want their pastor at everything: community events, wedding receptions, ball games—and, of course, for their tragedies and disasters. About two months into his call, a congregation member called Rev. Tanksley to tell him their barn was on fire. He was taken aback, and to this day regrets his immediate response: “Did you call 911?” He quickly realized that they just wanted their pastor there. Rural ministry, in Rev. Tanksley’s experience, is being present.

One seminarian, likely anticipating his own call to a country church, asked about challenges unique to a rural context. Rev. Tanksley—and Rev. Dahling, nodding his agreement—have found that the biggest challenge is trying implement any sort of change. “People fight hard against change,” he said. “They get in the rut of ‘Pastor, we’ve never done things this way before.’”

Again, you want to pick your battles, but when it’s of doctrinal importance: “You teach. You be patient, and you teach.” That teaching can take years. And ultimately a congregation’s needs and wants are simple: “They come to the church on Sunday, they just want Jesus.”

“You minister to families generation after generation,” Rev. Dahling chimed in, speaking of another unique feature of rural settings: that a pastor doesn’t just minister to individuals but to whole families. Rural churches are often made up of five or six main families and their family offshoots. The pastor is an integral part of that community—though he must remember that he is a shepherd and not a ruler. “The trust and respect is there, but it has to be earned every day.”

“Just love your congregation and they will love you back,” Rev. Tanksley concluded. “’Love covers a multitude of sins.’”

2019 Student Academic Awards

Fourth-year seminarian Paul Gaschler, President of the Student Association, begins the awards convocation.

“All of us are aware that the Seminary principally prepares pastors and deaconesses for service in the Church,” Dr. Charles Gieschen, Academic Dean at CTSFW, said in introduction to the awards convocation following chapel today. “In preparing individuals for these vocations, however, we have rigorous academic programs that involve a wide variety of learning experiences, which are constantly evaluated, as you all know only too well. Although academic achievement is by no means the sole aspect of these formation programs, nevertheless, high academic achievement merits our respect and our recognition. This annual academic awards convocation is one small way through which we recognize these outstanding academic achievements. So on behalf of the entire faculty, I express our sincere appreciation for the many ways that you student pursue academic excellence in your theological studies.”

Dr. Gieschen first acknowledged and thanked the seven graduate students in this current academic year (while pursuing further study): Jacob Benson, Daniel Broaddus, Christopher Maronde, Roger Mullet, Justin Mason, Eli Voight, and Aaron Zimmerman. He then announced next year’s graduate assistants: Daniel Broaddus, Christopher Maronde, Roger Mullet, Hayden Folks, Keith Kettner, Joseph McCalley, Titus Utecht, and Jay Weideman.

He also announced that seminarians Robert Schrader and Eli Voight will be involved in archaeological digs in Israel, as funded by the Lois Ann Reed Endowment Fund for Archaeology. The awards, as broken down by departments, were then presented as follows.

Dr. Arthur Just, Exegetical Department

St. Timothy Award (established some years ago by an anonymous donor to encourage a second-year student in his continued study of the Holy Scriptures): Dylan Smith

Zondervan Biblical Greek Award: Hayden Folks

Zondervan Biblical Hebrew Award: Kyle Richardson

Exegetical Theology Department Writing Award: Carl Hingst, “The Song of Hezekiah as a Universal Song of Lament: A Study of Isaiah 38:9-20”

The Classical Association of the Middle West and South Award for Outstanding Accomplishment (for exemplary work in advanced Greek class, producing an outstanding term paper): Joshua Ralston

Dr. David Scaer, Systematic Theology Department

Lepper-Draves Scholarship, awarded to a fourth-year student for outstanding academic accomplishment and analytical thought in the study of Dogmatics and Confessional Theology: Timothy Sheridan

Zondervan Theology Award: Kyle Brown, for his paper on “The Resurrection and Theology of Benedict XVI”

Systematic Theology Department Writing Award: Titus Utecht, “How Real Is the Resurrection? A Review of Stefan Alkier’s ‘The Reality of the Resurrection?’”

Dr. Carl Fickenscher, Pastoral Ministry and Missions Department

First, he asked for a round of applause in acknowledgment of Dr. Don Wiley and the three students currently serving a Spanish-speaking congregation in Columbus, IN: Vicar Gino Marchetti, third-year student Daniel Fickenscher, and second-year student Tyler McMiller. All four take turns recording a sermon that is sent to the Spanish-speaking worshippers at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, which are also uploaded to the Seminary YouTube channel “CTSFW en Español.” Dr. Fickenscher then moved on to the following awards:

Gerhard Aho Homiletics Award (Outstanding Sermon Award): Matthew Schettler, for his funeral sermon, “Pearl Was Ready” based on Luke 2:25-33

Pastoral Ministry and Missions Department Writing Award: Robert Ricard, “Luther’s Creedal Explanation for Stewardship”

Dr. James Bushur, Historical Theology Department

Historical Theology Department Writing Award: David Wurdeman, “Johann Gerhard’s Christology in Consideration of the Crypto-Kenotic Controversy”

Finally, Paul Gaschler, President of the Student Association (which helped plan the awards ceremony and funded the reception that followed), presented the 2019 Shepherd’s Staff Award to Michael Terkula. “[It] is given to a member of the graduating class who displays the most pastoral qualities, as voted on by the graduating class,” he explained.

President Rast addresses the students, following presentation of the awards.

Dr. Rast, President of CTSFW, concluded the presentations with the following thank you and encouragement to our students, with a nod to the fact that today is the commemoration of C.F.W. Walther:

“The striking thing of a convocation of this sort is the variety of gifts that the Lord gives to His Church. And it never ceases to amaze me how the Lord provides, in respect to the wellbeing of His Church and the carrying out of its mission. A hundred and thirty-two years ago today, our second seminary president passed away; Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther—C.F.W. Walther—passed away and he brought to the Missouri tradition, along with our first president, Wilhelm Sihler, a strong emphasis on the wedding together of academics and pastoral formation. And so we see today, as we are nearing the end of our 173rd academic year, the continuance of that translation. My hearty congratulations to all of the students recognized here today, and my thanks to all of our students for the excellent work you do and the excellent work you will continue to do as you move out into Christ’s Church, whatever your area of service.”

Front Row: Academic Dean Dr. Charles Gieschen, Hayden Folks, David Wurdeman, Kyle Brown, Matthew Schettler, President Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Middle Row: Joshua Ralston, Dylan Smith, Kyle Richardson, Robert Ricard, Carl Hingst
Back Row: Michael Terkula, Titus Utecht

The Harvest Field

A CTSFW alumnus (Rev. Jacob Hercamp, 2017), wrote the following article on the “What Does This Mean?” blog that is run by one of our CTSFW librarians, Rev. Bob Smith. It’s a timely article on the harvest field and those laborers called to it; from the post:

“Likewise the seminaries of Ft. Wayne and St. Louis have been cultivating not the ground but men to serve as pastors. They have worked hard to send these men into the the Lord’s fields to plant the seed of our Lord’s Gospel. Soon they will be planted in their first calls working in the Lord’s fields of their respective congregations. What a joyful time!”

You can

Call services at CTSFW concluded last night (though you can still watch at and CSL’s Assignment of Vicarages and Internships Service will begin in an hour (3 p.m. CDT/4 p.m. EDT) and their Assignment of Calls Service will follow at 7 p.m. CDT/8 p.m. EDT. You can watch both at their own Call Day website at

And finally, as a point of interest to those who saw the post about the dart-toss, here’s the conclusion:

Mark Matheny won the vicarage/deaconess intern toss with 128 miles between Bellefontaine, Ohio (toss) to Belleville, Michigan (actual vicarage). Ian Kinney placed last with 4,240 miles between Honolulu, Hawaii (toss) and Basehor, Kansas (actual vicarage).

Matthias Wollberg won the candidate dart toss with 75 miles between Riceville, Iowa (call) and Wabasha, Minnesota (dart toss). Michael Terkula placed last with 3,995 miles between Huntertown, Indiana and Hanalai, Hawaii.

Call and Assignment Services: More Quotes

Here’s a behind-the-scenes insight into the news release that went out this morning: as social media manager for the CTSFW Facebook page, I took a lot of notes during both services to gather quotes. However, to keep the release at a manageable length, I ended up only quoting President Rast—but the rest are too good not to share. God has clearly and richly blessed our Synod with faithful pastors and leadership.


PREACHER: Rev. Steven Turner, President of the Iowa West District

“You see, as church workers—as deaconesses and pastors—there are times when you will fail. There are times when you will fall. And there are times when you will sin. And when you do, please remember this sermon, because Christ died to take away your sins. When you feel inadequate, when the words you say are misunderstood, when people react in unkind ways toward you, remember Christ has died. And this means the sacrifice was complete to cover all sins and that means it covers your sins and mine. That Christ was buried, that he was truly dead, and so are you. Because you died in the water of holy baptism. You were drowned and the new man has come alive. That old sinful person has been put to death, and the new person comes forth…”

“He’s alive today and he’s called us to be his servants and to live our lives every day in his grace and his mercy. Now I have no expectations that you will remember me tonight or even remember this sermon that was preached when you received your deaconess internship or your vicarage. But I am positive that you will remember the content of this sermon. Why? Because you’ll speak the content of this sermon every time you gather together in worship; every time you confess the creeds of the Church, because Jesus He died for your sins. And He was truly dead and buried. And He has been raised and He is really alive, which is why at Easter we can say, ‘Christ is risen!'”

Congregation: “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

DISTRIBUTION OF VICARAGE ASSIGNMENTS: Dr. Gary Zieroth, Director of Vicarage

107 of 122 applications–“15 congregations were available to receive a vicar but this year did not. And so we pray that the Lord of the harvest will send workers into his harvest field, as those needs within our Synod are met, not only for vicarage but also for calls as well.”

Note: Holy Cross in Moline, IL received their fiftieth vicar: Paul Marks.

At the conclusion: “And so there is no reneging or trading. What is said is done and what is done is said and so the Lord’s continued blessings as you go forth and serve the Lord.”

DISTRIBUTION OF DEACONESS INTERNSHIPS: Dr. James Bushur, Director of Deaconess Studies

“It is, of course, my privilege as Director of Deaconess Formation to announce internship assignments for our deaconess students. In my eight years serving as director of the program, I have learned at least one thing about my job: that is, the secret is finding good people to do your work for you. I have certainly been richly blessed in that regard…I want to certainly express my great appreciation to those who have made my burden a little bit lighter, my yoke a bit easier.”

“I certainly am deeply appreciative of Deaconess Rast’s persistence in bringing these internships to fruition. And finally I want to express my deep gratitude to the congregations, the pastors, and supervisors who are now receiving our interns and collaborating with us in the formation of our students. We certainly give thanks to God for their partnership with us in the Gospel, and pray that the Lord blesses their work.”

GREETINGS: Dr. Lawrence Rast, President of CTSFW

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to share this particular point in preparation for these future pastors and deaconesses as they prepare for their vicarages and internships. The vicars-elect and deaconess interns-elect now, we look forward to continuing to partner with you in your formation. It is just a delight to be a part of your lives.”

“As a historian my job is remembering, so that resonated well.”

“I continue to be amazed at the grace of God and the mercy that He demonstrates in concrete ways through our Lord Jesus Christ in continuing to raise up pastoral leaders and deaconess leaders for the congregations in mission of our Church…here’s the next generation. God is faithful and He keeps His promises.”


PREACHER: Rev. Terry Forke, President of the Montana District

“For all the fine education that you received in this place, these wonderful men could not make you shepherds; Jesus does that. Jesus does it. It is His work in you. Even now He is at work to prepare you to be the shepherd for the flock to whom you are sent. He will feed you. He will carry you. He will tend to all your needs. And He will speak through you. By the gift of His Holy Spirit your lips will be enabled to speak the holy Word of God in such a way that you never imagined it could be done by you. Of that you can be assured. The Shepherd heralds the Good News through you.”

DISTRIBUTION OF CALLS: Dr. Jeffrey Pulse, Director of Certification and Placement

“Greetings in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. First I’d like to thank President Forke for his words of encouragement and wisdom for these men prepared to go out into the harvest field to a place where there are many sheep without shepherds.”

“We see the One who is guiding the whole process. The Lord remains in control. And as we look out upon the whole Church we give Him thanks that we are part of this great and wonderful thing called the work of the Kingdom.”

“147 applicants made for candidates, which means there are currently 22 applications unused at this time. We do still have need in our Church for more men to enroll in our seminaries, prepare to be shepherds. Please keep this challenge in your prayers, as well as those congregations not receiving a candidate at this time.”


“Go then, take heed unto thyself and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made thee an overseer, to feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.”

President Rast (own words): “The Easter season is one of great celebration and joy and no day is more joyful for us as a community than call night as we prepare to send these marvelous servants of Christ out into His harvest field.”

GREETINGS: Rev. David Maier, President of the Michigan District and Chairman of the Council of Presidents

Ephesians 2:8-10: “Talks about grace and salvation; it says, ‘for we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.’ God saw this night. God saw you. God has brought you to this point. He has never left you or forsaken you, and He is not about to do that even now. And as we live in this Easter season, brothers, you are going to be able to take a particular message out to your people that is one of hope.”

GREETINGS: Rev. Matthew Harrison, President of the LCMS

“Let’s pray: we need pastors. And church workers. We’re so proud of all of you and so thankful for you. You are the answer to our prayers. You are the answer to a thousand prayers tonight. You. And the Lord has gone before you. He is already there. He knew full well you’d be coming there from eternity. He’s already got the folks lined up to hear your blessed words. He’s got them lined up for you to meet, to visit, to love, to share the Gospel with. To proclaim Jesus’ blessed resurrection. The Lord be with you.”


“But He does promise to be with you always; never to leave you or forsake you. And for that be thankful, as we are thankful for you and your commitment which you have shown over these years, now preparing to go forth. It is an honor to be your colleague.”

“It is a great thing to be a part of a community like this. There are few places like this in the world. I would say perhaps two: one in Fort Wayne and one in St. Louis. But what a blessing the seminaries of our church are as they commit themselves to their mission of preparing pastors and deaconesses, lay leaders and missionaries, for our Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and its partner churches and missions throughout the world. The work that is done touches the entire globe. And though we recognize that we need more pastors, we know at the same time, God the Holy Spirit is currently calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying future workers for his harvest field and we look forward to welcoming them to the campuses of our church.”

Finally, one of the best things about having such a late Easter this year? Almost every single pastor that had the opportunity to speak in the services declared that beloved refrain: “Christ is risen!”

“He is risen indeed!” the congregation answered every time. “Alleluia!”

Assignment and Call Services Wrap-Up

Here’s the wrap-up from Call Night as well as from Vicarage and Deaconess Internship Assignment Service the night before. We go over some numbers, thank God for His rich gifts, and remember our brothers and sisters in St. Louis, whose services take place today (Assignment at 3 p.m. and Calls at 7 p.m.–in Central Time, so 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. if you’re in our eastern time zone). You can watch their services at

As to the livestream, our videographer gathered some interesting facts:

We had viewers from 45 states (none in Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont, Delaware, or West Virginia, though we did have some views from Washington DC) and 11 countries: America, Canada, Scotland, South Korea, Germany, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia, France, Belize, and Puerto Rico. Our videographer was sorry to report that we had no viewers in Antarctica. However, he expects these stats to change (though probably not the Antarctica one) over the next week as more people take the time to check out the services and find out where our candidates have been called and where our new vicars and deaconess interns will be sent. You can also check out our interactive map, showing where all these men and women are headed, at

Candidates read their bulletins and silence their cell phones as they line up in anticipation of entering Kramer Chapel to receive their calls.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CTSFW)—“Go then, take heed unto thyself and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made thee an overseer, to feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.”

So begins the charge to the pastoral candidates, read by the Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr., President of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW), after these men received their Divine Calls to the Office of the Holy Ministry. The Candidate Call Service on April 30 concluded two days of services at CTSFW, following the Vicarage and Deaconess Internship Assignment Service the night before on April 29; students at the assignment service learned where they will serve in the field for the next year of their formation as future pastors and deaconesses. To see where each candidate, vicar-elect, and deaconess intern-elect have been sent, or to re-watch either of the services, go to

“[God] does promise to be with you always, never to leave you or forsake you,” President Rast concluded, following the charge—just one of many words of promise and encouragement to the candidates that evening. “And for that be thankful, as we are thankful for you and your commitment, which you have shown over these years, now preparing to go forth. It is an honor to be your colleague.”

CTSFW announced assignments for 41 vicar-elects and five deaconess intern-elects, followed by calls for 39 students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Alternate Route (A.R.) programs. Later today, May 1, our sister seminary, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, will announce 66 vicarage assignments and calls for 41 MDiv and A.R. students. Along with those students who completed their training through SMP and Colloquy-SMP, 126 calls will be answered in all.

As has been the case for a number of years, more churches asked for men than received them: 15 congregations did not receive a vicar and 22 will not receive a candidate. As we pray to the Lord of the harvest for more workers, in particular we ask that you keep those congregations who did not receive a candidate in your prayers. If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about the pastoral and diaconal programs at CTSFW, go to

Yet we remain hopeful, standing firmly on Christ our cornerstone. “Though we recognize that we need more pastors,” President Rast said, “we know at the same time God the Holy Spirit is currently calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying future workers for his harvest field, and we look forward to welcoming them to the campuses of our church.”