Jan 17, 2023 Print This Article

SMP, EIIT students celebrate pastoral calls, program completions

26 students recognized

From left to right, back row: James Greenwalt, James Bretthauer, Jeffrey Tuft, Adam Ellison, Jeffrey Campbell, Dr. Glenn Nielsen, Ryan Golden; middle row: Dr. W. Mart Thompson, John Durkin, Timothy Koehler, Jared Tanz, Brian Ryherd, Brandon Boos, Dr. Tim Saleska; front row: Dr. Tom Egger, Joel Schuldheisz, Keith Dwyer, Randall Longacre, Isaac Davis, Joel “Jody” Hall

The Concordia Seminary, St. Louis community celebrated 26 students Friday for major milestones along their path to becoming pastors in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Eighteen students in the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program and Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) were recognized for their call placements during the special service in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus. In addition, eight SMP students were recognized for completing the four-year program.

“We rejoice with the SMP students who now celebrate divine calls into the Office of the Holy Ministry. We also give thanks to God for those completing the SMP program at this time,” said SMP Program Director Dr. W. Mart Thompson. “We give thanks to our Lord for equipping and calling these men into the pastoral ministry. We share in this joy with their families and those they serve in Christ’s church!”

Concordia Seminary’s SMP Program is a distance-education program in which men receive both academic and hands-on pastoral ministry training. Local pastor-mentors work alongside SMP students, providing them with opportunities to serve the various needs of the church. Students are assigned pastoral vicarages upon beginning the program, and are eligible to receive calls two years into the program.

The SMP students receiving calls included:

  • Brandon Boos, Faith Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • James Bretthauer, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Medina, Ohio, LCMS English District
  • Jeffrey Campbell, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Old Bridge, N.J., LCMS New Jersey District
  • Isaac Davis, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, San Diego, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • John Durkin, Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Happy Valley, Ore., LCMS Northwest District
  • Keith Dwyer, Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church, Brighton, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Adam Ellison, Faith Lutheran Church, Oklahoma City, Okla., LCMS Oklahoma District
  • Ryan Golden, Saving Grace Lutheran Church, Queen Creek, Ariz., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • James Greenwalt, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Birmingham, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Joel Hall, call pending, Faith Lutheran Church, Mexia, Texas, LCMS Texas District
  • Timothy Koehler, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Cape Girardeau, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Randall Longacre, 1C, A Mission Church of the LCMS, Columbus, Neb., LCMS Nebraska District
  • Brian Ryherd, Abiding Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Joel Schuldheisz, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Tacoma, Wash., LCMS Northwest District
  • Jared Tanz, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Cape Girardeau, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Jeffrey Tuft, Calvary Lutheran Church, Oroville, Calif., LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District
  • William Harder, The Living Christ Lutheran Church, Arlington Heights, Ill., LCMS Northern Illinois District (in absentia)

Students recognized for completing the SMP Program included:

  • Chad Bresson, The Table of Los Fresnos Lutheran Church, Los Fresnos, Texas, LCMS Texas District
  • Myron Harms, Messiah Lutheran Church, Oklahoma City, Okla., LCMS Oklahoma District
  • Christopher Kolupa, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Burbank, Ill., LCMS Northern Illinois District
  • Mark Novacek, Trinity Lutheran Church, Roselle, Ill., LCMS Northern Illinois District
  • William Roberts, Faith Lutheran Church, Sebring, Fla., LCMS Florida-Georgia District
  • Alan Shaw, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Cary, N.C., LCMS Southeastern District
  • Arthur Stevens, Grace Lutheran Church, Los Angeles, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • Dale Ward, New Beginnings Lutheran Church, Pacific, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
From left to right, back row: Arthur Stevens, Dr. W. Mart Thompson, Myron Harms, Dale Ward, Christopher Kolupa, Dr. Glenn Nielsen, Dr. Tim Saleska; front row: Dr. Tom Egger, Mark Novacek, Chad Bresson, Alan Shaw, William Roberts

The Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) is a four-year distance education program that offers a specialized program of preparation for men who want to serve as pastors and women who want to serve as deaconesses in immigrant and ethnic minority communities in North America. Students who successfully complete the program receive the Certificate of Vocation that enables men to receive a call into the ministry of the LCMS and women to be commissioned to serve in deaconess ministry.

“Concordia Seminary has a number of routes to the pastoral ministry, including the EIIT. The men in the EIIT program have been carrying out a cross-cultural or ethnic ministry at a congregation or institution while also taking classes,” said Director of Placement Dr. Glenn Nielsen. “The program is demanding and requires significant sacrifice. Today we recognize those who completed this important work to be recognized as pastors.”

The following EIIT student was recognized for receiving a call:

  • Hunde Takele, St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Bloomington, Minn., LCMS Minnesota South District (in absentia)

The Seminary recognizes and celebrates calls throughout the year although the campus’ primary Call Day celebration typically is held in April. During call celebrations, students receive their first calls to ministry as well as assignments for vicarages and deaconess internships. The Seminary’s next primary Call Day is set for April 26, 2023.

About Concordia Seminary

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit csl.edu.