It’s quiet on campus leading into the 4th of July, especially with the conclusion of Christ Academy and the Intermediate/Advanced Organist Workshop (about 90 campus guests and visitors in all). That means today is a good time to catch up on some of the events we missed last week. One such event was the LWML Convention in Mobile, Alabama, where the Director of the Food & Clothing Co-op, Katherine Rittner, manned the CTSFW booth. Dr. and Mrs. Rast were also in attendance.
The photos showcase some of the activity around the booth. In this first picture, Katherine Rittner is standing to the right of Diane Torrey from the LWML Iowa East District. The Iowa East District is just one of the many districts that support the Co-op, which helps care for future church workers by providing food and clothing while they’re just students trying to balance seminary with the practical demands of family and finances. The LWML Convention served as an excellent place to show those who care for these men and women how much they’re doing in support of their formation.
“There’s this hum and this buzz going through and everybody’s excited to be there, glad to see what’s coming next; how they can continue to serve the Lord with gladness but always asking what’s coming next,” Katherine said of the atmosphere at the LWML convention. As to “what’s next” for the Co-op, the specifics may change but the foundational answer is always the same: “We help in that preparation [forming servants in Jesus Christ] by taking care of them. We help to grow the harvesters so that we can continue to harvest the harvest field.”
Dr. Rast spent time at the booth as well, greeting people (among them alumni and recent grads) and, at one point, interviewing with the LWML National Office via cell camera. Deaconess Amy Rast was kept busy answering questions about the Deaconess Program at CTSFW, as well as about Christ Academy (which is a great opportunity for young women to find out more about the vocation of deaconess and the role of mercy work in the Church). Both she and Katherine, who just graduated from the Deaconess Program this past May, had many opportunities to talk about the residential and distance programs available at CTSFW for diaconal education.
In this particular picture taken by Katherine, Deaconess Rast is standing to the right of Rev. Thomas Dunseth, who works with Mill Neck Foundation for Deaf Ministry as they talk with two young women. If you recognize this organization’s name, it’s because they run the Church Interpreter Training Institute (more commonly referred to as CITI) that takes place each summer right before Christ Academy. We wouldn’t be able to offer these Deaf Ministry courses for our students without their partnership, as they also provide instructors for Deaf Ministry here at CTSFW.
One of the moments that particularly stuck out to the Director of our Co-op was the opportunity to meet with many of the LCMS District Presidents, even if for less than a minute. “Being able to get just that little 30 second time slot, you tell them, personally, thank you, to let them know how important they are to us—to tell them, in all honesty, without them I can’t do my job and I can’t take care of our future pastors and deaconesses and their families,” Katherine explained. “To tell them what it means to me and to the students, to have their continued prayers and support, makes a huge difference. Not just for them but also for me.”
And she always comes to these conventions armed with thank you letters from students. Though the majority of these LWML women and the future servants they’re supporting will never meet face-to-face in this life, the pen-and-paper notes create a tangible connection. Said one LWML convention attendee, “I read the note and I couldn’t help but cry.”
Thank you. Thank you all for your prayers, your encouragement, and your support. From Thessalonians 1:2-3: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
[With credit to the LWML Iowa East District for the photo of Katherine and Diane next to the CTSFW booth.]