Author Topic: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment  (Read 5091 times)

RevG

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2017, 06:43:41 PM »
Mark Brown's estimation is true, in my opinion.  The drop in the number of viable congregations and in congregational size overall is the indicator for less enrollment in the seminaries.  Putting it more crassly, there are less good jobs out there any more. 

This may be so, but if so, why has seminary enrollment dropped more quickly than denominational membership and the number of congregations.  In the last 10 years, ELCA seminary enrollment has dropped over 50%.  Membership and number of congregations has dropped, but at a lesser rate.  At first glance, it seems that seminary enrollment is the indicator of decline.

My guess is because membership is heavily weighed on the side of 55 and above.  So, in one sense, you may have a church of 100 members with only a few under the aforementioned age.  Even the high enrollments of Concordia Stl in the mid 2000s were a bit misleading because what contributed to that was the offer of free tuition.  When that was no longer guaranteed a drop came right away.  My class of 120 followed a class of 155 (Mark B might be able to help with specifics of those class numbers as he was a student there at that time, too) and we were the first to be told that they couldn't guarantee that we'd be covered.  I remember going out to summer Greek unsure if grant money would cover half of the cost. I believe the next class was under 100 and it continued downward. 

A friend recently shared that Concordia Seminary now has a huge endowment but few students compared to when we attended. 

Dave Benke

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2017, 10:11:03 PM »
Many of the vacant Lutheran parishes are small ones with 75 people or less on an average Sunday morning.
Those are also the same parishes who do not have the financial resources to support a full-time pastor and
his family.  Seminary graduates  are no longer affordable for many small congregations.  In many instances
the Lutheran seminaries are producing a product that has priced itself out of the current market.

Bingo-ish.

The rate of decline in the great percentage of congregations is going to continue, because of the age of the congregants.  In the smaller congregations, that older demographic often to almost always predominates.  So ten years from now, what's going to give?  I think what's going to give is the existence of the smaller congregations.  Yes, some of them can be managed by the semi-retired part-time pastors.  Yes, some of them can be divvied up into two and three point parishes.  But for many the pathway is toward closure. 

When President Harrison indicates that the Missouri Synod number will drop by a half million as the Synod is currently constituted, I think there's demographic evidence to support that.  I don't think there's a lot of evidence to support a leveling off and eventual increase in numbers fifteen years down the line. 

Mark Brown's estimation is true, in my opinion.  The drop in the number of viable congregations and in congregational size overall is the indicator for less enrollment in the seminaries.  Putting it more crassly, there are less good jobs out there any more. 

This is to me a strong underlying reason for the push to eliminate or truncate the ability of large congregations to send men from inside to the SMP training.  And it's why there's such hostility (ie "they're not real pastors) from a group among the clergy.  It's less ideological, in my opinion, and more economical.  "They're taking our jobs!"   From the other side, those larger congregations training from within through the SMP program are simply not interested in the ideologically-driven crop that emanates from some quarters, either in the field or at the seminary.  So their response would be "these were not going to be your jobs anyway."   If push came to shove, the large-mega congregations could easily become NALC II.

Dave Benke

Yep, 99.999% with you.  I don't think the small congregation stuff is even questionable.  Even through the economics driven part, and the NALC II part.  But I'd put it slightly differently.  The LCMS already has an eclesiola, although the diminutive might be wrong, and it is the large-congregations.  It started with contemporary worship, it continued when they all changed their names and signs to remove traces of denominational identity (or started sites without any), and now it finishes with their own seminary and ministerial track.  Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.  They have stopped walking with the rest of the synod over 25 years without formally leaving the synod.  If you can't take any seminary trained and certified graduate, something we all agreed to as fundamental, how are you really a part of the synod?

Far from a lack of ministers, we have an over supply.  I'm more hopeful about the stabilization over 10 -15 years.  At this point the 70+ crowd still has a sizable contingent of "cultural Christians" who attend out of habit.  That number drops to 0 by 45 year olds.  Even in the small congregation the demographics mirror society in the 55 and under groups.  In fact they are typically younger as those 20-35 yo in them have about 3 kids, which is more than the 1.5 their non-religious contemporaries are having.  It is only that big older group that skews everything.  But that stabilization is going to be at a much smaller level of total size and economic wherewithal.

If we were being honest, I think we'd start working on three things. 1. Creating an easy out path for those large congregations that won't take a seminary trained minister.  2. Working on creating a real parish ministerial system, where four congregation of 70 people in worship any given Sunday within 10 miles of each other, would stop attempting to keep 4 FT Seminary trained ministers, but be a parish with maybe 2 ministers plus say a parish nurse and a deaconess. 3. Work on normalizing the rest of the institutional size (i.e. 1 sem, Bishops that are more like Dr. Benke was, etc.).  But such things would require leadership and followership, so instead what will happen is 3 out of 4 of those small places will close.  Just enough will migrate to the one that stays open to stay open.  The rest will become "nones" or join the Baptists closest to them.  And most of that will be paid for in pastoral low wages and ulcers. (I don't think the large places will necessarily have an easy time either as the traditional core that floats them dies and they all have to weather a ministerial change.  50% of that type of place never make it through such a generational change.)   

Bingo-ish again! 
a) you can't use "all" of changed their names and their signs, because that's not true of maybe 4 1/2 of 5 of the large congregations.  But - those large congregations do control a healthy half of the Sunday worshipers in the denomination, and so they have varied their worship format to suit.  Now, it should be added that there are practitioners of worship variety, the primary indicator on your list, coming out of both seminaries every year.   So it's not as though the traditional route has been totally abandoned, and it's not as though everyone fits neatly at one of the liturgical edges. 
b) given entropy, there will need to be a presenting urgent issue in order for the big churches to boogie.  I can think of a couple that might rise to the occasion.  But that hasn't happened to date.
c) given entropy, the new organization of which you speak would take some doing.  Serious doing.  That being said, it would in my opinion be worth doing.  10 years from now, maybe?  5 years from now, maybe?  You should write the convention overture now.  The subcommittee to form the overall committee to include all areas of exploration needs time to get its act together.
d) Fierce warriors is what we need and are.  Read the Magnificat.  A fierce promissory note.  Gaudete!

Dave Benke


Steven Tibbetts

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2017, 11:53:51 PM »
When I was at PLTS (1988-92), it was barely economically viable.  That was with 120 full-time students, and wasn't accounting for real estate issues.  It survived by building up its gifts and endowment and by getting economies of scale by being linked with Luther Seminary.  When Luther discovered that it was close to financial collapse, Cal Lutheran University took PLTS over and has, in the last year, moved the school and sold the property.  (The Muslims have a lot of work to do to make it again a usable campus.)  Even then, some of its recent new faculty have been jointly hired with the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Episcopal seminary in Berkeley (which makes PLTS look like the picture of institutional health).  But PLTS exists only as long as Cal Lutheran thinks a graduate school of theology makes sense. 

Southern Seminary (as Lenoir-Rhyne's graduate school of theology) and Trinity (as Capital's) are in the same boat.  Trinity may have a slight advantage in being across the street from Capital, rather than hundreds of miles away. 

The ELCA had too many seminaries (8, plus programs in Texas and Washington DC) when it began in 1988.  Frankly enrollment would have fit at Luther and (at most) 2 others.  Today's enrollment, especially given the projections for the future, certainly can't justify 7 seminaries.

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Charles Austin

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2017, 03:23:38 AM »
Steven is correct, and I have never understood why, when the ELCA was organized, there was not a plan to merge, close, or otherwise consolidate seminary education. I think that it was the emotional attachment that many clergy had to "their" seminaries along with the "trauma" of the merger that kept that subject off the table.
"My" seminary, Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary (then known as the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago - Maywood campus), had already "closed" or "merged" or had evolved into a totally different institution based near the University of Chicago. Central Seminary in Fremont, Nebraska; Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois; and Suomi Seminary in Michigan were also part of this evolution. My 1967 graduation was last class out of the Maywood campus.
I believe the ELCA has an obligation towards American history to preserve - in some way - Gettysburg. Wartburg's setting in Iowa may give it some extra value. But beyond that, I do not know why we do not simply make Luther "the" seminary of the ELCA.
I think there was great value in "the old days" of the Augustana Lutheran Church (even before the time of this aging humble correspondent) in having one seminary where all clergy had essentially the same formation as theologians and pastors.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Heading home from Sioux City after three days and a reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

Dave Benke

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2017, 08:26:49 AM »
Steven is correct, and I have never understood why, when the ELCA was organized, there was not a plan to merge, close, or otherwise consolidate seminary education. I think that it was the emotional attachment that many clergy had to "their" seminaries along with the "trauma" of the merger that kept that subject off the table.
"My" seminary, Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary (then known as the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago - Maywood campus), had already "closed" or "merged" or had evolved into a totally different institution based near the University of Chicago. Central Seminary in Fremont, Nebraska; Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois; and Suomi Seminary in Michigan were also part of this evolution. My 1967 graduation was last class out of the Maywood campus.
I believe the ELCA has an obligation towards American history to preserve - in some way - Gettysburg. Wartburg's setting in Iowa may give it some extra value. But beyond that, I do not know why we do not simply make Luther "the" seminary of the ELCA.
I think there was great value in "the old days" of the Augustana Lutheran Church (even before the time of this aging humble correspondent) in having one seminary where all clergy had essentially the same formation as theologians and pastors.

Did not know there was a Suomi Seminary, but noticed upon checking that it was part of Finlandia University, which is located, but of course, in Hancock, Michigan, the Finnish heartland.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2017, 09:59:54 AM »
David, once in January of 1966, a Suomi congregation in Traverse City flew me up there from Chicago for a week-end of preaching and teaching. My host family had a sauna in the backyard. Did the whole thing: sauna, beer, birch branches, roll in the snow.
Gave me a certain kind of affection (and respect) for the Finns.
As did Walter Kukkonen, who once taught at Suomi, but came to Maywood to teach us about Lutheran Confessions. Grumpy guy, but a good teacher.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Heading home from Sioux City after three days and a reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

Dave Benke

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2017, 08:24:08 PM »
Did the whole thing: sauna, beer, birch branches, roll in the snow.

And there you have the Finnish Hokey-Pokey. 

Dave Benke

Mark Brown

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2017, 09:54:50 PM »
Sorry to drop the conversation, but it's the busy season after all.

Thinking about Engebretson's "the retired pastors can help".  This could be true, but for that to be true in any general way, they would have to see themselves as still called to the church, and not to Arizona, Florida and Carolina.  It would also have to prove true that many of them would have to be willing to serve in places smaller than their last call and actually be part of that communion.  Expecting such things of the "me generation" is quite optimistic.   My experiential data says that my parents church in AZ can't throw a hymnal and not hit a pastor.  In western NY you might find someone for pulpit supply in the Summer, but not much else.

Rev. Gemmin's numbers correspond to my memory.  The fall in enrollment was fast, and the loss of grants was part.  I would add two data points that killed enrollment as fast as the reduction of grant money.  The big one was that first year that you saw 40 people not get a call on call day.  And then when you saw where many were getting calls to.  It doesn't take many hearings of "a call is not an entitlement", or seeing people placed with 20 people and 6 months of money in the bank, to put a damper in enrollment.  The second one was the dramatic dip in say 35 year olds enrollment.  My class and the two above had a solid group of folks who had a decent 10-15 year career, could do sem, and still get 30+ years in the ministry.  That disappeared.  I had two conversations with folks who would have followed saying that they were told they would have to liquidate their 401k's to attend.  The sem would assume that money would be available to pay tuition.  Yes, we can talk about Mark 10 and the call.  We can also talk about being pure as doves and wise as serpents.  When you raise prices on a heavy 4 year professional degree at exactly the same time as everything saying "not a stable gig", well, predictable results.

Dr. Benke. Yeah, I'm overgeneralizing on worship format, although I don't think it is quite so far off.  Entropy being what it is, a bunch of those signs haven't changed because they haven't been changed.  The traditional group that worships at 7:30 AM still has their seats on the board, and the "scaffolding" hasn't been taken down yet.  The generational change hides a lot.  But yeah, I'm not talking a purge.  I'm talking truth and reconciliation.  It's time to be honest.  The synod formed originally to support those things collectively that we couldn't individually: training of ministers, missionaries, and doctrinally sound materials.  We need a revival of commitment to those things.  Put lex orandi, lex credendi aside for a second, just pragmatic brand management would tell you there is only so far you can stretch an identity.  (Personally, I don't think it is guitars and drumsets, but the loss of the church's hymnody and the ordo. When I attend an LCMS congregation that follows the Baptist ordo - 20 mins of "praise songs" followed by a 30 min plus sermon - it really doesn't feel like the LCMS.  And I can guarantee that they don't use CPH products and the missionaries they support are probably World Vision.)  As far as memorializing the convention, I'd love to do it, but I'm a crank - neither fish nor fowl.  It would never even make a committee, let alone get cashiered into an omnibus tabling.



Dana Lockhart

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2017, 10:28:06 PM »
I am part of the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation born post WWII in 1960.  We swelled the ranks of the public school system and eventually all educational systems after that.  With a drop off in birth rates in the years since the system has been adjusting year by year. 

It's worth noting that my generation... the Millenials...aka children of Boomers, is actually larger than the Baby Boom generation. In fact, we're now the largest generational demographic in the country. If seminary enrollment were determined by the number of potential students, enrollment would be at an all time peak right now.

The fact that enrollment has fallen so drastically really comes down to one cause: the largest generation in American history has walked away from the church (or never walked into it to begin with) at unprecedented levels. I am concerned that the "generation gap" between the boomers and millennials may prove to be unbridgeable for a great many congregation, and indeed, entire denominations.

And I have to say to my more experienced colleagues, as a pastor who has decades to go until retirement, that most of this alienation and decline happened on your watches. And yet, too many church leaders do not seem to notice the actual demographic problem, or perhaps they do notice but they do not care, or if they do notice and care they blame everything on "young adults." Which has not been a particularly effective strategy.

Stop-gap measures like deploying retired Boomers to keep declining congregations open are probably necessary; but they do not address the underlying problem. And all too often such measures seem (to me at least) focused on preserving institutions just long enough for Boomers to retire or expire.

Wouldn't it be more faithful to let go of the narrative of decline and focus on evangelism and faith formation and leadership development rather than managing further decline? There are too few seminarians because parish pastors are not encouraging enough young adults to consider ministry, there are too few young adults in our pews because parish pastors have prioritized current members over reaching out to those not yet there, a great many churches have become demographically homogeneous because it is comfortable... and too many pastors have sided with comfort over the hard work of ministry. None of these are insurmountable problems!
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 11:00:57 PM by Dana Lockhart »

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2017, 12:00:27 AM »
I am part of the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation born post WWII in 1960.  We swelled the ranks of the public school system and eventually all educational systems after that.  With a drop off in birth rates in the years since the system has been adjusting year by year. 

It's worth noting that my generation... the Millenials...aka children of Boomers, is actually larger than the Baby Boom generation. In fact, we're now the largest generational demographic in the country. If seminary enrollment were determined by the number of potential students, enrollment would be at an all time peak right now.

The fact that enrollment has fallen so drastically really comes down to one cause: the largest generation in American history has walked away from the church (or never walked into it to begin with) at unprecedented levels. I am concerned that the "generation gap" between the boomers and millennials may prove to be unbridgeable for a great many congregation, and indeed, entire denominations.

And I have to say to my more experienced colleagues, as a pastor who has decades to go until retirement, that most of this alienation and decline happened on your watches. And yet, too many church leaders do not seem to notice the actual demographic problem, or perhaps they do notice but they do not care, or if they do notice and care they blame everything on "young adults." Which has not been a particularly effective strategy.

Stop-gap measures like deploying retired Boomers to keep declining congregations open are probably necessary; but they do not address the underlying problem. And all too often such measures seem (to me at least) focused on preserving institutions just long enough for Boomers to retire or expire.

Wouldn't it be more faithful to let go of the narrative of decline and focus on evangelism and faith formation and leadership development rather than managing further decline? There are too few seminarians because parish pastors are not encouraging enough young adults to consider ministry, there are too few young adults in our pews because parish pastors have prioritized current members over reaching out to those not yet there, a great many churches have become demographically homogeneous because it is comfortable... and too many pastors have sided with comfort over the hard work of ministry. None of these are insurmountable problems!

I'm a late Boomer or an early Gen-Xer who shares some of your frustration with the Boomers.  Still, I think your indictment of that generation is a little broad.  I know a lot of Boomer pastors who were devoted to evangelism and to reaching the un-churched.  Where I think many Boomer pastors lost their way was in the area of catechesis and formation.  Although many of them had received rigorous catechesis and formation in their own youth, they tended to water the process down in their own pastorates.  Things were supposed to be fun, cool, non-dogmatic and voluntary.  Our liturgical heritage was often replaced with worship that was entertaining and "relevant". 

(Instead of the Catechism, we got the Lutheran version of Rev. Tim-Tom from The Middle.)

Those raised in the 70s and 80s were given a much weaker foundation those previous generations.  Millenials, almost none at all. 
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 12:12:11 AM by DCharlton »
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Charles Austin

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #40 on: December 18, 2017, 03:44:14 AM »
A reflection on seminary enrollment:
I'm beginning to wonder whether the "faith," "piety," "commitment" and "church membership" of the late 1940s and the 1950s may have been more "custom," or "social norm" or "tradition" (in the bad sense of that word) than true belief, spirituality, dedication or sense of the Body of Christ.
   Everyone went to church, and you were suspect if you did not. A certain kind of prayer and piety were part of our national fabric, and you understood that Baptists "did it" differently than Lutherans and that Roman Catholics were a potential problem for "true Christians," namely the Protestants who dominated the culture.
   Roman Catholics were wrapped (entombed?) in a piety of weekly mass attendance, fealty to "The Church," worship of the priestly vocation, and the culture of whatever "brand" (Irish, Polish, Italian) of Catholic you were born into, all this dogmatically handed down by Sister Mary in parochial school.
   This meant full churches, new churches, and a sense of comfort and ease that "fit" our society.
   Society changed.
   The church changed, slower than society and reluctantly. Feeling threatened, Christians went into the bunker and the situation rooms to defend and plan attacks. "Onward, Christian Soldiers!"
   Some are still in the bunkers and situation rooms. Others are in the foxholes or on the field, battered, bloody but holding the line until relief comes or the last private falls.
   Fewer seminary graduates means fewer "officers," fewer recruits.
   The "Christian soldiers" lack leadership, and the "Montgomerys" and "Pattons" have no "Eisenhower" to hold check on their egos and ideologies and move on to defeat the enemy.
   And we do not agree on who the enemy might be.
   We old soldiers, retired pastors, aren't going to be much help. We will write the histories of our battles, train the recruits (to fight the same wars we fought, which aren't the wars of today), and may - if our mental and physical health allows - occasionally and briefly take command.
    But God has promised that the Church will stand and that faith will prevail. So what now?
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Heading home from Sioux City after three days and a reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

Dave Benke

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2017, 09:20:06 AM »
Sorry to drop the conversation, but it's the busy season after all.

Thinking about Engebretson's "the retired pastors can help".  This could be true, but for that to be true in any general way, they would have to see themselves as still called to the church, and not to Arizona, Florida and Carolina.  It would also have to prove true that many of them would have to be willing to serve in places smaller than their last call and actually be part of that communion.  Expecting such things of the "me generation" is quite optimistic.   My experiential data says that my parents church in AZ can't throw a hymnal and not hit a pastor.  In western NY you might find someone for pulpit supply in the Summer, but not much else.

Rev. Gemmin's numbers correspond to my memory.  The fall in enrollment was fast, and the loss of grants was part.  I would add two data points that killed enrollment as fast as the reduction of grant money.  The big one was that first year that you saw 40 people not get a call on call day.  And then when you saw where many were getting calls to.  It doesn't take many hearings of "a call is not an entitlement", or seeing people placed with 20 people and 6 months of money in the bank, to put a damper in enrollment.  The second one was the dramatic dip in say 35 year olds enrollment.  My class and the two above had a solid group of folks who had a decent 10-15 year career, could do sem, and still get 30+ years in the ministry.  That disappeared.  I had two conversations with folks who would have followed saying that they were told they would have to liquidate their 401k's to attend.  The sem would assume that money would be available to pay tuition.  Yes, we can talk about Mark 10 and the call.  We can also talk about being pure as doves and wise as serpents.  When you raise prices on a heavy 4 year professional degree at exactly the same time as everything saying "not a stable gig", well, predictable results.

Dr. Benke. Yeah, I'm overgeneralizing on worship format, although I don't think it is quite so far off.  Entropy being what it is, a bunch of those signs haven't changed because they haven't been changed.  The traditional group that worships at 7:30 AM still has their seats on the board, and the "scaffolding" hasn't been taken down yet.  The generational change hides a lot.  But yeah, I'm not talking a purge.  I'm talking truth and reconciliation.  It's time to be honest.  The synod formed originally to support those things collectively that we couldn't individually: training of ministers, missionaries, and doctrinally sound materials.  We need a revival of commitment to those things.  Put lex orandi, lex credendi aside for a second, just pragmatic brand management would tell you there is only so far you can stretch an identity.  (Personally, I don't think it is guitars and drumsets, but the loss of the church's hymnody and the ordo. When I attend an LCMS congregation that follows the Baptist ordo - 20 mins of "praise songs" followed by a 30 min plus sermon - it really doesn't feel like the LCMS.  And I can guarantee that they don't use CPH products and the missionaries they support are probably World Vision.)  As far as memorializing the convention, I'd love to do it, but I'm a crank - neither fish nor fowl.  It would never even make a committee, let alone get cashiered into an omnibus tabling.

a) The Retired Pastor Brigade.  Many in warmer climes, to be sure.  And in those climes they are finding value in volunteering or being sort of an "adjunct" pastor, working a day or a day and a half a week.  And yet many who are tackling one of those smaller congregations.  In my own utilization of those pastors, the sweet spot was about 2 1/2 days a week.  Meaning Sunday morning plus a day in the office/at meetings and a day of visitation/outreach.  In many cases, it turned out this was about what they had been doing for the last number of years anyway (and taking heat for it in some cases).  What I think most retired pastors who want to keep on doing would like to keep on doing is preaching, teaching and visiting.  What they would not like to keep on doing is going to boring/bad church meetings or dealing with boring/bad church conflict.  And of course what keeps or makes many smaller congregations small is boring/bad church meetings and leadership depletion and/or boring/bad church conflict and leadership depletion.  Plus energized outreach with a team of young energized layfolks - everybody wants, hardly anybody has, and the retired pastor's legs aren't what they used to be in that arena.  But - all things being equal, and if and as the older/retired pastor can be utilized to teach and preach with wisdom, the use of the Retired Pastor Brigade is a great addition.

b) Whatever downward change you might make in the price of seminary education, the long-term Fear Factor is "not a stable gig."  That just sticks a pin into the balloon of vocational momentum.  Do I need a lifetime of unstable gigs - how does that work out for me/my family?   The best way to address that problem is to take the "not a stable gig" congregations out of the running for first calls, and give them to The Retired Pastor Brigade and/or the yoked parish model or Our Lady of the Perpetual Vacancy.  Except that's a church-political nightmare for the District President on every side of the equation.  But downsizing those as first call options would be helpful, again with the realization that the greatest area of "expansion" in "opportunity" is the small compensationally non-viable congregational grouping.  So it's tough.

c) I agree with holding on to the ordo and core hymnody.  Through the years we have done a series of "narrative" eucharistic liturgies explaining why and how the liturgy tells the Story.  Always helpful.  And I believe, with you, that the presence of a praise band or screen is not to be considered the absence of Lutheran worship. 

Convention memorials - tricky and church-politically dominated; for instance, I can guarantee you now that there will be an orchestrated spate of overtures to call for the cessation of women reading lessons at worship services addressed to the floor committee on theology.  And therefore there will be an orchestrated response spate of overtures on the other side.  And there will end up being a resolution calling for study of the issue.  Given the way things are, I think that resolution will implore congregations not to utilize women in the reading of lessons while the study is taking place. 

So there's a very, very subsidiary issue that serves no purpose but to energize the Far Edge being given direction by a national convention.  Your memorial, which is far more dynamic and far-reaching and central to the future of the denomination, would therefore be given a cranky brown mark from the get-go and, yes, be "cashiered into an omnibus tabling."  You should write it anyway.

Dave Benke


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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2017, 09:37:21 AM »
In the ELCA, we have the possibility of "farming out" or "merging" pastoral leadership and congregational mission with any of our full fellowship ecumenical partners. I know this has been done in many areas; and I do not know why it is not done in some other areas. A Lutheran and Episcopal parish two miles apart get it together. A Lutheran and Presbyterian Church in the same town share a pastor. There is the possibility of mergers, linking congregations together, other forms of close cooperation.
We need to do a lot more of that.
We in the Retired Pastor Brigade would rather help congregations do things like that than put Sunday-morning sermon band-aids on congregations with 30-40 people in the pews who know they are on life support or near to drawing their last breath.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Heading home from Sioux City after three days and a reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2017, 09:53:57 AM »
In the ELCA, we have the possibility of "farming out" or "merging" pastoral leadership and congregational mission with any of our full fellowship ecumenical partners. I know this has been done in many areas; and I do not know why it is not done in some other areas. A Lutheran and Episcopal parish two miles apart get it together. A Lutheran and Presbyterian Church in the same town share a pastor. There is the possibility of mergers, linking congregations together, other forms of close cooperation.
We need to do a lot more of that.
We in the Retired Pastor Brigade would rather help congregations do things like that than put Sunday-morning sermon band-aids on congregations with 30-40 people in the pews who know they are on life support or near to drawing their last breath.


The rest of us wish you would do this also.....and while you are at it drop the moniker of "Lutheran" in addition to your idea about "Evangelical." It might go a long way toward clearing up so much confusion in this old world.....


Lou


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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2017, 11:17:49 AM »
In the ELCA, we have the possibility of "farming out" or "merging" pastoral leadership and congregational mission with any of our full fellowship ecumenical partners. I know this has been done in many areas; and I do not know why it is not done in some other areas. A Lutheran and Episcopal parish two miles apart get it together. A Lutheran and Presbyterian Church in the same town share a pastor. There is the possibility of mergers, linking congregations together, other forms of close cooperation.
We need to do a lot more of that.
We in the Retired Pastor Brigade would rather help congregations do things like that than put Sunday-morning sermon band-aids on congregations with 30-40 people in the pews who know they are on life support or near to drawing their last breath.


The rest of us wish you would do this also.....and while you are at it drop the moniker of "Lutheran" in addition to your idea about "Evangelical." It might go a long way toward clearing up so much confusion in this old world.....


Lou


Having just read Bp. Rimbo's essay in another thread, your proposal strikes me as far too modest.