Stavanger Lutheran Church in Seneca, Illinois, is one of our supporting congregations. We are partners in preparing pastors for Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC). Rev. Timothy J. Swenson represented us for a Word at Work teaching event on Martin Luther's Life and Theology last fall and will return for another Saturday teaching event on Law and Gospel in September of this year.
As a way of highlighting the importance of the partnership we have with congregations, our Director of Donor Services reached out to Stavanger's Senior Pastor and asked if he would share a testimony concerning our shared hopes and concerns:
As a participating congregation within the LCMC, we at Stavanger Lutheran Church are very thankful for the ministry of the Institute of Lutheran Theology. We strongly believe that, if the LCMC is to be effective in its ministry for Jesus Christ in the coming generations, we must have pastors who are grounded in God's Word and who are well prepared to serve its congregations. The Institute of Lutheran Theology fulfills this vital need. Therefore, as a congregation we have chosen to provide a $2,500 scholarship each year to support the education of a needy seminarian student. This is one way we can thank the Institute of Lutheran Theology for their ministry and also be faithful to our Lord's calling to send harvesters out into the field.
Rev. Philip W. Peterson, Pastor
The need for properly prepared pastors is great. Thankfully our God is greater. On our own we would be helpless in facing the challenges, but we have you. In my work for ILT I call all the LCMC and NALC churches and probably know the enormity of the clergy shortage situation better than anyone. Often when I call I am talking to the office manager, treasurer, or Council President because there is no pastor. In some cases, especially our rural churches, they haven't had a called pastor for one or two years.
ILT has close to 300 supporting congregations. Many have been with us from our inception, but more join us every week. Sometimes the latter are churches who have been aware of what we are doing and have been praying for our success and for took the step to put us in their annual budget. Sometimes this is a one-time gift, a tithe from a large bequest. We are grateful for your prayers, referrals of prospective students, invitations to come and speak, etc. There are many ways for you to support us and many ways we can work together for the common good.
I have spoken to many of you on the phone either thanking you for a gift, informing you about one of our annual campaigns, a or answering a question. If you have an idea about how we can work together to meet the clergy shortage crisis, my cell number is (914) 712-5440. God bless.
Rev. Eric J. Swensson
Director, Donor Services