Open Letter: COVID-19 & Campus Plans

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Seminary’s leadership team met this week to discuss the recent orders and recommendations that have been made by the CDC, Indiana Governor Holcomb, and the federal government. With Governor Holcomb’s recent executive order extending the closure of schools and the continuing escalation of COVID-19 cases, we have decided to extend the online delivery of courses through the remainder of the Spring Quarter.

This decision is not made lightly, but out of love and concern for our students, staff, faculty, and community. It is important that in these days of uncertainty we give our students some continuity and stability. With this decision made, faculty, staff, and students will be able to make plans for the next couple of months.

This also means we are canceling or postponing all on-campus events through mid-May.

PLEASE NOTE, however, that we will be holding our Vicarage & Deaconess Internship Assignment Service along with our Candidate Call Service in a combined service on Wednesday, April 29.

While these services cannot be held in person, we will broadcast in an online format. We are currently working on the logistics. For updates and details as they develop, keep an eye on, where the service will eventually be streamed live.

Though classes will take place solely online, we remain prayerfully hopeful that we will be able to gather in person for Baccalaureate Service and Commencement Exercises. That decision will be made on May 1 when we, hopefully, will have a better sense of the duration of this outbreak.

While this is not the formation process we planned for our students, especially those who are coming to the end of their time with us, we trust in the God who knows all things and uses them for our good. We persevere with Paul, who faced abuse, exile, and martyrdom, and still wrote these words in Romans 8: 18, 24-28:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your faithful perseverance through this time of frustration, fear, and disruption. We, too, pray for you. Our Lord will see us through this as He has promised.

In Christ’s service,
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr.