Author Topic: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold  (Read 77957 times)

mariemeyer

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #255 on: September 21, 2011, 08:09:33 PM »
It happens that District Mission execs are now meeting in St. Louis with the new North American Mission Board.  I'll be speaking with my husband later this evening and hope to learn what thoughts are being expressed by different district leaders.  Of interest will be knowing if and how districts are pulling together or if there is an inclination to follow separate paths.

I think the chairman of the North American Misson Board is from MNS.   

Marie Meyer

sgehrke

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #256 on: September 21, 2011, 08:15:54 PM »
Hi Pastor Pless,
I appreciated reading your history of ULC, it filled out a lot of things that I was not aware of as a student and of which I had become only aware of in a general way since then.  Back at post #151 I posted my 'memoir' of ULC - so-called since it was more my impressions/memories  than the factual items you have described.  I remember several years ago you when spoke in Kansas that you told me there were a couple more students than just Carl and myself when you first arrived, but as I noted there, otherwise, all of the LCMS students had left with the ALC pastor so that you arrived to an empty building and a negative vibe among the vast majority of UM LCMS students due to their eviction from the chapel the previous semester. 

It took a couple years of Table Talk before I started to really understand what you were teaching about the Lutheran faith and got me to move beyond Sunday-only involvement with church.  But that set me on a trajectory that has continued unwavering in the 25 years since you married Kathy and myself at ULC and we moved away from ULC and Minnesota.  I doubt that I would have become elder, trustee, convention delegate, etc. at several churches over the years without you and ULC (nor Kathy Sunday school teacher, LWML president, district newsletter editor, etc).  And as noted in that post, I originally began attending ULC simply because of its convenient location relative to campus (as an undergrad, the LCMS campus ministry was in a regular parish a mile off campus, and that kept it enough 'out of sight out of mind' such that I never once attended it in 4 years).

In the years since graduation from UM and ULC and working as an engineering professor in several state universities, I have frequently found myself in situations of discussing how Lutheran higher education can be best accomplished, especially in the sciences, engineering and graduate programs where the CUS does not/cannot provide that option for Lutheran students (BTW, some of that was brought up in the recent Valpo thread on this forum). I have always promoted the ULC-UM combination of a strong just-off-campus ministry + first rate secular university as an excellent model of higher education for Lutheran students.  And since we're also talking money here, it is also an approach that is much more cost-effective for the LCMS than expanding Concordias into new areas such as pharmacy (recognizing that Concordias are budgeted entirely differently from campus ministries, tuition is involved, and not intending to pick on CU-W, but I have a pharmaceutical chemistry appointment so I'm very familiar with that field - plus the fact that UW-Madison and KU tussle for the #2 spot in rankings of pharmacy programs nationwide).

Apart from any of my own emotional investment in ULC as the key formative period for my faith, I am disappointed that the success of this model in Minneapolis in educating students in the faith while attending a secular university is not being promoted by the LCMS (or at least MNS) as THE model to develop rather than as one to reject.  I understand that it is very expensive to start up such a bricks-and-mortar ministry, but to shut an existing one down, especially in the face of a recent district resolution that did not support such an action, is hard to accept.

Thanks again for all you have done for Kathy and myself, ULC and the LCMS.

Steve

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #257 on: September 21, 2011, 08:28:27 PM »
Steve, wonderful testimony.  And good thoughts about doing campus ministry.  I serve in the same town as the Univ. of Delaware.  I have several faculty and staff members as members of the congregation and a couple of students come by to worship with us.  But the location is a factor.  We're not too far but we're also not too close.  We try to go to them.  We meet monthly for lunch in the Student Commons.  It is primarily for our own fellowship but sometimes they bring friends with them.  We never know what will happen.

Marie, I hope that you do learn something because the MNS district is keeping their lips sealed.  Larry Peters had an excellent blog post on the lack of transparency in this whole matter.  They're not saying nothing!  And that is disappointing.  Fr. Slusser has raised several questions that were very pertinent, like did the MNS ask the MNN's opinion on this, since ULC was a project begun before the districts split?  It is this lack of transparency that contributes to the speculation and the suspicion.

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

mqll

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #258 on: September 21, 2011, 08:46:47 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.

So: you have a floor of guys & girls. All mixed up, as they are these days — both on the floor and mentally. You have a peer minister — maybe a girl, maybe a guy — and they are organizing a clean-up at a local house of some grandmother. They invite their friends to participate in this event that is sponsored by their campus Lutheran activity.

Hey, who doesn't want to help out? Plus, they have lunch. So guys & girls go.

Next month, they are headed to the battered women's shelter's transitional housing. Once again, why not, let's help out. But by now, they know one another, they can talk about faith issues, about what they believe/don't believe.

So, the peer minister says "Look, my pastor leads a Bible study at the local bar. Want to come?"

There you go. Could happen any other way as well. Maybe peer leaders have the Bible study; maybe they invite the friends to church; etc. Any number of ways.

This isn't rocket science. It is exactly how ordinary, non-student people get connected to W&S ministries as well. It is just that they don't all live on the same hall...

mqll

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #259 on: September 21, 2011, 08:48:58 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...

No, it is crazy, that's what it is Wil. Crazy.

Did you listen to President Harrison's sermon to the Conference on National Mission? You will see there how vocation plays out in the life of laity—and how it can play out in the life of college laity as well.

Daniel L. Gard

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #260 on: September 21, 2011, 09:17:05 PM »
This news clip does not make the MNS District look very good at all.

http://kstp.com/news/stories/S2294889.shtml?cat=1


peter_speckhard

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #261 on: September 21, 2011, 09:24:16 PM »
I was a mission developer right out of seminary, so my salary was paid by the district. After a little while our average Sunday attendance was well over fifty, and within two years was right around 100. Yet the district held the loan on our building and continued to have to partly subsidize our mission. I can imagine scenarios in which they just couldn't afford it anymore and I would have had to scramble for a place to lead worship. But what I can't imagine them doing is basically saying they have the money, but think it would be better spent training and equipping the 50-100 people there in personal evangelism. I would have taken that as a decision against Worship/Word/Sacrament.

A church is not the same thing as a youth group. I can imagine a struggling inner city parish needing to be subsidized by wealthier congregations more or less indefinitely, but I can't imagine those wealthier congregations deciding not to subsidize the congregation and instead send the money to equip the members to invite their friends to other churches. At least, I wish I could not imagine that.

A campus ministry that is an actual church has many similarities to an inner-city congregation. Very little money, lots of coming and going, difficult to establish "regulars", tough mission field environment, etc. Efforts to justify this switch in mission emphasis should bear that in mind.

Weedon

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #262 on: September 21, 2011, 09:35:47 PM »
Marcus,

I'm not sure I see what you think is crazy about the idea.  The student's primary vocation is as student.  Certainly in that vocation they will seek ways to confess Christ, they will intercede for others, they will join the whole royal priesthood of the baptized in singing praises to the Triune God.  But their primary vocation there is nothing less than learning. 

LCMS87

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #263 on: September 21, 2011, 09:37:02 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

Every news report I've seen indicates something like this:  There was no response to a phone call and email to the board. 

I don't know President Seitz or any of the district executives, but the lack of any response from an MNS spokesman to requests for comment from the news media doesn't reflect well on the district.  Indeed, I can't understand why they wouldn't at least have prepared talking points a spokesman could repeat ad nausium.  As Dr. Gard notes, the MNS district is coming across in a very negative light. 

Weedon

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #264 on: September 21, 2011, 09:43:00 PM »
Negative is almost too weak a word.  I think David Kind would make a fabulous President in MNS, given the amazing pastoral way he has handled himself in this as his own District (mis)behaved toward him and his parish. 
« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 09:49:04 PM by Weedon »

pastormesser

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #265 on: September 21, 2011, 09:48:00 PM »
I spent 17 very good years (1983-2000) as campus pastor at ULC . . . 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+

Prof. Pless,

Thank you for your faithful service, both as a campus pastor for 17 years and as an excellent seminary prof.  It truly was a privilege to sit at your feet and learn from you (and I'm still learning from you from afar)! 

mqll

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #266 on: September 21, 2011, 09:49:03 PM »
Marcus,

I'm not sure I see what you think is crazy about the idea.  The student's primary vocation is as student.  Certainly in that vocation they will seek ways to confess Christ, they will intercede for others, they will join the whole royal priesthood of the baptized in singing praises to the Triune God.  But their primary vocation there is nothing less than learning.

Let's start with this: "The student's primary vocation is as a student."

Oh really? So they cease to be a child? Why is the student vocation primary over the vocation of being a child?

My daughters are students in elementary and middle school — is that primary over their being my children?

There is no "primacy" of vocation Wil. All vocations make equal demands upon us. I know that Wingren says that.

Would you say that your member's jobs are their "primary" vocation over being a "spouse"?

D. Engebretson

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #267 on: September 21, 2011, 09:49:51 PM »
I was a mission developer right out of seminary, so my salary was paid by the district. After a little while our average Sunday attendance was well over fifty, and within two years was right around 100. Yet the district held the loan on our building and continued to have to partly subsidize our mission. I can imagine scenarios in which they just couldn't afford it anymore and I would have had to scramble for a place to lead worship. But what I can't imagine them doing is basically saying they have the money, but think it would be better spent training and equipping the 50-100 people there in personal evangelism. I would have taken that as a decision against Worship/Word/Sacrament.

A church is not the same thing as a youth group. I can imagine a struggling inner city parish needing to be subsidized by wealthier congregations more or less indefinitely, but I can't imagine those wealthier congregations deciding not to subsidize the congregation and instead send the money to equip the members to invite their friends to other churches. At least, I wish I could not imagine that.

A campus ministry that is an actual church has many similarities to an inner-city congregation. Very little money, lots of coming and going, difficult to establish "regulars", tough mission field environment, etc. Efforts to justify this switch in mission emphasis should bear that in mind.

My first parish out of seminary was an "established mission" congregation heavily subsidized by the Michigan District.  Within a year or two they attempted to discontinue that subsidy as part of a changing paradigm in the district (late 80's).  An elder pastor in the circuit who had been heavily involved in the district intervened and saved us for a while.  Eventually a strong Circuit Mission Council was established and the circuit itself picked up the shortfall, at the time totaling at least $30,000.  We were in one of the poorest counties in the lower peninsula and the only Lutheran congregation of any synod in the county.  I am grateful that the circuit saw the value of our congregation and so generously picked up the financial shortfall.  They even took over my student loan payments for a time.  Dependency on district dollars is indeed risky, as my experience also demonstrated.  All it takes is a change in leadership and a new "vision" and before you know it you are left adrift.  As a new and inexperienced pastor I was vulnerable and thankfully a brother pastor went to bat for me, not to mention the ongoing and unflagging support of my circuit.  I hope that there are such supporters for the folks at ULC. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Weedon

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #268 on: September 21, 2011, 09:52:13 PM »
We are speaking of college students.  I think at that time of their life, assuming they are not spouse but maybe even if they are, their primary vocation is that of student.  It is the thing they are called to give chief attention to.  Certainly they continue to have other vocations.  My daughter finished her college vocation as the spouse of her husband.  She had to juggle both vocations.  But she and her husband gave primary attention to their primary vocations at that point:  finishing school.  They even lived apart for a number of months as that primary vocation on either's part required.  Primary doesn't mean there are not other vocations.  But college students really are sent to college primarily to learn.  I wouldn't think that's a disputable statement.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 09:55:21 PM by Weedon »

pastormesser

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Re: University Lutheran Chapel (University of Minnesota) to be sold
« Reply #269 on: September 21, 2011, 09:57:46 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.

So: you have a floor of guys & girls. All mixed up, as they are these days — both on the floor and mentally. You have a peer minister — maybe a girl, maybe a guy — and they are organizing a clean-up at a local house of some grandmother. They invite their friends to participate in this event that is sponsored by their campus Lutheran activity.

Hey, who doesn't want to help out? Plus, they have lunch. So guys & girls go.

Next month, they are headed to the battered women's shelter's transitional housing. Once again, why not, let's help out. But by now, they know one another, they can talk about faith issues, about what they believe/don't believe.

So, the peer minister says "Look, my pastor leads a Bible study at the local bar. Want to come?"

There you go. Could happen any other way as well. Maybe peer leaders have the Bible study; maybe they invite the friends to church; etc. Any number of ways.

This isn't rocket science. It is exactly how ordinary, non-student people get connected to W&S ministries as well. It is just that they don't all live on the same hall...

Pr. Louderback,

What one must need a degree in rocket science to understand is why we need to sell the campus properties and use the proceeds to establish a new district position to enact a new campus ministry plan which involves encouraging students to do what you're talking about here.