Author Topic: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold  (Read 77959 times)

mqll

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #240 on: September 21, 2011, 05:55:02 PM »
So, can we distinguish between:

 "everyone a minister" = every lay person has the right to perform Word & Sacrament ministry.

And say:

"college peer ministers" = college students who teach the Word, do not preach, do not celebrate the sacraments, etc.

Monte, am I wrong, but are you looking for second, are you not?

Just to nail something down, Pr Messer, you say:

It's one thing to encourage students to get involved in the activities of campus ministries (volunteering for service projects, inviting others to come to the Services and events, confessing their faith to their peers as the Holy Spirit gives them opportunity, and so forth); it's quite another thing to deem them "ministers" and have them doing what has not been given them to do (lead worship, teach Bible Studies, be "missionaries," etc.).

Is it actually the teaching of our church body that laity are not to teach Bible studies? Or are you saying they are not to do the whole package?

I also agree with what Pr Weedon says:

I think whenever we substitute our own ideas for the Lord's gifts of Word and Sacrament, we end up being sorry in the long run.  His gifts are always the best - and foolish as they may seem to us, they still are how He chooses to gather and hold to Himself a church.  Give me on campus Word and Sacrament ministry any day.

I don't see how this at all means that there can be no peer ministers as well serving on campus.

One last thing: what Monte said about campus ministry is entirely true. The writing was on the wall back when I started campus ministry. It is too bad.

Dave Benke

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #241 on: September 21, 2011, 05:58:01 PM »
Tom Schmidt is organist at St. Peter's Citicorp even unto this very day, Pr. W. 

Dave Benke


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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #242 on: September 21, 2011, 06:21:43 PM »
Tom Schmidt is organist at St. Peter's Citicorp even unto this very day, Pr. W. 

Dave Benke

...and he used to be the organist at Trinity in the Bronx, one of those thriving congregations once thought to be dying by those inclined to think that the Atlantic District is dying at a faster rate than the rest of the LCMS and the ELCA.

St. Peter's, Manhattan, does indeed present a fine witness in the practice of Lutheran liturgy. Its roots are Augustana and that is what one would expect. John Damm, pastor for 20 or so years was a disciple of Arthur Carl Piepkorn, so such expectations are reinforced.

St. Luke's and Immanuel, both in Manhattan maintain an exemplary liturgical practice. They were Missouri until....     (Before Bishop Benke came upon the scene, by the way.)

Peace, JOHN

Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Weedon

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #243 on: September 21, 2011, 06:34:06 PM »
Immanuel.  Was that where Ray Schulze (sp?) served.  He was another fine preacher.  If that's the one I'm thinking of, the altar sported several statues, including a curious one of Moses?  Ah, you guys are bringing back "old memory" days for me.

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #244 on: September 21, 2011, 06:35:48 PM »
Can anyone, ANYONE, familiar with and supportive of the aforementioned model of campus ministry explain how students are actually funneled into a Word and Sacrament ministry?  I've asked this question about 3 times now I think, and have not received a clear answer as of yet.

I heard a story once about an LCMS campus ministry facilitator type person who took a student to a non-denominational box church two blocks from an LCMS church.  The church has very publicly denied many tenets of the faith that we as Missouri-Synod Lutherans adhere to.  When asked how the student was assisted in understanding the difference between what Lutherans adhere to theologically and what this church taught, the response was "there is no difference."  I hope this explains my personal concern for entrusting non-theologically trained campus ministers to the spiritual care of vulnerable student populations.  My opinion is of little significance in this debate; there are people much more in the know on this particular situation than me who surely have even graver concerns.  I would say the concerns are quite valid.

Weedon

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #245 on: September 21, 2011, 06:38:54 PM »
Lord, have mercy, Deaconess.  Let's sincerely hope that's not what this is about.  But the point Pr. Messer made about students having the vocation of being students is really easy to overlook.  I think that teaching that classic Lutheran doctrine of vocation is one of the strong points of the ministry of ULC.  Sort of a Pless heritage...

jtpless

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #246 on: September 21, 2011, 06:39:31 PM »
I spent 17 very good years (1983-2000) as campus pastor at ULC. When I was called to ULC in 1983, the mission executive said "we're calling you to an empty building." He was right. Contention had rocked the chapel and its relationship with the district since the 60's as some within the district thought that the chapel's ministry reflected the activism associated with protest against Vietnam and jettisoning of traditional Lutheran worship. The MNS district experienced the tug of war between moderates and conservatives over fellowship with the ALC and then the trauma of Seminex in 1975. Even though is clear by 1975 that fellowship with the ALC would not continue, strangely the the MNS District entered into an agreement for joint campus ministry in 1975. This arrangement was disputed from the beginning and finally ended by convention vote in 1982. In 1983 I was called to re-start an LCMS campus ministry at ULC.

Freshly ordained and with four years of work under Dr. Norman Nagel at the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valpo, I came to the U of M unsure of what the future would hold. A small group of LCMS students were active in the inter-Lutheran campus ministry. Most of those students were angry at the decision of the MNS to pull out of cooperative ministry and moved with their ALC and LCA friends down the street to the Episcopal Center. We started with only a handful of students but with the conviction that the re-established ministry at ULC would be centered in the Divine Service (using both The Lutheran Hymnal and Lutheran Worship) with every Sunday celebration of the Sacrament. Private confession and absolution was offered. I began to teach a Tuesday night "Table Talk" Bible study (a meal followed by the study of Scriptures) and a Sunday morning class. The first years were not easy. A couple of LCMS pastors in the district told me they would not encourage their students to come to ULC but directed them to the ALC/LCA ministry down the street. The tensions surrounding the decision to end the cooperative ministry lingered for a long time and perhaps even to this day.

ULC did prosper and grow. Work was started with international students. Additional Bible studies were offered in ULC itself as well as with residential halls and Coffman Union. The Fall Study Weekend which would become annual feature of chapel life bringing to campus Lutheran theologians who addressed topics suggested by the students. Retreats were planned with other LCMS campus ministries in the upper Midwest. There was a strong accent on the doctrine of vocation. An issue of THE REPORTER earlier this year noted that ULC is one of the top three congregations for sending men to our seminaries. There have been a few deaconesses and Lutheran teachers too. But just as important are the hundreds of men and women who are contributing to the vitality of congregations throughout the world. ULC alumni have gone on to serve in the district and Synod, too. A recent alumna was recently appointed to serve on the Synod's Commission on Theology and Church Relations. In an increasingly graying church body, ULC is a source of young and energetic lay leadership.

When I arrived at ULC, the MNS District was funding the entire budget of ULC (over $120,000 if my memory is correct). The district campus ministry committee encouraged ULC to move in the direction of a town-gown ministry. This we did as some former students remained in the Twin Cities and continued to worship at ULC. Other young adults found the chapel as their spiritual home. Over the years we needed less and less district subsidy as offerings increased. When I left ULC to come to Fort Wayne, the chapel was only dependent on the district for a subsidy of about $30,000 per year I think. As I understand it that amount is now down to less than $12,000.

In the late 80's I began writing for various publications including Lutheran Forum and the Forum Letter. For a while I would serve as a contributing editor of the Forum Letter with Russ Saltzman. Those early writings were largely focused on Lutheran identity and especially liturgy and evangelism as those issues were being pressed by the devotees of the Church Growth Movement. ULC had resisted the not so subtle attempts of some leaders in the district to move us into contemporary worship, cell groups and the like. With the election of a new district president in 1991, the pressures seemed to mount. During those years there were always members of the district board of directors and some vice presidents who supported ULC and its focus on Word and Sacrament ministry on campus. This present attempt to close ULC was not the first. The election of a highly partisan district board of directors (i.e. promoted by the "Mission Vision" group) at the 2010 convention provided an opportunity for what some had been seeking to accomplish for years.

ULC flourished in the 1990's and that flourishing would continue and increase after my departure in 2000. ULC was organized as a congregation of the Synod. Given the disarray in campus ministry at the end of the short inter-Lutheran era, I was called not by the congregation but by the district. Prior to my departure, the congregation requested an opinion from the Synod's CCM as to whether the congregation or the district had the right to call its pastor. The CCM ruled that it was the congregation not the district that retained the right of the call. Within nine months of my leaving, ULC extended a call to a former student, Pastor David Kind who has served the congregation with distinction for the last decade.

ULC's location is crucial for its mission. I can't even begin to count the number of students who came to participate in the campus ministry because we were visible and accessible. I think, for example, of a Chinese post-doctoral student on his way to visit the Mormon Institute for Religion just down the street two blocks from the chapel. This student decided to check out ULC, not knowing the difference between Mormonism and Christianity. That drop in visit led to catechesis and Baptism. There are many other stories like that. One of my mentors in campus ministry, the sainted Don Deffner said "campus ministry is about location, location, location." He was right. The Gospel has produced fruit out of ULC's location on University Ave SE and it would be a shame to forfeit it on account of a flawed and ideologically biased decision of the district's current leadership.

JTP+



Donald_Kirchner

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #247 on: September 21, 2011, 06:45:36 PM »
I muse:
Maybe because he's new and is a little shaken up by the "we're gonna getcha" remarks so soon in the discussion.

ROFL! 
Don Kirchner

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Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #248 on: September 21, 2011, 06:59:37 PM »
Lord, have mercy, Deaconess.  Let's sincerely hope that's not what this is about.  But the point Pr. Messer made about students having the vocation of being students is really easy to overlook.  I think that teaching that classic Lutheran doctrine of vocation is one of the strong points of the ministry of ULC.  Sort of a Pless heritage...

Indeed.  I credit him a great deal in the shaping of my own understanding of vocation . . . something I had not been taught much about until my studies at the seminary.

I can only speak from my own experience with campus ministry and also my work as a college instructor . . . students have enough on their plate, and having a place close to campus to hang out at as well as a place to rest and receive during worship is the best model I know of for them.  Having a pastor in close proximity to provide spiritual care when needed is added gravy.  I suppose until someone posits something showing how peer ministers can bridge students to Word and Sacrament, I'm left believing the situation I spoke of upthread is one danger of this model.

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #249 on: September 21, 2011, 07:02:00 PM »
Prof. Pless, thank you so much for the great historical piece about ULC!  It was very informative and encouraging. 

Yet I am discouraged at these (not so) recent events and am left thinking, "We're doing it to ourselves again." 

Egos are getting in the way, and thus, since ULC's success is not MY success, then it must be gotten rid of.

I appreciate what you had to share. 

Jeremy 
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

mariemeyer

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #250 on: September 21, 2011, 07:30:26 PM »
Has there been any further word from President Seitz or the Board that sheds light on their decision? President Seitz is not known to take action without careful consideration of various alternatives nor is he known to be partisan. In the past the same was true for the MNS Board.

Marie Meyer

Dan Fienen

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #251 on: September 21, 2011, 07:37:54 PM »
Conflict is never pleasant, but in dealing with human institutions and organizations, conflict is inevitable.  Apparently the situations within the MNS district are conflicted, not only over ULC and CLC but mission work in general within the district and over what makes for good evangelism and good worship.

One positive in all of this is that the conflict shows that people care and care deeply.  We do not have conflict over things that do not matter to us.

One could say that "traditionalists" and "Evangelical Catholics" are stubborn and resistant to change.  But then I have my own stories of being a church planter in Michigan District under a born again Church Growth true believer as a mission executive.  Those who buy into the Church Growth ideology can be just as intransigent. 

Similarly, I've interacted with contemporary worship advocates who are as rigid in their expectations and ideology as any traditional worship advocates.

Add to this some personal issues (I would guess) among some of the players in this situation, as well as turff protection and you get a real mess.

If it has (and I have no information) devolved into churches of a particular persuasion diverting mission dollars from the district and then demanding to say how the district should spend the dollars it does receive, it just gets worse.

I do not know the solution.  Perhaps some high level mediation from Synod, perhaps devoting a pastor's conference to that?  Certainly a reminder of what all sides have in common and a reminder of their mutual dedication to mission work (even if they do not yet agree on how) could not hurt.  And also a moritorium on reminders of how my side tried to cooperate and the other side did not.  The past is past.  It cannot be undone.  It should not be ignored, but mutual recriminations will not help.

Perhaps after settling this conflict down, the mediators can relax and take on something easier - like mediating the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  (We are talking German Lutherans on both sides with a dash of Scandinavian for variety.)

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Weedon

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #252 on: September 21, 2011, 07:41:41 PM »
Once again, might we drop the characterization of the LCMS as "German"?  German in origin, but not German in makeup now.  Don't get me wrong - I love the heritage.  But when you guys describe it like that you have no idea how "outside" it makes those of us feel who AREN'T German at all nor Scandinavian. 

Dan Fienen

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #253 on: September 21, 2011, 07:46:45 PM »
Whose heritage do you think keeps us from totally imploding - it ain't the Germans.  Around here we have a saying - you can always tell a German, you just can't tell him very much.   8)

Sorry to leave you out.

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Daniel L. Gard

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #254 on: September 21, 2011, 07:51:55 PM »
If a decrease in mission dollars headed to the district is a motivation for closing a self-sufficient liturgical and confessional congregation at a major university in a heavily Lutheran state, then I suspect (as they say) "you ain't seen nuthin' yet." Some confessional congregations have indeed cut most of their direct mission support to districts when those dollars were being used to support such things as missions that appear to be Lutheran only in name (and in some cases not even in name). Others have questioned the financial overhead of district offices in comparison to the perceived value of what congregations receive back. More and more, mission dollars are sent directly to the missions supported rather than filtered through district coffers.

Sorry, folks, but the trust level in the bureaucracy is lower than I have ever seen it. This action is not going to reverse it. My guess is that MNS will see another dip in revenue.