The joy of the seminary’s call service was not diminished by the unusual circumstances that surrounded it. With public services still forbidden in Ontario, the seminary community was unable to gather at a local church for the usual service in which placements would be announced and awards given out. Instead, they heard God’s Word, sang His praise, and prayed at a distance from one another, though united in the Spirit.

On Friday, 29 May 2020, 7pm, seminary President Dr Thomas Winger led a service of Vespers from the seminary chapel. He was joined there by organist Andrew Hayes and technician Nathaniel Lantz. The seminary faculty, Regional Pastor Bublitz, and the students receiving placements participated live through a Google Meet video conference. The rest of the church at large was able to watch through a live stream on YouTube (the recording is available here).

During the service the Director of Placement, Dr Harold Ristau, announced to David Zakel that he would serve his year of vicarage at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Burlington, Ontario, under the supervision of vacancy pastor Rev. Robert Krestick. David has concluded his course work at the seminary, and will be eligible for pastoral placement at the end of his vicarage year. A native of Walsingham, Ontario (a member of Peace, Tillsonburg), he is married to Stephanie (née Scott), and has four young children: Kaleb, Ethan, Hannah, and Nathaniel.

Dr John Stephenson then presented to the President candidate Vishal Kumar Paul for pastoral placement. Through the board of assignments of LCC, Vishal has been called to serve Risen Christ Lutheran Church, Mississauga, Ontario. The congregation is currently being served by vacancy pastor Rev. Joseph Singh, who is Vishal’s uncle. Vishal is a native of Gurgaon, Haryana, in northern India, and worked previously in the finance industry. He and his wife Ashu have two children: Aashish (Sam) and Vinay (Joey). A member of Resurrection, St. Catharines, Vishal was catechised into the Lutheran Church by Rev. Kurt Lantz, and served his vicarage at Redeemer, Waterloo, under Pastor Joel Kuhl.

The online service was kept deliberately brief and simple. The seminary faculty hope to have a more public celebration and blessing of these candidates at the opening service on 13 September. At that time other awards will also be given, including the Delta Chi to Carl Wathke, the Friend of the Seminary to Mary Silver, and the Emeritus Crucis to Rev. Paul Pollex.

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