We have received regular inquiries from church members about the new academic year at the seminary. We are pleased to report that studies are again underway, as men prepare for the pastoral office and laypeople enrich themselves by studying God’s Word.
We welcomed the largest intake of new students for many decades, as eleven applicants were accepted into the MDiv and MTS programmes. Unfortunately the pandemic restrictions have made it difficult for many of the international applicants to obtain student visas and enter the country. So, like many universities in Canada, we have accommodated them by allowing them to start studying with us online. Seven students are now attending classes at the seminary in person, while another thirteen are joining those classes through a live video link. Two new students will join us in January, God willing. One student chose to defer entering until next year in the hope that restrictions will be lifted. All in all, it’s a large and diverse student body, including pastoral aspirants, keen laypeople, and a church musician. A few are serving pastors seeking to upgrade their education. In addition to the Canadians, there are three from Brazil, and others from China, Germany, Ghana, India, South Africa, and the USA.
The students and faculty got to know each other at Mt Carmel Spiritual Centre (Niagara Falls) at the usual opening retreat. The faculty explored with the students the non-academic aspects of pastoral formation–the human, pastoral, and spiritual dimensions–with the help of excellent material from the Roman Catholic Church’s “programme of priestly formation”.
The opening service for the 45th academic year took place on Sunday, 13 September, at Grace Lutheran Church. A recording is still available on our YouTube channel. During the service Rev. Paul Pollex, emeritus pastor in the East Region, was honoured with the Emeritus Crucis award. Because the spring call service was held as an online event, we transferred some of its planned festivities to the opening service. Students placed in May were publicly recognised and blessed: Rev. Vishal Paul, currently serving as pastor of Risen Christ, Mississauga; and David Zakel, serving as vicar at Prince of Peace, Burlington. Mr Carl Wathke (Faith Lutheran Church, Desboro) received the Delta Chi (Servant of Christ) award. Mrs Mary Silver (Christ Lutheran Church, St. Catharines) was given the Friend of the Seminary award. Both have a long CV of service to the church.
CLTS is still in the process of calling a fourth faculty member. In the meantime, we are pleased to welcome Rev. Dr Thomas Korcok as a visiting professor. Dr Korcok, on faculty at Concordia University Chicago, but resident in Niagara, is teaching Catechetics (his specialty) as well as dogmatics courses. We are also blessed by the presence of missionary Rev. James May, an LCMS pastor serving with Lutherans in Africa. Pastor May leads and teaches at a Lutheran Seminary in Nairobi, Kenya, serving students from all over Africa, and is in Ontario to begin doctoral studies at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton.
We covet your ongoing prayers for our students and the work done here in service to Christ’s Church.