For students who have devoted four or five years of their life to seminary studies, fervently desiring to enter the pastoral ministry, the Call Service is a once-in-a-lifetime event. So despite the regulations that limited attendance to ten people, we made sure the service was filled with music, hymns, God’s Word, and prayer to make it the joyful occasion that the graduates, vicars, and honourees hoped for.
Held on Saturday, 29 May 2021, 4.00 pm, in the seminary chapel, the service was live-streamed to a congregation of worshippers spread across Canada and abroad that topped 400. The service of Vespers was led by President Thomas Winger, with Board of Regents chairman Rev. Robert Krestick preaching. Pastor Krestick supervised candidate David Zakel this year on vicarage in Burlington. Faculty member Dr John Stephenson announced the placements, while organist Andrew Hayes uplifted the worship of the two pastoral graduates and three vicars gathered in the chapel.
Candidate Markus Peschel, a native of South Africa, was certified for ordination and commended to his home synod (FELSISA) for placement. David Zakel received his placement to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burlington, Ontario. His wife Stephanie was with him for this news, while their four children watched eagerly from home.
Local student Jason Gillard was given news that his year of vicarage formation will take place at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Ontario, under the supervision of Rev. Joel Kuhl. Nigel Prozenko, from Halifax, will serve his vicarage at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winkler, Manitoba, under Rev. Alexander Klages. We also formally announced that student Captain Chad Miller was fulfilling his vicarage spread across portions of multiple years at Grace Lutheran Church in St. Catharines, Ontario, under Rev. Richard Juritsch. Captain Miller is studying under a special programme of the Canadian Forces, where he will serve as a chaplain upon completion.
At the call service the seminary also recognised other students for their academic achievements. Markus Peschel was given the Nadine and Kent Schappert Award for pastoral care. The special honour, however, was reserved for Rev. Dr Ralph Mayan, LCC President Emeritus, who received (in absentia) the Delta Chi (Servant of Christ) medal. This is the seminary’s highest honour that acknowledges and thanks God for his long service to the church, embracing 25 years in parish ministry and 12 years as synodical president, including eight years as chairman of the International Lutheran Council. He lives in (semi-)retirement with his wife Linda in Surrey, BC.
What a joy to thank God for such gracious gifts!